Monday, December 15, 2008

How Much for a Local Political Party?

**UPDATE** In looking over recent financial filings, I see Gladys Lavine contributed the $1000 max towards the end of the recent election cycle to the Middletown Dem. Town Committee. She is on the Planning Board, treasurer of the local Dems, sister-in-law of that chair, & sister of Frank Bozyan (Council). Recently she voted as a member of the Planning Board to support a change in the Aquidneck Corporate Park (the town's economic engine) which would lower the height requirements by 10 ft. (a floor) in the interests of the "citizens of Middletown." This suggestion will eventually make it to the Council agenda. Interesting... So how much will $ & power buy?
The Democratic Town Committee is now down to 20 members. Five are related to one family (the "financiers"), and four to another. Six are current/former politicans. Six have only been members for a yr. or two. Three are employed by the town (one is regularly appointed by the town & another is a dept. head). Except for a handful, all serve on various town boards/committees. How many have just deep-sixed the group? Too many. Yeah, diversity. Wide-based community participation- not. No self-interest here. Shhh!****

Think of it- you could exert control over elections- who runs & who doesn't. You could exert control over ALL appointed town committees. Taxes too high- go before the Tax Review Board. You could also exert somewhat more limited control in the State as a member of its political assembly. Good for more appointments, endorsements, nominations, etc. Friends in important places- all for a few bucks. And for the most part, hardly anyone would know your name!

It's cheaper than you may think! About $3-4,000 ought to do it (maybe less if you have some rich relations). Those local yokels, for that kind of $ you'll have them eating out of your hand before you know it. It also may help if your long-time neighbor owns the local rag.

Picture the Democratic Town Committee. The Chair, his wife, his bro-in-law & his wife all on it (most in leadership). Appoint them & their daughter to local boards. Decide on candidates (include your bro-in-law who controls the family trust). Help the current Council (both parties) win the last election. Throw $ into the party coffers (throw a few thousand into the pot & call it small contributions). Not so hard to do. Skirting the law- maybe, but no real penalty & no way of proving it.

Family members have basically underwritten the local party with almost $2,300 in mostly large contributions (and that's what's ON the record). Now this may sound like penny-ante stuff, but on a local level where money dribbles in in small amounts ($25-$35), it's big bucks.

Pretty nifty, huh? Now perhaps you might understand why membership has severely declined with many deserting the ranks except for the current "endorsed" candidates (4) who probably don't even realize where their funding and/or support comes from. No, it wasn't all from fundraisers (which, by the way, had less than $60 in food costs while selling tickets amount to appx. $7000). Heck, the tent cost more than the food. Gimme a break!

What? You mean that you didn't get your taxes reassessed dropping 20% of the land assessed value to your trust? Oh, that's why your name doesn't show up in the tax rolls (just your car- the rest is under the trust name)? None of your political pals' family has gotten town jobs? But not to worry, what's good for the family trust (and your pals) is good for Middletown, right?

Now why take my word for it? Check out we're in the money finance reports. Compare it with previous party reports or other political parties in here or nearby (like Newport). They are, after all, public records. Check out the names & the relationships of the Middletown major contributors. (http://www.google.com/).

Yeah, now tell me Middletown isn't run by a few insider friends & families. Nah, this has nothing to do with newspaper endorsements either either. LOL.

Is any of this illegal? Not really. Ah, but does it pass the sniff test? You tell me. Vote wisely.
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