“We’re nowhere. We’re not even close to an agreement.”
“The indictments have cast a cloud over everything. We’re afraid to make deals because it might be construed as a quid pro quo.”
“Carl can’t control his conference. So this impasse might drag on for quite a while.”
“Maybe we’ll just do extensions and leave town and not come back.”
There was all of that pessimism, plus there was the strange Cuomo behavior. No media avails to explain what was going on. He ducked reporters for two straight weeks while his spokespeople did their huffy twitter thing with reporters.
Meanwhile, the advocates carried on and on – tenants, AQE, the enviros.
Add it all up and this session had to be a bust, a failure, a flop. But wait … the leaders suddenly announce nearly a dozen agreements – from rent to charters to property taxes to private schools. There was hardly an area that didn’t see some type of advance. The only real strike out was the Dream Act.
In the end, rather than it being sooooo difficult to come to agreement, it almost looked easy. They just compromised. They split the difference. Where they couldn’t agree, they said we’ll work it out later or they gave the nod for Cuomo to do it administratively.
What they did was logical, pragmatic, fair, collegial and moderate.
…Damn, why can’t it always work like this?
No, it’s not bold, transformational, laboratory-of-democracy sweeping change – it’s just competent, civil government. And that’s good enough for us. We’ll take a half a loaf or third of a loaf. We’re not greedy.
Yes, some will pick it apart. The Times is sour that all issues weren’t conclusively resolved. And some advocates who didn’t win it all are spouting the same old clichés. How many times through the years have you heard the lipstick on a pig line from the disgruntled?
But really now, isn’t this infinitely better than what came before? Think of the times when the people at the table were unable to agree to anything. Think of the times when it got personal: The Spitzer-Bruno period; the Pataki-Silver period; the Cuomo-Marino period.
What was it about those times that prevented the participants from realizing that government can’t work if one side’s goal is to make the other look bad?
At least now we have basic functionality. It’s a lot better than the way it was in New York before and a lot better than the way it is in Washington. Cuomo is right about that. “Not Washington” is really saying something.