Thursday, August 7, 2008

Westchester Guardian/In Our Opinion/Our Readers Respond.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

In Our Opinion...

Regarding Big Brother Legislation

It seems to us that every time we turn around Big Brother Government has come up with yet another law, another ordinance or regulation intended to protect us from ourselves. Interestingly, it is not most often coming from federal, or even state, lawmakers, but rather those at the county and municipal level.

Westchester County is great at that; what’s good enough for the rest of the state is never quite good enough here in Westchester. If state law requires that children riding bicycles wear protective head gear, Westchester demands that adults do the same.

State vehicle and traffic law sets down some rather tough incarcerative and financial penalties for those who insist on drinking and driving. They involve loss of license, fines, and jail time; and increase in severity with repeated offenses.

Perhaps state law is seen as too lenient in light of the spate of recent incidents. However, County Legislator Peter Harckham’s proposal that would permit the County to seize the vehicles of those convicted of Driving While Intoxicated seems a bit much.

In light of the Ron Gatto fiasco, why create an incentive for County Police to selectively pull over those in more expensive, more exotic, vehicles? After all, once impounded, how will they be disposed of? One never knows; a little inside information, and one could be driving a Mercedes, a Porsche, maybe even a 600hp Bentley.

The point is, the County should not be getting into the automobile auction business. There are stringent enough laws on the books right now; state laws that, if properly enforced, would cut down on incidents of DWI. Of course, there will always be those addicted, repeat offenders, who will find their way onto our roads, even if their license and their car have been taken from them. Those individuals need to dry out the hard way.

It’s the “We Know What’s Best For You” type of legislation that We take exception to. Most people have a problem with government that wants to tell them how to live. In Los Angeles, the City Council, last week, voted unanimously, no less, to put a moratorium in place; not everywhere throughout the city, but only in south Los Angeles, that would halt, for one year, the construction of new fast-food restaurants simply because of the above-average rate of obesity recorded in that area of the city.

Portrayed as a measure to protect public health, it is doubtful such legislation would ever be attempted uptown. Paternalism just wouldn’t fly there. The notion that the moratorium would enhance the city’s chances of attracting healthier eateries to the area is probably unrealistic.

Finally, in light of County government’s recently exposed excesses, both in the County Executive’s Office as well as the County Legislature, paternalistic legislation, telling people how to live, is most likely to cause resentment, if anything, among the governed.

Our Readers Respond....

Reader Takes On Leadership Of Democratic City Committee of White Plains

Dear Editor:

As the organizer of both this effort, regarding the Democratic City Committee of White Plains of today, as well as the one in 1977, I believe that the Democratic Party must stand for “openness” and “transparency” and, when it doesn’t, change becomes critical. In 1977 the then-City Committee leadership denied the renomination to incumbent Mayor Michael Keating, who had worked tirelessly for the City and had opened the electoral door for a real two-party system. That vindictive effort led to eighteen years of Republican domination by Mayor Al DelVecchio. In that year, after the primary, I led a challenge to the Party Chairman and fell a few votes short; but we elected two of-ficers out of the five, including a vice-chairman, Oliver Sledge, and a new secretary, Vera Lynn Getz.

The current leadership callously dumped Councilman Arnold Bernstein, and according to one party insider and vice-chairperson, they will attempt to dump hardworking Councilman Glen Hockley. The Party’s current leader, Ms. Liz Schollenberger, is out of touch with the electorate, and has been a knee-jerk supporter of Bill “Boss” Ryan, who has made the County Board of Legislators a cash register for his political friends, contributors, and allies.

After his last “money grab” effort, Ms. Schollenberger fatuously declared, “He deserves the raise, because he can make that much money as a lobbyist.” Ryan should take Schollenberger’s word, resign, and become some flak for the MTA, or another big-spending, unaccountable agency. Meanwhile, please note the incredible size of his campaign treasury.

The idea that some district leaders should have lifetime jobs while others are moved around and disposed of like meaningless pawns, is hypocritical on its face. This farce should end, and end now! The machinations of the Democratic Party leadership should be exposed
for all to see. The recent characterization of Councilman Hockley’s political leanings is both insulting and inaccurate. His work for labor and the minority community in White Plains is well-known, and in the best tradition of the Democratic Party.

Richard Garfunkel

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