A little over an hour ago (4PM EDT/2PM MDT, March 12, 2008), I e-mailed the following letter to David Paterson, who as of Monday will be replacing Client 9 the Job Killer as Governor of the great state of New York:
As a longtime New Yorker who moved to Colorado last year, I have taken great interest in the recent news over your predecessor and the scandal that finally drove him from office. I feel sorry for his wife and daughters because his behavior has ruined their lives and harmed the state as a whole. I won't go into detail on the other ways in which Spitzer has harmed this state (note: read the Spitzer tags on this blog for that), but since you will be replacing him, I hope you will not make the same mistakes he did.
First of all, don't antagonize the public. Spitzer did and thought he was above the law. He thought he could get away with illegally laundering money, with illegally using the state police to snoop on his opponents (many of whom he created by his actions), and all sorts of other sleaze. Everything I have read about you indicates that you have none of the character flaws of Mr. Spitzer. Right now, you have the moral authority and the mandate to take the initiative on ethics reform in the state. Too many public office holders in New York have been forced to resign because of ethical or criminal reasons. New standards need to be implemented to prevent future Spitzers or Alan Hevesis or Guy Vellelas from destroying the public trust with their illegal actions.
Second of all, you have the opportunity to do something your predecessor could never do, and that is make amends with Wall Street. Wall Street and the financial sector is the biggest economic engine in the state. This is an industry that your predecessor nearly drove out of the state because of his character. If anyone in the industry is breaking the law, they should be prosecuted, but to demonize the state's biggest industry and rally the whole state around those lies because of the actions of a few is downright asinine. Is it any wonder that Wall Street has been in a jubilant mood (in the middle of a nationwide economic downturn) since the Spitzer scandal broke? The laws concerning business regulation need to be revised to prevent future abuses (and pointless job losses) by overzealous lawmakers while at the same time preventing businesses from thinking they operate outside the law.
Also, don't succumb to the left wing's desire to give drivers' licenses to illegal aliens and to expand the state abortion policies. The whole illegal alien debate is an issue that Congress and the Federal Government need to come to an agreement on first. There are demagogues on both sides of this issue, but the potential Presidencies of either Barack Obama or John McCain mean that common sense and a national policy will happen within the next couple of years. Hopefully, there will be a major increase in the number of immigrants allowed to come here legally, and with their legal status, allowed to become productive workers, taxpayers, and helpful citizens of both this nation and this state. But at the same time, only the Federal Government can craft a meaningful policy that also weeds out the criminals and the disguised terrorists that see New York City as their next killing ground. We don't need the state legitimizing someone who is hellbent on destroying it.
As far as the divisive issue of abortion, the last thing the state should be doing is forcing the non-profit groups that oppose it to do what is against their beliefs or else be punished. That is just un-American, and the RHAPP bill S.5829 must not be allowed to become law for that reason. Spitzer outraged the state's largest religious group (Catholics) with his advocacy of this legislation. The last thing New York needs in these rough times is a government-instigated religious war.
I wish you the best in your new job as Governor, and I pray that you will be able to heal the divisions in this state that your predecessor helped create and that you wisely guide my former home state in a new, conciliatory, and productive direction.
Thomas D. Clarke
formerly of Ridgewood, Queens, and Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn
Notes: Guy Vellela is a Bronx Republican former state senator who did jail time for accepting bribes. Alan Hevesi was convicted on felony charges in late 2006 for among other things using state funds (and state vehicles) to chauffeur his wife around NYC and Albany. And if David Paterson moves too far to the left or tries to become the second incarnation of Eliot "Job Killer Client 9" Spitzer, he will be hammered in my blogs as much as Spitzer and the Hildabeest are. But I will give Governor Paterson a chance to redeem himself first. After all, it will take a while to fumigate the Governor's mansion once Spitzer moves out.
And you didn't think I would celebrate the demise of Spitzer without a video of his resignation?