Matt Doheny opposes entitlement abuses
The spreading of the entitlement mentality in America is like a cancer. If unchecked, it will have a terminal effect on our financial and moral stability.
George Will’s Oct. 28 column in the Gazette reveals how pervasive the abuse of disability claims has become, and the underlying decay of moral values.
I had the opportunity to discuss this with Matt Doheny during “Meet the Candidates” at Perth Bible Church. He is keenly aware of this critical issue and is committed to curbing entitlement abuses.
To help restore fiscal responsibility, I urge voters in the 21st Congressional District to vote for Matt Doheny on Nov. 6.
Charter form of gov’t is the only one for Montgomery County
On Oct. 26, I had the opportunity to attend an informational meeting presented by three members of the Montgomery County Charter Commission. It was an extremely informative meeting, attended by a near-capacity crowd at the town of Canajoharie offices. There was a wide range of questions asked that were very well answered by the three panelists.
There have been meetings such as this presented throughout the county over the last few weeks. For those of you who were unable to attend these meetings, I’d like to offer some of the questions and answers.
One question was: “What are the qualifications required for the position of county executive?” The answer is none, other than residency and age as stipulated in state law. However, I cannot imagine the Democratic, Republican, Conservative or any other party, for that matter, proposing and supporting anyone they do not feel has the necessary requirements to fulfill the duties of the position.
Another question is: “Doesn’t this create another level of government?” The answer is no, because we already have at the town level the town supervisor performing the duties of the town supervisor for a salary. He also performs the duties of the supervisor at the county level for another salary ($10,000 for supervisor, $15,000 for chairman). The thing that the charter does is separate the duties so that each representative can focus on their specific positions.
The question was asked: “What would be the pay for the county executive and the legislators?” The commission does not have the authority to set salaries. If the charter vote is successful, the existing board of supervisors would be charged with determining the salaries.
I would assume the present supervisors would have the common sense to set the new legislator at or below the $10,000 level. There is no viable reason to increase it. Also, by reducing the number of representatives from 15 to nine, it would be a reduction of $60,000 in salaries.
As for the county executive, the example was given of counties of similar size, the salary ranging from $59,000 to $75,000. It was also pointed out that the county executive, in many counties, does not have the highest salary in that county. Examples were given where many counties had 15 to 25 positions that were paid more than the county executive.
The issue of staffing for the county executive was discussed. It was pointed out there are already people performing these duties for the chairman and the full Board of Supervisors. No further staffing would be necessary.
There were references to term limits by the commission members. Both the county executive and the legislators may only serve 12 consecutive years.
Appointments to positions within the county shall be proposed by the county executive, but must be approved or disapproved by the legislators.
I could go on and on, but the truth is, we need a change and the county charter is a change for the better. We need equality on the board, where one representative has one vote and it isn’t weighted. We need one person in charge, responsible for overseeing all county departments. We need one person, not 15, for department heads to be responsible to. We need someone to be working full time administering to a nearly $100 million budget. We need someone to represent us in Albany with county issues.
Statements by people indicating high additional costs with a legislature and a county executive are not accurate. I feel the charter can make Montgomery County stronger and more efficient. That’s probably why 95 percent of the counties outside of New York City utilize this legislative form.
It should be pointed out, the vote for or against the charter is on the back side of the ballot. I am hoping for a positive vote for the charter, but no matter what your choice is, get out and vote.
John R. Vesp
Farley vs. Thorne: Out with the old and in with the new
The 49th District is fortunate to have Madelyn Thorne running for its New York state Senate seat. In order to meet the needs of New York’s diverse population, the Senate needs new energy and a new perspective.
Sen. Hugh Farley is part of the dysfunctional Senate that is responsible for many of the unfunded mandates causing our property taxes to skyrocket, threatening our homes and the future of our youth. We have no reason to believe that Sen. Farley will do anything differently if he is re-elected.
Ms. Thorne has proven herself to be well-versed in the issues facing the 49th [District] and will do the hard work to get our economy back on track. She will fight for campaign finance reform and an increase to minimum wage, and will address the burden of the cost of Medicaid. She is willing to listen to different perspectives, compromise where it makes sense and make hard choices.
I believe that Madelyn Thorne is the best candidate for our district.
Mary Ann van Alstyne
Candidate Tkazcyk, with Rep. Tonko, will work for the people
My opinion of politicians changed after spending some time with Cecilia Tkaczyk and Rep. Paul Tonko.
I used to think of politicians as narcissistic and seeking power for personal gain or to offset an inner insecurity. I now see that there are some individuals that truly make working for the people their calling in life.
I know Cecilia personally, through our sons who are in the same grade, and I know through experience that she will work tirelessly on the people’s behalf.
My hope is that people will do their research and look at the candidates and make an informed decision and not just vote along party lines. I do not have the confidence that Mr. George Amedore is one of those people that will work tirelessly for the people and we will be held back on growth and improvement for our communities.
We need people like Cece Tkaczyk and Paul Tonko in politics for a brighter future!
‘Trickle-down’ theory never gains momentum for the middle class
Apparently, because most of us are unable to comprehend “wonk,” the actual details of a Republican budget are not even going to be presented prior to the election.
However, from the little I have heard from Mitt Romney and his vice president pick, the basis of their budget plan deals again with huge tax breaks for the wealthy “job creators.” These will be funded by elimination of unspecified tax deductions and cuts to the programs that benefit the poor and middle class, thereby continuing the process of “trickle-down economics” and returning to the policies that were so effective during the Bush presidency that they culminated in the loss of over 800,000 jobs in the last month of that administration.
Here’s my theory on how I think trickle-down works in the real world. Nice large tax breaks are given to all, especially to the top money makers, the so-called job creators. The deficit increases, revenue decreases and budgets have to be cut. At this point the trickle-down begins and we cut government, mostly in the form of jobs: teachers, policemen and firefighters.
