Sunday, July 26, 2009

Enough is enough: Only a citizen revolt can fix the state Senate, says one New Yorker

By Stephen Salup

Sunday, July 26th 2009, 4:00 AM

Now is the time for all good citizens to consider running for a New York State Senate seat - and to urge their friends and neighbors to vote against the incumbent state senators, whether Republican, Democrat, liberal, Conservative or independent.

New Yorkers need to express public outrage to the New York state senators for their disgraceful behavior.

I will be among the next wave of citizens to consider running for the Senate. I welcome others all across the state to join me. I intend to consider challenging Sen. Craig Johnson, who in my opinion does not represent the interests of the Long Island district that elected him, the district where I live.

Johnson walks lock step with the Senate leadership and, like so many others, he did not scream foul when the Senate quit working.

I served as a high level official in the administration of former New York City Mayor John Lindsay. In that position I had extensive experience with both the state Legislature and Congress and worked closely with the city's legislative representatives to Congress and the state Legislature. I took pen in hand and wrote laws to be submitted as part of the city's legislative package at the state and federal levels.

People like me - and there are many of them - can no longer sit back and complain. The system as we know it has grown too rotten and too detached from the people who call themselves our representatives. Many years ago, I was urged to run for office in Nassau County by a local political activist. I was told by party leaders that I was overqualified for the job - and that a major financial contribution to the party is usually required to be considered for the nomination.

Governmental positions should not be bought. Ever since, I have kept a wide berth of politics, except for serving as a member of my local village planning board.

But enough is enough. Someone has to step up and take on the New York State Senate and its members.

A legislator's job is really not a hard one. All that is required is to show up for work and be responsive to your constituents' wishes. Our senators have done neither. John Kennedy said sometimes party loyalty demands too much. What recently occurred in the state Senate is an example of party loyalty demanding too much and going too far.

Only under communism is the party primary. The basic philosophy of communism as a dictatorship of the proletariat is that the people are too dumb to run the government, so the party elite will run it for them doing what the party believes to be in the best interest of the citizens.

That is not how it is supposed to work in America and certainly not in New York. But that is how the New York Senate operates.

The outrage I am feeling - and that I know so many other New Yorkers share - wasn't just about what the Senate failed to accomplish, but about what they did do: While refusing to do the people's work, they actually found the time to give inordinate raises to their own staffers.

How can we rehire these clowns?

The Senate's conduct is disgraceful and embarrassing, and we the people have tolerated it far too long. If we fail to do more than rearrange the deck chairs this time, we will all share the blame.

All citizens must be part of putting a stop to the nonsense engaged in by the state Senate. We need senators who know how to work and will make decisions based on the merits, not on what the leadership tells them to do. We need senators who have backbone, energy and drive and know how to get things done, not how to prevent things from being done.

Surely there are citizens with these qualities all across our state. No engraved philosophy, and no ideologues wanted. Think through issues on the merits and by compromise, not in terms of absolutes.

It is time for Thomas Jefferson's legislature of citizen representatives to return to government, instead of the professional politicians. New Yorkers who have worked for a living should bring their real world life and business experiences to the Legislature.

Then perhaps the right thing will be done. No guarantees, but what is certain is those who call themselves state senators today do not have these qualities, and no matter what, when they run for re-election the public must vote against them - to send a message that New Yorkers will not stand for their irresponsible and disgraceful behavior. Then the next generation of senators and their leaders will think twice before making the great Empire State the laughingstock of America.

Throw the rascals out.

Salup is an attorney who lives in Roslyn.


Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2009/07/26/2009-07-26_enough_is_enough_only_a_citizen_revolt_can_fix_the_state_senate_says_one_new_yor.html?page=1#ixzz0MPpBIeG4
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