Tyranny of the Majority

By: Judy Arnold

Apparently we are in a new era of tyranny of the majority with the decision in October to end a 45 year Broome County legislative procedure rule allowing one person to table a resolution that now requires approval of seven. A request to table the Aramark/County Food Service Contract was denied.

Residents are encouraged to attend committee meetings to learn how they are denied the right to speak or ask questions unless a legislator ‘recognizes’ them; and such is not asked of observers.  Neither can the public speak or question at regular monthly legislative meetings or ‘budget voting’ meetings.   The public can speak only at public hearings where they cannot ask questions.  These are rules worth changing.

I take exception to these policies because of the comment Executive Preston made that the public who showed up at the Nov 19 final budget meeting was “playing political games” and she was defending the tax rebates of the 200,000.  In simple terms the administration is willing to sacrifice the 1575 vulnerable, sometimes fixed income, receiving daily meals to the 65% (130,000) of property owners just as they did the 1500 annual mentally ill.   When the Aramark fee goes up the contract states these recipients will be paying for it.

It is interesting that the school boards are seeking tax cap overrides. Unfortunately, the public cannot have a decent discussion about any of this.

The game we saw at the meeting was FRUGAL Chairman Marinich in his comments passing the buck to the county administration/executive for the Aramark contract like the legislators had nothing to do with it in committee deliberations.  The other game is the lockstep voting of the majority Republicans without any dialogue.    And where do we process the appointment of Marinich two weeks later as director of the Office of Emergency Services at an increased salary? Seems very disingenuous, as he like to say.  Suppressing speech makes for a sick democracy.




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