We the People: Time to clean up Albany

Performance. Integrity. Pride. Governor Cuomo’s catchwords should become an enforceable mandate for the morally bankrupt world of politics in Albany. Americans have an understandable distrust of politicians.

In Albany, Senator John Sampson (D-Brooklyn), once a rising star in local politics, was arrested and charged with stealing more than $400,000 of homeowners’ surplus monies from foreclosure proceedings. The indictment includes allegations that Sampson reached out to people in the prosecutor’s office and threatened to “take out” witnesses in order to interfere with the prosecution.

Disgraced ex-Senator Shirley Huntley (D-Queens), convicted of stealing $87,000 in taxpayer funds from a nonprofit group she created and controlled, provided the feds with taped conversations between her and Sampson as well as other politicians in a bid to get lenient treatment for her crime.

She promised she could get the “goods” on crooked politicians in Albany and recorded conversations with politicians in her home. Several Democrat politicians including Sampson, Senator Eric Adams, who is running for Brooklyn Borough President, and Senator Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn) were recorded by Huntley.

The lax enforcement of ethics regulations encourages a perverse sense of lawlessness and entitlement that engenders corruption in Albany. It is so bad that Senator James Sanders (D-Queens) stunningly commented on Shirley Huntley’s thievery by stating, “trying to buy down your sentence by ensnaring others … proves you have no honor.” Really? Stealing and betraying the public proves you have no honor to most people.

We deserve performance and integrity from our elected representatives. The crooks must be prosecuted and the representatives unwilling to police their colleagues should look for other lines of work. It is time for leaders to lead and if the legislature cannot clean itself up, then the governor must bring the power of his office to bear on the problem. Call Governor Cuomo at 518-474-8390 and ask him for action, now.

John Quaglione, career staffer for Marty Golden, seeking to replace Councilmember Gentile, announced that the people in the 43rd District are over-taxed, over-ticketed and receive unsatisfactory Sanitation service.

C’mon! Pedestrians are being mowed down on the streets of Bay Ridge while Senator Golden blocks the installation of speed cameras. Call Marty Golden’s office at 718-238- 6044 and ask Mr. Quaglione, when he isn’t busy with his campaign, why speed cameras along Fourth Avenue are a bad idea.

Vincent Gentile has worked tirelessly for parking ticket relief and repealed parking meter rules on Sundays. He is an advocate for speed cameras on dangerous roads and added “slow zones” near local schools to combat speeding drivers.

In Washington, five years after the sub-prime mortgage lending bubble burst, Freddie Mac, the giant federal mortgage lender, will not adjust its policies to provide more relief for Americans whose homes are “under water.”

At the height of the crisis, homeowners who owed more than the value of their homes just mailed their keys to the banks instead of their monthly payment. Freddie Mac opposes any proposal to allow principal reductions for mortgagors who are trying to pay off their obligations, although without a doubt principal reductions would avoid more “jingle mail.”

Edward DeMarco, the director of the agency, a Bush nominee, is in charge because Senate Republicans want him to oppose programs that relieve the obligations of homeowners. President Obama must replace him now, especially since economic conditions have changed.

Although the agency had lost billions since 2008, it posted a $4.6 billion first quarter profit this year. The Dow Jones average just passed a 15,000 point record, joblessness is down and housing sales are up. American homeowners deserve a chance to keep their homes and pay their debts.

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