Citizens Union signaled they’re putting some muscle behind their criticisms, and focusing not just on “on criticizing government, but changing it in Albany,” according to their executive director, Dick Dadey.
In a speech last night at the Pierre Hotel right off Central Park, Dadey said, “We need to end the responsibility-ducking, ethically challenged culture, campaign cash influenced, closed-door deliberations, special interest driven, decision-making process that passes for Democracy in Albany.”
The crowd, which included a few state lawmakers, like Liz Krueger, and Assemblyman Dick Gottfried, applauded.
Dadey went on, saying they would “mount a campaign of New Yorkers to change Albany.” And not just “take out a position” and “talk to the press” but rather they will “engage and mobilize New Yorkers like never before in a campaign to change Albany.”
“It will be a campaign that is focused no longer on criticizing government, but changing it in Albany,” he said.
Among Dadey’s main complaints was gerrymandering, government transparency, and short-sighted fiscal policy-making.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whom the group endorsed for re-election, cracked a few jokes about judges breaking the Albany stalemate by affirming Richard Ravitch’s appointment as lieutenant governor.
“So, I guess that means we replaced three men in a room with seven judges in a room,” said Bloomberg, who referred to that as “judicial reform.” “Although, given the recent events in Albany, maybe judicial rule would be better.”
Former mayor Ed Koch said Citizens Union saved him from going to Albany when they backed his opponent in his race for Assembly.
“Had I won, I’d still be in Albany. Nobody ever throws those bums out,” he said.