Gov. David Paterson took to his favorite medium–the radio–on this Thanksgiving Eve on something of a farewell tour for the soon-to-be former governor, and he talked about the upcoming special session, Cathie Black’s efforts to become chancellor, and reflected on his own legacy in the state’s top job.
The governor hit three radio stations–WOR in New York City, and WGY and WAMC in the Capitol area.
He was asked by John Gambling on WOR about David Stein’s decision yesterday to deny Black a waiver unless Mayor Bloomberg appoints a deputy to oversee educational issues at the Dept. of Education.
Paterson compared the waiver process that Black was going through with the one that her predecessor, Joel Klein went through:
“Joel Klein, though his basic career was not in education, was on a lot of education boards, he took time off one semester to teach the sixth grade,” he said. “And so, he had compiled a threshold of education credentials.”
Paterson added that Bloomberg should “heed” Steiner’s request:
“There is a reason why there is a review of a chancellor’s choice,” he said. “And, you know, so I don’t think it will cost Ms Black anything to comply with their request and we can move on.”
The governor defended his austere budget cutting measures, and took aim at the unions that were fighting him on closing the state’s budget gap, especially the CSEA, which said the governor was adding management jobs as he was cutting rank and file jobs at the Dept. of Environmental Conservation. Paterson said that in fact the new jobs were promotions for positions where the worker had been laid off.
“They were the same workers who were already there. They were just moved up to replace the jobs of people who were laid off. And showing the complete disingenuousness that they have shown all along, the public employees union lied. They wrote a press release saying that these were new hires when they knew they were replacement workers.”
That issue turned testy however when a called on WAMC asked the governor about the layoffs.
The caller said that part of Paterson’s legacy will be stripping an agency devoted to protecting the environment.
“Stop, stop. You can’t just say there are ways the state can generate revenue,” Paterson said. “When I ask you where the cuts are coming from you are doing the same thing the people at the agency did…Let me inform you, if you think you are upset now there are going to be further cuts to the same agency because the new governor faces a $9 billion defecit next year and $38 billion over three years and you are not going to overcome that with forestry programs. So if you can’t name the places you are going to cut and don’t even want to talk about it you have eliminated yourself as a source.”
After the caller hung-up, the governor said, “The myopic view of some of the people who have tried to defend [the DEC] really make you believe that they are more caught up in their own rhetoric than really looking at the problem as seriously and severely as it is. My frustration is that they don’t understand what kind of deep, deep recession that we are in.”
And the governor reflected the weeks of rumors that greeted him at the beginning of this year that said that a major scandal was soon to be uncovered and the governor would soon resign.
“I didn’t run because I had to clear up a number of allegations that I think now, with the distinctive advantage of hindsight, what person in public service has ever had to face two and a half weeks of published reports speculating on rumors which all turned out to be lies, innuendo and inaccuracies,” Paterson said. “When they couldn’t find anything on me, they found things on other people and tried to connect me to them, which, you know, further investigation has proven not true. And not once have the rumor mongers, or whoever decided to print these un-sourced, at times, allegations ever indicated any responsibility for what they did.”