Saturday, April 24, 2010

Letter to Olive Press

I just sent this letter to the editor of the Olive Press, Paul Smart.  Onteora High School is located in Boiceville, New York, a few miles from my home.  The name "Onteora" is a name for the Catskill Mountains, reportedly derived from Mahican Indians, although Onteora may have referred to an area further south, according to this site.

Dear Editor:

One of the many corrupt, big-government scams in New York State is the fruit of a son of Olivebridge, Arthur H. Wicks. Wicks ran a laundry company in Kingston before being elected to the New York State Senate, in which he served from 1927 to 1956. He later became Lieutenant Governor, but was forced to resign when he was discovered making frequent visits to convicted Machinist Union president Joseph S. Fay while Fay was vacationing in Sing Sing prison. Fay had been convicted of extortion on construction sites.

Arthur Wicks remains a legendary name today because the Wicks Law bears it. The Wicks Law was originally passed in 1912, but it was amended during Wicks's tenure as Senate Majority Leader. The Wicks Law prohibits any public entity in New York State from hiring a general contractor (GC). Four separate categories of contractors, (a) heating, ventilating and air conditiong, (b) plumbing, (c) electrical, and (d), all other, must be hired and supervised directly by the state or other public entity. At the state level, agencies like the Department of Transportation, the Office of General Services and the Dormitory Authority oversee construction. It is well known that they lack the competence to do so because GCs of the caliber needed to manage large-scale construction projects have out-sized salaries that do not fit civil service pay scales. But as Olive citizens who work in construction know, general contractors limit waste. The lack of a GC opens the door to abuse, crime and law suits. Studies have found that the Wicks Law increases construction costs in the state by 15-30%. No one except construction unions and public contractors supports the Wicks Law. In the 1980s, Mario Cuomo had appointed an anti-crime commission that found that the Wicks Law fosters organized crime.

The Wicks Law serves as a long lived example of why government does not work, and why political decision making on a large scale fails. At a point in time when the state needs to cut spending, a law like this would seem to be a logical place to start. Yet, at a recent meeting of the Tea Party here at the Shandaken Gun Club, a Republican candidate, who is aware of the Wicks Law and who owns a construction firm, did not mention it as a potential area for cutting. Instead, he advocated raising cigarette taxes. Of course, it goes without saying that loot-and-spend Democratic Party Assemblyman Kevin Cahill has no interest in touching the Wicks Law with a ten foot pole. Cahill roars with delight wherever massive government waste occurs.

Hence, low quality, mismanagement, waste and incompetence are part and parcel of big government New York. Add to which neither Democratic nor Republican candidates have the vocabulary to question any of it. The speaker at the Tea Party was so lacking in vocabulary that he could only speak in terms of a spending freeze. The vocabulary of freedom on which the nation was founded has been lost, and the Republicans appear to be as much in the dark as are the Democrats. Perhaps the nation should give its government a two year vacation and spend the two years re-learning what the now-forgotten anti-federalists like Sam Adams had to say. Given the low quality of today's public figures, Americans have every reason to fear for their childrens' future. The problem starts with the benighted public schools, which are purveyors of ignorance, ideology and suppression. The first place to look for anyone interested in change is Onteora High.


Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D.


Anonymous said...

I would suggest that anyone you talk to at Onteora would be on the side of big government... Not sure that is the place to look...

Mitchell Langbert said...

I'm not saying "look." I'm saying investigate and potentially remove the leadership. It is high time that public educational universities are prevented from being used for ideological indoctrination by ignorant quacks claiming to be educators. In other words, they need to be reformed. Not only are they likely for big government, they're actively teaching students to be anti-American socialist drones.