New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito taking credit for recent passage of a $75 billion municipal budget is nothing to be proud of. She presented the budget to her loyal flock of members just before midnight on June 25. They only had one hour to read it prior to voting at 1 a.m. on June 26. Unless the Council members took an Evelyn Woods speed-reading course, no one had time to read and understand the details buried in the hundreds of pages that made up the budget. Not to worry, in exchange for looking the other way and voting in favor of the budget, everyone got a “piece of the action.” Just like Don Corleone in “The Godfather,” Speaker Mark-Viverito allowed each Council member to “wet their beak.” Each got a slice or “taste” of $50 million in local pork barrel member item spending. Next, unreported by the media, was another treat. Speaker Mark-Viverito also authorized approval for the remaining 50 percent balance of lulus paid out to NYC Council members ranging from $4,000 to $28,000 for chairing NYC Council committees or subcommittees. No wonder Council members are loyal lapdogs to the Council speaker. So much for open, transparent reform government promised voters by both the mayor and Council speaker. The NYC Council is the best money can buy, just like their older brothers and sisters of the New York State Assembly under Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Mayor De Blasio, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and her members have all quickly morphed from reformers into inside City Hall loyal clubhouse regulars.