Koch on Silver: "Throw the Bum Out!" - NBC New York

Koch on Silver: "Throw the Bum Out!"



    Former Mayor Ed Koch says it's time to take back Albany. (Published Thursday, July 22, 2010)

    It was the moment some politicians have been dreading: When former Mayor Ed Koch unleashed his wrath on lawmakers who refused to sign his reform pledge.

    "Throw the bums out!" Koch told NBCNewYork Thursday morning, after reviewing the final tally.

    Koch said voters should "throw out" Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Conference leader John Sampson and every other politician who failed to sign by the July 21st deadline, saying the politicians have "brought it on themselves."

    Koch says explanations and excuses offered by Silver and other leaders are lame. "It's all obfuscation.  You're either for reform or against it."  NBCNewYork is awaiting a response from Sheldon Silver's office.

    Pols who signed the pledge on promised to vote for legislation creating independent ethics and redistricting commissions. 

    They also vowed to support responsible budget practices and limit lobbyist contributions.  When Koch decided to target Albany dysfunction with a political action committee called NY Uprising, he said those who signed the pledge would be declared "heroes" and those who did not would be declared "enemies of the people."

    One interesting twist: While every Republican in the State Senate signed onto the pledge, there are still 15 Senate Democrats who refused to sign.

    Looking pained, Koch a lifelong Democrat said "It looks like Republicans are as of this moment the party of reform. I'm really distressed."

    About one third of Assembly members signed the pledge.  Altogether, 235 candidates for statewide office and Congress signed the document, which Koch considers an accomplishment.

    Unlike his fellow Democratic leaders, the infamous State Senator Pedro Espada did sign. 

    Despite that, Koch said "His word means nothing. Throw the bum out, even though he signed!"

    Koch warns, if any politicians reneg on their pledge after being elected in November he will run around the state screaming "liar liar pants on fire!"

    Senator John Sampson who leads the Democratic majority (and did not sign the pledge) responded “New Yorkers are angry, and they have every right to be. But they deserve an honest debate from reformers who want to fix our problems, and not just chase headlines. 
    "Chasing headlines?" Koch asked, "No. Dreaming? Yes.  Dreaming of headlines like 'Albany No Longer Corrupt'  and 'New York No Longer Dysfunctional.'"
    And later, Speaker Silver released the following written statement blasting Koch:

    "For decades, Republicans controlled the State Senate and blocked every single piece of reform legislation proposed by the Assembly and Democrats in the Senate -- campaign finance reform, election reform, ethics reform and budget reform. For Ed Koch to call Senate Republicans ‘reformers’ and ignore our record undermines the credibility of the pledge and his entire campaign."