State Sen. Jack Martins recently sent me a mailing on the proper way for celebrating “The Flag Act,” which was originally adopted on June 14, 1777.
Information included the history of The Flag Act, when to display and salute the Flag along with what never to do. This mailer prepared by state Senate staff and mailed at our expense was a horrible waste of increasingly scarce taxpayer generated dollars. It will not convince me or other constituents of Senator Martins to vote for his re-election in 2012.
Senator Martins would have impressed me more by using his own personal or campaign re-election funds to distribute new flags to our local American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and other institutions. Perhaps he could have visited a Veterans Hospital to thank our troops for serving.
Senator Martins should worry about more important issues such as education, employment, crime, environment, housing, transportation and excessive levels of confiscatory taxation along with reducing the states $60 billion long-term budget deficit and future years multibillion dollar shortfalls than sending out clever mailings, clearly designed to enhance his chances of serving another term in public office. He is not alone. Congressman Gary Ackerman and state Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel periodically clog my mailbox with similar mailings.
Democratic state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and his predecessors – Stanley Steingut, Stanley Fink, Mel Miller and Saul Weprin – along with Republican state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his predecessors – Warren Anderson, Ralph Marino and Joseph Bruno – all practiced to the victor belongs the spoils in their respective chambers.
Each year the Senate majority leader and Assembly speaker give out several hundred million dollars worth of member items (state pork) to their loyal followers, who vote as directed.
The Democratic senators and Republican assembly members (who are the minority in their respective chambers) are lucky to get table scraps.
The majority leaders routinely prevent any bills proposed by members of the minority party in their respective chambers from ever coming out of committee for a full vote.
Minority members get the short end of the stick when it comes to office budgets, space, staffing and mailings versus those members in the majority.
Both Silver and Skelos give any members within their respective caucus representing competitive districts extra “assistance.”
These gifts at taxpayers expense from the leadership are clearly intended to help them win another term in office.
When will “to the majority goes the spoils” including junk mail to voters philosophy finally end?
Real bipartisan legislative reforms would include minority party members of either chamber being allowed to propose legislation out of committee, permitting a full vote on any proposed legislation along with comparable office budgets, space, staffing and mailings as members of the majority.
The only mailing I want to ever see at taxpayers expense from any elected official on the town, county, state or federal level, be it a Democrat or Republican, is a detailed list of how they voted on any legislation or budgetary actions that came up in their respective legislative session along with listing the days they actually showed up for work.
For those public officials who believe and sponsor member item pork barrel spending, I would love to see a list of all the personal charitable contributions they made out of their own pocket.