Monday, November 20, 2006

State Senate Post Mortem . . .

. . . Or, Breathing New Life Into The Same Old Issues

The election may be over, but the problems remain the same. Property taxes, school funding, and that legislative "fix" they call borrow and spend still vex New Yorkers.

While everything may change at the Governor's mansion come Day One, in the State Legislature, everything remains pretty much the same as it has been for the past decade or more.

Thankfully, while the campaigning may have come to an end, the voices for change have not been silenced. Far from it, in fact.

Today, Odelia Goldberg, Democratic candidate for Senate in New York's 9th Senatorial District [the seat kept warm for going on 23 years now by the Senate's Deputy Majority Leader, Dean Skelos] opines on what many of us knew, but voters, for whatever reason, may have missed.

We invite, of course, Senator Skelos to respond in kind (or not so kind), and to "deliver" discourse of his own. Equal time in the name of community good is made available to all!
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And I Thought Pork* Wasn't Kosher
Odelia Goldberg, Candidate for the NYS Senate

Running on a platform of bringing home the bacon (also not Kosher last I checked), Senator Dean Skelos won his seat back this election cycle. To say that I learned a lot and met some amazing people is an understatement. But these were not the reasons I ran. I put together a fierce and effective campaign in order to bring out the problems facing our community: Sky-high property taxes, hostile business climate, failing schools, out-of-control health costs, $13 billion two-year deficit (with approved future spending hikes), and corrupt atmosphere in Albany, to name a few.

I'm thrilled to say that my efforts did not go unnoticed. In early September, the Senate Majority agreed to provide an itemized list of their Member Items (aka pork). Most will be shocked to find out that for 2006 only $1.1M made its way to my district, all of Southwest Nassau. Lawrence and Inwood received NOTHING. Hewlett got about $100,000 and Woodmere $12,000. Where did the rest of the money go? Not to our communities. I can only guess that Skelos gave it to other Senators in an effort to gain popularity among his peers in the Senate Majority.

However, my opponent ran his campaign on one message -- I deliver. At no point in his multiple flyers did he say how he would address any of our issues. At no point was there even an indication that we have any problems. We were inundated with what was given to us, sometimes as old as ten years ago. I wonder what Skelos' message will be when the Senate is Democrat controlled (only 3 seats away) and Skelos gets little or nothing to give out.

Truth be told, I'm still waiting to see what it is we're getting, although I hear a lot about it (mostly in taxpayer-funded flyers and newsletters). I have a hunch as to what we're getting from our Senator, although not pork per se, it definitely isn't Kosher.

*Pork, also called member items (MOU) or community funds, is taxpayer money given to elected officials to fund pet-projects; thinly disguised campaign pieces.
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Sound a bit like sour grapes? More like bitter herbs! Still, the dialogue needs to begin somewhere. And no better place than right here, on The Community Alliance blog.

Candidates, past and future, as well as elected officials, serving or having served, are welcome to post thoughts, comments and Guest Blogs on The Community Alliance blog. In fact, everyone is encouraged to do so.

Hey, its your community. Make the most of it!

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