Thursday, July 23, 2009

No New Tax Party

The Daily Gazette reported today on an extraordinary new effort taking shape. The effort is a grassroots independent ballot line initiative that I am pleased to say I am part of. I thought it appropriate to clarify our initiative in my own words, now that Mr. Lamendola has given you his interpretation of our effort.

Our candidate slate is comprised of:

Brian McGarry for Rotterdam Town Supervisor
John Mertz for Rotterdam Town Council
Michael O’Connor for Rotterdam Town Council
Brad Littlefield for Schenectady County Legislator District 4

We are collectively, trying to collect petition signatures in an effort to create a new independent ballot line, the No New Tax Party. It is a monumental task.

Our message is simple and straightforward: No New Taxes. We are all committed to 0% tax increases for the next 2 years. We believe it is a realistic and achievable goal. More importantly, we know from knocking on hundreds of doors that it is what the people need, want, expect, and demand. The taxpayer is maxed out. He desperately needs relief.

This is not, as Mr. Lamendola reports, an “insurgency.” Insurgency implies that our cause is illegitimate. Insurgency also negatively introduces a suggestion of unlawfulness or armed revolt. Our effort can more accurately be described as a grassroots movement. It is intended to create a totally new dynamic of governance. A dynamic where taxpayer concern is placed first. We aim to shed the labels and constraints of party politics we’ve grown accustomed to and replace them with a true commitment to fiscal restraint and tax dollar efficiency. We intend to be held accountable.

Are these ideas brand new? Of course not. We’ve all heard politicians promise these things before but they have failed in large part to deliver on that promise. Our effort is the tangible incarnation of the displeasure associated with that failure. We have taken the highly visible tax protest gatherings we’ve witnessed across the nation to the next logical level. Action. We’ve become candidates for office to facilitate solutions to the dissatisfaction already so prevalently displayed. Despite what appear to be insurmountable odds against our success, we are motivated to try nonetheless. If we fail, we’ve tackled an “impossible” task and reinforced its impossibility. (Or maybe we’re just the wrong messengers.) If we succeed, then we’ve suddenly made the “impossible” possible. We intend to succeed and believe we can.

It’s been suggested in some circles that our actions are “destructive.” I prefer to think of our actions as creative. I’ve heard the term “creative destruction” by some and maybe that is the best description. We are challenging the status quo for sure and in that sense, success would certainly lead to the demise or destruction of certain party interests, I suppose. I think that’s a good thing. Governance should be about the people’s interests. Our goals, however, revolve around what we intend to create, not destroy. We need to transcend the negativity and distractions that currently engulf our electoral process and return to a mindset of accomplishment that best serves the electorate’s needs.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

See Spot Zone

The Rotterdam Town Board meets again tonight and among the festivities is a public hearing on a change of zoning request for parcels in proximity to the McLane’s warehouse project site that ultimately failed to materialize.

B. To amend the Zoning Ordinance and Zoning Map of the Town of Rotterdam for
Change of Zone request from Aladdin Properties and Marie Iovinella, owners
of (2)
parcels of property comprising 3.4 acres. The site is located at 330
Becker Drive,
Rotterdam, New York 12306 and is known as Tax Parcel No.
57.00-3-24 and No. 57.00-
3-25. The applicants are requesting a Change of
Zone from Agricultural (A-1) to General
Business (B-2).

More spot zoning in the offing? I’ll be interested in how our outdated Town Comprehensive Plan is applied to any eventual decision.

To view the entire DRAFT agenda for tonight’s meeting:

Pinnacle of Dysfunction

As a New Yorker, I am appalled and disgusted by the circus we call our state government. If I ever had any doubts about replacing every last one of our state elected “leaders”, they have been dispelled. The current shenanigans occurring in the state Senate demand a backlash the likes of which our elected officials have never before seen. It is my opinion that every single solitary member of the Senate deserves to be voted out of office at the first available opportunity. Spare no one. Every single one must go.

