Was it worth it?

The July 9 “resolution” of the crisis in the Senate leaves NYS an estimated $150,000,000 poorer and a major question that only time will answer — namely, was it worth it?

The ostensible reason for Democratic Senators Pedro Estrada and Hiram Monseratte breaking with their party was that the leadership headed by Malcom Smith had failed to institute promised reforms and had approved a bad budget. Many observers noted that the two had personal grievances — they wanted more power, which means they wanted a bigger piece of the pie — more money, patronage opportunities, etc.

Monserratte whithered under the pressure and seemingly came away with very little for his troubles. Estrada on the other hand got the bigger piece of the pie while continuing to claim it was all about the reforms.

Dean Skelos put up a good fight on behalf of the Republicans but could not overcome the fact that his party for the previous four decades had turned a deaf ear to the Brennan Center and others who documented the Senate’s undemocratic practices.

The way to judge the value of a reform is to look at the outcomes that result. Will we see a more democratically-run Senate in the future, one where the minority party as well as individual senators have a greater voice, or will we just see a smarter Democratic leadership — one that recognizes it will have to pay a higher price to keep its rank and file in line?


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