The majority of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll said Gov. David Paterson, who ended his candidacy for a full four-year term last Friday, should serve out the remainder of his current term.
Paterson’s exit from the race came shortly after the New York Times reported members of his administration had intervened in a domestic violence case involving a close aide to the governor. Paterson initially had asked Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, to investigate his administration’s handling of the matter while saying he intended to stay in the race.
Paterson is facing calls for resignation from the National Organization for Women and some members of his own party. Resigning would allow Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch to become governor.
Nearly 40 percent of respondents said Paterson should resign, while 61 percent disagree. Roughly 835 readers participated in this week’s Snap Poll, which was conducted Monday and Tuesday.
A statewide Marist Poll released Tuesday found similar results, with two-thirds of registered voters saying they want the governor to finish his term.
On Wednesday, after the polls were conducted, Paterson confronted new charges that he had violated state ethics laws.
Should David Paterson resign as governor?
What is your political affiliation?
Here are some comments from readers:
No one is in a better position to take a few last swings at the Republicans who defy him or the Democrats who undermine him. Revenge is God’s alone, and you know what payback is. Every voter north of Westchester would relish the opportunity to be in his lame-duck shoes. Hey, Governor Dave, give ’em something to remember!
—Bill Lanigan, Chamberlin Rubber
I couldn’t care less if Paterson resigns or not. This is just more political theater. We need leadership that will save our state now by making difficult decisions about difficult financial issues. Until that happens, the soap operas continue.
If Paterson used his influence to protect someone guilty of domestic violence, not only should he resign, but the case should be reviewed to see if charges should be brought against Paterson or someone in his administration.
—Joe Fabetes, Rochester
Gad, can we make it worse than it is? Resign and hopefully nobody will run the government.
In a perfect world, Paterson should be out on his butt. But realistically, two gubernatorial resignations in a row and the elevation to the governorship of Richard Ravitch, a man whom 99.99 percent of the state’s population couldn’t pick out of a lineup, would do far more damage to the state’s remaining reputation and remaining fiscal stability than just leaving Paterson there to keep the chair warm for Andrew Cuomo.
—Michael J. Nighan
Why in the world should he resign? He hasn’t done anything wrong, at least not as far as any of us know. If the investigation (which he asked for!) uncovers anything, then we can decide whether he needs to be pushed out of office. There is absolutely no need to rush to judgment.
—Matthew D. Wilson
Gov. Paterson is getting a raw deal. He should not resign. In fact, he should have stayed in the race for the nomination. I give him credit for trying to take on the big unions and the other special-interest groups who have hijacked our state government. These interests were responsible for poisoning the atmosphere for Gov. Paterson, beginning last spring when millions of dollars were spent by these groups to badmouth his attempts to help the taxpayers. Hopefully, he will begin massive furloughs and layoffs of the government work force in order to reduce the current deficit. If this is done, the taxpayers will be forever grateful.
—John Rynne, president, Rynne, Murphy & Associates Inc.
Unfortunately, David Paterson’s service as governor has been a disaster. He needs to go now.
—Pamela Klainer, Klainer Consulting Group LLC
We need Andrew Cuomo. He is just like Eliot Spitzer in his pursuit of weeding out the bad guys. He should start in Albany by looking for the criminal politicians who live and work there.
I am grateful that Paterson stepped up when he did. I don’t know how the current news story will unfold, but I am tired of the politics in Albany. Gov. Paterson appears to be focused on taking care of business and representing his constituents across the state. Upstate New York needs more attention from Albany, and all of the state needs to have better control of (our) budget.
—Erin Schmerbeck, HR consultant
Paterson has been totally ineffective as governor. He missed the opportunity to capitalize on the resignation of Gov. Spitzer and create a less spending-intense state government. Our state is bleeding jobs and losing people because of the reckless leadership we continue to have in Albany.
—Anthony Casserino, Presto
He might have a vision for New York, but my vision is he should get out of office.
