The Arrogance of Politics - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the September 2009 Juniper Berry Magazine

The Arrogance of Politics

Congressman Joe Crowley: Where are You?

How many times do we have to watch those video clips of the representatives whose every penny they spend is taken from us, the voting taxpayers? How much arrogance do we have to watch before we conclude that these people quit representing us the moment the vote count was complete and they won? How many times are we going to accept being labeled as Nazis, or a mob, or as swastika-carrying dupes of the insurance companies or, criticized for being too well dressed to be actual constituents?

Do we accept the words of the Pennsylvania Senator (Arlen Specter) snarling to the taxpayers at his Town Meeting that he didn't have to even be there because he was on vacation? He further announced to the taxpayers that those who opposed his view on Health Care Reform were "Not necessarily representative of America." Oh? Or Specter's Primary opponent, the current Pennsylvania Representative, Joe Sestak, announcing, on video and audio that he will vote against the best interests of Pennsylvanians if he believes that he understands their best interests far better than they do themselves. And, that's exactly what this representative does believe.

These arrogant, insolent representatives no longer believe that WE THE PEOPLE are their employers. They have forgotten that they have no money, no staff, no free lunches from lobbyists, any limos or offices or barbershop, restaurant – nothing – unless we the people give it to them on Election Day. In their stupor of power, they really forget the biggest lesson of all; we can also fire them on Election Day!

We must remove these people from power repeatedly, at every election, until they finally demonstrate that they understand that their job is to represent us, not the president, the governor, the speaker of the house or assembly, or the senate majority leader, or the mayor, or the speaker of the council, and certainly not their party bosses. We the people are their employers and we hire them on Election Day to represent us.

Are you satisfied with the job performance of Congressman Anthony Weiner, Senator Chuck Schumer, Congressman Joe Crowley, or Senator Kirsten Gillibrand? Well, you have an opportunity to tell them what you think.

Town Meeting at Our Lady of Hope School Auditorium

We have invited each of these elected officials to attend the Town Meeting sponsored by the Juniper Park Civic Association, on Thursday evening, September 24th. Congressman Joe Crowley has already declined; he expects to be out of town on that date. You would ask him if he wants to publicly respond to your questions and comments regarding this multi-trillion dollars health care proposal. A first question you may want answered could be: Congressman Crowley, have you read the bill – in all its variations – coming through the House of Representatives? Do you agree with every provision? With what provision do you disagree? Why? How much will these provisions cost if they become law? Where will that money come from?

As this column is being written, we have no response to our invitation from Anthony Weiner, Senators Schumer, or Gillibrand. We certainly hope they do accept the invitation, and that Congressman Joe Crowley, who in 2002, we thought highly enough of to make him the JPCA Man of the Year also accepts. At that time he was still trying his best to represent us. See what too many years in the Congress can do to those who are continuously elected by us?

Well, Joe Crowley has an opportunity to redeem himself and tell you what he thinks of the most important piece of legislation to come before the Congress in recent years, The Health Care Reform Bill. If passed, this bill will change all our lives forever and please don't believe our elected officials from the President on down when they pretend the contents of the bill is the best thing for us. None of them have read the bill, and as elected officials, they won't be victims of the bill, because they have their own gold standard health insurance, paid for by you and me! We hope Crowley will reconsider and spend one evening with his constituents (employers) to answer their questions.

Close to home, Anthony Weiner, Representative of Brooklyn and Queens (Middle Village, Howard Beach, Woodhaven, Elmhurst, Maspeth, Rego Park, Ridgewood, and Forest Hills) proposed that all US Health Care be taken over by the federal government. The same federal government operating the Post Office, Medicare (Medicare fraud since its inception is now $38 Trillion; what will the number be for Universal Health Care fraud?), Medicaid, Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac, the Federal Reserve, and has the US Treasury run by a tax cheat (Turbo-Tax Tim Geithner), and the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee who refuses to pay taxes because he cannot understand the tax laws that he enacted.

Congressman Weiner appeared on the FOX News Channel morning program Fox and Friends and displayed breathtaking arrogance to the hosts. He interrupted each question, responded by asking his own question and then answering his own question is a style of a fast talking used car salesman knowingly unloading a clunker on an unsuspecting prospect. And, he was in error on five major points.

The real questions are these – Should any elected or appointed government official have any part to play in what your doctor recommends as treatment for you or your loved ones? What qualifications does any government official have to be involved in the health care for you or your loved ones? Witness 77 year old Ted Kennedy who made sure in the last year of his life he availed himself of the best medical care America has to offer. At 77 he certainly wasn't ready for rationed care!

For each elected official invited, we will provide a chair with his or her name on it. Constituents may submit their questions to each empty chair.

Governor

David Paterson

At the New York State level of government, we have Governor David Paterson saying that any critics of his actions are racists. As they say, you can't make this stuff up!

Paterson took the ballot choice away from taxpaying voters in the 38th Assembly District when Assemblyman Tony Seminario, who pleaded guilty to a single count of honest-services fraud by taking $310,000 in secret "consulting" fees from the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, left the Assembly seat vacant.

How did Governor Paterson take away anybody's ballot choice? Well, once Seminario resigned, several hopefuls filed as candidates and collected signatures door-to-door to petition that their names be placed on the September 15th Democrat Primary Election. About four or five hopefuls collected enough petitions.

Understand that over the years, primary elections are used – successfully – to choose the one candidate to run under the party label. The voters make that choice. In this case of the 38th Assembly District, party bosses stepped in, concluding that voters cannot be trusted and Governor Paterson, announced that, instead of a primary on September 15th, the voters would participate in a Special Election.

