With Days Left in Office, Paterson Reveals His Biggest Regret

Governor reflects on accomplishments, failures of administration

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    New York Gov. David Paterson speaks during a legislative leaders budget meeting at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., on Wednesday, June 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

    Gov. David Paterson played Santa and helped hand out food at Al Sharpton's National Action Network Christmas morning.

    It's something he's done for 19 years, but this time he's preparing to do something he's not as accustomed to – be a private citizen.

    "My predecessors have told me that it take a period of time after you’ve been under this kind of pressure to even have that reflective view as to what you want to do with your life next," Paterson said.

    Paterson said he plans to teach, but didn't elaborate more on that subject. He did, however, comment on the controversy sparked by his decision to commute the sentence of John White, a black man serving two to four years for the racially charged shooting of white teenager Daniel Cicciaro in 2006.

    Paterson reportedly acted against the advice of his aids in freeing White, who had only served six months of his sentence to that point. And he bore most criticism for failing to speak first with the relatives of the victims. 
    "I should have spoken to the family," Paterson acknowledged.

    And now he has. The governor restated an apology to the family of Daniel Cicciaro Jr. for not reaching out before he commuted the sentence of the teenager's killer. But Paterson stood by his conviction that white should be freed for defending his family from what has been described as a lynch mob.

    Thus, with a mere days left in office, the governor is not shying away from controversy. He even said there may be more pardons before the year is over.

    "Believe it or not as much as I wanted to run for re-election, once I choose not to, I then could govern based on what I thought was right," Paterson said. "I didn’t have to worry about the responses, political pressures or the fallout that are always around any governor."

    There was no discussion of Troopergate or any of the other scandals he was pulled into during his term. Paterson did promise to continue pushing for Clean renewal energy, diversity in state procurement, and a revamping of the pension system. He also reflected on his administration.

    Our "greatest successes have to do with mortgage foreclosure legislation ... we passed with eradicating Rockefeller drug laws," Paterson said.
     
    The governor spoke at length about his successes. As for his failures or things he may have changed, Paterson said, "the biggest regret this year ... is that the public doesn’t know everything."

    How would that get fixed?

    "Keep working at it," the governor said.

    We wonder what he meant by that.