2011-08-12 / Letters

Hundreds Of Millions

Dear Editor,

“Local City Council Politicians In Top Five On ‘Pork List’” (Howard Schwach – June 22) should be no surprise to anyone. United States Senate majority leader Harry Reid, former House majority leader Nancy Pelosi, State Senate majority leader Dean Skalos, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn on a bipartisan basis allocated hundreds of millions in yearly member items for local pork barrel projects. Earmarking of member item projects continues to be a growing public scandal.

Check out the fine print in the most recently adopted NYC budget. Once again, tradition has been maintained for decades as NYC Council Speaker Quinn, just like her predecessors the late Tom Cuite, Peter Vallone Sr. and Gifford Miller, allocated several hundred million dollars in yearly member items for local pork barrel projects. Earmarking of member item projects by the Council leadership and members continues to be a growing public scandal.

Too many members view the funding of member item pork barrel projects as a path to grease the wheels of reelection or run for higher public office. Like a monkey on their back, they appear to be addicted to this spending.

It is common knowledge about the quid pro quo between those seeking funding and Council members. This sometimes included campaign contributions from the recipients’ senior management, hiring of Council members’ family, friends and Democratic clubhouse colleagues by the recipients, invitations to ribbon cutting ceremonies, prominent promotions in recipient newsletters along with honoring the Council member at the organization’s annual fundraising dinner, etc. in exchange for receipt of the funding.

Taxpayers must send a message that pork is not kosher. Don’t either reelect or promote these same elected public officials to higher public office who promote this type of illegitimate spending. Consider the case of former NYC Council Finance Committee Chairperson and Democratic candidate for 9th Congressional District David Weprin. He is proud of his role in giving out several hundred million dollars-worth yearly of individual Council member’s pork barrel projects. He proudly accepts the title of “King of Pork” by the Gotham Gazette for the greatest number and dollar value of member item pork barrel spending.

Voters can send Washington a message on September 13 by voting for someone other than Weprin to fill the 9th Congressional District seat formerly represented by Anthony Weiner.

LARRY PHENNER

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