Paterson Takes Helm

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[On The Spot]


Last week was a bad week for the Spitzers, turned out to be a good week for the Patersons.

Former Governor Eliot Spitzer, after being caught in a prostitution sting, was forced to leave his post after investigating Johns and locking them away in jail for the same type transgression.

This week, New York State was not about Spitzer.

Up in Albany, it was about getting the State business back on track as Lieutenant Governor David Paterson was sworn in as the new governor of the state – making him the first African American to hold that office.

“I served in government for over two decades. I’m willing and able to lead this state to a brighter future and better tomorrow. Let me re-introduce myself, I’m David Paterson and I’m the governor of this state,” Paterson would say before a packed Assembly Chamber after he was sworn in by Chief Judge Judith Kaye.

Paterson’s introduction was followed by a standing ovation, which lasted approximately 25 seconds. As the real shock sets in, it is going to be interesting to watch how the Democrat and Republican Parties get behind Paterson to pass the state’s budget, which is due in a few weeks.

Former Governor Spitzer trespassed against that office and the trust of the people of New York State. Paterson took over the helm according to the Constitution of the United States, which dictates such an action.

Spitzer has now been officially relieved of his post, but his problems are still unsolved and fresh on the minds of many. “Did he use campaign money to satisfy his sexual needs? Will he be charged with violating the Mann Act or any crime at all? Did he compromise the governor’s office when dealing with an illegal prostitution outfit? These are some of the questions people are asking – with few answers to spare.

Many are still wondering what Spitzer was thinking.

Spitzer tried to distance himself from the office he took an oath to uphold, calling his criminal activity, “A private matter.”

A lot of Spitzer’s close friends and supporters expressed being shocked, surprised, confused and unable to believe their ears. Some tried to downplay Spitzer’s criminal acts and some have hinted – the law did not apply to him.

It was Spitzer, and only Spitzer who had the intent to commit a crime, and did so by involving himself in criminal acts countless times. Acts which he knew to be criminal because he made arrests for such acts in the past; and in doing so, he ignored the goodness and trust of his family, friends and constituents of the State of New York – when he acted as if he was above the law.

Paterson on the other hand did not inherit an easy job; the road ahead is full of potholes, road blocks, a lot of oil spots and no safety rails. Spitzer, who many referred to as Eliot Nest, left behind an Eliot mess.

There are many corruption issues and selective prosecution based on race bias throughout the state that needs to be dealt with, as my subsequent columns will show. There are investigations, which raised lots of questions and need immediate attention. There are also the everyday issues dealing with housing, transit and education to name a few.

Yes, the state needs to get back to doing its business – but, not in the usual way. Paterson did say he would bring trust to that office and work with everyone to do so.

However, not even 24 hours had elapsed before media begun to cloud Paterson’s office with a sex issue; the infidelities he and his wife were later compelled to publicly discuss. Paterson and his wife, Michelle Paige Paterson, spoke about having problems in their marriage back in 1999 – they both went for counseling and that there is no threat of any problem today.

Let’s wish them the best in lieu of what Paterson and his family will be facing in the coming months.

More to come.


Contact Winkfield for his consideration regarding covering your own story: (347) 632-2272 By mail: On The Spot, Post Office Box 230149, Queens County 11423; Email: or; call (212) 481-7745. Together we can get the justice everyone just talks about.

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