Did anyone catch this gem, Bob LaBarbera's letter to the editor begging for an open mind from voters? I'm not a psychologist, but there is something disturbing about the way he uses words like "incident", "mistake" and "matter", but can't bring himself to say "my arrest for DWI." Clearly, this is about damage control, not an act of contrition:
Legislature candidate asks for perspective
Updated: 08/12/07 8:10 AM
An embarrassing, well-publicized incident occurred recently that has adversely affected my campaign. While most have been extremely supportive, I can certainly understand the stance of those who have taken a negative view of my viability as a candidate.
This unfortunate mistake is not typical behavior for me, but is, nonetheless, no excuse. I am dealing with it through the courts and recently fielded the calls on community TV. The condemning mailings sent by some anonymous political opportunist, or their group alleging lack of remorse on my part, have already begun. This will not be the last mailing of its kind to draw attention to my indiscretion in an attempt to divert the people away from the existing political issues.
Anyone who questions my remorse in this matter need only note the fact that I apologized publicly through the airways, did not dodge the issues and fielded all the calls. As I face my personal difficulties, I only ask for an open mind in separating the personal and political issues. Although I know better, I would hope we can move forward from the personal issues to the real issues, and how they can be dealt with.
Politically, we are enabling a transition from private business to public service makeup of our work force in Niagara County. This causes our county’s economic slide to advance. Government employment will not alleviate our shrinking tax base; only private business can accomplish this.
Preserving and providing new jobs is the only way we can keep people from moving to greener pastures and the tax base from eroding. Overemployment in government only increases our reliance on the taxpayer to fund these jobs. Frivolous patronage positions continue to increase, further shooting our sinking economy. The businesses that receive preferential tax treatment by our IDA, without honoring the guidelines, simply place more of a tax burden on our already strapped residents.
This strategy is gaining momentum under the control of our majority caucus in the Legislature. The breakup of this controlling force in the Legislature must happen for the residents to have a fighting chance. I only wish to be an advocate for the people, as our Founding Fathers intended, and, in addition to fielding your calls, would set up a Web site to poll constituents on all matters I could influence. This would be a complete reversal of the current process.
IDA reform is essential. If the IDA would only observe the criteria under which they are supposed to operate, taxes, jobs and businesses would all contribute to stop the demise of our economy. Performance bonds should be a required by PILOT recipients to protect the county from those businesses who do not honor their commitments. Unnecessary political patronage positions must be eliminated. They are not only economically unfeasible; they send the wrong message to our constituents who need restored confidence in our local government.
When are these issues, as well as concern for the residents going to be recognized by the caucus with the votes? The only chance we have for change is to make the effort to vote in the primaries to select candidates who will act on our behalf, not on the political whims of the power brokers.
Robert S. LaBarbera Niagara Falls
(Editor’s note: LaBarbera pleaded not guilty July 24 to a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated and has vowed to stay in the race for 6th District legislator. He is running in a Democratic primary against incumbent Danny W. Sklarski, a registered Democrat who votes with and has been nominated by the Republicans.)