A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York. The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
By Nina Pajak
Boy oh boy, do I love a tale of political corruption and intrigue. Especially when the players are two-bit local yokels who manage to get themselves caught far, far in advance of ever actually achieving anything.
Okay, so to call a New York State Senator and city mayoral hopeful a local yokel is a bit of a stretch. But come on. If he’d actually managed to get himself on the ballot, perhaps he would have been elevated to another level. Right now, he’s not even as successful as the Rent is 2 Damn High guy. So let’s keep this in perspective.
In case you temporarily found yourself spending a day off the grid, here’s what happened: Driven by an unshakable thirst for power and willing to usurp it at any moral cost, State Senator Malcolm Smith attempted to pave his road to Gracie Mansion with bribe after bribe after bribe. You see, he had an itch. An itch with only one means of scratching—becoming the Mayor of New York City. Many a man has wrecked his ship on the shores of Manhattan, drawn in by the siren call of City Hall. Think of it: dominion over the greatest city in the world! The ability to snatch soda cups out of the very hands of the fine citizens of Gotham! The power to go on Saturday Night Live and make cameos on locally-shot sitcoms whenever you want! The freedom to run for as many terms as you darn well please! To run the homeless out of town and pave over major thoroughfares to make way for more hot dog carts, to appoint captains and chancellors who have virtually no experience in their new domains, and to make public transportation more expensive than car ownership! Bahahahaha it is so delicious! My precious! Mine!
Of course, when one sets ones sites on becoming the Mayor of NYC, one cannot simply leave the outcome up to chance. Fundraising and building a platform of well-articulated issues, paying visits to lesser humans, kissing babies, touching old people, recruiting volunteers and convincing people that your ideas and years of valuable experience will make you the best candidate for the job—just, ugh. I mean, bleah. It’s so . . . so . . . much work. Bo-oring. The smart candidate leaves that busywork to the suckers and gets straight to work. Real work.
That means arranging bribes with as many local officials in as many districts and political parties as one possibly can, effectively weaving a far-reaching yet tightly-knit web of creepy associates who will be motivated to carry you where you need to go. The butcher, the baker, the candlestick-maker, Democratic and Republican party leaders and councilmen and women from the Bronx, Queens, and beyond. They all got together and agreed to take bribes in the form of positions, money, and lucrative contracts in exchange for helping Smith to get on the Republican ballot and, ultimately, win.
Of course, none of this will actually transpire. After a Federal undercover sting operation, several people are in handcuffs and many more have been formally charged with all sorts of nasty crimes.
I almost wish they’d let him stay in the fight a little bit longer, only because he promised to be so very entertaining. And local politics can be such a drag. Then again, given the state of our state politicians, I have no doubt we’ll flush another weasel out of its hole soon enough. Onward!