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Term limits only way to make pols put the common good first

Monday, February 25, 2013
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Term limits only way to make pols put the common good first

After 40-plus years of observing elected official’s actions at all levels of government, I am more concerned than ever that the United States is in terrible trouble. Despite the basic good values and fair-play beliefs of the vast majority of Americans, the leaders of our great country will destroy it without a drastic change in their service.

I am convinced the only way to accomplish improvement in elected official service is to limit all elected positions to a single term of office. What I unfortunately observe in almost every politician is an ego that greatly exceeds their public service accomplishments.

The people’s expectations of work and actions for the benefit of the government represented (local, state or national) is one of the last considerations of too many elected officials. Doing a good job, which must always include cooperation and fair compromise, is not the objective. The primary objective, today more than ever, is winning re-election, which represents their self-pride and, thus, their ego.

However, most of us, over time, would be no different, since as human beings it must be admitted that each of us is in fact the center of our world. With each successful re-election, it becomes more difficult, if not impossible, not to place oneself first in every consideration. It is simply a matter of human nature, and limitations in individual character make some of us more susceptible than others.

If we recognize this human limitation, we can change the current concept of elected public servants to be what the creators of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill or Rights envisioned of all elected officials. These were to be short-term services, not career employments, with expectations of working to improve all government actions.

With single terms of office, some elected position term lengths would require change. Two years is too short, but six years is long enough. Currently, almost all elected officials spend the last half of their term, regardless of the length, engulfed in the re-election process. It is not too difficult to understand what their priority work is, even for the most sincere among them.

Along with some changes in term lengths, the structure of elected officials’ staff would be changed from all appointed positions to perhaps half being general civil service-type positions, trained in government operations, existing laws and legislative processes. With this, they would be far less vulnerable to lobbyists’ interpretations and desires.

The structure and design of most governments in our country are very similar and very good, with working checks and balances when elected officials are not striving to sustain their ego. This would allow them to do a good job in what would be their one chance to serve as an elected official in the United States.

Anthony Torre

Princetown

How much does Cuomo really know about hunting?

Regarding your Feb. 21 article [“Fee cut sought for sportsmen licenses”] in “News Briefs.” While I think it’s a great idea to roll back the cost New Yorkers pay for hunting and fishing licenses, I think Gov. Cuomo should get his facts straight.

Both hunting and fishing licenses are valid for a full year now. They just run from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30. Also, there is no set season for hunting or fishing — that depends on the species targeted.

As to getting his facts straight, when ranting on TV, the governor, who says he hunts and fishes, should know that in New York state you are only allowed six shells in your firearms when deer hunting — not 10.

Furthermore, while I’m on the subject of guns, Gov. Cuomo’s legislation, which he calls the SAFE Act, must mean that only New Yorkers are unsafe, because his answer on how to dispose of the “now banned firearms or magazines (clips)” is to sell them to someone in another state — where the people are deemed to be much safer.

Stephen F. Mihal

St. Johnsville

Forget Kool-Aid cracks, focus on country’s future

Re Feb. 20 letter by Doug Faulisi Sr. Those of us agreeing with the person re-elected to lead our country are not drinking Kool-Aid. Obviously your ideas, and the person you voted for, was not the direction the majority of the country wanted to go. What is it about “President Obama was re-elected” that you do not get?

Why weren’t you up in arms as former President Bush drove you and me over the cliff toward a depression or charged two wars on a credit card? Or charged a Medicare Part D prescription program? This mess took years to get into and, unfortunately, it’s going to take more than four years to get out of it.

President Obama was re-elected because more Americans believe in how he wants to take the country forward. We do not need Kool-Aid, we need people like you and Vito Spinelli to move out of the way or jump in and help, as there is so much more we all need to do.

Diane Hombach

Schenectady

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comments

February 25, 2013
2:56 p.m.
ronzo says...

Term limits only way to make pols put the common good first - Anthony, if only your statements could come true, but not likely in this period of our history. People are passionate about different aspects of our Constitution and how they interpret what the Founders probably intended at that time. The Founders were citizen legislators who earned income from means other than being paid elected government officials. Today, only six states have citizen (no salary) state legislators. It was several generations after the Constitution was written that a term limit was put on the presidency. But why not Congress? Only 15 states have term limits for their state elected legislators. People are afraid of change. And too many eligible voters are apathetic. Maybe that's why there's that guy in Schenectady who has been elected to 18 terms as a state legislator. If you keep voting for a person more than 2, 3, 4, 5 terms then you get what you deserve. It's the old complaint - kick the bums out - well not my bum. The people who are passionate about not changing any part of the Constitutions of the U.S and their state will have to live with the government they have and quit complaining about what they have if they are not willing to change it. So Anthony, some great words and conviction but what you suggest is highly unlikely.

February 25, 2013
5:46 p.m.
wmarincic says...

Diane Hombach you complain because people use the Kool Aid phrase but then you follow it up by attacking Bush, we are also tired of hearing it was Bush's fault..... Put down the Kool Aid, look who Bush had for a Senate and Congress. BTW, those wars were passed by the DEMOCRAT Senate and Congress.

February 25, 2013
8:33 p.m.
Newsworthy says...

I heartily agree with Anthony about imposing term limits. Ronzo raises one of my other favorite points - voters have the ultimate opportunity to do something, yet nothing changes. Look at Joe Bruno and Sheldon Silver as sterling examples of bad politicians repeatedly re-elected.

