All posts by Another Take by Peter G. Pollak

About Another Take by Peter G. Pollak

I am the author of seven novels, the latest of which is a missing person mystery, entitled Missing. Learn more at

Why Comprehensive Reforms Go Bad

You don’t have to look far if you’re interested in wrap-ups detailing what the NYS Legislature and Gov. Cuomo accomplished or didn’t accomplish during the just ended legislative session. I’m not going to recap the recaps. Instead, I’m going to climb on a horse that is in major need of being ridden––why so many major legislative efforts in Albany and in Washington go bad.

Would-be politicians must being inhaling in their college polisci classes the idea that the best way to tackle a major problem is to assemble an omnibus legislative package that incorporates everything they want passed on everything remotely related to the central topic.

Take ObamaCare for example. Instead of dealing with some of the more obvious problems facing healthcare delivery piece by piece, we got a bill so massive that no one had read it when it was passed and today it is crashing under its own weight. Insurance rates are skyrocketing, millions of the uninsured will remain uninsured, and billions have been wasted in the process.

Or take immigration reform. Instead of dealing with such matters as the guest worker program separately from border security, our elected officials want to load everything and anything related to immigration into one package. No wonder it’s unlikely to pass.

And, in the just ended session in Albany, we saw comprehensive gun control passed which hinders law enforcement and makes criminals out of law-abiding citizens, but how much did it do to prevent gangs and criminals from using guns? I won’t insult the intelligence of my readers by answering that question for you.

What about Gov. Cuomo’s government corruption legislation? It failed to pass because he had to inject his views on campaign finance reform into the package. So after a session during which several legislators were arrested on public corruption charges, nothing to sharpen oversight of legislators has been put in place. Gov. Cuomo’s women’s agenda failed for the same reason. He cynically threw in abortion legislation that he knew would kill the entire package.

These failures are a sign of the arrogance of political power. Men like Barack Obama and Andrew Cuomo (and those who work for them) think they are so much smarter and know so much better than anyone else what’s good for the rest of us that they can’t resist the temptation to top their legislative ice cream with large doses of castor oil.

The arrogance of these men extends to their calculation that it is better that nothing is done if they can’t get everything they want. Why? Because they believe they can gain more power politically by being able to blame their opponents for their own failures. They are confident the media and the public will absolve them of any blame.

Comprehensive reform sounds good in theory. It rarely works out that way in practice.

Empire Page Readers Speak Loud and Clear

Empire Page readers have spoken loudly and clearly about some of the major issues of the day in our recent Poll Question of the Week voting.

In our poll question asking whether Assembly Majority Leader Sheldon Silver should resign a whopping 82% of respondents said YES.  Interestingly in that poll no one voted “no opinion.”

Prior to that we asked readers whether they think the public is paying attention to the scandals and arrests involving NYS Legislature and NYC officials.  Twenty-one percent believe fewer than 1% of the population has been paying attention, twelve percent say fewer than ten percent, while 26% of our readers say it’s fewer than 25 percent.

And, in our latest poll, asking readers opinions about Gov. Cuomo’s tax-free proposal, 76% oppose it and only 18% are in favor.  That poll will run the rest of the week. So, if you haven’t voted, don’t forget to do so.

Is there an issue you think we should poll?  Send us your question and if it’s a good one, we’ll use it.

The More Things Change…

Things change necessarily. Sometimes for the better; sometimes the results are the same.

I’ve changed the name of my blog because I’m no longer the editor (or publisher) of The Empire Page. My new title:  Editor Emeritus.  I’ll let the new co-publishers introduce themselves, which they promise to do shortly.

I began serving as editor of The Empire Page in January 2000 when my company, Empire Information Services, became a minority partner in, LLC, which purchased The Empire Page from its founder, Chris Chichester. In 2007, I purchased the shares belonging to EIS’ successor, readMedia, and served as managing partner/editor/publisher until May 1 of this year.

In 2008  I began to expand the content portion of the Empire Page with an eye to doing more than just helping people monitor the news. I added a poll question of the week, blogs, interviews and roundtables.  As a one-man orchestra (managing subscriptions, selling advertising, conducting interviews, doing the bookkeeping, etc.), my blog posts were necessarily last on my to-do list. Now that I’m freed of all those obligations, I plan to post more frequently.

I call my new blog “Another Take” because I believe I offer a unique perspective on NYS government & politics.  Unique for several reasons: the length of time I’ve been around Albany (arrived in 1966), the fact that except for working for two lobbying organizations for a short period of time in the early 1980s I’ve not been a participant, and the fact that I am not affiliated with any political party or organization. The axes I would grind are not personal except with regard to the Adirondacks where I am a property owner and summer resident. What’s best for New Yorkers statewide in the present and the future is my primary concern.

I hope those of you who read this post will “subscribe” so you’ll know when I’ve posted a new piece. I look forward to your feedback and will gladly be corrected when I make a mistake. I also hope I change a few minds because that’s how democracies should work. We ought not be so locked into our ideology fortresses that we can’t hear opposing views.

If I do a good job, maybe I can play a small role in making things change for the better.