From City Hall earlier today, after Democratic and Nassau chairman Jay Jacobs stood to introduce attorney Charlie King as the state committee's new executive director, they were asked about today's story on Steve Levy and the title company:
Jay Jacobs: “Well the dilemma I think that Steve Levy has is that the lyrics don’t match the music. He talks reform and... the action is a little bit different. And the pay-to-play that’s been going on in Suffolk County is really exactly what’s wrong with government. So he’s the last person to be telling anybody else that he’s going to come into New York state and then try to lead government in a reform manner.”
“It’s really clear -- hypocrisy comes to mind as a general term. But the lyrics really have to match the music in order for the people to begin believing him...”
Charlie King, new state committee executive director: “That’s exactly what this (the committee’s) truth squad is going to do. People can run out there and say that they’re reformers, well that’s fine. But let’s see if what they say matches up to what they’ve actually done. And Steve Levy wants to talk about the fact that he is going to reform Albany, you’ve got to look at what he’s done in Suffolk County, and that’s one of the worst pay-to-play that Ive ever seen on a county-wide level.”
But King seemed to get a bit stuck when asked what makes Suffolk 'pay to play' a worse situation than anywhere else. .
“In terms of what, in terms of," he hesitated. "Hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts, and....”
Jacobs then intervened and said: “I would say what makes it worse is, it’s not in the detail, it’s not in the amount...It's when you're the candidate that stands before the people and says, ‘I am holier than thou, I am going to clean up Albany, I am going to reform -- and you are the perfect example of that which is needing reform, it is the hypocrisy that makes it worse than other things that we’ve seen.”
They also took shots at Rick Lazio and Western New York businessman Carl Paladino, with King saying what he finds most offensive about the e-mail mess is that anyone who FINDS it offensive "is just trying to smear him." But they did a sidestep when pressed on Andrew Cuomo's avoiding comment on issues while Republican candidates, to the Democrats' satisfaction, bash each other.
More King speaking "as an African-American" regarding the "discourse on the Shanequa issue." "Number one, I actually thing that it's polarizing and divisive. Number two, I truly think he doesn't get how bad that is. If he doesn't get how bad that is, then he's actually a worse candidate than I believe him to be right now.....He defends the thing where he says, 'I reformed these laws, it's so easy Shanequa can do it.' You know that's like the Geico commercial where it's so easy a caveman can do it? And defends it -- he doesn't back down from it, saying it was out of context. He defends it. Let's have that discussion and I believe New York is not that interested in people who are appealing to the darker impulses in each of us."
That's not exactly what Levy said at the Martin Luther King celebration that caused the dustup. For a genuine story following what actually happened in February, here's a reference point.