—Jim Duke, Victor
Didn’t another well-known governor go through something similar? Of course, it was Caribou Barbie Palin. Yet when she intervened on behalf of her … brother-in-law, the GOP insisted she only did what she had a right to do, so I think Paterson was confused and thought what he was doing was OK.
Gov. Paterson is innocent until proven guilty. Until such point in time that he has been legitimately charged and proven guilty of offense(s) warranting his removal from office, it is his sworn duty to execute the duties of his office over his remaining term.
This is still a free country, and he is entitled to run if he so desires. The political parties are "bullies" and should be dismantled!
Paterson is attempting to fight all the powers that be to get our budget under control. He is trying to overcome the political "old-boy" system and government-represented union grip on our economy. His own party has been trying to convince him to give up his office since he was sworn in. They have bucked him every inch of the way. It started with the Obama "cold shoulder." The Cuomo machine has been working behind the scenes maneuvering Andrew into position since the repercussions from his tainted Kennedy divorce have subsided. First attorney general, then governor then president. With Ted gone, Andrew could secure NYS governorship as his platform for his eventual presidential run. With dad working his mojo and using his influence, the sky is the limit. The support of Joe Morelle is so strong and unwavering; that you have to wonder when surgery will take place to have his lips removed. This whole scenario is politics at its worst, from finally finding something to stick to Paterson and have him bow out, to Obama "cold-shouldering" him, to the activation of the Cuomo machine, right down to unwavering support from local politicians. This one my friends, is a lock. The stinkiest part of all, is that with this "once in a lifetime" political opportunity presented to Republicans, they are not prepared with a convincing opponent and have shown absolutely no leadership as the Democrats flounder and feed on each other. Couple that with the media fawning over Andrew, as soon as he announces, he will be presented in the most favorable light to the public, since Obama. The sad truth is, the majority of the public will be programmed into being complacent and the liberal policies of the past Cuomo administration will be rekindled and imposed upon the taxpayers of NYS. Does anyone know a single Cuomo policy yet? Have you heard of a proposal from either party on how to get our budget under control? This is pure gamesmanship for power and power alone. It is time to impose the will of the people on the government by the taxpaying citizens and get our communities back.
The last governor resigned; we are no better off. We may not be better off with the next guy. By the way … who is the next guy?
November can’t come soon enough. We need a governor from upstate that will take into consideration the needs of upstate. Who knows, we might even be able to avoid some of the corruption and scandals running rampant in Albany now.
—Pam Carbone, Robert’s Gold Foil Stamping
Gee, do you think so? Now, we all don’t know the specific circumstances surrounding the intervention on behalf of the governor’s aide, but come on, folks; how can we just overlook this kind of thing? It’s becoming epidemic! And, every time another indiscretion is made public, we should just shrug our shoulders and say that it’s OK. After all, nobody got killed, did they? Well, at least not yet. I think that there should be a concerted effort to restore real integrity to public office and quit turning a blind eye to the shenanigans that are becoming all too common. Yes, get the bum out of there before the infection spreads further. BTW, if that kind of thing happened in my company, you’d be walked out that day!
We are always willing to pay someone for doing nothing. And we wonder why we have a huge deficit. Haven’t other governors lost re-election bids but finished their term? He’s our governor until a new one is sworn in. Period.
Given the extremely corrupt system that is New York State government, there are likely many state politicians that have done far worse than what Paterson allegedly did and are still serving.
—Doug Lyon, Lyon Capital Management
Governor Paterson should resign immediately. The state is in dire financial straits—it may have already gone over the cliff and we don’t know it yet. There needs to be a chief executive that can stand up against the corrupt legislature and make the tough decision that need to be made. The status quo has gotten us here—it needs to change. This is what happens when there are no checks and balances against either political party.
—Dave Iadanza, Farmington
Paterson’s resignation would only serve the interests of the Democratic party, the public employees unions including the teachers and Sheldon Silver. It would mean another rape of taxpayers by that group. He should hang in there, resist those groups and hopefully buy time until we can oust all incumbents in NYS government from office.
