ALBANY—The Three Men in a Room model of government in Albany left much to be desired. It was characterized by partisan gridlock and opacity, as dictatorial legislative leaders and the governor decided the state’s business behind closed doors. Now, what we’re seeing is what happens if a handful of other men—ones you’ve never heard of, with parochial agendas and an unfamiliarity with the consequential exercise of power—get into the room, too. It has been enough to make some of the capital’s most unimpeachable good-government advocates seem downright unappreciative of Albany’s freshly untrammeled democracy. “Things have gotten unhinged,” said Gene Russianoff, the staff lawyer for the Straphangers Campaign, a transit rider advocacy group.
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