Silver should take blame

To the Editor:
Re: Man on the Street, June 29

The real answer to “Man On The Street: Who, or what, is to blame for the dysfunction last week in Albany?” is easy. Our own Lower Manhattan neighborhood Democrat Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has 99 of 150 votes in the Assembly.

Silver is in the driver’s seat. Silver controls his own members via lulus for chairing committees, passage of legislation, pork barrel member item earmarking, office budgets, staffing and mailings along with the renewal of gerrymandering district boundaries every 10 years after reapportionment. Republican State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos has similar powers, but only controls his chamber by one vote. With Silver’s overwhelming majority, he can let many members off the hook when the controversial budget or other legislative bills come up for a vote, and stop whatever he desires.

Cuomo has to deal with Silver and Skelos along with their respective loyal members who have powerful backing. These include various special interest pay-for-play lobbyists, powerful teachers, health care, state employees and other unions, along with trial lawyers, businesses and developers. There are hundreds of Albany’s infamous State Street lobbyists representing clients who donate millions of dollars to both the Assembly and Senate campaign committees.

Successful implementation of Governor Cuomo’s agenda is clearly dependent upon the cooperation of both Silver and Skelos. They, along with Cuomo, make up Albany’s infamous “Three Men In the Backroom,” and run the show and day-to-day dysfunction.
Larry Penner