What I Meant Was…

Tom DiNapoli The Last Honest Man In Albany

Last week I took certain members of Congress who voted for a pay raise to task for rewarding themselves during the steepest economic decline in decades. What I found insulting was that our local Congressional members, such as Representative Gary Ackerman and Senator Charles Schumer, were simultaneously raking the auto manufacturers over the coals and suggesting they work for $1 per year while voting to accept a raise themselves. Because the United States is hemorrhaging money at a far greater pace than the big three auto manufacturers, it just seemed disingenuous.

I then went on to extol the virtues of public servants such as Michael Balboni who gave up a critical Republican seat in the New York State Senate—taking a pay cut in the process—in order to serve as New York’s Homeland Security czar. The article was published in last week’s edition of the Long Island Press on exactly the day Balboni gave notice to the state and announced he is heading to the private sector.


Yep. I was that guy. The point of the article, though slightly diminished under the circumstances, remains the same. But I spent a great deal of time thinking about the best way to recover from this and came up with the following scenarios.

Grief. I wrote the article because I feared that he would leave. It was a last ditch effort to try and convince an incredible public official to remain in office and defend our great state against invisible enemies and unforeseen tragedies. Please Mr. Balboni, reconsider for our sake! Pleeeeaaaase!

Incredulity. How could he? Who does he think he is? Shame on Mr. Balboni for forsaking the good people of New York State and leaving us behind for selfish pursuits.

Narcissism. Clearly Mr. Balboni saw something in my article that touched a nerve deep inside of him. He surely misinterpreted my intention to shower him with accolades and decided based upon MY words and insight that he must move on from this post.

B.S. I knew it all along. In fact, he consulted me on the move, which is why I put this article in on the exact date that only Mr. Balboni and his family knew that he was leaving office.

Mea Culpa. My bad.

Denial. Did I say Michael Balboni? I meant Tom DiNapoli. The M-I-C-H-A-E-L-B-O-N keys on my keyboard often times stick together and instead show up as T-O-M-D-I-N-P-L. I sincerely apologize for the confusion. I have since swapped out my keyboard with Jamie from accounting.  

Instead, I’ll call it what it is. Unbelievable (and if you work at the Press – ridicule worthy) timing. The bright side is that I am able to dedicate space again to honor a man I admire greatly and consider a friend. Michael Balboni is the type of person that makes those around him better and it’s hard not to be caught up in his enthusiasm whether he’s speaking about his family, boxing, surfing, or homeland security.

If you have ever spent time in the company of Michael Balboni you know that he is remarkably self effacing and down to earth considering the gravity of the subject matter he studies and represents. His enthusiasm for the simple pleasures, such as his continual pursuit of the perfect wave, is contagious and his dedication to New York has been unwavering for twenty four years. I’m thrilled for his family and thankful that he is continuing in the field of homeland security, albeit in the private sector. And I still think that our local officials would be well-advised to take a page out of his book.

Now, as I was saying about that great Long Island public servant Tom DiNapoli…

Author: Jed Morey

Jed Morey is the publisher of the Long Island Press, LI's Cultural Arts and Investigative News Journal. The Press has a monthly circulation of 100,000, and www.longislandpress.com, welcomes more than 500,000 unique visitors every month. He serves on the board of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center in Nassau County, as well as the President's Council of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Long Island. In addition to the contributions on this blog, Morey authors a column for the Long Island Press titled "Off The Reservation" and is a staunch advocate for Indian rights. The column was voted Best Column in New York by the NY Press Association in 2010 and third overall in the nation among alternative publications by the Association of Alternative Weeklies in 2012. Morey lives in Glen Cove with his wife, Eden White, and their two daughters.

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