The trickle becomes a small stream as these out-of-work Americans now have no income on which to pay taxes, decreasing government revenues. They also initiate their own “austerity programs” and cut back on all those frivolous expenditures like haircuts, oil changes, weekly take-out dinners or dinner out, and anything they can no longer afford.
The stream becomes a river when the hairdresser’s income decreases because several customers no longer visit on a regular basis and the local restaurant and garage close because they have no customers. Now 10 employees are out or work, not paying taxes and going on “austerity programs” of their own, etc., etc., etc., until this river empties into the ocean and then the flow is unstoppable!
Now we have real trickle-down economics!
We have heard about the “job creators” and the necessity for keeping the current tax cuts in place to ensure the creation of jobs for several years, but they don’t seem to be able to produce.
It is time to realize who the real job creators are. We are the job creators. When we have jobs, we shop and we buy products and services. This creates a demand and demand creates a need for more employees to fulfill this demand. That local restaurant adds two employees to cover the dinner crowd; the local hairdresser adds another stylist and a nail professional due to increased business, the garage adds another mechanic.
And of course the bottom line is that more working people pay more taxes, increasing revenues and decreasing the deficit. Is this so hard to understand?
Tonko vs. Dieterich debate: right out of a Hollywood movie
It was a thrilling experience to attend the 20th Congressional District debate on Oct. 23 in Clifton Park [Oct. 24 Gazette]. First let me say that the League of Women Voters did an outstanding job. Secondly, I couldn’t get the image of the late James Stewart out of my mind as the candidates debated.
On one side you had [GOP candidate] Bob Dieterich, wearing an off-the-rack department store suit, answering questions in an open and straightforward, positive manner. He reminded me of Stewart’s portrayal of Jefferson Smith in the 1939 film “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”
On the other side was the incumbent, Rep. Paul Tonko wearing an expensive suit, manicured, groomed and tanned, answering questions in an evasive manner typical of a 20th century career machine politician; you know, the other guys in the film. He danced well around the simple question I asked. Mr. Smith proved that a good man or woman, if willing, can have a positive effect in Washington, something I think a 21st century Bob Dieterich will have.
During the debate, Tonko ridiculed Dieterich for providing banking services to our community as an employee of the 1st National Bank of Scotia and even chastised the local bank for having $300 million in assets — and James Stewart was still on my mind. There was George Bailey, husband, father, neighbor and, yes, a banker defending the Bailey Building and Loan in the 1946 film “It’s a Wonderful Life” against the narrowminded Henry Potter who wants to ruin the bank regardless of how much that would ruin the community of Bedford Falls. George Bailey showed how the bank assets were in people’s homes and small businesses very much like those of the 1st National Bank of Scotia.
We also see in the film what could happen to Bedford Falls without a George Bailey; a town renamed Pottersville and in economic decline much like Tonko’s Montgomery County — Tonkoville? — with a 10.3 percent unemployment rate.
We can’t get Mr. Smith to go to Washington, as he was the creation of a great actor. But we do have a real 21st century candidate, Bob Dieterich, in our community who will bring the very best of Mr. Smith to Washington. Please send Bob Dieterich to Washington with your vote on Nov. 6.
Sorry NY, Obama only has time for New Jersey
Remember back in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans? President Bush was lambasted in the media for only doing a fly-over the day after, to assess damage instead of being on the ground.
Here it is, [two] days later [Oct. 31], and what is President Obama doing? Making a fly-over of New Jersey!
My sister lives in Lindenhurst on Long Island’s south shore. She swam from her first floor to her second floor and was rescued a day later by the Air National Guard from a second-floor casement window.
The devastation of downstate New York will be in the tens of billions by the time we’re done. Gov. Cuomo has been on the scene and has done a tremendous job, so this isn’t a political comment on my part. I voted for Obama in 2008. But it’s time to pop the protective media bubble around this guy when it come to criticism. He’s aloof, incompetent and not deserving of a second term.
Romney doesn’t give me goosebumps, either, but how can we reward someone whose only attribute as a leader is being a good speaker?
Afghan war forgotten in all the campaigning
During this long political campaign, a question comes to my mind. That is, why has the discussion of the war in Afghanistan been almost entirely omitted at all levels of political campaigns? It seems to me that being involved in a war would deserve some attention.
Should not the American people be reminded that 68,000 troops remain on the ground in Afghanistan? That as of Sept. 26 the death toll stood at 3,190, including 2,125 Americans; along with 25,000 to 30,000 wounded — many of whom are amputees and mentally disabled.
Another question was recently raised for me when I read in the Foreign Affairs periodical that on Oct. 19, 2011, the government of Afghanistan (is there one?), acting on the recommendation of U.S. military advisers, granted a license to the China Petroleum Corp. to develop several oilfields in the northern part of Afghanistan. Moreover, three years earlier another Chinese company won the right to develop that country’s copper deposit, one of the largest in the world. The question is why?
I think I have an answer to the first question and it is that America has become hardened to the tragedy of war and it is now treated as commonality. Whatever happened to the fervor of antiwar sentiment evident during Vietnam and Iraq [wars]. Our politicians are avoiding war talk because now it can be a liability to [an] election. There must be a call for the immediate return of our forces. Who will do it?
As to the second question raised, I have formed no answer except to say that to allow China to do business in a country where we are combatants is a policy which borders on treason. China has not sent one soldier to Afghanistan.
It is true that the deficit and unemployment are serious issues and should be debated for the American people during election campaigns. Surely, being in the longest war in our history merits more attention and discourse than has been given by almost all candidates running for office.
Michael J. Palmiotto