Intimidating a victim of domestic violence seems worse that what Spitzer did.
David Paterson is trying to do the right thing for N.Y. He is the only politician out their willing to stand his ground and ask the people to make the hard choice of not spending money we do not have to spend. The people of N.Y. and the USA need to wake up to the fact that it is not what you want, nor even what you need, but what you can afford that should determine financial decisions at every level from personal though universal. We need to learn from history that our sacrifices can lead us to a better future and our licentiousness will lead to corruption and decay. We need to start insisting that our governments be more fiscally responsible, even when spending cutbacks affect us personally. We should be supporting this man and not let political manipulations bring him and us down.
If his own party is calling for his resignation, why should we object? The focus should be on the budget and eliminating the deficit. Anyone that could clearly articulate a viable solution will be our next governor.
Why should the governor resign? Is it because he’s ineffective? The same can be said for the entire state Assembly and Senate. What have they done to curtail spending, eliminate deficits and get the massively wasteful NYS budget under control? Should the governor resign because there’s the hint of a scandal regarding his staff and/or the state Troopers pressuring someone against filing a complaint against one of the governor’s aides? Let an investigation take place and then let the chips fall where they may. If I recall, there have been similar allegations in the past against the governor’s office and the Assembly and Senate leaders. Did everyone involved in those instances resign? While we can argue over the governor’s effectiveness, it seems to me that he’s innocent until proven guilty. On the other hand if we’re now going to demand our elected officials to resign due to their ineffectiveness, then let’s start with the Assembly and Senate! What have they done over the last decade except drive us deeper in debt? While I’m no big fan of the governor, he’s only been in office a short time. The rest of the Assembly and Senate are seemingly entrenched and arguably less effective than the Governor. Let’s throw them out first! And at the end of the day, that’s what elections are for!
—Keith B. Robinson, CFO Diamond Packaging
As tempting as the idea may be, his resignation would throw an already difficult political environment in Albany into utter chaos. With all the infighting, name-calling and finger-pointing that his resignation would create, absolutely nothing would be accomplished in Albany until next year. We still don’t have a budget. Although Paterson has not been the most politically astute leader, in many ways he has the courage to stand up for his beliefs, and citizens "know" where he stands on most issues. If Ravitch takes over all sorts of political and legal in-fighting will hijack an already dysfunctional Albany culture. New Yorkers are better off with the devil they know. Finally, every citizen is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. We need to wait until A.G. Cuomo completes his investigation before any drastic changes are contemplated.
—Frank Orienter, Rochester
I agree with his decision not to run for re-election, but a change in governor now with less than a year remaining will only put the state government and budget process in greater chaos.
Paterson says some compelling things about cost control and taxes but then his actions do not follow his words and his continued personal issues now leave him as someone no longer to be trusted. This chapter of New York politics needs to be closed and a new chapter needs to begin—with new players and new ideas in the governor’s office and the Legislature.
—Peter Short, J.J. Short Associates Inc., Macedon
He MIGHT do what is good for New York State and its citizen and not what is good for special interest groups. He doesn’t need to raise money for reelection.
All politicians fall prey to some impropriety. Let the investigation take its course. Gov. Paterson should not resign. The fact that he has become a standard bearer of some fiscal integrity has challenged the public service unions to castrate him. Since he is not going to run for governor, I am hoping he stays on and fights for NYS fiscal stability. New York State has an opportunity (although remote) to reverse the public service takeover of the state and move towards a Texas like prosperity. This fall, vote every incumbent out. Good or bad, they are en masse a proven political system that is paralyzed and corrupt.
—Dennis Kiriazides, retired, Xerox
Paterson is the only one in Albany willing to force through needed changes to make New York fiscally sound. It’s sad that he has been forced out of the race because he is a realist and not a politician full of flowery lies.
—Tom Hess, Application Specialists, Inc.
