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February 13, 2019 - 11:01am

Today's Poll: Should the Batavia City Council take positions on state and national issues?

posted by Howard B. Owens in polls.
Brian Graz
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This is a two part question actually. I'd say yes to state issues as they directly affect our County/City. National issues are certainly beyond the scope of any authority the city council has and there is no need for city council to spend time/efforts on them.

Cheryl Saville
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What Brian said.

Rich Richmond
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Brian, good Post.

Daniel Norstrand
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I don't agree with the idea that locals can't influence national politics. If a bond is created with the local, state, and federal representatives then local governing bodies can be very effective. Here's a link to a great interview on this very subject:
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=631934573808532&id=368557930...

C. M. Barons
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The Batavia City Council can do anything it's little heart desires.

Sam DiSalvo
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What is difficult about CC taking a stance mirrors what is difficult about the RHA (the bill that prompted this question).

Consider the RHA. A majority may support it (haven't seen any official polling yet, but "majority" is used loosely with me if it's only in the 50%-60% range), but does the bill's position represent everyone? No.

Now take a letter from CC. Some loud voices may support it (when I wrote this, only 38.65%), but does it represent everyone? No.

CC taking stances on state or national issues runs into the same problem as the state or national issue they take a stance on: it's not representing everyone or even a large majority in that community, so should either really be done? What would be a better representation and more effective would be, as Jankowski said, for everyone who opposes it to write individual letters.

Daniel Norstrand
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If you research the effectiveness of written communication with US politicians you'll find that they are a waste of time. Here's one of many articles testifying to that fact. The elected are answerable to $ and each other at an increasing rate as you go higher in the political pyramid. The local electeds are part of the very community of their constituents so ignoring their constituents can and should receive immediate "in your face" repercussions. Picking up the phone seems a better way to be effective, according to those in the know. A link to an article on that:
https://billmoyers.com/2012/12/26/do-politicians-read-the-emails-you-sen...

The figures you point out Sam are very relevant since all other indicators from past articles and comments show a majority wanting some action. If 39% of your constituents is the correct percentage then the majority is not on board. A scientifically validated poll might be helpful since 39% is not a small percentage. I still believe that small local representation should act as liaison from their constituents to the more remote, upper echelons of government since the population has become so vast that the people feel disenfranchised. This is apparent in the apathetic voter turnouts that are so very common in our country.

Howard B. Owens
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I believe in a representative form of government, which means we vote for people whom we believe will represent our views. We expect them during their term of office to be consistent in those views.

And if the person who won our vote for loses, then we're expected to suck it up and deal with it. We can complain about the winner and what they do but it's unrealistic to expect the winning representative to take actions that conform to our views but run counter to the views of those who voted for that person.

If we elect a person who promises to hold down spending and then that person votes for every spending package that the "majority" (however that is determined -- speaking at meetings, letters, polls) supports then that representative is betraying the people who voted for him or her, no matter how popular those spending packages are.

Now, if that same person votes for a spending package because after research and careful thought the representative decides the money really needs to be spent and it would, in fact, be irresponsible not to spend it, then I support that representative's decision. Why? Because we also expect representatives to use their best judgment and bring to bear the knowledge and experience they have that made them qualified for office.

In other words, what I don't support is a representative holding his or her finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing.

This is a representative democracy, not a pure democracy. Not every citizen gets a vote on every issue. We elect people who should be true to their principals and use their best judgment on our behalf.

Now, on the council taking a position on this or that issue. If the CC felt it should express its view on the state budget and how it might mean cuts in funding locally, I think that's appropriate. They're weighing the issues and trying to do their best to protect the city's (as a government) interests.

However, when it comes to writing a letter on something that is merely a matter of opinion, that becomes something that says, "we as a city (meaning the entire populace) believe this ..." And there is no topic of opinion that is of such uniform opinion in a city of 15,000 people that such a letter could reflect accurately, and represent accurately, everybody's opinion. Just about any letter on a state or national issue for which the CC has no legislative authority would be a matter of opinion and would be positioned as representing the city's opinion as an entire population and that just isn't fair to the people who disagree with that opinion.

That doesn't foreclose the council's ability to try and make policy for which it thinks it has jurisdiction, no matter how much a stretch that might be. It just has to be prepared to withstand and pay for the probable court challenges to its authority on that action. But in a representative form of government, that would be the council's right even in the face of widespread opposition.

david spaulding
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When you have a cc member going on record calling the Governor a murder, I believe she is using her position to represent herself and her beliefs Not the people who elected her. Shame on her.

Daniel Norstrand
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"we're expected to suck it up and deal with it" yes Howard that's exactly what I'm proposing. I think what you're trying to say is suck it up and take it. That's been going on for far too long in America. The upper echelons of government have been lying, cheating, thieving, and otherwise hoodwinking their way through our political system with no repercussions and we just take it because we can't find a way to change it. We need to find a way to "deal with it" or it will continue to get worse.
Trump won the election as a block to hillary with chants of "lock her up." Then after he was elected he said "the clinton's are good people, I don't want to hurt them." hillary cheated in the debates, illegally co-mingled her campaign $ with DNC $. Subverted the campaign of bernie sanders, was filmed telling wall street bankers that she has to lie to her own party's voters. Her bleedingly obvious pay to play donations are head spinningly evil. These transgressions are just some of the ones during the election cycle. And her whole email debacle to hide her criminal activities from freedom of information scrutiny along with the subsequent cover-up! Not even an investigation, let alone repercussions.
The lesser of evils is always what we get because money is king and corporations are queens. amazon made 11 BILLION DOLLARS in 2018 their tax rate is - 1%. That's NEGATIVE one percent. They paid zero $ in and received a $125 million "rebate." That would be a horrendous anomaly but it wasn't an anomaly. Amazon paid zero taxes on 5.6 billion profits for 2017.
I could go on for days and maybe weeks of examples of how corrupted our upper echelons of government are and the damage those criminals are responsible for. Have a better idea to change it? Anyone?

Howard B. Owens
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Actually, Daniel, I think you greatly misunderstood what I said and turned it into something completely different.

Daniel Norstrand
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You seem to be indicating that our local politicians should mind their own business at their own level Howard. It would be nice to let that be. It in all likelihood will remain that way. I'm proposing a change to the status quo. A status that needs change.

Howard B. Owens
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Elected officials traveling out of their lanes won't fix the things you complain about.

Howard B. Owens
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I'd also add, the diminishment of status quo is a big reason our politics are in such turmoil.

Good governance requires predictability and stability.

Daniel Norstrand
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So we should all just lube up and relax. No thanks.

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