Tuesday, July 25, 2017

It's a well-oiled political machine that takes care of its elite members

If you read my last blog, you noticed I highlighted that 4 taxpayer-paid employees of the county legislature got involved in the political process of putting their latest (appointed, not elected) Legislator on the ballot this fall. I finished that post by pointing out the ethical dilemma of having the person they spent considerable time on outside of their jobs having to vote on their salaries, raises and let's add possible promotions to the list also.

You may remember I pointed out that the county executive was making phone calls looking for people than can actually vote for my opponent to help her also. Reading further backwards, you may notice that another long-time Legislator has been stumping for her also, via his "Hi, I'm Jim and this is Mary" article that was so blatantly political that it caused the Town Crier to offer me space to introduce myself also. This will be published in the August Town Crier, and I'd like to thank the management of that publication for being fair and offering to print my press release along with my forthcoming ad. This, btw, is not something they usually do, but did this one time to preserve their integrity.

So it is obvious: I am running against the established Picente-run political machine. They don't want somebody to come in and explore what's really going on, and they most certainly don't want anybody telling the voters what's really going on.

And believe me, there is plenty "going on."

Don't you find it somewhat ironic that the county can bond for tens and hundreds of millions of dollars for such things as:

  • Marcy Nano (It will take more than 1000 years for the current rent structure to pay for what was borrowed, and as the old Wendy's ad said, Where's the beef?)
  • Utica Aud renovations, with box suites (Whoopee) for the 6 people left in the area than can afford them (Hello, you're paying for this regardless of where you live)
  • $50,000 per parking space for an additional 80 parking places next to the county office building (do the math, I'm probably falling short of the real price)
  • A $45 to $50 million dollar proposed parking garage at the new downtown hospital (which I oppose both the location placement and having residents pay one nickel for at all)

And yet, for some unknown reason, the county executive has refused to propose a budget that lowers the sales tax. Again, you -do- realize we are paying the highest sales tax (8.75%) in NYS outside of NYC? You -do- realize that our immediate bordering counties are at least 1/2 percent lower and as much as 1 percent lower? (3 of them are 3/4 of a percent  lower).

You -do- realize this is obscene, don't you? You -do- realize the end result will be higher and higher taxes coupled with more people leaving Oneida County for greener pastures? The downward spiral will continue and this time, counting the prison population in the census won't help one iota.

Well, I'm not finished yet. As I've already said, But wait! There's more!

Purely by accident I stumbled across something that probably 99% of Oneida County residents don't realize even exists: The Republican Oneida County Legislators Election Committee. This appears to be a political committee dedicated to keeping their own in office. Go ahead, google it as it appears above and read their financials as found on the NYS Board of Elections website. While most of the contributors appear to be the Legislators themselves, there are outside donations. Usually these are vendors and entities looking to get or keep county business.

But I also noticed something peculiar in their expenditures. Go ahead, take a look and see if you notice what I did from previous year filings: They only drop contributions on themselves and it looks like they only do it if it's a contested race. In uncontested races, they don't bother to spend on themselves.

Oh, it's certainly legal. But it's also a practice that needs some sunshine put on it. These people are invested in taking care of themselves and keeping the elite country-club just the way it is. They don't want outside eyes taking too close of a look inside to see how things are really run.

So you have a choice this time for who you want to represent you in District 16: You can vote for the Machine rubber-stamp candidate (Mrs. Pratt) or you can vote for open government, term limits and real ethics reform (what a coincidence, that would be me) along with voting to zero out the line that has the additional 3/4% sales tax in the annual county budget. (Yes, the additional 3/4% has it's own line in the budget!)

I am asking for common sense. I'm asking to stop borrowing money to spend on pie-in-the-sky ventures (seriously, a CASINO downtown?) while our infrastructure crumbles. Please consider voting for real change on Primary Day, September 12. I promise you I will not be assimilated into the machine.

Thank you.

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