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Why Paterson Better Like Mike

Can congestion pricing get the new gov back on track?


It certainly seemed like the right thing to do at the time: After Spitzer’s sexcapades, Governor David Paterson set a relaxed new tone in Albany, immediately airing his extramarital dirty laundry, wife at his side. But then the admissions just wouldn’t end. All Paterson’s preemptions (and various subsequent versions) have now led to a “candor gap,” says one Democratic operative allied with Spitzer. “Rarely have we seen someone with so much goodwill burn through it so quickly. It’s not the sex. It’s the way they have taken a ten-minute story and turned it into a four-day story, and who knows how much longer by dissembling and prevaricating.” All this could be good news for Mike Bloomberg, though: Paterson’s former district hasn’t been sympathetic to the mayor’s congestion pricing plan—many fear Harlem will become a commuter parking lot—but with his first rough week, Paterson could use friends. “He needs an ally in the mayor,” says one source close to Bloomberg. “The mayor has a 75 percent approval rating, he’s popular, and the mayor also has a long memory. If we don’t get CP”—congestion pricing—“the mayor will not be happy, personally.” It didn't take long for Paterson to come around on the issue: late last Friday afternoon, he changed his mind and agreed to support Bloomberg's plan.

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