The Quotidian
New York Civic
No. 24
Monday, August 9, 2004

A Monday Q is timely because we can cover stories published on Saturday and Sunday that you may not have seen if you were out of town for the weekend.

Musical Chairs
Just when we thought the Legislature had finally done something about a miscreant member, Sen. Ada Smith of Brooklyn, as reported in Tuesday's Times, "Behavior Costs State Senator a Leadership Role in Albany," by Jonathan Hicks, it turns out that she didn't lose her $16,500 lulu or her state-supplied car after all. Instead she swapped titles with another state senator, the new honorific being somewhat less exalted than her previous one.

Mr. Hicks reported in Saturday's Times, "State Senator Lost Position, But Not Perks." Knowing the Legislature, we felt the first story was too good to be true. It turns out that it was. In interviews with Mr. Hicks, the minority leader, Sen. David Paterson, and his press secretary told the reporter of Sen. Smith's removal; they did not tell him of her instant resurrection with the same lulu and wheels. Whaddya know.

The Day After Tomorrow?

In a story headed "Mayor's Sunny Budget Projections Part of Risky Re-Election Strategy" in today's Sun, Dina Temple-Raston questions the mayor's fiscal strategy. She writes that by making 2005 a good times budget, he has left serious problems to the FY 2006 budget, which must be adopted in June 2005, the election year (if anyone doesn't know, FY is fiscal year). For the State of New York, it begins April 1, for the city July 1, for the feds October 1, and for the calendar (which many private companies use as their fiscal year) January 1. So each of the four seasons brings us one or more FYs. Ms. Temple-Raston fears a slowing economy will leave a gaping gap to gape at in the budget.

Strange Bedfellows

There is fascinating politics in William F. Hammond's column in today's Sun, "Behind the U-Turn in Albany." It describes how, as part of the minimum-wage controversy in Albany, the Republicans, threatened by the Conservatives, allied themselves with the Working Families Party. Hard to believe, but apparently true. Hammond has the names and dates for each feint and parry.

Ferry Follow-up

The Daily News maintains its drumbeat on the Staten Island ferry. On Saturday, it was "Ferry capt. [Gansas] eyes plea deal"; on Sunday, "Ferry boss [Ryan] knew of pilot's errors"; and on Monday, "Ferry big [Ryan] has angel in Mike." The brief Monday story questions the city defending its employee in a court case relating to his duties. That is something an employer usually does.

Voice of the Editor
In its Monday editorial column, the News discusses two subjects on our radar screen: "Bronx cheer for Jose $errano," about the proposed museum of Puerto Rican history, and "Frivolous lawsuit," referring to the proposed court challenge to the mayor's policy of not promoting third-graders unless they have minimal competency in reading and math.

The Pensioner Prisoner
Under the headline "Monkey Business," accompanying a story by Murray Weiss and Hasani Gittens, the Post shows pictures of the man who owned the monkey that bit the child in Key Foods. He was photographed doing hard physical work while receiving a disability pension after retiring from the NYPD in 1984. He spent nine years in federal prison for dealing cocaine, during which time he received his tax-free 75% pension. The money should have been turned over to the feds, who were providing him with room and board. His monkey is said to have left the state, and there is no extradition process for macaques.

I am sorry that so many of these items are about foolish things that people say and do, but that's what's happening. Please don't shoot the messenger.

Henry J. Stern
New York Civic
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