Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Gallo Gets it from All Sides

Campaigning for office and governing are two very different things, as Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo is discovering. Gallo ran for office touting a new rental inspection law, and we've seen how well that process is going. He also ran on a platform of ethics reform. While we applaud the Mayor's ambition on this subject, there's that machine that keeps getting in the way:
A souring relationship between Mayor Shayne Gallo two fellow Democrats on the Common Council was evident amid a testy exchange over dueling ethics law proposals.

The exchanges came during a Thursday night meeting of the council’s Public Safety/Government Committee at which Gallo squared off with Aldermen Thomas Hoffay and Matt Dunn.

Dunn, who chairs the committee, and Hoffay, the council’s majority leader, have proposed an ethics law that they say is almost identical to Gallo has pitched. The mayor, though, says the two proposals are “vastly” different, and he accused the two aldermen of including politically motivated language that makes their proposal unconstitutional.
Picking a fight with members of your own party is usually not a good idea, especially when you're going to need every warm body (vote) you can find in order to move your agenda forward.

As to the language to which Paul Kirby refers, the article doesn't offer any analysis. But Gallo is an attorney, so he has some experience in this area. In this case, I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. You know what would be really helpful, though? If the Freeman staff actually read the legislation and did a little research. The paper could then inform voters of the differences in the proposed laws so we can make up our minds. Instead, the Freeman simply gives us the back-and-forth between the two sides with no indication as to the substance. I realize the staff there are overworked and underpaid, but surely you guys could at least ask a few questions and include this in your next piece. A stand-alone analysis piece would be even better.

As for Gallo, he's caught in a trap of his own device. A former NY governor, who also happens to be the father of our current governor, once said that politicians campaign in poetry but govern in prose. Another way of looking at it is, campaigns are based upon advocacy (you offer to the voters your utopian vision for how you would govern), while governing is based upon compromise (you do what you can to convince the legislature to enact your agenda, which doesn't always work out).

I'm guessing Gallo is beginning to understand these limitations.

And a word of advice to office-seekers: keep your campaign promises to a minimum.

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