The doctor is in



Every once in a while I amuse myself with an “Ask the Doctor” column. I mean, if medical doctors can have these columns to help educate the public, why can’t this Ph.D. full professor? So here goes:


Dear Doctor,

I read in the paper that our state legislators are asking for a whopping, and I do mean whopping, pay raise that will supposedly make up for all the pay raises they have not gotten over the years. Should they get it? I told my husband that you would know the answer. Please sign me, “Sally in Doubt”

Dear Sally,

You ask whether state legislators deserve a big raise to make up for all the pay raises they haven’t gotten over the years. Yeah, tell that to all the other workers who didn’t get raises in or out (and especially out) of government. This self-serving idea is pure hooey. First, they appoint a rigged commission to come up with recommendations that will surely result in their pay raises. They are afraid to raise their own salaries because they know that most people don’t care about state government but they do care about legislators who rip it off by raising their own pay.

Of course, Sally, we all know that this legislature has been disgraceful on a number of fronts but the worst is their refusal to pass meaningful ethics reform. Oh, they come up with weak Band-Aids, but when it comes to issues like limiting how much money they can earn in outside jobs, as does the United States Congress, they refuse to move. We all know that those who have outside occupations are very attractive to those who want something from state government.

Of course, they moan that their leaders are the problem. That’s amazing! After all, the rank-and-file legislators pick the leaders and precious few of them are ever heard to give said leaders a hard time.

Let’s face it — after all the “lulus” (extra money they get), most will walk away with about a hundred grand in salary.

“Are you kidding?” they whine. “You can’t live on a hundred grand, especially in New York City.”

I get that. Some send their kids to fancy private schools for forty grand a year. Of course, they could send their kids to the public schools that they have created. My kids went to public schools and have done very well, thank you.

Plus there are the wives and husbands who have been known to get cushy jobs because their spouses are legislators.

If legislators were to quit because of their “measly” hundred grand, just advertise the job and you will get a LOT of takers. After all, the job practically comes with life time tenure. Most of them are there for life. We let the majority party draw themselves safe districts where they can’t lose. We refuse to put meaningful limits on campaign contributions because once they are in office people try to buy their services. Frankly, the whole thing is disgusting.


Dear Doctor,

Why do so many of Governor Cuomo’s employees have federal subpoenas to answer? Didn’t he come into office saying that he was going to clean up Albany? Sign me, “Katie in a Conundrum”

Hi, Katie,

Thanks for writing. Well, the failure to clean things up hasn’t hurt Cuomo. He’s doing quite well in the polls and has been strangely silent as so many of his employees are being investigated. His silence seems to help him because he is playing it straight, except for his nonsensical war with Mayor de Blasio in New York. What’s more, so far the Republicans don’t seem able to come up with anyone to run against him and he has a fortune in campaign contributions in the bank. With Preet Bharara still gathering information on the Cuomo Administration, we have to remember his admonition to “stay tuned.”