Barber would bring change
How many of us want a democracy instead of a moneyocracy? Quite a few, I'd guess.
Yet we go on voting for the same old familiar names _ like Jim Seward, for instance. A nice man, he is surely, but 22 years of dependable niceness is enough. A public servant of 22 years becomes solidly entrenched in the special interests who put him there and keep him there.
It's time we elect people who will work for us, not for the companies that expect payback in the form of the tax breaks and subsidies that have cost us taxpayers millions every year. It's time we elect candidates who can bring the changes we want.
One such man could be Don Barber, who will soon formally announce his candidacy for state senator. Farmer, small-business man, builder and six-term supervisor of the town of Caroline in Tompkins County, he has already proven himself as the person who has what it takes to help break the logjam in the state Legislature.
Health care, energy and jobs are just a few of the problems that demand more-prompt attention than they are getting from our Legislature.
The bill that underlies all the rest is Clean Elections. Maine, Arizona and Connecticut have taken the plunge, and other states are trying out their versions of this public financing of elections. It only stands to reason that if candidates must look to Big Money to finance their campaigns, they will want to please the hand that feeds them: the big corporations instead of their constituents.
On the national level, it is only Barack Obama who has committed in writing to work for public financing of elections. On the state level, Don Barber has expressed his support of it. Let's put voters, not Big Money, in control of elections.
State must keep trooper programs
The state troopers PBA is in support of increasing road patrol strength and saving the School Resource Officer program and the Video Lottery Unit. Both could be eliminated as part of the state's proposed executive budget, as reported in The Daily Star.
SROs bring their experience and training to schools and give students time and attention. They know what resources are available to help students both inside and outside of school.
SROs are integral in school safety. For example, an SRO helped prevent a Columbine-type attack at a high school in Dutchess County being planned by three teenagers.
We may never be able to quantify how SROs have helped students. We can assert that if SROs are removed from schools, it will negatively impact not only school safety but also the chance each student has at succeeding in school every day.
The PBA also supports state police investigators continuing their assignments at video lottery gaming sites. They ensure there is not any organized crime or even any employees with problematic histories.
There are no major issues at schools or gaming sites because of troopers' presence. We need more troopers to sustain these programs, and to ensure we have adequate road patrol coverage. Please contact your state senator and member of the Assembly and urge them to keep these important programs.
Daniel M. De Federicis
De Federicis is president of New York State Troopers PBA.