Friday, 24 September 2010 00:00
“All politics are local,” the legendary Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil once said. That sage advice, however, doesn’t mean to imply that voters cannot draw some parallels between local and national politics.
One such parallel is in personalities. Nobody would disagree that the current speaker, Nancy Pelosi, is a woman of strong convictions and has a manner that forges ahead at full speed. There is nothing moderate about her; there is no compromise in her veins. The bottom line is that she knows better than anybody.
In the 13th Assembly District the incumbent Charles Lavine doesn’t match Pelosi’s convictions, but he is more than a match by his indifference to voters and his failure to explain his votes on legislation. The classic example in the past legislative session is the MTA payroll tax increases that he sponsored. It is this tax that residents in the 13th A.D. have to pay, but not the rest of the state outside of the metro area. You’ve got that right; you pay, they don’t. If it weren’t for him the bill would not have passed and the rates in question would be the same as last year.
Now why would any representative punish voters in his own district? Why would Mr. Lavine? It is here that his posture brings to mind Ms. Pelosi. Understand that Mr. Lavine never informed voters of his position on MTA taxes prior to his vote. Apparently he felt there was no need. Like Ms. Pelosi, he knows better than the people whose votes he is now soliciting.
In the case of Ms. Pelosi, her views are not anathema in San Francisco, the district she represents, so that many voters agree with her views. But here in the 13th A.D. where political and social views are apt to be more moderate, Mr. Lavine is out of step. Voters don’t want to leave it up to their representatives to decide for them. They want to know what’s going on. It’s obvious Mr. Lavine feels no such obligation to explain, not only then, but even now.
When it comes to photo ops, Mr. Lavine is here, there and everywhere. But when it comes to explaining his votes, especially before they are cast, he is nowhere to be seen or heard. Some have speculated that during those absences, he’s on another planet. Indeed he is, indeed.
Have you ever heard Mr. Lavine explain his vote on the MTA tax increases? That is, before, during and after?
If you have, then you must be part of the inner circle of legislative leaders who feel they know better than anybody and lucky you that you have them deciding what to do with your hard earned money.
The bottom line is that Mr. Lavine owes voters an explanation of why he voted as he did. This, after all, is a district on the North Shore of Long Island where people think for themselves and don’t want others deciding for them. Explain your vote on the MTA tax increases, Mr. Lavine, we’re waiting.