Act One. Mister Fix It.

ira glass and david paterson

Ira Glass interviewing David Paterson at the Capitol in May.

This week's This American Life featured a long segment about the New York State budget. During the setup for the piece, host Ira Glass says: "For those of you who live far from New York, you need to understand a few things about just how terribly run New York State is." And then he runs through all the scandals and drama (that part runs longer than many regular radio segments).

That all leads to the appointment of Richard Ravitch, whom Glass describes as the "hero of our story." Says Ravitch at one point, when asked if he felt like he was going to into a "madhouse" after being appointed to Lt. Governor (at Peter Luger):

Yes. But I'm also... this sounds terribly pompous, forgive me... but I have a kind of romance with the whole idea of government and public service. So, at the same time I knew I was going into a madhouse, I also, it was a matter of pride that perhaps I could be helpful and there was nothing more useful I could do with my life.

Ravitch later says: "I didn't know how serious the problem was. I didn't realize the state had been faking balanced budgets for so many years."

The piece includes a bunch of people from around the Capitol, including David Paterson, state budget director Bob Megna (and his non-state-funded stress balls), Ruben Diaz, public radio correspondent Karen Dewitt, YNN's Erin Billups, the singing of Jay Gallagher and NYSNYS's Kyle Hughes.

The piece is a good overview of how the state got into so much budget trouble. It's not a hopeful picture.

The show is available as a free download this week. It's also available for streaming.

photo: Paterson admin media images

Comments

Ravitch? Hero of the story? What's he done to get the budget passed?

I think the point was that Ravitch was the only one who identified the way that the budget needed to go, rather than selling off government buildings then paying rent to stay in them. And any of the other short-sighted moves the gov. does to stay operating for one more year.

And I hope you listened to broadcast before posting....

Listen to the story, He'll tell you...

Quite an interesting piece. We're on our way to 60 billion in the red over the next five years.

How inspiring...

I don't really understand why Ravitch was depicted as the hero of the story. The only substantive ideas he's proposed are borrowing, GAAP accounting and a financial advisory board. What are his ideas for closing the current-year budget deficit? What would he cut? In the story I thought that Ravitch just came off as a grizzled veteran of NYS politics who is simply dumbfounded with the current state of politics.

I hate to admit it, but the real hero of the story should be David Paterson. Aside from his whinny references to "Planet Albany," I have a new-found respect for him as the only leader proposing real spending restraint -- and actually sticking to his guns.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

Realize Troy city summit

The ongoing project to develop a new comprehensive plan for Troy -- Realize Troy -- has a "city summit" public event lined up for this... (more)

The Warehouse District and thinking about change

We stopped into the public workshop about rezoning Albany's Warehouse District Tuesday evening. It was interesting to hear people talk about their aspirations and concerns... (more)

"He also envisioned buildings themselves as objects of Minimalist art that reflected Rockefeller's personal taste, for better or for worse."

It's about the history of the Empire State Plaza and it's by Paul Grondahl, so that's probably all you need to know. But it also... (more)

What's up in the Neighborhood

Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: "upstate," tapping that, the 1920 waterfront, floral finds, running in the... (more)

A few facts, controversies, and quirks from the Northway's history

As noted by Albany Archives, the section of the Northway from Albany to around Glens Falls officially opened this week in 1961 (that is, Nelson... (more)

Recent Comments

I found Trevin Peterson through an All Over Albany recommendation about 2 years ago. ... His quotes were better detailed than other contractors. This spring, the job scope actually grew considerably since I decided this contractor was capable of replaceing 40 year old deteriorating retaining walls with architectural block here at my hillside home, along with an old side entrance deck supported by rotting cantilevered joists. Everything came out looking very professionally well done. He is partnered now with a master carpenter Chris Urba, and the company is now called Built By Design ... They will not be your cheapest quote, but if you want expert work they have the experience.

A look inside the new Druthers Albany location

...has 8 comments, most recently from Jason

A few facts, controversies, and quirks from the Northway's history

...has 2 comments, most recently from -B

What's up in the Neighborhood

...has 1 comment, most recently from JES

Capital Region birthday freebies

...has 41 comments, most recently from cher

The New Pornographers at Bearsville

...has 2 comments, most recently from Paul