Koch Backs Cuomo, But Defends Silver (UPDATED)
Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch returned back to the Democratic fold today to endorse Andrew Cuomo for governor after crossing party lines to back Republican Staten Island DA Dan Donovan for state AG in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 14 primary.
Koch, who is enjoying what he likes to say is the last hurrah of his political career by pushing budget, ethics and redistricting reform via his NY Uprising committee, also announced support for Cuomo’s new reform plan, which, in keeping with the campaign’s branding, has an official title: The “Clean Up Albany, Make It Work Agenda.”
“Andrew has spent his career standing up for New Yorkers, taking on the toughest challenges, and making progress on issues that others have ignored,” Koch said.
“While I agree with all of his proposals on ethics reform, four in particular have my special interest and support: stripping pensions from officials who violate the law, public financing on the state level, a pension board to administer the state pension funds, and most importantly a commitment to veto any redistricting legislation that does not call for an independent non-partisan commission.”
“Andrew has put forth a thorough agenda to achieve independence, accountability and transparency, and as Governor, he will transform our government into one that New Yorkers deserve.”
The five-point plan includes redistricting reform through establishment of an independent commission – the hallmark of Koch’s NY Uprising push – and also a pledge from Cuomo to veto any plan to draw the lines in a way that “puts politics ahead of the people.”
UPDATE: Speaker Silver’s response is after the jump:
Cuomo is also calling for establishing an independent ethics commission, full disclosure of outside income and clients by legislators, a board of trustees rather than the sole trustee model for the state comptroller’s office and the creation of “Open NY” – a one-stop-shopping clearinghouse of all public information much like his “Project Sunlight” at the AG’s office.
(Remember: Cuomo hasn’t actually signed Koch’s pledges, but did send a letter declaring his support for them).
Oddly, however, Koch also went to bat today for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who many see as a roadblock to reform in Albany and with whom the former mayor has clashed repeatedly over the assemblyman’s refusal to sign the NY Uprising pledges.
Koch offered a full-throated defense of the speaker after GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino called Silver a “criminal” at the Crain’s breakfast this morning, saying:
“He’s not a criminal,” Koch declared. “It’s an outrage. Every public official should stand up – including those who support Paladino – and denounce him. He’s demeaning public office. He’s causing people not to run. Who wants to be in a situation where someone who doesn’t care about common decency can say anything they want?”
Of course, Paladino’s animosity toward Silver is long-standing. He once said the speaker should be sent to Attica and also said Erie County Executive Chris Collins should not have apologized for likening the Orthodox Jewish Manhattanite to Hitler and the anti-Christ.
UPDATE FROM SPEAKER SHELDON SILVER:
“It is unfortunate that New Yorkers are being forced to endure the insulting and baseless hectoring of the Republican candidate for governor,” Silver said in a statement.
“I will not get into the gutter with Mr. Paladino, nor dignify his comments with a response. Rather, I will let New Yorkers judge his fitness for public office.”
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on October 5, 2010 at 12:35 pm, and is filed under Andrew Cuomo, Carl Paladino, Ed Koch, Reform, Sheldon Silver. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|