Over the last few days, we’ve heard rumors about various people who may or may not be nominated to head the MTA. Yesterday, Gov. David Paterson broke his silence on the issue and put forth a stunning defense of Marc Shaw, the one man the Senate seems intent on denying the position.
Elizabeth Benjamin reported on the diatribe yesterday while I was finishing up my last final of my first year of law school. A NY1 reporter asked Paterson to respond to the anti-Shaw sniping that has consumed the media over the last few days, and Paterson responded with a rant:
“I very much resent that people who I don’t even remember being in the meetings have so much comment on the governor’s staff and the governor’s perspective appointees and even the entire process.
“I think that when people want equity, they should come to court with clean hands, and the Senate, on a number of occasions, handed in suggestions that didn’t even add up – and I’m talking about the numerical add-up, not the logic aspect of it.
“And I really would call on the leader of the Senate to implore – at least publicly – his members that the governor has the right to make an appointment without deriving antagonism from a process where the appointments hasn’t even been made yet, and all you’re doing is damaging the character and service of a man who has been exemplary serving both parties, serving multiple administrations, serving as a deputy mayor to Mayor Bloomberg and a chief advisor to myself.”
Paterson ended his rant by eschewing the high road and taking some shots at the supposedly obstructionist Senators. “If it keeps up, maybe I’ll illuminate my feelings about some of the people who are commenting from time to time. Did that answer your question, Josh?” he said to Josh Robin. “We’ll work all of that out without the intervention from any more sourced or unsourced outsiders who really know very little about the process.”
It’s all well and good for Paterson to take such a strident approach, but the truth remains that he has little power in this state. He ushered through a sub-par MTA rescue package after months of deliberations. He has the lowest approval rating of any governor in recent history, and now he’s trying to pick a fight with the people who control the fate of his MTA appointee.
Paterson should just leave well enough alone. He should drop the idea of a Marc Shaw nominee. After all, Shaw was one of the former MTA leaders who spent the MTA into a debt-fueled oblivion. He should look for someone as policy-savvy as Elliot Sander is, and he should find someone whom the Senate will accept as well. That man is probably Richard Ravitch, but considering how the state just dumped the Ravitch recommendations, it’s hard to believe he would accept the post.
In the end, despite promises of reform and a new era in New York City transit policy and politics, we’re left with more of the same. Paterson is showing more of the same ineptitude and more of the same out of touch attitude that has nearly destroyed the MTA in the first place. Oh well.