Friday, October 2, 2009

Dirty Tricks in the Downsizing Battle

I give local activist Kevin Gaughan and his team of volunteers great credit. Gaughan has pushed to downsize local town boards and continues to win in every town so far. On the surface, you might ask yourself what the big deal is. The reason the politicians and their "friends and families" are fighting so hard against downsizing is not because they don't want you to lose "representation". It is because they don't want to lose the pensions they receive for being on these boards. This is not what George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had in mind when they created the Constitution. Did you know New York state has more governments than the nation of Japan?

It's always funny when they tell you you will lose your representation if you vote in favor of downsizing. You mean we have representation now? That's news to me. Remember when they first talked about getting rid of the at-large common councilmembers in Buffalo in the 1990s? Local leaders said we would have less representation and be greatly affected by this change. What a joke! Has it even affected one person besides the politicians themselves? I doubt it.

In the downsizing battle, here are some of the tactics the local "leaders" have used to try and suppress the vote so only they and their friends (aka local political bottom feeders) show up to vote. please remember, these are professional crooks we are talking about:
1. Opening only a few polling places. The less polling places, the less voters. Less voters translates to less opposition.
2. Limiting voting hours. You work. They don't. These people can leave work to vote, as their jobs literally depend on it. Many use elections as sick days or personal days. We have to save these days for when we are actually sick or have something important to do. Again, this translates to less voters.
3. Using technicalities to prevent these elections from taking place on Primary Day or General Election Day. They don't want that. People will show up in decent numbers on those days. They want to have these elections on some random day so again, less people show up.
4. Using fear tactics. The article says in Orchard Park, the downsizing opponents passed out anonymous fliers that said downsizing was going to lead to regional schools. They'll try anything to avoid losing these pensions! Regional schools? Could you imagine the outrage in the city if our city kids were forced to go to school alongside delinquent kids from Orchard Park? Don't worry.Nobody would want to expose anyone to that under any circumstance.

So keep reading my blog. Not doing so, could result in a loss of your "representation."
Donn Esmonde: Downsizing trumps voter suppression*

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