Thursday, March 11, 2010

Steve Levy for Governor

Phil Orenstein of Democracy Project has blogged in support of Steve Levy's candidacy for governor. According to the video below, Mr. Levy has a strong record in Nassau County. He is a Democrat who aims to run as a "post partisan" candidate. Academics coined the term "post modern" a generation ago and "post partisan" is indubitably a corollary. Indubitably.

I am not yet convinced that Mr. Levy is the candidate of choice. We need to ask more questions.

Mr. Levy's candidacy is controversial. Mike Long, the head of the Conservative Party, suggested in the New York Post yesterday that given the massive failure of the Democratic Party to manage the state's economy competently, the Republicans ought not nominate a Democrat. This is the very sort of thing I had previously feared from Republicrat Edward F. Cox. Also, the article reports allegations that there is a corrupt deal involving Edward F. Cox's son, Chris Cox, who like his father desires a nepotism deal, and Suffolk Republican Chair John Lavalle:

"There has long been a rumor that Cox, Levy and Suffolk Republican chair John LaValle have a domino-style deal going, with the main goal being to get Chris Cox nominated in his own seven-way primary in Suffolk. Ed Cox has strenuously denied it."

If so, this is not the sort of candidacy the Tea Party ought to support. We need clarification of Mr. Levy's relationship to Ed Cox and John Lavalle.

Which is not to detract from Levy's record. Levy's website says that he has delivered "six consecutive operating budgets, each with a General Fund tax freeze or tax cut." He says in the video that he has cut spending for two consecutive years. His website adds that he "has delivered three operating budgets with spending lower than the previous year's adopted levels -- a record that is unprecedented in Suffolk County and extraordinarily rare in any level of government anywhere."

In his blog, Orenstein points out that in his Op Ed in the New York Post Levy said "no" to:

"the exorbitant pay and pensions of the County police officers, who are the highest paid police force in the world, (which) shows he is one of the rare politicians with backbone. We need a courageous figure to govern a state with the nation’s most dysfunctional legislature. Could Levy be a ray of light for our troubled state on the verge of fiscal disaster?"

We'll see. So far, the jury is out.

Despite the allegations of insider shenanigans, according to the Daily News Levy has already taken the initiative to develop a relationship with the Tea Party. The Daily News writes that Levy will hold an informational video conference with New York's Tea Parties.

According to his site, Levy has called for a state of emergency because of New York's incompetently managed budget. In a year when there was deflation, the state increased spending by nine percent, according to Levy. New York voters are undoubtedly to blame, electing the same tax-and-spend Democrats like Ulster County's Kevin Cahill year after year. New Yorkers never saw a wasteful or corrupt Democratic Party scheme that they could not support. Newspapers like the Kingston Freeman in my county are also to blame, refusing to take any initiative in demanding fiscal responsibility and providing ongoing propaganda for the massive waste in Albany. Millions have left this state, and the remaining population is mostly on the dole, but what do the editors of the Freeman care? When Wall Street crumbles, which it will, there is going to be a serious problem, with greedy unions and corrupt contractors clawing at each other for state handouts that are no longer available. New Yorkers will, undoubtedly, blame everyone but their greedy selves.

I am concerned that I did not see a prominent statement on Mr. Levy's site of the two chief fiscal issues facing the state: (a) the badly mismanaged Medicaid system, whose waste likely amounts to in excess of 15% of the entire state budget (yes, it is fair to say that 15% of the entire New York State budget is attributable to Medicaid waste) and (b) the egregious handling of the state's unions, specifically the Service Employees International Union and the New York State Union of Teachers in facilitating massive waste. I can blame Democrats like Ulster County's Kevin Cahill for the waste, but the fact is that during 12 years of the Pataki administration things only got worse. Governor Pataki failed to live up to his mandate, failed to curtail Medicaid waste, failed to rein in the bloat associated with the SEIU and failed to rein in administrative waste in the schools. What plan does Mr. Levy have to offer?

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