Such an exciting day in Albany today! The State Assembly is actually giving the public a peek at its pork. Each year, the Assembly gets $85 million to play with (with not an iota of oversight, the Times reports), and, under a judge’s order, the chamber has grudgingly disclosed the full list of lawmakers’ constituent-pleasing local initiatives. So what do we learn? That this year’s most spectacular spending record belongs to Speaker Sheldon Silver, Bloomberg’s Olympic nemesis and the voice of the Lower East Side, who is conveniently in charge of the chamber’s purse strings. Of the $50 million dollars earmarked so far, the report shows Silver funneling almost $7 million — that’s 14 percent of the total allocation for the whole state — to his beloved LES. Some highlights:
• $500,000 or so in three separate donations to the United Jewish Council of the East Side
• $386,000 to the Chinese-American Planning Council
• $200,000 to the Metropolitan New York Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty
• $100,000 to the Museum of Jewish Heritage
• $75,000 to the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
• $40,000 to the Eldridge Street Project, to preserve a synagogue
If it’s all sounding a bit rich to you — and, well, a bit Hebraic — not to worry. You’ll be happy to know Assemblyman Tom Kirwan, an upstate Republican, got $2,500 to fix a church boiler in Newburgh.