Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Will she truly reform the council?

From the NY Post:

Embezzling $1.2 million in taxpayer cash -- as Bronx Councilman Larry Seabrook allegedly did -- violates even the ludicrously lax standards of the New York City Council.

According to federal prosecutors, Seabrook funneled the money to himself, his family members and a girlfriend by setting up a series of sham nonprofit corporations, which he then larded up with council pork.

But count on this: Seabrook never would've gotten away with it for so long if a lot of his council colleagues weren't neck-deep in much of the same muck.

All members get hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to slather all over their districts. It's a time-honored legislative tradition in New York.

Sure, most of them may not be lining their own pockets (as far as is known). At least some of the nonprofits they fund may even do valuable work.

Nonetheless, it's still profoundly corrupting -- with the bulk of the cash going straight to folks the pols know will be useful come election season.

What's more, it's no coincidence that such a system breeds Seabrook-level corruption. If everyone's gorged with pork, it's in everyone's interest to turn a blind eye to the worst apples.

Council Speaker Christine Quinn is especially culpable: She says she's instituted "reforms," but pork remains her No. 1 tool for enforcing discipline. She was even caught budgeting cash for made-up groups in order to quietly dispense it to allies later. City Hall, Quinn can start cleaning house at once -- by cutting off all pork-barrel appropriations.

Sure, such a move would require her members to start representing the interests of their constituents, instead of acting like glorified cash machines.

But with the system's corruption exposed so fully, she'll have no better chance than this one.

It's your move, Madame Speaker.


Anonymous said...

Don't expect Miss Slush Fund to clean house. The only thing she'll clean out is her constituent's wallets by voting to raise taxes. Nothing will change until we the people flush the toilet on the entire city council and vote them all out. Too bad we can't enforce term limits. The Council will find a way to circumvent the will of the people.

Anonymous said...

It looks like we don't need a city council, hell we don't need half the politicians on the public dole.

NYC Educator said...

Didn't Christine Quinn support the third term for Mayor Bloomberg and council members? Wasn't that specifically against the twice-voiced wishes of city voters?

When you think about it, with representatives like Ms. Quinn, you may as well have no representation at all.

Anonymous said...

Bronx Councilman Oliver Koppel, now there's a man who's picture is next to the word corruption in my dictionary. The worst of the bunch. Untouchable for many reasons,and because he's got rich powerful friends starting with Mike.

Anonymous said...

Ha! Christineturd is the SLUSH FUND Queen! She is going to reform NOTHING!

Cav said...

A little voter discipline might be in order.

Maybe we should impose our own term limits on corrupt politicians by voting these people out of office ourselves. Just saying.

Anonymous said...

Quinn belongs in jail. put her flat red ass in jail. Please God, end this evil

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NYC Educator said...

I understand the thing about imposing our own term limits--but in fact city voters did that, twice. And when you have a mayor who can pull a hundred million bucks out of his pocket, who's BFFs with the local newspaper publishers, you may need the actual regulation--the one you did indeed vote for.

CityPragmatist said...

Eliminate “pork” and “lulus,” the extra compensation that the Speaker hands out to loyal Council members for chairing committees, and you’ll end up with a Speaker who is less able to unite her members when it comes time for the Council to say “no” to something the mayor wants to do. What would happen to overdevelopment and “tweeding” then?