In 2008, when I first came to The Albany Project (and ever since then) my own personal project has been to make sure that State Senator Neil Breslin’s term in office as Albany’s representative ends with all due haste. I volunteered incessantly that year for a fantastic man named David Weiss, who was the first person ever to primary Breslin, the only person who ever had the guts to do so.
The video below shows the major role my state Senator, Neil D. Breslin, D-Albany County, played in the June 2009 State Senate coup that he’s never, ever been held accountable for.
The video shows Sen. Breslin serving as Temporary President. He first appears in the top left corner of the video at 0:17. He’s bobbing back and forth and doesn’t seem to know what’s going on. Around 0:24, he can be heard stuttering “I...I...” At 0:32, he appears in the center of the frame, addressing Sen. Libous. At 0:44, he reaches for the gavel and stammers, “Senna…senna libba...wouldju be quiet!” At 0:51, Sen. Breslin raps the gavel. A second later he growls “We adjourn!” At 0:59, he can be seen walking away from the podium.
Let me ask you: does that look and sound like an experienced, effective State Senator to you?
Now for the real kicker: the 46th State Senate District is just Albany County, nothing more and nothing less. Sounds like there’s no gerrymandering to speak of, right?
Perhaps not: His brother, Mike Breslin, is the County Executive, and has been for two years longer than his brother’s been sitting in the Senate. And their other brother? His name is Tom, and he serves as the County Judge, and was the first of them to enter public “service.”
So you see, we have a very big problem here in Albany County that has caused a very big problem for all of New York State. But still, people here tend to focus their energies on “the other party” or “the turncoats,” and the media either ignores Breslin's ineffectiveness entirely or only shows him on television when he’s flipping burgers at a picnic.
It’s time for that to change. It was only in the last election cycle that Sen. Breslin faced his first ever primary challenge since first being elected in 1996. He faced two challengers, one of whom, David Weiss, I volunteered for like crazy, knocking on over 3,000 doors in addition to his 11,000 knuckle-raps.
But everyone else was caught up in Obamamania, or was digging in their heels in the Democratic Primary to replace Congressman Mike McNulty in NY-21. I volunteered and blogged about both efforts, yes....but I knew one thing: if all we do is concentrate on Washington, then Albany will remain as dysfunctional as it always has and could very well get worse.
So I hate to say this, but I feel rather vindicated from the video above. If David Weiss had won, Breslin wouldn’t have been Temporary President and perhaps the entire Senate coup wouldn’t have happened.
And now I’m glad to report that Senator Breslin will once again have to defend his seat and that the challenges are mounting. Recently, the Albany Times Union has reported that Breslin will face two challengers in a Democratic Primary this fall.
These will come from Tim Carney and from Luke Martland. Both make statements available on the web, Marland in the form of a YouTube video and Carney in the form of a written statement:
City of Albany Resident, Businessman, Community Activist and Political Consultant, Tim Carney has filed the necessary papers with the New York State Board of Elections, and has opened his website as he begins his run for the office of State Senator from the 46th District in New York State.
The 48 year old Carney was born in Hudson and is the son of the former Supervisor of the Town of Taghkanic, New York in Columbia County. He has been a resident of Albany County and the city of Albany for over 20 years.
Carney says that he is running “To improve the quality of life of the people of the County of Albany, especially those people that have been negatively affected by the dysfunction of our State Government, which is and has been controlled by Lawyers and by many self serving part-timers, who care more about the special interests of the big lobbying groups that donate hundreds of millions of dollars for votes that go their way.”
“I am running as a citizen who will work full-time for the people that elect me. I will never pretend to know all of the answers, but I will find them and I will communicate them back to my constituents, something that our current State Senator has not done. I am running to improve the reputation that our legislators have and to bring some sense to Capitol Hill.”
Carney continued, “I began this campaign months ago and have crossed the County attending functions and Town, Village and City Board and Council meetings, asking the people for their ideas and views. The overwhelming majority of the people that I have spoken to have made it clear that the time has come to start putting the People before Politics. Our current State Senator has been in the Legislature for 14 years, he has not been part of any solution, but has been a big part of the problem. He is virtually invisible outside of his office, he is a part-time Legislator and has a reputation of being inaccessible to his constituents. I hope that all Candidates will join me in a frank and open discussion of the issues that have practically ruined our State, including the ridiculous taxes we levy, economic development and most importantly, the corruption and the lack of ethics in our State Legislature”
Taken from TU Local Politics Blog
Both candidates are gunning squarely for Breslin’s easily visible ineptitude: Tim Carney also features the Senate Coup video featured above the fold on his own website.
But Luke Martland takes things one step further in a full page rightfully attacking the incumbent:
Neil Breslin: Part of the Problem!
A Few Words About Neil Breslin: Did You Know?
Your Senator gets over $100,000 in salary, paid by your taxes, yet the Senate only works 6 months a year? $100,000 for 6 months work? A disgrace. I will be a full-time Senator and work year round to fix the problems we face.
Neil Breslin holds a second job at a large law firm, but will not reveal how much he is paid, who his clients are or what they pay him for. Secret clients and secret pay must end. I will not have a second job – period. I will fight to require that all legislators reveal all sources of outside income and all clients.
Neil Breslin recently voted for an "ethics reform" bill that was reform in name only. That bill would have allowed the legislature to police itself and Senators who are lawyers (like him) to keep their clients from their outside jobs secret. The legislature police itself? That’s a joke. I will fight for full transparency and real ethics reform, including independent oversight of the legislature.
Most incumbents believe they are guaranteed re-election. That is why they ignore what the people want and fight against reform. I believe we constantly need new energy and ideas in Albany and will propose term limits for all legislators. I also commit to term-limiting myself out of office.
Our Senators put partisan politics ahead of what matters -- spending more time on the June “coup” and political games than on dealing with the crisis that New Yorkers face. I will be an independent Senator who will work with both Democrats and Republicans and will stand up to the party bosses and leaders.
While New Yorkers struggle through the Great Recession, our legislature has one of the largest staffs in the country (2,700 people) and spends millions of dollars a year on photographers and TV and radio studios. I will fight to eliminate this kind of ridiculous waste and cut unnecessary spending – starting with the legislature.
Empahsis mine – SP
The emphasized passages are exactly what David Weiss and I were talking to people about at thousands of doors and on this very site in 2008. I really wish David would run again...
...but if Breslin is facing a sustained, well-financed and, well publicized challenge this year, then I’m ready to consider supporting either Tim Carney or Luke Martland. The fact that the press is already paying attention in March of 2010 with the primary way off in September is a good sign.
Last go-round, they didn’t print David Weiss’s name until four freakin’ days before the election. Let’s hope the Times Union keeps up the good work this year.
Man, it was hard to type the words “Times Union” and “good work” in the same sentence. Just think of what kind of circus the State Senate would have been last year if they had had the gavel in their hands?
Let’s not let this happen again. Let’s break the nepotistic stranglehold the Breslins have placed on the throats of Albany County constituents, which played a direct role in cutting the air off for all New Yorkers last year…
...by making 2010 Senator Breslin’s last year in office.