Albany seemed to be its usual stagnant self, as the legislative sessions closed on notes of rancor, versus happiness and optimism on the job well done. Many issues were left unresolved, and Governor Spitzer and Senate Majority seem to be rarin' for a fight.
Baruch College professor Douglas Muzzio notes that "There's been bad blood" between Spitzer and Bruno for a while, which has now turned into a "full frontal assault on Joe Bruno." How so? Well, with the Republicans holding a 33-29 majority in the Senate, the Democratic Governor said, "I will be traveling, probably pretty broadly over the next couple of months, making the point I've been making: That there is a failure to act to do the people's business. And I will ask the citizens to inquire of their senators, 'How did you vote on this issue? Where were you on June 22? Were you at work in the Capitol passing bills that could have changed our life?'"
Bruno has been on the offense himself, issuing a statement that started with "The 2007 legislative session that began with promise and achievement, ended with a whimper. The blame for that lies squarely on the Governor’s shoulders due to the fact that he still hasn’t figured out how to govern" and also included "Governor Spitzer is consumed by one issue and one issue alone -- his own ‘Millionaire Reelection Plan,’ a plan that would allow only the wealthiest New Yorkers to run for office, and, quite possibly, ensure his own reelection. He shouldn’t be forcing this plan down the throats of New Yorkers." Say what you will about Bruno, but the man does have a point about the wealthy having an advantage when it comes to mounting an election campaign (hello, Bloomberg). However, Gotham Gazette lays out a good argument for what measures campaign reform needs to take.
Anyway, just an hour after that Bruno statement, Bruno's Director of Communications John McArdle released a letter he sent to Spitzer's press person, Darren Dopp, complaining that a Bruno aide was shut out of Spitzer's press conference:
It is my understanding that the only other time this has occurred, you were working in the same office as you do today for former Governor Cuomo. As you recall, the Governor’s Press Office did a similar thing and banned two Senate representatives from my office. Governor Cuomo realized such a move was petty and wrong, and in fact it was he who quickly reversed that decision.
It is my hope that Governor Spitzer was unaware of today’s actions, and will move to address this unfortunate situation.
I know that the Governor has said that the red room is his room and not the people’s room, but as lobbyists and others attend public events there, I would expect that legislative representatives doing legitimate government business, would not be removed.
The CityRoom explains the red room is a "reference to the ornate former office where Mr. Spitzer, like past governors, holds news conferences. During public negotiations with Mr. Bruno in that room, Mr. Spitzer referred to it, heatedly, as 'my room.'" You cannot make this s*** up.
The NY Times has analysis of where this puts Spitzer - it all depends on whether you like his steamroller tactics or prefer he work better with others.
Photographs by Tim Roske/AP