Let's end the arrogance of power in New York

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Cuomo also raised the possibility of switching New York state to a full-time legislature and giving members higher salaries. He believes this might make officials less willing to participate in bribery schemes.

A full-time legislature is only part of the equation. Think of the other side, dating back decades, to when farmers were legislators and traveled to Albany for only a few months at a time to legislate. They were paid pennies, and spent the rest of their time harvesting or tending to other careers.

Perhaps our legislators spend too much time in Albany. What about term limits? Or, maybe as Mayor Bloomberg has suggested, nonpartisan elections, in which candidates do not run on a party line.

There are several measures to be considered, and I applaud Cuomo for his quick call to action on an issue that has been a problem in this state for a long time. In the wake of the recent arrests, something had to be done to send a message that corruption will no longer be tolerated in New York.

I still believe that the state must also step up its enforcement efforts and dedicate more manpower to “following the money.” This is a battle the state can no longer afford to lose; we must ramp up enforcement efforts with an “iron fist” in order to keep tabs on corruption.

The world lost a true champion of democracy last week with the death of the “Iron Lady,” Margaret Thatcher. I met Thatcher on a couple of occasions. She proved to be a staunch ally to the U.S. and worked closely with President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Those friendships helped the U.S. and the world get through an extremely sensitive era.

Thatcher earned the name “Iron Lady” for her political toughness. We need more Margaret Thatchers in New York state politics! Rest in peace to an honorable politician and an even better ally.

Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column? ADAmato@liherald.com.

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