Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fear and Loathing in Buffalo and the Rest of the Empire State

Michael Daly in the NY Daily News proves that, once again, the bigger, more abrasive the mouth, the more they have to hide. TP/GOP hopeful Carl Paladino's real estate holdings house many State offices in Buffalo.
Daly scopes out the arrangement and challenges Palladino to cut the lease rates for the real estate by 20% -- the TP/GOP hopeful's target for cutting State budgets. Paladino has already indicated that he would expect the State to continue paying for leases held by him were he to ride the coat tails of a messed-up economy and voter discontent.

Read Daly's "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, Carl" in the NY Daily News here

There's nothing wrong with owning real estate, or even leasing it to the State. The problem is, Paladino presents himself as a self-made man, which he clearly is, but it isn't as though his wealth has derived from manufacturing widgets, or some private sector service or function. Much of his wealth appears to have been developed from earnings from properties leased to the State -- with the lease money coming from taxes --that he has been able to parlay into further real estate development and holdings.   So, while Carl would be the first to say that he is an entrrepreneur, not a civil servant, still, like another maverick who bit the dust, Ross Perot who made much of his money providing payroll services to government agencies, it is a little more complicated than that.

Palladino, unfortunately, is another rich opportunist seeking to exploit a bad situation -- and it is only possible because he can use his own wealth to run. Having made his money from the State Treasury, he can now rail about the evils of the public sector, as a candiodate and would-be Governor-- as long as he continues to collect on his leases. Sadly, many of the struggling individuals who are attracted to Paladino's "straight talk," (i.e., his offensive, abusive and violent comments), are likely those who will be hurt the most should he appear in Albany with his baseball bat.

Although New York is the Empire State, Government in New York State is not a kingdom, nor is it a fascist dictatorship, nor totalitarian State run by the Governor. Government is conducted through a complex balance of politics, diplomacy, horse trading and compromise among the State Senate, the Assembly and the Executive Branch run by the Governor.  Even before he was side-railed by personal distractions and unmasked as Client 9, former Governor Elliot Spitzer made the same miscalculation, by assuming that his electoral mandate made him the only game in town. It didn't, he wasn't, and Carl Paladino will no doubt suffer the same fate. He may think that he can rule like Willie Stark in "All the Kings Men", but more likely he will suffer the fate of Humpty Dumpty. Andrew Cuomo may get what he wishes for. Hopefully, Mr. Cuomo will squeak through, despite the polls, and at the same time he will learn something from this lesson in voter dissatisfaction and never counting your chickens. Hopefully he will ---for him, for us and for the future of the Empire State.

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