Why? It is an obvious travesty that the peoples business has been relegated to an afterthought. But listen to the rhetoric coming from both sides. It’s laughable if it wasn’t so disturbingly pathetic. All the main players should be asked to resign immediately. They won’t of course. The remainder of them, even the ones you never heard of and who may be keeping their mouths shut also have to go at the earliest opportunity. There is not one voice speaking for us, the people, throughout this crippling inaction. Where are the leaders? Not one is fit to remain in office, if only for their failure to effectively speak up and stand against what has paralyzed our state government. The whole affair is sickening. Someone… everyone… must be held accountable.

The icing on the cake is that we get to pay through the nose for these elected officials to act like crybabies while they simultaneously do the people a disservice by doing nothing! Interestingly, I recently read a letter to the editor in the local paper that asked the governor to let the stalemate continue. The writer liked it just fine that these clowns weren’t acting on any legislation…therefore, no passage of new taxes or other hindrances they are notorious for providing.

This is the clearest example yet that our state government needs a complete overhaul. Please join me in first demanding that these stooges resign. If they refuse, show them the door at the next election.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

7th of July

It’s appropriate I think that today, July 7th kicks off petition signature gathering for Independent Nominating Petitions in New York State. There is a sea change of voter sentiment in progress. There have already been two major successful Tea Party events in Albany alone. The New York State Senate demonstrates new lows in dysfunctional government and disregard for the voters of New York daily. People are truly fed up. I think we will see them actually do something about it next election. My belief stems directly from the conversations I’ve had with voters after knocking on their doors.

Assuming I can successfully navigate NYS Election Law, you’ll soon have ballot alternatives at least when it comes to the Town of Rotterdam and Schenectady County. Not alternatives just to be alternatives but alternatives offering real solutions. The “revolution” is beginning. It’s time to declare your independence again by seeking out these alternatives when you enter the voting booth. Our elected leaders must be held accountable. Many of them have forgotten that they are elected to serve us. We can do better. We must do better.

So as you begin to enjoy your summer with election thoughts far from your mind, know that the next level of independence – independence from two-party politics and gridlock, independence from the strangle-hold of ever-increasing taxes, independence to achieve the quality of life we deserve and tax relief we require – is a knock on your door away. Will you answer it? I hope so.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Winds of Change

I read Mr. Arthur R. Wargo’s letter-to-the-editor in yesterday's Daily Gazette (Why one longtime GOP voter is giving up on it) with particular interest. Mr. Wargo’s culmination of disgust seems to be predicated on the current dysfunctionality of our state government but it clearly transcends that one aspect. It is another glaring example of deteriorating sentiment and support for the major political parties.

No, I am not going to become a Democrat, but will register
as an independent, hoping that someday there will emerge a
strong third party that will force the others to pay more attention
to the needs and wishes of the people and not to special interests
and/or their own selfish agendas.

The burgeoning rank of independents is a clear sign to me anyway that the time for a viable third party to emerge is upon us. Obviously for that to happen, ordinarily “uninvolved” people will have to step forward and become “involved.” Swelling disillusionment logically suggests that the needed candidates will come from the burgeoning rank. Candidates that emerge will come from a different mold. They’ll likely be ordinary people from different walks of life sharing one common coupling of traits. They will be as fed up as you are and they’ll be motivated to be beholden to no one but the taxpayer they represent and they will not let the assumed obstacles in their path to that quest deter them from succeeding. That is currently a rare coupling to encounter.

The problem for the people that step forth, of course, is acceptance as a viable candidate by the electorate. Let’s face it, you won’t be the typical candidate they’ve become accustomed to and even though they’re as fed up as you are, they still might not be able to believe the ingrained obstacles (money, time, special interests, etc.) can be conquered… by you or anyone else. That’s the challenge – can you get the non-believers to believe?

It’s somewhat of a Catch-22. Belief is earned through delivering. To get the chance to deliver, you’ve got to already command enough belief that will translate to votes in order to deliver. A leap of faith is essential at the beginning. I believe if I’m fed up enough to get “involved” then people, like Mr. Wargo, are fed up enough to be willing to take that initial leap of faith.