The percentage of registered voters who actually exercise that cherished right is disappointingly low, time and again. Many then allow themselves to be told how to vote by (choose one or more): party, union, church, employer, etc. Until voters stand up and fully exercise their right, making their own choice on the secret ballot, nothing will change. Elected representatives have a vested interest in themselves and don't really care about the citizens they "represent".

All this has led to the partisan politics that is tearing our country apart and preventing a meaningful economic recovery. Who cares if Democrats of Republicans started the war or the economic crash, or whatever? We need CONGRESS, as a unified body, to solve the problems. That will take action by voters to remove the incumbents - thus, Ronzo's bleak outlook.

February 25, 2013
9:58 p.m.
stockadian says...

Wmarincic. The Senate is a part of Congress, or didn't you know that? To say that "those wars were passed by the Democrat Senate and Congress" makes no sense.

February 26, 2013
6:35 a.m.
Phils2008 says...

Stockadian, that's just more of your self described intellectual elitism. Its fairly common to refer to our bicameral legislative branch as congress(House) and Senate. you really let Wmarincic have it didn't you. From now on I'll just ignore anything he has to say ok! Did i have any puntuation errors?

February 26, 2013
7:58 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Actually Stockadian I know quite well there are two houses of Congress The House works to enact the will of the people while the Senate is supposed to look how those laws affect the country as a whole. We also have an executive branch that "should" be making sure that those laws represent both the people and the republic and finally we have a judicial branch that is the check and balance to make sure those laws follow the U.S. Constitution. The Senate and Congress both had a Democrat majority and it makes perfect sense if you know how government works and is intended to work, obviously you don't. I will give you a pass though, liberals don't know much above their own self worth, which is extremely inflated. God Bless.

February 26, 2013
8:41 a.m.
stockadian says...

It is NOT fairly common to refer to our legislative branch as Congress and Senate, Phils 2008, because it is incorrect. It is much more common and correct to refer to our Congress as the House, or House of Representatives and the Senate. And yes, you had several punctuation errors, including missing capital letters, missing apostrophes, and missing commas. Such errors would be forgivable if the person making them was not so self assured and pompous in his opinions that he was an expert with so much to teach us about our government and how it should run, or about math, and logic, as you seem to be.

Wmarinic, If you know that there of two houses of Congress, (looks more like you used Wikipedia rather than actually "know" as you claim, as your definitions are much too clean), why did you revert back to your error, and again say Senate and Congress in your third sentence, when you apparently stopped using quotes from your hastily used reference work? You, like Phils2008 have every right to have any opinion of me, of liberals, of government, of The President that you wish. But as the late, great Senator from NY, Daniel Patrick Moynihan had once said, "You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts." Both you, Wmarinic and Phils2008 need to be reminded of that.

February 26, 2013
2:26 p.m.
FrankLowe says...

Stockadian, Exactly why is that we have senators, and CONGRESSmen?
Your arguments are hollow, and without substance, so you name call, you criticize grammar, you attempt(unsuccessfully) to talk down to those whose opinions you disagree with, and worst of all you ignore questions based on legitimate facts. There are many here, and elsewhere who I disagree with, but we engage in respectful intelligent dialoque, you should try it.

February 26, 2013
3:22 p.m.
wmarincic says...

Actually stockadian I did NOT use wikapedia, I know how our govt works or is supposed to work, nice try though. Again liberals think they are the only ones who know anything. I'm sorry if my definition is too clean for you, I post just the way I speak, you are quite pompous. Liberalism is surely a mental disorder.

February 26, 2013
3:31 p.m.
stockadian says...

Article 1, Section 1 of the Constitution clearly states: All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in the Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

It is a quirk of the English language that there is no easy word to distinguish Senators from House of Representative members, sometimes called Representatives. So the term Congressmen AND Congresswomen has taken over that position, and is sometimes used rather than Representative. That, however, does not change the Constitution of the United States, and I do hope that you are not suggesting otherwise. Those ARE the facts, FrankLowe. Please read the Constitution.

February 26, 2013
4:42 p.m.
tues8capt says...

Anthony, Term limits might be a start, but shouldn't end there. Let's decrease the 'entitlement' package of Congress: a nominal salary, no perks, pay for their own healthcare, no humongous retirement pension, etc.; kind of like a regular workingman! Let's face it; many of those with political ambitions are in the game for what they can get for themselves, not for their constituents. Do you really think that we would have as many running for office if there was little 'extra' in it for them? I guess we'd see who really wants to perform public service.

February 26, 2013
8:14 p.m.
Newsworthy says...

tues8capt, in line with your suggestion of a nominal salary for Senators and members of the House of Representatives (get it?), I suggest their salary be based upon the average wage of the voters of their home district. In almost all cases, this would lower their compensation significantly and (hopefully) provide more incentive for them to act on behalf of the citizens they represent.
That was easy for both of us to put forward without any name-calling, wasn't it?

February 27, 2013
6:46 a.m.
tues8capt says...

I like it, Newsworthy, but unfortunately all we can do is make suggestions here of our own opinions. Implementation would probably take an act of Congress (?)! How do you get people to say "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore"? It's a pretty sad state of affairs. Perhaps we need more rallying points, like the pro-Constitutional movement against the SAFE Act. Too many of our elected officials sit idly by, go with the flow, and get "theirs". I know that I am as guilty of complacence as the next guy, but I think that we can change things if we really try (boy, don't I sound naive!).

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