Niagara Gazette

Columns

April 15, 2013

CITY DESK: Solving the 'great riddle'

Niagara Gazette — Gov. Andrew Cuomo called it “the great riddle.”

He was referring, of course, to the penchant for elected officials, those in Albany in particular, to get involved in criminal activity while in office.

“I’d like to say that I think this is going to be the last one and it will never happen again, but I don’t believe that’s true,” Cuomo said following the filing of charges against State Sen. Malcolm Smith, D-Queens, who has been implicated in what prosecutors are calling a bribery scheme tied to the race for New York City mayor. “People do stupid things, frankly. People in power abuse power and that’s part of the human condition.”

Cuomo’s last point is correct. It is part of the human condition to both do stupid things and abuse power. 

This is why it is so important to cut people off before they get a chance to go full-out dumb or full-on corrupt.

In the wake of the Smith scandal, Cuomo and others have, once again, discussed the need for more reform measures, a better system of rules capable of keeping elected officials on straighter paths. 

The problem is they won’t go where they really need to go. 

It’s no riddle, governor. 

Addressing corruption requires two rather simple steps: Impose term limits and treat offenders like the criminals they are. 

In my time at the Gazette, I’ve heard countless candidates say, once elected, they’ll push for term limits in New York.

Voters are still waiting. 

If the country is smart enough to restrict its top elected official — the president of the United States — to just eight years in office, why are Albany politicians allowed to serve as many terms as they can win?

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