My Ongoing Frustration With Gary Ackerman

1. A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.
2. A rule or belief governing one’s personal behavior.

Is there anything more boring than a politician with principles?

The Arizona legislature passed a bill that would make it so that special Tea Party license plates could be purchased for an annual $25 fee and displayed proudly on your car. But according to the bill, of that $25, $17 would go directly to Tea Party organizations. Effectively, the state of Arizona would be fundraising for the Tea Party. Gov. Jan Brewer signed the bill into law two days ago.

Gary Ackerman has become the bills national opponent. In an op-ed for the Huffington Post, Ackerman wrote, “It’s an unabashed Tea Party political pay-off. Thanks for campaigning for us, here’s a wad of cash collected by the government just for you.

“So, the next political attack ad you see on TV questioning the President’s birth certificate could be funded from a generous grant from the State of Arizona.

So Gary Ackerman doesn’t want special interest money funneled through the states. That makes sense. But to play devil’s advocate: isn’t the state just acting like the middle man? The money is coming from people who would want to donate to the Tea Party anyway. What’s the difference between this and any other donations that sponsor candidates and affect legislation?

So I started thinking about Gary Ackerman’s donors. Here were the top 5 industries that donated to Gary Ackerman for the 2009/2010 campaign:

  1. Real Estate
  2. Lawyers/Law Firms
  3. Securities & Investment
  4. Pro-Israel
  5. Public Sector Unions

Of those five industries, Ackerman introduced legislation in the 111th Congress supporting only the pro-Israel lobby. In fact, he sponsored bills that negatively affected two of his biggest donors: real estate and securities/investment.

What gives Ackerman?! I’ve been trying to figure you out for months. Every time you say something, it’s like you actually believe what you’re saying. Whenever you vote for something or sponsor legislation, it’s like you actually care about the issue–despite some on-camera politicizing every now and then. You don’t even cash in favors for the people who donate to your campaign? You, sir, are a crappy politician.

One of these days I’m going to find some dirt on the congressman from New York’s fifth. I’ll keep digging. (Maybe he’s a lousy tipper, or something…)

Earth Day = PR Day

Earth Day began 41 years ago when an unfortunately named Senator decided environmental issues needed a stronger presence in American politics.

“For several years, it had been troubling me that the state of our environment was simply a non-issue in the politics of the country. Finally, in November 1962, an idea occurred to me that was, I thought, a virtual cinch to put the environment into the political “limelight” once and for all,” Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin told the Wilderness Society.

Whether or not the “limelight” has since shined on the multitude of environmental challenges still facing our planet today (global warming, species loss, fossil fuel dependency, over population,  shrinking potable water supply) is still in question, politicians are still using Earth Day to push their political agendas.

And Senator Nelson’s point is well-taken when it comes to advocating for the environment. A wise politician will use the annual Earth Day holidy to push legislation, as well promote environmental advocacy in what otherwise would be a PR stunt. Because, the fact that a legislator cares to be an environmental steward is only as important as showing their constituents that they care. That’s why a politician started the holiday.

Nydia: take note! You missed your opportunity.

Where other congressman did the green and promoted it on their websites, Nydia failed to complete the entire act.

Here are a few examples from congressional members’ sites:

From David Cicilline (D-RI) website: “We need to work together to create a better environment and economy for current and future generations of Rhode Islanders. While there has been progress made in reducing our dependence on foreign oil, more work needs to be done to assure our energy security and reduce the rising cost of gasoline….

From John D. Dingell (D-MI) website: Today, Congressman John D. Dingell (MI-15) marked Earth Day 2011 with representatives from the United Auto Workers and the Big 3 Automakers– Chrysler, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors for an Earth Day Auto Show…

From Dennis Cardoza (D-DC) website: In recognition of Earth Day (April 22nd), U.S. Congressman Dennis Cardoza (D-Merced) announced he has re-introduced legislation that protects the rights of homeowners to generate their own clean, renewable electricity through solar power….

On April 29th, Congresswoman Velazquez and EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck honored four individual/businesses from Puerto Rico with Environmental Quality Awards for their achievements protecting public health and the environment.

The award winners included a priest who runs an environmental health radio show and traveled  across the US in the 1970 defending migrant workers and educating them about pesticides; to two women who run a recycling education program in Barrio Obrero Marina (Puerto Rico).

Nydia’s last news update on her site is from mid-April. She mentioned nothing about honoring these leaders in sustainability, nor did receive credit for collaborating with the EPA. Her web presence is minimal, as I’ve mentioned before, and she would be smart to hire a more effective web manager to keep her good work in the limelight.