This week I thought I would kick off a monthly feature for the State Bulletin. As a neurotic, anxiety-ridden journalist, I need reassurance from time to time that I haven’t completely gone off the deep end. So I plan to ask you, the reader, a series of questions, and I hope that you will let me know if my fears and thought process aren’t completely out of whack. Feel free to e-mail, send letters to the editor, post on our Facebook, or comment on the blog. Nothing would make me happier than to hear that I’m just being an idiot.
1. Given my shaky relationship with Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings, should it scare me that he was the master of ceremonies at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s inauguration?
2. Is it OK that the hair on my arm stood on end when Cuomo spent a few good sentences stroking Jennings’ ego during his inauguration speech? Saying: “Special thank you to Jerry Jennings. Didn’t he do a great job as a master of ceremonies? A really great mayor, Jerry Jennings.” Cuomo spent more time talking about Jennings than he did acknowledging Attorney General Eric Schneiderman or Comptroller Tom DiNapoli—people whom, you would think, he will be working with a little more closely than Jennings. That is, unless Jennings does plan to increase his general proximity to Cuomo—by, let’s say . . . oh, I don’t know, taking a position with the Cuomo administration.
3. Should it worry me that Cuomo apparently thinks Jennings is “a really great mayor?” We know Jerry has raised some serious cash for the governor, but does that have anything to do with how he has run the city?
4. Is it just a little weird for you to read that I completely support Jennings’ push for bars to close earlier to reduce crime? Sorry, bars.
5. Is it weird that my girlfriend wants a ukulele for her birthday?
6. Is “I really want a ukulele for my birthday, no seriously,” code for something?
7. Should I be concerned that Cuomo didn’t announce his plans to fight corruption in Albany before the State of the State? All sorts of other ideas from his speech were floated in the press days beforehand—a hiring freeze, a property tax cap, anything that might annoy labor unions, but why not take the pulse of those testy legislators?
8. Should it be nagging me that his biggest ethics reform move so far has been to issue an executive order mandating an hourlong ethics class for his staffers? Isn’t that just sort of a waste of state money? Shouldn’t your staffers have picked up ethics training in school for law or public policy? Wouldn’t it be more cost-effective to hand them a workbook titled “How Not to Be Scumbags, Insult Kerry Kennedy and Intimidate People?”
9. Should I believe that Andrew Cuomo—the man who benefited the most from large corporate donations this campaign season—is actually committed to reforming the system that allows such donations?
10. Does the fact that the biggest hooplah about the City of Albany’s doomsday budget being over a bathhouse scare the hell out of any one else? I mean no disrespect to the bathhouse, which I think is a great asset to the community. I just wonder if there aren’t a few more things we should be causing a stink about.
11. Is anyone else a bit disturbed that Councilman Anton Konev, who led the charge to save the bathhouse, couldn’t be bothered to be in the country to vote to override Jennings’ veto of the measure that would have saved it? True, there likely would not have been enough votes to pass the override had Konev showed up, but his absence just adds to the already clownish image of the council as a whole.
12. Is it odd that I can’t watch shows about strange animal life or medical procedures because they give me nightmares, but I have a hard time changing the channel if 48 Hours—the real-life murder investigation show—is on?
13. Does anyone else sometimes have their ears close up due to eustachian tube dysfunction? My doctor says he has the same thing, but I would hate to think my doctor can’t hear me most of the time.
14. And just so you poor Troybanians don’t think I never think about you, let me pose this question: Does the following logic make sense?
Because Mayor Harry Tutunjian supported demolishing Troy’s former city hall on the grounds that it is moldy and full of cracks and something better might replace it, then it follows that Tutunjian should step down right now because he has been moldy and full of cracks for the last few years? Clearly it would be easier to replace Tutunjian with an eager, fresh public servant than it will be for a construction company to obtain the financing to build something new where City Hall once stood—especially in this economy.