Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pedro Espada and former comrade Dean Skelos plan to wreak havoc on state government ... again

Wednesday, June 9th 2010, 4:00 AM

Just last year Pedro Espada and Dean Skelos (b.) caused upheaval in  the state senate.
Antonelli/News
Just last year Pedro Espada and Dean Skelos (b.) caused upheaval in the state senate.

ALBANY - The two bunglers who botched last summer's power grab are bolloxing things up again.

But this time Pedro Espada and former comrade Dean Skelos are ready to make every New Yorker feel the pain.

Just a year ago Tuesday, Espada, a Democrat, joined forces with Senate GOP Leader Skelos to stage the coup against the Democratic leadership.

The would-be junta crumbled almost immediately when a second turncoat Dem lost his nerve. Espada eventually flipped back, too - but not before holding Albany hostage for a full month and extorting the title and salary of majority leader.

Espada and Skelos should have marked the anniversary with apologies. Instead, they sowed a whole new level of chaos.

Both threatened to oppose future emergency spending bills - even if state government must go dark. For all of its dysfunction, Albany had never sunk that low.

If Paterson loses legal authority to spend money, no one can be sure what agencies will close, what programs will stop, what havoc will be wreaked.

Sadly, Espada and Skelos are all too willing to find out.

The former odd bedfellows rationalized their recklessness differently, but ended up in the same place: Chaos? Bring it on!

Skelos - heading up the Party of No, New York chapter - claims to want spending restraint, yet he finds reasons to oppose every Paterson budget cut.

Espada postured as defender of the downtrodden.

"We have to stop hurting working families and poor," he huffed - as if those people wouldn't be the hardest-hit victims of a government shutdown.

This is especially hard to take from Espada, the poster boy for government waste. As CEO of a chain of health clinics for the poor - financed entirely with state and federal funds - and he lives scandalously high on the hog. He has not only drawn a fat salary, but Attorney General Andrew Cuomo says he looted $14 million to support a flashy lifestyle.

His bank account is proof there's plenty of fat in the state budget, yet he's going to force a crisis rather than accept cuts.

Espada and Skelos - your state Legislature at work.

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