More from David Paterson’s appearance at the Times forum yesterday:
After saying that his fear that the state police would leak embarrassing information about him led to admit to his extramarital affairs and earlier drug use, Paterson said he also acted out of fear of the media.
“That wasn’t really what made me make that decision,” Paterson said yesterday. “What I think was the case is that there was a feeding frenzy that had come from the administration change.” He added, “Because of that frenzy, everything that had ever happened would come up.” Paterson said all of his friends had been aggressively questioned by reporters, and “abused in some cases.”
Paterson also called in relatively strong terms — albeit to a roomful of media types who badly wanted to hear it — for changing the leadership-controlled process in Albany.
“Nestled in that obscure mediocrity is, I think, at times, a counter-government. Albany is really its own planet. There’s no gravity, there’s no oxygen.” That drew some laughter. He continued. “And I think in many ways, Albany, like the planet Pluto, should be basically, administratively eliminated.”
Paterson then picked up on one of Eliot Spitzer’s themes, saying the powerbrokers in Albany are the problem. Paterson said rank-and-file lawmakers are so weak, they can’t even move legislation through committees on which they are the chairman. “In Albany, we have all this power bequeathed to so few people.”
Paterson sent a signal that he may be willing to directly challenge lawmakers who oppose his reform efforts. Noting some lawmakers who served for years in the capitol try resisting change by simply waiting for a new administration, Paterson said, “I want them to know maybe they won’t be there that long.”
In conclusion, Paterson said, “If there is one thing I am willing to do, is to take that fight on and to expose, without making war, to expose the fact that it is happening and to challenge the people responsible to come up with better results than we’ve been coming up with in this state for too long.”