Thursday, February 02, 2006

Schmitt Profiled in Newsday

Newsday ran an not too flattering profile of Schmitt today. Here are a few excerpts....

“Tom Gulotta, the Republican county executive from 1987-2001, said Schmitt has grown and matured in the past few years in the legislature and, if he ultimately keeps the post, would succeed at it.’That maturity is going to enable him to handle his responsibility with great skill. He has become, I believe, a very pragmatic public official, much more contemplative of weighing both sides of an issue’”

So while he was Deputy Presiding Officer of the legislature, Schmitt was not mature? He’s 55 and a public official for the past 30 years and he just reached maturity? This isn’t exactly the best of compliments.

“Continuing with his education, Schmitt finished his bachelor's degree in political science at Hofstra, which awarded the degree eight years after he started, in October 1976, university records show. That date is at odds with his public statements in recent years. In 2004, he gave the graduation date as 1972 to Newsday. It is listed as 1973 on his Legislature Web site. And in 2003 he gave the date as 1974 to Massapequa weekly newspapers. Schmitt said giving the wrong graduation dates was an "oversight.”

An “oversight?” Official biographies that have appeared on campaign literature and his own legislative website have been wrong for so long and he never noticed? In the grand scheme of things this is a small matter but it seems Schmitt can’t even get the small things right.

"In 1983, while a deputy commissioner overseeing Oyster Bay's drunken-driving prevention program, Schmitt was arrested twice for driving while impaired, state criminal records show. He was convicted on one charge and pleaded guilty to a lesser crime on another, and had his license revoked, the records show. He declined to say how long his license was revoked."That is a chapter of my life that is a quarter of a century old," he said in an interview last week after his election as presiding officer. Schmitt, who became a Nassau GOP executive leader, did not lose his Oyster Bay town job due to the convictions and was promoted a year later to commissioner of community and youth services."

Notice the lack of contrition. Not once but twice. Once is a mistake, twice is a willful disregard for the law and the safety of others.We wonder if Schmitt thought of his own arrests back in 2002 when he was attacking convicted former Democratic legislator Patrick Williams who was given a job at OTB. Schmitt told, “PATRICK WILLIAMS AND OTB: An absolute disgrace. He's a convicted felon who filed false instruments. He's now at OTB filing other forms. Suozzi, Newsday and the Democratic leadership are all at fault here.”

So who is at fault for keeping a convicted drunk driver as a Deputy Commisioner and then give him a promotion??

Legislator Dave Mejias gets it right when he says "When Mr. Schmitt was in control, Nassau County was facing a state takeover, nearly bankrupt, $3 billion in debt, and had a bond rating one step above junk. In 1998 alone, Mr. Schmitt passed a budget with a $300-million deficit," Mejias said. "We were rated the worst-run county in America ... just four short years ago. Clearly, Mr. Schmitt lacks credibility when discussing issues of governance."

One of the funniest things in the article was “Schmitt said that he accepts part of the responsibility for the county's fiscal woes but said he later became an adversary of the Gulotta administration. "No one was harsher in their criticism of Tom Gulotta's failure to act than myself," he said.”

Let’s get some fact straight here, Schmitt didn’t get religion until the republican majority in the legislature was wiped out. Up until November 1999, Schmitt was a rubberstamp for Gulotta. After passing horrendous budgets for the man, suddenly losing the majority causes Schmitt to start attacking Gulotta. The fact is, the republican legislators were running fast and hard away from Gulotta for self-preservation not good government.

And Schmitt keeps going right to the end "Watching it happen was actually a feeling of disbelief," Schmitt said, recalling the moment he took power in the legislature."

Is that why he had a prepared statement? Schmitt was prepared to be Presiding Officer the whole time.

"I still find it hard to believe that the Democratic majority was so foolish, so hate-driven. ... They did what they did knowing that they were going to tip the legislature into my hands."

The funny part is that Schmitt pledged his support for Corbin but backed out. What happened to Schmitt insisting that there should be a Democratic Presiding Officer?

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