Take me out to The Felon

The other shoe finally dropped in an Albany, NY, courtroom yesterday. Joseph L. Bruno, the cocky former State Senate majority leader, was sentenced to two years in prison on his conviction for violating the federal law concerning theft of honest services.

Bruno, who loves nothing better than making self-congratulatory speeches — well, he also obviously likes doing business with friends who can enrich him, spent 40 minutes of the judge’s time boo-hooing about his hardscrabble upbringing and shoring up his own personal code of ethics, That was before the judge — who had to take a 10-minute pee break a half-hour into Bruno’s monologue — sentenced him to two concurrent two-year terms.

Bruno was freed on bail, awaiting a possible U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a suit challenging the legality of the theft of honest services law. He then headed for a meal at the iconic Jack’s Oyster House in downtown Albany with his son, Kenny.

Don’t be surprised if the elder Bruno continues his freedom by showing up at the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium on the Hudson Valley Community College campus in Troy when the minor league baseball season begins. Something soothing about basking in the glow of your own name.

And, speaking of Hudson Valley CC, it now has two edifices named for convicted felons. The McDonough Sports Complex was named for the late Ed McDonough, the Rensselaer County Democratic Party chairman and powerbroker who served federal prison time for municipal corruption, and the aforementioned Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, named for the now-convicted felon who behind closed doors steered taxpayers’ money to the college to construct the stadium that, in a move he and his aides said was a surprise to them, then was adorned with his name.

So, here we have an ever-growing, taxpayer-funded college with two of its most prominent facilities proudly bearing the names of convicted crooks who enriched themselves in money and power at the expense of you, me and every other New Yorker.

Local media and sports fans like to refer to the stadium as “The Joe,” short for Bruno’s name. A suggestion: Why not re-name it it Felony Field, and just call it “The Felon”?

Better still, HVCC President Drew Matonak should extend the courtesy to the public of starting a push to change the names of both sports complexes. Lingering honors to dishonorable politicians have no place in the community.

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About Bill Dowd

Webmaster/social media coordinator for the Southern Rensselaer County NY Rotary Club.

Posted on May 7, 2010, in Community, Governance, Society. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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