2010 Governorship In Review: Paterson Legacy Filled With Ups, Downs
It's been a rollercoaster ride for Governor David Paterson who rose to power in the wake of a devastating scandal, only to leave office with a mixed legacy and controversy of his own. NY1's Erin Billups filed the following report.
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David Paterson started 2010 hoping to run for a full term, despite calls from even the White House for him to drop his bid. But a furious rumor mill in Albany promising a New York Times story of Spitzer-esque proportions began to unravel his plans.
A Times story did eventually lead to Paterson dropping out of the governor's race when it was revealed that one of his top aides, David Johnson, allegedly beat his girlfriend. The story suggested that the governor and State Police may have tried to cover it up. But an investigation into the case did find him guilty of poor judgment.
While Paterson refused to resign, the scandal led to several members of his staff jumping ship. Then in March a state ethics commission charged the governor with violating the state's gift ban by accepting free tickets to a Yankees World Series game.
Another probe found that Paterson misled investigators about his intentions to pay for the tickets.
During the budget battle, Paterson forced his budget cuts through the legislature through emergency spending bills under threat of a government shutdown, an unprecedented display of the executive's power.
He also made his mark this year by vetoing 6,900 of the legislature's budget amendments to cut spending and laid off 900 state workers this holiday season.
Paterson did sign landmark bills into law, including no-fault divorce, a domestic workers bill of rights and a law that will lead to state judges getting their first pay raise in more than a decade.
In the end, Paterson could not get lawmakers to close the growing budget gap nor was he able to convince the State Senate to save New York City's struggling Off-Track Betting Corporation.
But as Paterson has said many times, only history can judge whether he was a good governor during a very tumultuous time.