Last week’s arrest of New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon (“Smelly Shelly”) Silver served as yet another reminder that the “Vampire State” harbors the worst state legislature in the United States. Using a metric involving level of corruption [C] times cost to maintain the whole population of cretinous politicians, and their staffs and perks [P] divided by the value of the output of their “work product” [W], the New York State legislature is by far the most useless and least cost-effective body in America. And maybe the Third World for that matter.
New Yorkers from the skyscraper canyons of Manhattan, to the mountains of snow in Buffalo, to the empty badlands of the Southern Tier, to the tony beaches of the Hamptons – all can attest to the ill effects of incompetence upon their lives: nation’s highest taxes, largest income inequality, most punitive property taxes, highest incarceration costs per inmate (2X the mean), highest public school spending per pupil , and some pretty shitty infrastructure (27% of bridges are functionally obsolete, 23% of major roads are in poor condition, 399 dams are rated high hazard.)
Silver’s long-running stint as one of Albany’s “Three Men in a Room” – derided rightly as the epitome of undemocratic colloquy and decision-making – demonstrated how much the system in New York had atrophied. The head of the Dems was able for 20 years to wield outsized power to buttress his leadership position and in the process inflate his worth to miscreants (lawyers, mainly) looking to game the system with monetary stipends and referral fees.
But let’s not allow the travails of Smelly Shelly to make us forget the full depth of the New York State government bench when it comes to corruption and cronyism. The compendium of flagrant violators of the public trust is legion. And I’m not even talking about the assholes who now or once embarrassed New York in Washington, D.C. – sub-humans like Anthony Weiner (sexting addict), Eric Massa (digs “snorkeling”), Charlie Rangel (censured, but never gone) and Michael Grimm (hothead felon).
Rather than present a depressing list of the best of the worst, let me make the process more fun by challenging your knowledge of the state of New York State governmental despair that plagues every citizen.
Match the New York State politician/criminal with the crime (all incidents occurred only since 2000).
1) State Assemblyman William Boyland, Jr. (D)
2) State Senator and Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R)
3) State Senator Efrain Gonzalez (D)
4) State Representative Diane Gordon (D)
5) State Senator Carl Kruger (D)
6) State Senator Vincent Leibell (R)
7) State Representative Brian McLaughlin (D)
8) State Senator Hiram Monserrate (D)
9) State Health Commissioner Antonia Novello (R)
10) State Senator Kevin S. Parker (D)
11) State Supreme Court Justice Gerald Phillip (D)
12) State Assemblyman William Scarborough (D)
13) State Supreme Court Justice Thomas J. Spargo (R)
14) Governor Eliot “The Shitz” Spitzer (D)
15) State Comptroller Alan Hevesi (D)
A) Pled guilty to costing the taxpayers $48,000 in overtime by making staff carry out personal chores, such as picking up dry cleaning.
B) Resigned and pled guilty to charges of corruption and bribery.
C) Arrested for soliciting bribes.
D) Expelled in connection with a misdemeanor assault conviction against his girlfriend.
E) Sentenced to 7 years in prison, followed by two years supervised release, after pleading guilty to two conspiracy counts and two wire fraud counts.
F) Charged with corruption.
G) Pled guilty to felony bribery, tax evasion, and obstruction of justice charges related to $43,000 in cash kickbacks taken.
H) Convicted of attempted extortion and soliciting a bribe. Sentenced to 27 months in prison.
I) Arrested for criminal mischief and assault after chasing a photographer.
J) Indicted on eight counts of corruption, including mail and wire fraud. Convicted on two counts of wire fraud.
K) Sentenced to ten years in prison for racketeering.
L) Convicted of accepting bribes to manipulate the outcomes of divorce proceedings.
M) Indicted on charges for helping a contractor obtain a $2 million parcel of land from the city if he would build a house in return.
N) Pled guilty to corruption charges surrounding a “pay to play” scheme regarding the New York State Pension Fund, and was sentenced to 1–4 years.
O) aka. Client 9, resigned amid threats of impeachment by state lawmakers.
1-C; 2-J; 3-E; 4-M; 5-B; 6-G; 7-K; 8-D; 9-A; 10-I; 11-L; 12-F; 13-H; 14-O; 15-N