THE HEZITORIAL: Fooling the Voter Over and Over Again By HEZI ARIS
YONKERS, NY – December 9, 2012 -- The nine votes supporting Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino’s proposed FY 2012-2013 Budget were cast by seven Republican Legislators and two Democratic Legislators. It should be noted that the eight Democratic Legislators that departed the august chambers on Friday, December 7, 2012, comprised the balance of the Westchester County Board of Legislators (WCBoL). What transpired seemed simple enough. Even those who are ignorant of Robert’s Rules of Order will be quick to appreciate that 17 members comprise the WCBoL. If eight depart the scene prior to a vote, leaving nine still in attendance, and assuming that a simple majority constitutes a quorum, a majority of the votes cast by those nine legislators constitutes passage of the resolution, in this case, the FY 2012-2013 Budget. But what was witnessed may not withstand the protocol of the courts or even comply with Robert's Rules of Order. What may be surmised in the legal system may not conform to the world within which those devoid of legal prudence reside. The Westchester County Charter is voluminous and written in legalese, a language I do not purport to always comprehend. Suffice it to say that there are some involved in or scrutinizing what had transpired to make final judgment.
In the meanwhile let’s review how we got here and why.
It began months before last year’s election process, specifically as it concerned the campaign effort of Virginia Perez. She would challenge then incumbent Jose Alvarado, who would come to lose his decade long position as a member of the WCBoL.
Ms Perez claimed she was running as a Democrat; Republican Carmen Gomez Goldberg was her challenger, Mr Alvarado ran as a write-in candidate, if memory serves. Within days of their respective announcements, party affiliation labels would come to mean nothing other than to blur and muddy the skullduggery afoot.
It seems while Ms Perez looked for all intent and purpose to be saddling her donkey, she had already climbed onto the elephant that no one dared declare was in the room, pink, gray, or whatever garb he was in. And elephants they were. Phil Gilles, Republican strategist was going to give Ms Perez a lift. Westchester County Legislator Jim Maisano would write her talking points, and Westchester County Republican Chairman and Westchester County Republican Board of Elections Commissioner Doug Colety would print it in the print shop he claims is his but in reality is lent to him and by which he is controlled by others who tug at his strings.
In the meanwhile Ms Gomez Goldberg is kept in the dark, but the door that sheds light on the skullduggery is revealed on the night that Ms Goldberg holds a fundraiser to which former Governor George Pataki, then Mayor Phil Amicone, and Jim Castro-Blanco, Esq., claiming not to represent the Westchester County Executive, despite his working in the County Law Department, and Westchester County Conservative Party Chair and Rob Astorino friend, Hugh Fox attend. What became obvious were those in the employ of County Executive Rob Astorino were conducting a sort of surveillance for the CE, but CE Astorino would not attend. Mr Astorino had offered his support to Ms Perez, the Democrat, over Ms Gomez Goldberg, the Republican.
Republican insiders advised each other to vote for Ms Perez. They did. Ms Perez would come to accede to office. Mr Alvarado was trounced by Ms Perez for not being on a major party line. Ms Gomez Goldberg was kicked to the curb.
At issue is the deceit perpetrated by the troika of witches who concocted this brew of deception and deceit of the voters. Mr Gilles, who earns six figures for a no show job, Mr Maisano who works both sides of the aisle to deceive the people in his district and within Westchester County, and Mr Colety who does what he does because he can deceive the voters by the deafening silence that hides this conduct from the public eye.
Ms Perez admitted to me that despite her knowing she faced financial ruin, she had taken all she had to go around the world for 6 months’ time and she now stood refreshed and ready for the political challenge ahead, her campaign. The time frame of that admission was as she described it to be during her first fundraising effort at Plaza Garibaldi Restaurant. Media reported in the last days of December 2011 that Ms Perez was permitted to file bankruptcy so she could take office unencumbered by any garnishment of her wages.
Whether one sides with CE Astorino or Westchester County Board Chairman Kenneth Jenkins over the theatrical outcome, however that will be written in the history books, people are heatedly now engaged over whether Mr Jenkins had been played by Ms Perez, or Mr Michael Kaplowitz, the other Democrat who voted with the Republicans on Friday. While the concern is interesting, it does deflect one’s attention from what really matters here, and that is whether the voter was heard or whether the voter as played and silenced.
Quid pro quo, "this for that" in Latin, is often heard, yet little understood. Did not Ms Perez cast her lot with the Republican County government establishment and deceive her constituents to the Faustian bargain she engaged by dismissing their vote of support for the claimed tenets she regurgitated to them? Is her vote valid or was Friday payback. It does seem the latter.
You decide. You are the voter. Those who claim to represent you either reflect your vote, or not. Now, what are you going to do about it?
It seems that even a vote cast for any candidate is nothing more than a leap of faith. Will the person voted to represent the voter cast the vote that gives the voter voice to his/her perspective? While not much will change in the way people learn of potential candidates who stand before us to earn their support and vote, it may be easiest to speak more loudly about what you know when you know it rather than keep silent on information that may come to haunt us months down the proverbial political timeline.
What can be said is that CE Astorino and Chairman Jenkins, who is expected to announce his candidacy for the office of Westchester County Executive on Monday, December 10th, will either disintegrate or maintain their viability over this situation.