2012-08-03 / Letters

Nothing New

Dear Editor,

“Rockaway’s Councilmen Dish The Pork” (Nicholas Briano – July 13) is nothing new. 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. This year’s earmarking of member item projects by the Council leadership totaled $147 million while it 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.

Intelligent voters should challenge 2013 Democratic Mayoral candidate wannabes – NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, former NYC Comptroller and 2009 losing Democratic Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson, current NYC Comptroller John Lui, NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Manhattan Media publisher Tom Allon on this issue. Ask them all if elected Mayor would they have the moral courage to veto any budget which included pork barrel member item spending. Consider voting for a Mayoral candidate who will support a kosher budget minus the pork. The same is true for the upcoming September 13 Republican State Senate primary. Ask both potential GOP candidates NYC Councilmember Eric Ulrich and challenger Forest Hills attorney Juan Reyes their respective positions on requesting member item pork barrel projects. Would either vote for a state budget which included several hundred million dollars in member item pork barrel projects? Whoever wins the September 13 Republican Primary hopes to defeat incumbent Democratic State Senator Joseph Addabbo. This seat was once held by former Republican State Senator Serph Maltese until losing to Addabbo in 2008.

LARRY PENNER

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