Resigning would just make NYS more dysfunctional.
—Germaine Knapp, Sojourner House
Paterson should stay in the fight to cut spending in New York. He’s the only one. The legislature is helpless in the face of CSEA, SEIU and NYSUT.
—Norbert J. Rappl, Berginn Associates LLC
Lame duck leadership is better than no leadership. I assume he has the power of the veto during the rest of his term and let’s all pray he uses it often.
—Dav Sliney, Macedon
It is premature to require his resignation based upon the available information. Innocent until proven guilty.
—Greg Reynolds, East Rochester
Where did we get these guys? Spitzer and Paterson? Unbelievable! No wonder this bloody state is in the mess we so decry. I see that already Ravitch is being asked to step up and try to work out a fiscal solution to the state’s problems, so why not take over entirely? Paterson’s ineptitude thus far, coupled to both a lame duck attitude, as well as a scandal involving a close aide, send a screaming message that he will be, to say the very least, ineffective! Has anyone scrutinized the lieutenant governor, to make sure this isn’t going to be a three-peat?
—Hutch Hutchison, In T’Hutch Ltd.
I have been supporting Gov. Paterson since he took office, because I considered him the last man standing up for the State. Who will be standing up for us when he leaves? NYS Assembly and Senate may as well go into permanent retirement. Recently, their only activities were to vote for support of their rich financial supporters. There is no more support for the working citizens of the State whose paychecks are instantly taxed to pay for the tax reductions and hand-outs to businesses. Without those expenses, NYS would be in the black. We were just informed about a new NYS law that car insurance has to be paid one month before the due-date, another burden on us, but a bonus to the insurance companies. Electronic payment of the premiums requires now an additional fee. I was informed about the same for debit-card payments. There is no risk in accepting such transactions, thus: why? Remember when electronic transactions were promised to reduce cost to customers because of savings in labor for the businesses? Consumer protection in NYS seems to have been replaced with expensive loo-loos for the wealthy donors to our elected representatives. None of the big parties in NYS has taken a stand to rectify the problems that they, together, have put on us over the past many years. Who will be there for the citizens of NYS? Lazio has no viable plan for the State, and his party showed its concern for the people of the Country by proposing a health plan that consists of more money for the insurances, death panels, and rat poisoning for those who need care. And Cuomo has chosen to be a “stealth candidate” also without initiatives for NYS. Again, in spite of his other shortcomings, we will miss Paterson.
—Ingo H. Leubner, Crystallization Consulting
Politics is just that. Paterson has agreed not to rerun to satisfy his own party and the nay-sayers that wanted him out. If you have never been on the inside: that is elected to office, you cannot believe how crazy it is. Paterson cannot defend or deny the allegations launched upon him without causing an uproar. This was the goal of those who made these allegations, which created the "perfect political storm". No one will ever know how true or false those charges are? He should keep his head down. Do his job as governor.
—R. Bruce Lindsay
If Governor Paterson resigns, don’t we get Elliot Spitzer back? Is Richard Ravitch really the official lieutenant governor? I thought he couldn’t preside over the State Senate because we have no constitutional way to replace the lieut. governor? If Governor Dave does resign, does that make him the Governor Palin of New York State? Arnold Schwarzenegger will be available soon to straighten us out. No Girlie-Man Governors for us. Where is Thomas Golisano when we need him?
—Clifford Jacobson, WebHomeUSA.com
Paterson has many great ideas. He sounds like a Republican, and I am sure that’s why the Democrats want him OUT!
Gov. Paterson is the only one making some real tough decisions regarding New York State’s finances. We might not like them, but no one else has come forth with better ideas, and he has asked for them numerous times. It sounds like typical politics asking him to resign, so the sacred cows can continue to graze on the little remaining stubble in our wallets.
—Dick Weldgen, Weed Man
The party bosses should have more power than the voters. Innocent until proven guilty, and exactly how bad was what; rather than innuendo and blackmail.
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