Congestion Drip: Is Sheldon Silver the Man to Blame?

Joshua Fitzpatrick, a spokesman for the Assembly Republican leader, James Tedisco, explained that whatever support existed for congestion pricing outside the autonomous Assembly Democratic conference was irrelevant. “That certainly is a numerical obstacle for us to overcome,” Mr. Fitzpatrick said. “And if you think about the support from different environmental groups, the New York League of Conservation Voters, you put in Mayor Bloomberg, our leader—it still wasn’t enough to overcome their numerical majority.”

Mr. Fitzpatrick did say his boss could use the bully pulpit, and, in fact, “Leader Tedisco issued two very strong totally public statements, one on Good Friday, one last week,” supporting congestion pricing.

Needless to say, they didn’t matter.

“The process works in ways in which the committee structure weeds out bad bills and kills them,” Mr. Brodsky explained. “In this case, the issue was so important that the conference substituted for a committee meeting. It was a committee of the whole, as it were.”

Periodically, it seems, enough people recognize the power that the little-known members of those committees wield over the affairs of New York for it to become good politics to get mad about it.

Congressman Anthony Weiner, a mayoral candidate who opposed congestion pricing and the West Side stadium—the last grand Bloomberg plan to have fallen victim to the disapproving inertia of Mr. Silver—said he thinks mayors, as a matter of course, should have more autonomy in controlling the city’s fate.

“We—as business leaders, as leaders, cultural leaders, civic leaders in the city—have to start asking this larger question of, why it is that so much of our fate as a city rests in the hands of Albany?” Mr. Weiner said last month during a speech at the Harvard Club. “[W]e in the city are functioning, we’re the adults. We should be supervising them.”

Mr. Silver, no doubt, will beg to differ.

“I have plenty of bills, you can check my bill introductory record, that have never seen the light of day here in Albany,” he said. “That’s the legislative process. We have a very diverse conference. Sixty-five members from the city of New York who represent the same people the mayor represents, and the City Council represents. That’s what happens.”