Friday, October 24
by Sue on Fri 24 Oct 2008 11:38 PM EDT
This came across my desk about 14 times last week:
My first question? Which Northside charity. Representative Wagner represents part of the Northside, specifically my part of the Northside - Manchester. Along with Castle Shannon and Beechview and Brookline, etc. Hmmm. Our little step-child status isn't her fault -- she didn't draw the district maps. I've talked with her staff on a regular basis and I believed they genuinely wanted to connect with our community.
This seemed perfect. A chance for Chelsa to do something for the children in Manchester (and their families) by designating the proceeds to benefit a local charity in her district. This could pave the way for more contact and stronger connections which would be a win-win for everyone. Right? Bill doesn't have any voters in the Northside so there isn't a conflict with him, right?
I asked some questions. I contacted Wagner's folks and Peduto's folks. I asked some friends of friends. I got various answers, but it boils down to no one being willing to name the charity or tell me how that charity has been/will be selected. That seems weird to me. Why would there be a problem with designating the proceeds to benefit a neighborhood that could use it? On the other hand, if they chose something outside of our district, why not just say so?
I think I am too naive and missing some sort of insider perspective here. I asked some people about that possibility and no one is talking.
It is a party. With masks and costumes. It costs $10.00. It seems reasonable to ask that our State Representative invest her time, talent and energies to benefit families living in her district. We don't have an office. Her staff cannot always attend (or aren't invited to) local events. They haven't organized any events here. So why not this one small first step?
I certainly have nothing against the other local charitable organizations. I just think it should be okay to ask for a little transparency when your elected official gets involved a few blocks outside of your district while you are struggling for some state attention. If you've been reading this blog, you've seen the Herculean efforts it takes to get PennDOT to simply cut their grass. We could use some help out here.
Let me say this in closing. Chelsa's staff have typically been very forthcoming with me and responsive to my calls. They seem like good people. I wasn't even going to blog about this until it became apparent that I could not get a straightforward answer. Having recently sat through a depressing free-for-all that passes for a public meeting, a meeting not attended by her staff, I just think someone has to start speaking up --speaking up more -- and saying that Manchester deserves attention. My God, my neighbor caught a state employee DUMPING in our fields, only half a block from the house he (the employee) rents. It is pretty bad when you drive a car down the street that is subsidized by my tax dollars (gov tags) to your rental property. But to dump in our neighborhood -- a place you should consider home? That's crazy.
There's a disconnect here. Or maybe I'm crazy for asking questions. Maybe I'm just supposed to put on my costume, shut up, pay up and have a good time. Then drive back down the street to Manchester passing the kids "hanging out" because their pool is closed, their community center is leaderless and focused on $250,000 housing units and because no one can agree how to ensure these kids get a shot at decent jobs being created by development around the block (i'm talking to you casino and Steeler-hotel people).
Maybe I'm the crazy one.
Saturday, October 18
by Sue on Sat 18 Oct 2008 01:52 PM EDT
I feel a bit fatigued, to be honest with you. Obviously, I'm tired of the ads and the 27 minutes of media coverage during a 30 minute program. But I'm also getting tired of my political friends. I get at least a dozen Facebook invitations to rally after get out the vote campaign after fundraiser. And dozens of similar email messages.
All with this fervent undertone of urgency that implies I am somehow lacking if I am not 100% on board. That the fate of the world as we know it rests in my hands.
Well, back in 2004, I did volunteer for the Kerry campaign. I was sent to HQ downtown and forced to make phone calls to other volunteers asking them to come in to make phone calls to other volunteers. It was the most ridiculous waste of time. I never went back. I did volunteer on election day, but was treated like a moron by Kerry's guy on the ground so never went back to that, either. I mean I'll do the drudgery work, but I've got a dozen other very worthy causes that need my time and energy, too so please don't waste my time making me feel important. Just give me a real job. It can be boring. Just real.
This year, a popular tactic seems to be making fun of Western PA's fondness for yard signs. That's not elitist at all. People even have it as their Facebook icon. Get over yourself. We like signs. So what?
Today someone explained the situation with the local elections. It sound serious, but very convoluted. Why isn't anyone taking the time to break down this important information instead of just wasting our time? Stop shoving clipboards in my hands to ask for my email address. Give me good information and ask me how I can help.
If the Pennsylvania House and Senate seats are in jeopardy, why did only one State legislator turn out for a recent Gay Dems event? Or why didn't he bring it up? The only State Legislator that asked for my help is a Republican woman who reached out to me. My own rep's staff is taking days to answer a simple question about a fundraiser. There's a disconnect there.
Frankly, I'm tired. It is never enough. I'm working OT to convince some borderline voters on the presidential campaign. I'm deleting email messages to events I can't afford. I'm trying to process new information that just makes me feel panicky, not informed. And I'm hoping to avoid charges that I don't appreciate the volunteer hours other politicos are putting in. All of which is just bullshit. All of it.
I appreciate your hard work. But you are alienating me when you hit me with all of these intense demands for my time, money and attention. What I'd like to have is information. I'd be happy to talk with my neighbors about our state elections. But I need something to say. Stop mocking me and start educating me.