I'm George Borrello. I am running for County Legislator in the 4th district. I will spare you the time of explaining who I am and why I'm running. But if you're interested, please check out my web site... www.voteborrello.com. I will tell you that this is my first run at political office.
Let me address your first question on downsizing by saying this... any time tax-and-spend liberal politicians are in favor of downsizing anything in government or lowering taxes, you should be suspicious of their true motivations. That is the case with some of those who are supporting the downsizing of the legislature. It's not about saving money, it's about seizing more power.
That said, my personal view is yes we should downsize. In business, the people who watch even the smallest expenses closely are always stronger. It comes down to the "bushel full of pennies" theory. Many small savings all add up to a larger number. But my biggest concern is how rural Chautauqua County will be represented in this new, smaller legislature. I want to insure that rural areas still have a voice and downsizing without careful consideration will create lopsided representation.
The fact is, cutting the legislature by even 10 legislators won't make much of an impact on the budget. But it would drastically impact how decisions are made. I don't know what the optimal number of legislators is. But I think the people deserve to see how different scenarios will change things. if a 15 member legislature means Jamestown has 5 representatives and all of northeast Chautauqua County ends up with just one, then I'm sure most residents in my area would think twice about that number. Those specifics really aren't being discussed. That's where the attempt to seize more power seems obvious to me.
I have similar concerns when it comes to school consolidation. I'm in favor of it in principle. But the Devil is always in the details. School consolidations have the potential to become like the hospital-closing debate. It's more about politics than it is about what makes the most sense. But we do need to recognize that cost savings need to occur in our schools especially with a shrinking population of students and a decreasing tax base to support it. However, New York State has a funny way of spending more money to "consolidate" something than was being spent prior to that effort. So again, we must move cautiously and do our best to predict what the end results will be.
In regard to your second question, I am in favor of posting bids and proposals in public so the taxpayers can see who is bidding. But, as you stated, cheapest often times means lesser quality. I am in a business where I compete on a national and international level against many other companies. Many of our clients are high profile so we are almost constantly battling competition. Competition is usually good for consumers. But all too often the only way someone is able to give a lower price is to practice a shell game of deception and try to substitute apples when the customer is really asking for oranges. Therefore, when judging a bid on-line, the average person must know what it is they are looking at and how those bids truly compare. In the end, saving money is important. Especially when it's the people's money we are spending. But a drive on the Thruway where it meets the I-190 outside of Buffalo will show what happens when the lowest bidder gets the job... 80 million dollars and almost four years of disrupted traffic flow for a road that feels like the old kiddie roller coaster at Midway Park.
So, in summary, I am in favor of a smaller legislature and in finding economies of scale in our school systems that may also lead us to consolidation. I am also in favor of posting county bids publicly on a web site. But in all cases, I would like to make sure it is done carefully and that the cure is not worse than the disease.
If you have any questions for me on this response please feel free to write back. Thank you.
Irving (Sunset Bay)
Candidate for District 4