Monday, March 17, 2008

No More Mr. Nice Guy?

Last week we were asked by Azi to comment on incoming governor Davis Paterson's amiability: "According to lobbyist Richard Lipsky, who I spoke to this afternoon, that may change after he gets sworn in as governor on Monday. “In assuming the executive role, David Paterson’s perceived amiableness will likely undergo some transformation because it’s necessary, as an executive rather than as a legislator to establish that you have a firm control over the helm and you’re someone not to be trifled with," Lipsky said. "And I expect that he will do that."

Now we learn that Paterson is getting peeved about those folks who are quick to give others the impression that they are close confidants of our new head man. As Fred Dicker in the NY post tells us this morning: "David Paterson told friends over the weekend that he's tired of hearing about Democratic Party activists, lobbyists, and even some close personal friends telling favor seekers that they're able to influence the new governor, who'll be sworn in at 1 p.m. today, sources said."

That's a good start David. In a situation like this the greatest danger often comes from your friends, or at least your supposed friends; Paterson needs to establish quickly that he is his own man-and he is apparently doing just that: "One source claimed Paterson believes former state Comptroller - and unsuccessful Democratic gubernatorial candidate - Carl McCall and one-time Dinkins administration Deputy Mayor Bill Lynch, both of whom have told friends that they are advising Paterson, are among those improperly claiming special access to him."

As Paterson told Dicker: "It's fair to say I wasn't very happy when I heard about some of the people out there claiming to represent me when they only represent themselves," said Paterson. "I would urge anyone who hears from someone who claims to be my representative to use caution," he continued."

Meanwhile on the policy front, our old friend congestion pricing certainly hasn't been helped by the turmoil. As Dave Seifman tells us in the Post yesterday: "It is in extremis, but it is not dead," one source said. "It was an uphill fight to begin with, and with everything going on, it's basically not high on the agenda right now."

What a pity! And timing is everything in this business. It's a real shame that the Environmental Defense Fund's $500,000 advertising windfall may go to waste; but that's what happens when you win the lottery and just have to spend all that unused to cash before it burns a hole in your pocket. It looks as if everything may change on Day One.