Translation, that means the voters would not really participate. The party bosses would choose the candidate whose name would appear on the September 15th Ballot. To hell with leaving this business up to you ignorant voters. They are afraid that you just might elect a maverick who just may want to represent you. That is simply not acceptable to the party bosses. They want a candidate to represent the party's interest. Do you see how you the voters are constantly being manipulated by party bosses into a system of marginalizing the impact of your voice in the electorate?

In the New York State Assembly, the representatives we elect dump us like cheap dates immediately on election night when the votes are counted. They instantly switch alliances to represent Speaker Sheldon Silver. We have the power to end their shabby treatment of us. We just have to use our vote to choose the candidate who will represent us.

How do we describe the NY State Senate? It is an indescribable snake pit. You have certainly read about their escapades in all the local newspapers. And, while these reptiles are writhing around using our tax dollars to advance their own and the party's interests, we the taxpaying voters are ignored. Make sure you vote them out of office the next chance you get!

Here at the New York City level, we have another big job to do, cleaning house. We the taxpayers voted twice to impose term limits on city officials. That included the Mayor, the council members, and the borough presidents.

Our twice-voted instructions annoyed the billionaire Mayor, who simply will not tolerate any dissent from the governed. He actually believes that HE will decide what's in OUR best interests. He actually believes that we have no brains to decide what WE believe is in our best interests.

Here's a brief and incomplete list of the current Mayor imposing HIS will on US, the taxpayers:

• His widespread overdevelopment;

• His abuse of eminent domain to transfer private property to other private interests who can profit immensely from the land grab;

• His illegal use of taxpayer money to be used to illegally lobby himself and the agencies he runs to use eminent domain – Willets point is a prime example;

• He wants to shove a homeless shelter into a quiet residential neighborhood in Elmhurst. This proposed homeless shelter will attract drug addicts, alcoholics, and AIDS patients in this quiet neighborhood, where there are many children. There is a reason for this destruction of a neighborhood. Most of the residents are Asian. In his demented racism, this current Mayor thought he could push this repulsive facility into this neighborhood because Asians are reputed to be too timid and quiet to protest. Oh yeah? Well, the residents organized a protest, bringing out over 300 neighbors – Asian, Hispanic, Black and White – to tell the current Mayor that: NO! You're not going to do this to our families. If this Mayor is reelected, he WILL force this homeless shelter into that neighborhood. In his utter vindictiveness, he will put it there to destroy these people and their neighborhood. No one defies his will!

• He wants to force a third school in a neighborhood in Maspeth, which is already crowded with two schools. The land is contaminated with toxins. The streets are busy with heavy truck traffic. There is no nearby public transportation. So, the kids who survive the toxic contamination just might not survive the dangerous traffic. The current Mayor sent representatives from the School Construction Authority to lie and withhold environmental facts regarding the toxins;

• The residents of Maspeth, who live near the land once occupied by St. Saviour's Church, want the abandoned land to be converted to a park – something the current Mayor claims he wants for all residents of New York City, a park within ten minutes walk of their home. This current Mayor, who is quick to use eminent domain on private property, refuses to purchase or use eminent domain on land now owned by developers.

In overturning the terms limits law that we the taxpayers voted to uphold, Bloomberg made sure he scheduled the change to avoid our voice – vote – on the matter, and he purchased a number of council members who wore for sale signs. There were at least 29 council members who preferred to represent the current Mayor's interests rather than honor the law as their constituents had voted for, twice. So, they sold their vote to the high bidder. There were 22 council members who voted against extending term limits. Many of them first asked permission to do so from Speaker Quinn and her boss, the current Mayor. They needed to avoid the anger of their constituents if they voted yes, to change the law.

At least one honest council member, Tony Avella, voted against extending term limits. He is now a candidate for Mayor. Those who want to take control of their future and the future of their family and neighborhood will be voting for Tony Avella. Others will vote against their own interests and vote to keep the current Mayor.

My Recommendations

We have the power to change Bloomberg's status to Former Mayor. As the Future Mayor starting on January 1, 2010, I am supporting and will vote for Tony Avella.

For City Council, vote for the opponent of any council member who defied your two votes for term limits and, instead, helped themselves to a third term. These same members will absolutely again vote their own interests and vote for a fourth term, and the elimination of the term limits law itself.

In the 29th Council District, now represented by Melinda Katz, and she is running for City Comptroller to replace the current Comptroller, William Thompson, who himself has demonstrated some ethics and tax lapses.

How has Katz ever served the constituents of the 29th Council District? She told constituents who asked for her help preventing that Elmhurst Homeless Shelter: If you don't like it, get a lawyer!

Former Assemblyman, Michael Cohen, would never so insult those people. He has too much self-respect. Therefore, I recommend that voters in the 29th Council District elect Michael Cohen to represent them in the Council and in the city. If elected, the constituents will be well served by an experienced former State Legislator who represented and served his constituents well.

In the 30th Council District, there is the current Council member, Elizabeth Crowley who is being challenged by the former Council member who served ten years until 2001, when term limits required that he step aside (note, it did not occur to Tom Ognibene to demand an extension of terms).

I recommend that voters in the 30th Council District choose experience and legislative know-how. Tom Ognibene is well known for being approachable by his constituents, and for satisfactory resolution of their various problems. He has a record of accomplishment second to none. He knows how to bring our tax moneys back to the communities he serves.

There you have it, the arrogance of politics in our elected officials and the power to change it on Election Day.

Use it wisely and well.