ALBANY—David Paterson is in town, but there are no public appearances on his schedule for the day, and the state's leaders are saying little about negotiations pertaining to the budget and the M.TA.'s deficit.
Paterson has called a five-way leaders meeting for 1 p.m. at the Executive Mansion. It's unclear whether anybody will bother to tell journalists what's discussed; after the last five-way leaders meeting, it fell to Republican leaders Dean Skelos and Jim Tedisco to dish.
Those two minority leaders have spent their week hammering the Democrats in power over a lack of transparency. For the second night in a row, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith met privately with Paterson on the second floor, and Skelos conveniently walked by to tell reporters he wasn't invited and to decry the "arrogance of power" for not inviting him.
Skelos briefed reporters on his dinner plans (last night was "excellent" corned beef and cabbage, and "tonight I think I'm going to have fish or something lighter") and handed out cards with these maps to underscore his point about half the state not being represented.
Silver and Smith offered absolutely no details on what was discussed.
"We had a good meeting, I think. We talked about the budget, we talked about the M.T.A. I think we're making progress, and that's it," Silver said.
Paterson did not address reporters.
This morning, the governor took to the air for three radio interviews to make the case for action on the M.T.A.'s deficit. He spoke on WOR, WINS and WCBS about the need to act now and to follow the framework of the Ravitch plan.
"It was very hard to get the businesses, the straphangers, the unions and the labor leaders onto this plan, but we did it," Paterson said on WINS. "And now it's being in a sense hijacked by the Legislature, particularly the New York State Senate, that wants to implement a plan that would take six months to do, and in that six months you're adding to the debt."
He was asked what the chances were of something passing by March 25, when the M.T.A. board has said they will vote to raise fares.
"I'll leave it to the bookies to figure out what the chances are," Paterson said.