When last we visted with H. Dale Hemmerdinger, he had just been nominated for the MTA chair position. Signing off last night, I figured that his nomination would sail through the confirmation process. Well, color me wrong.
The State GOP is threatening a thorough investigation into Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s appointee due to Hemmerdinger’s close ties with the Democratic party in New York. He and his wife are major Democratic donors and are buddies with the Spitzers.
“Last week, Dale Hemmerdinger opened his home to host a big money fundraiser for Governor Spitzer. This week, the Governor is nominating him to head the MTA when his mass transit experience appears to be limited to suggesting fee increases on hard working New Yorkers,” State GOP Chairman Joseph N. Mondello said in a statement. “Governor Spitzer appears to have instituted a brazen ‘pay to play’ culture in Albany that is disappointing and shocking to the people of New York State.”
Mondello noted that Hemmerdinger had been a lead fundraiser for the Spitzer campaign and wondered if the appointment served as political payback. He also questioned Hemmerdinger’s transportation experience, noting that Hemmerdinger’s lone run-in with public transit was as head of the MTA’s Citizens’ Budget Commission.
This reeks, of course, of politics. Clearly, Spitzer would appoint an ally to head up an agency that he would like to act as a friendly body in the New York political arena, and Mondello knows that as well as anyone else. There is also no small amount of irony in a GOP leader criticizing the Democrats for engaging in “pay to play” politics in Albany. Pot, meet kettle.
Furthermore, Hemmerdinger is the perfect person to head up the MTA as its chair. With CEO Elliot “Lee” Sander firmly entrenched as the transportation policy guru at the Authority, the MTA doesn’t need another transit wonk in a position of leadership. Rather, they need a successful businessman with financial acumen to guide the Authority through what promises to be a few tumultuous fiscal years.
The Republicans will spoil for a fight. But it’s a waste of everyone’s time. Hemmerdinger is a great choice for the job; just approve him.
Mondello is pathetic. Better to ignore him.
[…] to the Democratic party and Democratic candidates. So this raises red flags for Republicans. From SAS: “Last week, Dale Hemmerdinger opened his home to host a big money fundraiser for Governor […]
The other day, I went to take the L train for the morning commute, during rush hour (Bedford Avenue station). The automated system in place now on the L line indicated the next train to Manhattan would be in 14 minutes! During rush hour! About 5 or 6 minutes later, a train – half empty, by the way – came sailing past us, not stopping. Then when the next train came, it was practically impossible to get on. Will this ‘fee increasing successful businessman’ remedy this kind of nonsense? I doubt it! Let’s look for someone who actually knows what it is like to ride on the subways and buses on a daily basis, and knows what needs to be done to get the system up to a level on a par with those of other world cities. Not the mediocre at best MTA that we are stuck with now. Enough with the real estate moguls!!
Benjamin: Good name, by the way.
Anyway, to answer your comment, I think that having Sander in as CEO solves the problem. He is a top-notch subway guy. He rides the trains; he’s long been considered the best in the field of transportation analysts. Let him deal with getting the trains running on time.
Since the MTA is also a business, they need business people. And that’s where real estate mogul/businessmen come into play. If Hemmerdinger can straighten out the MTA’s finances while Sander deals with the train schedules and transportation policy, I’m perfectly fine with that.
Regardless of his ability to govern the MTA; that is one attractive man right there.
I have known this man for 40 years. He is not a self made man. He is a scoundrel and a theif. Someday, perhaps, the truth will be known.
[…] his friend and donor H. Dale Hemmerdinger to the MTA chair position, the New York State GOP Chair questioned Hemmerdinger’s credentials. While at the time many assumed Joseph N. Mondello’s statements to be typical partisan […]
[…] came under fire last spring by NYS Republican Chairman Joe Mondello. Mondello threatened ( http://bkabak.wpengine.com/200.....merdinger/ ) a thorough investigation of Hemmerdinger due to the fact that he is a good buddy of Spitzer and a […]