|Thomas J. Mazur - District 8
DECEMBER 8, 2008
COUNTY LEGISLATURE DISTRICT OFFICES GIVE CONSTITUENTS CHANCE TO ADDRESS THEIR OFFICIALS
I'm a baby boomer. I don't mind getting up in age, but I do mind losing a lot of the oral tradition I was accustomed to while growing up. There are so many times that something profound will be on the tip of my tongue, and I wonder, who could give me an answer, whom should I call. My mom would know, but she's gone. Aunt Joan would know...and on and on it goes, until I realize a good portion of my knowledge bank is no longer accessible to me.
There's been some talk lately of downsizing the legislature and eliminating the district offices. Some will argue that it would save money. I don't disagree. My concern though is how much of a disservice it would create. Currently, each legislator represents about 60,000 constituents. By a constituent, I mean young and old, all races and religions, voters and non-voters, rich and poor and homeless too. To downsize the government to 9 legislators, each district would have about 100,000 constituents and be spread out to such a degree that it would be difficult to give people the representation they deserve.
My point is simple. Don't make it more difficult for people to access their government. We all know the aggravation of trying to call a government, bank or doctor's office - only to be put through an obstacle course of mechanized options. It doesn't have to be that way.
My district office is on Walden Avenue and it provides a presence in an area that needs more storefronts operating. It's user friendly and walk-ins are welcome. And on a daily basis we provide not only service to our constituents, but a warm smile and some conversation. I feel that if the government can bail out banks, automakers and hoteliers, this is a small price to pay so that people out there know that government has a human face too.
Which reminds me of a Christmas long ago. Every year our family gathered and every year my Uncle Stanley would come up to my Aunt Jenny and hand her an envelope with a hundred dollar bill in it. Now, back then, a hundred dollars was a huge amount of money. But this particular year, Aunt Jenny just sat there and cried. And when we asked what was wrong, she said, "I wouldn't care if he gave me a box of 'gowno' (a smelly Polish slang word) with a bow on it ... at least he would give me something with thought."
The next year, Uncle Stanley bought her a gift. It was a purse.
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