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by Jay Gallagher

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Another group seeking reform

The stage is getting crowded with good-government groups, which may bode well for their agenda this year.

Just two days after former New York City Mayors Ed Koch and Rudolph Giuliani and former Gov. Mario Cuomo announced the formation of a political-action committee called New York Uprising to try to get candidates and elected officials to support non-partisan reapportionment, 26 good-government groups (including the League) today
Announced another reform coalition.

This one, called Reinvent Albany, plans to hold a session for the public in Albany on May 5 that will be shown on the Internet as well. (League members should check with their local leagues about free bus transportation to the event.)

“Albany has serious ethical problems,’’ League legislative director Barbara Bartoletti said. “The more people involved in reforming the problems in Albany, the better.’’

“New Yorkers are fed up,’’ the groups said in a letter to Gov. David Paterson. “Scandals have driven from office Gov. Spitzer, Comptroller Hevesi, Senate Majority Leader Bruno and a growing number of state legislators. Some elected officials are currently under investigation. Many of these abuses of power are rooted in the absence of effective and independent ethics and fiscal watchdogs, tough ethics laws and transparency in government.’’

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua, is the only elected official so far to agree to attend. Word is still being awaited from Paterson, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and the other legislative leaders.

But Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Group said he thinks most will show up.

“The place (the Capitol) is a mess and we didn’t do anything,’’ Horner said, reflecting the positions of top elected officials running for office this year. “That to me is a losing argument.’’

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