Dear Assemblyman Quinn,
I want to thank you for your 18 November response to my recent email regarding my opposition to balancing the 2010 budget with additional fees and taxes. While you explained to me your stance on the original budget as well as the upcoming mid-year adjustments, you did not seem to appreciate the frustration and anger that many of my colleagues and I have with you and your fellow legislators. Perhaps I did not elucidate this well in my email; perhaps you merely replied with a form letter. One thing, however, is clear:
You do not understand what we are angry about.
We are angry at you – the collective you – because you cannot get beyond the side of the aisle on which you find yourself. It doesn’t matter to which party you belong: Your actions are those of children in a schoolyard, taking sides but never reaching across to resolve the differences.
Your letter contained many promises and calls to action. Nothing in it, however, spoke of the need to reach across that aisle to address New York’s problems in a bipartisan manner; nothing spoke of doing the Peoples Business. Instead you emphasized your frustrations with the Democrats, and the us versus them mentality that pervades the legislature.
Your letter was full of bellyaches and personal accomplishments, but no mention the word bipartisan. Not a single sentence spoke of collegiality or a sense of urgency. You are quite eloquent at placing blame on the Democratic Party, not so articulate at offering an olive branch. You don’t seem to get it: We are angry at you because you are all to blame.
You – the collective you – need to get beyond your rhetoric in a hurry, for the sake of this state and for your jobs. I for one remain unconvinced that you and your fellow legislators deserve another term. Without seeing real bipartisan action in the near future I intend to join the rapidly-growing ranks of those determined to help vote you out of office. You demonstrate by your words and collective (in)action that we no longer have anything to lose by throwing the bums out.
One final point: What happens behind those closed doors in Albany may be deemed progress by the few of you privy to the inner sanctums. But the perception out here is one of shady deals, power grabs and chaos; the perception is that it’s all about you, not your constituents. You have scarce time left to change that perception.
Here’s a suggestion: Reach across the aisle with this letter. Let your Democratic colleagues know that as many voters are gunning for their jobs as yours. Then offer that olive branch.