Unfortunately, the snow we had on Wednesday forced the lieutenant governor to postpone our get together until a later date.
Over the years, and especially the last few years, I've become very suspicious of our elected officials and those who aspire to those positions. So when they come knocking, I now tend to get worried about their intentions. Unfortunately, the older you get the less trusting you become ... like parts of your body that start sagging or the hair that keeps falling out. There's not much you can do to prevent it. It's just part of the aging process.
While they all say they are public servants, time and time again we discover, all too often after the fact, that they were really self-serving servants.
Thus was the case recently when our Assembly Representatives Sayword and Duprey opted to take early retirement one day and resumed their elected duties the next. Oh, I'm sure they had plenty of sound reasons for their actions. Bottom line, my state is financially broke and their actions did more for them personally then it did for me and my fellow taxpayers. Tell me how their actions helped me and not themselves?
But back to the governor's email. He asked me (and I'm sure many others) to listen to his 5-minute prepared speech asking for my help. My first thought was, "Here we go again." Times are really tough; I and all New Yorkers will need to ante up to help Cuomo solve the problems he said he could solve if we gave him the opportunity to go to Albany as our chief executive.
As I debated with my fingers on the mouse, left button I listen, right button I delete ... I thought to myself, "What do I have to lose?" It's only a recorded message, and I could practice giving him a piece of my mind. The governor started by thanking me for electing him, and I began reaching for the right mouse button. Then he said three things I could not disagree with:
1. We need to clean up Albany and restore integrity.
2. We need to get the economy running and create jobs.
3. We need to stop government overspending and overtaxing.
He got my attention.
I was hooked for the duration but still very suspicious. He went on to say HE was going to shake up the Albany establishment and, despite the attacks he knew would come his way, HE tells me HE is up to the task at hand. Next he tells me New York state law automatically forces the budget to increase by 13 percent each year, which is six times the rate of inflation. And what's worst, we spend far more than other states and get far less in return.
The governor highlights two examples: 1. New York is No. 1 in education spending yet rank 34th in performance.
2. New York is No. 1 in Medicaid spending but ranks 21st in performance.
He blames these conditions on our state working for the special interest groups and lobbyists instead of working for the people. And what's really a surprise, he tells me this isn't happening on just one side of the aisle but equally affects both Democrats and Republicans.
While the people and businesses of New York have been forced to deal with the realities of the economic collapse, our government hasn't adjusted to these new economic times.
As I wait for the shoe to drop, he tells me he will cut his office's budget by 10 percent, 5 percent upon taking office and 5 percent more in this coming budget. He intends to eliminate waste and duplication and cut the size of government. And, while other governors have given in to special interests, he assures me he will not be intimidated, will not back down and HE will get this job done.
So I'm thinking, Mr. Cuomo, what's this going to cost me?
"The real power of the governor lies with the people of the state," he said. "Democracy only works when the voice of the people rings strong and rings true. I need you to help me."
I am left with only one thought: "Mr. Cuomo, get this job done!" You needn't tell me how pivotal these times are, nor how failure is not an option. We wasted far too much money and time and are now out of both. Mr. Cuomo, you asked for my help, well here it is, I'm with you. I'm buying what you're selling! I want a leader to lead me through these difficult times. I'm with you, but boy you better not lead me down a primrose path. We are at a very serious time, and we've been let down by so many before you who've promised to solve these problems. I know you can't do it alone, but please understand I've bought this sales pitch too many times before to not be very skeptical. How can I know you'll give us a government as good as the people of this great state?
The answer is simple. What choice do we have?! Mr. Cuomo, please be a true and honest leader who does what he says he will do. Be a servant of the people who elected you. Please don't let us down, Mr. Cuomo. Will be watching, rooting and helping as needed, but you sir, are driving the boat.
Dan Alexander is owner and publisher of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org