Switching sides again

July 9, 2009 2:22:35 PM PDT
Maybe he just wanted some love. Maybe he just wanted some power. Maybe he wanted both.

Or maybe he ?. Just fill in the blank.

Whatever he wanted, it's hard to understand the thinking ofPedro Espada, the New York State Senator from the Bronx, if you don't count his house in Westchester County, who started the ill-conceived, ill-timed, ill-performed, and, some critics say, just plain ill-attempted political coup up in Albany.

Espada, a Democrat, suddenly jumped the fence to vote with Republicans, helping to create a Republican majority where there wasn't one before.

Now, he's jumping back, and, under a carefully worked out deal (if these guys are capable of working out anything carefully), will become co-majority leader of the Senate.

All he wanted was a title I guess.

Thank heaven these guys aren't in charge of billions in taxpayer money. Oh, wait. They are.

Meanwhile, there are new challenges to Gov. Paterson's decision to appoint a Lt. Governor. That decision, in the form of Richard Ravitch (former head of the MTA back when the MTA needed fixing and actually got fixed, and the former labor negotiator for Major League Baseball), is now being challenged. Does Paterson have the right to fill the vacancy of his old job by appointment? There are many, including Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who say "no."

And a quick glance at the New York State Constitution, provided by Nanuet lawyer Martin W. Schwartz, shows that, it doesn't appear to be legal, this appointment.

Article IV of the Constitution says: "In case of vacancy in the office of lieutenant-governor alone, or if the lieutenant governor shall be impeached, absent from the state or otherwise unable to discharge the duties of office, the temporary president of the senate shall perform all the duties of lieutenant governor during such vacancy or inability."

I'm just a country reporter, not a lawyer, but that language doesn't seem to support Gov. Paterson's decision. We'll see. Of course, the reversal of the coup by the man who started it seems to alleviate the need for a Lt. Governor to break the log jam. Ravitch would be the tie-breaking vote in a 31-31 stalemate. Now it seems the Dems would once again have the majority at 32-30, so Ravitch wouldn't ever vote.

What a mess.

It will be fascinating to see if all the incumbents this year aren't thrown out of office by voters tired of these child-like demonstrations.

Our political reporter Dave Evans is in Albany tonight with the latest. (Read more)

Also at 11, for anyone who loves 8 hours of steady tension, with thousands of lives and hundreds of millions worth of airplanes at stake and, literally, up in the air - now is your chance. The FAA is accepting applications from the general public for trainee air traffic controller jobs. It's a rare offer.

The FAA is looking for 15,000 controllers over the next decade, to replace a huge number of controllers who began their careers in the 1980s - after Pres. Reagan fired them all and busted the union - and who are now retiring.

I had a friend who was an air traffic controller. Really smart. Very nice. But really messed up after years as a controller. It was sad to see.

It's a tough job, an unforgiving job. Most of us can make a mistake and few are hurt by it. Not these folks.

And a big announcement from the New York Philharmonic (remember the Yogi Berra ad: "Who's this guy, Phil Harmonic?") - the orchestra has been invited to play two concerts in Cuba in October. More than a year ago, the orchestra made a first trip to North Korea.

The barriers of the world are breaking down and, when it comes to musical and cultural exchanges - good for that.

And question of the day: Would you stop for a guy lying in the middle of the street? There are lots of drivers in Jersey City who did not stop. You'll see the video tonight of a man shot in Jersey City last month. He collapsed in the street, and we count at least four cars that slow a bit, and then just drive by. It's a legit question: Would you stop? Or would you think he's just some poor slob, passed out drunk?

The guy has just come out of a coma. Hard to say if he would have been conscious all along had someone come to his aid.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather weather and Jessica Taff (in for Scott Clark) with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa (in for Liz Cho) and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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