Tag Archives: New York State

The Eliot Spitzer Sex Scandal

Once again a high profile politician confounds his supporters by playing Russian roulette -sooner or later they shoot themselves. It hard to understand yet maybe it the ego that drives them to politics with its do or die outcome.

Eliot Spitzer was a possible Democratic Presidential candidate with a promising future. He built a reputation as a fighter for the public interest, taking on special interests on Wall Street as New York’s Attorney General. Just over a year ago he was easily elected Governor of New York State.

Eliot Spitzer was heavily involved in the movement to give New York State both a Democratic House and Senate so that the Democrats could move on issues like campaign finance reform. Just last week a special election moved the New York State Senate to within one vote of becoming Democratic after years and years of Republican rule.

Today Spitzer shocked his supporters and many others with a public apology alluding to his possible solicitation of a prostitute in February when he was in Washington, DC. The New York Times broke the story as we reported earlier. New York Times Reports Spitzer Link to Prostitution.

CNN has Spitzer’s brief statement to the press on video. Spitzer apologized to the public but made no comments on his future, including possible resignation. He answered no questions.

Here is the text of Spitzer’s brief comments:

“Over the past nine years, eight as attorney general and one as governor, I’ve tried to uphold the vision of progressive politics that would rebuild New York and create opportunities for all,” Spitzer began. “We tried to bring real change to New York and that will continue.”

“Today, I want to briefly address a private matter. I have acted in a way that violated the obligations to my family and that violates my — or any — sense of right and wrong. I apologize first, and most importantly, to my family.

I apologize to the public, whom I promised better. I do not believe that politics in the long run is about individuals. It is about ideas, the public good and doing what is best for the State of New York. But I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard that I expect of myself. I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family.

I will not be taking questions. Thank you very much. I will report back to you in short order. Thank you very much.”

If Spitzer resigns, New York’s lieutenant Governor, David Paterson would become the new Governor and serve until Dec. 31, 2010. The AP notes that Paterson would be only the third black Governor in the country since reconstruction.

Phantom Voters Aid New York Republicans

How many phantom voters are there in Washington State and who are they helping? Note I did not say voting for, but helping. Seems that in New York State, non-voting prisoners have helped to give Republicans an advantage in increasing their clout. The reason has to do with the fact that the US Census, used for determine population for drawing boundaries of national and state races, lists prisoners under where they are incarcerated, not where they lived before.

In an editorial in today’s NY Times entitled “Phantom Voters, Thanks to the Census“they note:

A startling analysis by Peter Wagner of the Prison Policy Institute found that seven upstate New York Senate Districts meeting the population requirements only because inmates were included in the count. The Republican Party in New York relies on its large upstate delegation for its majority in the State Senate – and for its political power statewide. New York is not alone. The Prison Policy Initiative’s researchers found 21 counties nationally where at least 21 percent of so-called residents lived behind bars.

A national map located at http://www.prisonersofthecensus.org/ website has colored areas in Washington state affected by this misuse of phantom voters. These include the prisons located in Walla Walla, Mason, and Chelan counties. In addition to distorting one person, one vote, the prison population figures in the census severely distort racial makeup in census data.http://prisonersofthecensus.org/news/fact-3-5-2004.shtml. As a result of using inaccurate census data that assigns prisoners as residents of the county they are in while they are in prison, Clallam county has 57% of its black population in prison, Mason County has 65% ,and Walla Walla has 58%.