Newsday's editorial pointed out that New Yorkers are used to seeing politicians in handcuffs.

The attempt to buy the Republican nomination for the New York City mayoralty was made possible by New York's unique electoral system. Other states do not have a Wilson-Pakula certificate or its equivalent. Most states don't require petitions to the extent that New York does.

Why do we have this archaic system? Well, because incumbents like that it keeps competition to a minimum. If politicians set the rules for who can be a candidate, they will make it an exclusive club, open only to the wealthy and their own kin.

This may be why the governor is the son of a prior one. The Republicans are no different, as evidenced in Nassau County, where the "new blood," such as Michael Venditto and Ed Ra, are sons of the old blood.

By any measure, New York is a mess. It's not because of laws, rules or unions, but because those who make the laws don't have to be concerned about competition. When New York liberalizes its ballot access, there will be more politicians catering to the voters instead of stealing from them.

Martin Dekom, Manhasset

It's no wonder the country's in such terrible shape, when professional politicians can't even find a way to manipulate a local election without getting arrested .

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State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) and City Councilman Daniel Halloran (R-Bayside) should move out to Suffolk County when they are released from custody, so that they may study under our local political leaders, who have mastered the art of rigging the outcome of so many local elections by dealing cross-endorsements that hardly anyone raises an objection anymore.

I suspect that Smith and Halloran made the mistake of offering cash instead of negotiating for jobs, judgeships and other emoluments. They are an embarrassment to political wheelers and dealers everywhere.

James J. McDonald, Deer Park