I Answered Senator Ritchie’s Questionnaire

Updated: Aug 10


Painting: “Tom Bacterium of Aquifer Union Local 847 Expresses His Thanks” 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 18 x 24"

[Made in reaction to Cuomo’s ban on hydrofracking in New York. A red letter day in our lives. I snuck it into this post because of the “I Love NY” graphic.]


Below is Senator Patty Ritchie’s 2020 Legislative Questionnaire. I took it.

She offers Yes, No, or Undecided as answers to each question, and a few with a space to elaborate if you answered “other”. I believe the questions themselves are biased by the manner in which the “facts” are posited. Republican talking points for the most part. As if climate change and pandemics are not existential threats to human life on the planet. Likewise, poverty, food security, affordable housing… The senator’s questions are aimed at the non-needy constituents of the District. A small contingent of late-middle-aged retirees with happy pensions and paid-for houses. A diminishing minority.

I am going to answer her survey, but with more spunk than a sleepy yes, no, or undecided. We must be active citizens in order to expect an improving existence for our neighbors and ourselves.

1. A new law eliminates bail for most non-violent crimes and misdemeanors, allowing defendants to be released back into the community before trial. Do you support elimination of bail?


Ron Throop answer:


Non-violent felony and misdemeanor crimes should not incarcerate a human being. Except in the action of breaking and entering private property. (I am open to more exceptions). Those who must be incarcerated deserve a speedy trial. And speedy means now, not languishing in prison for months, or even years, to await a constitutionally guaranteed settlement. If the state cannot supply an equal and just system, then the state must be held accountable. Sue its pants off so to speak (and on the state’s own dime with state-appointed lawyers).

The War on Drugs is an abysmal failure for society and has impacted the powerless disproportionately.


2. The Governor has announced plans to legalize the sale, possession and use of recreational marijuana. Do you think marijuana should be legal in New York?


Ron Throop answer:


Of course marijuana should be legal. A great opportunity for New York to gain revenues. Much better than putting people in prison and having the taxpayer (but especially the prisoner) suffer.

This is old puritan nonsense. Outlaw a plant? Are there warlocks and witches to dunk?

3. In recent years, New York has closed 15 state prisons, and the Governor has proposed a measure allowing him to order additional closures with just 90 days notice to staff and affected communities. Do you think the state should close more prisons?


Ron Throop answer:


Yes, a state should close prisons when it has no prisoners. Sane societies aspire to this. Workers in the correctional facilities will need continuing financial support from the state after a closing. Extended unemployment followed by a seniority leveled pension package that can be collected at retirement age. Also an excelsior scholarship opportunity to help support skills toward a new career.


4. Do you support a ban on the sale of flavored vaping products and smokeless flavored tobacco?


Ron Throop answer:


Yes, but only because they look so silly in people’s mouths.


Seriously, I would need to brush up on health and safety issues concerning vaping. I just don’t have enough information yet to decide.


5. New York’s SAFE Act restricts the ability to own certain types of firearms and ammunition. Do you support additional restrictions on gun ownership?


Ron Throop answer:


You do not offer specific restrictions. Can you possess a firearm with a nuclear bomb launcher welded on the sights? 
I would vote “Nay”.

Your question does not take into account what future state of the art weapons might be coming down the pike. I like the SAFE Act as is. For the record, I am a gun owner. It is a heavy responsibility. Just like citizenship.


6. Would you support a proposal that would allow movie theaters to sell beer and wine?


Ron Throop answer:


Once again Senator, an outdated question. Please update this questionnaire to include a DEADLY PANDEMIC. Let’s get some masks and hand sanitizer for our neighbors first, and then we’ll talk about getting drunk at Star Wars XXVI.


7. Do you support a single-payer, government-run, universal health care system that would replace Medicare and all private health insurance in New York?


Ron Throop answer:


Yes and fifty more yeses.

Our tax money (and we shall always be taxed), must go to insuring the health and contentment of society first and foremost. More prisons or better health? We cannot have both. If private insurers want to continue their profit-based scam on the people’s physical and mental health, then try it. I say they’ll dry up in a year. Or adjust their business model to serve the filthy rich, so Jeff Bezos can arrive to the hospital in a golden palanquin.


8. The Governor has proposed requiring county governments (and county taxpayers) to shoulder an increasing amount of growing Medicaid costs to help close a $6 billion state budget deficit. Do you support shifting more of these costs to counties?


Ron Throop answer:


No. I propose Medicare for All on a national level, and passing the New York Health Act while we wait. A Billionaire’s Tax provides the state with desired revenue.

Also, I would ask you to try and understand the human suffering caused by this pandemic and exacerbated by do-nothing Republican talking points. 2.5 million New Yorkers had filed for unemployment by mid-June. So many of these lost jobs were tied to health insurance.

Medicaid is for those who are in need the most. I counter-propose taxing the be-jesus out of the rich until all the people in our district achieve health care dignity.


9. Which of these ideas to address the state budget gap would you support?


Cutting spending

Raising taxes

A combination of both tax increases and spending reduction

Other/Undecided


Ron Throop answer:


Cut elected government salaries and perks to pre-20th century levels, or institute a Billionaire’s tax immediately. Please see the Issues page on my website.


10. Would you support enacting a 2 percent spending cap on state government spending, similar to the cap that applies to local governments?


Ron Throop answer:


If it were that easy…

State spending is the people’s spending. Your question does not cover the myriad of functionings of state government. Investments in public schools, SUNY, law enforcement, conservation, environment, energy, on and on, and on. But for a start… I would opt for a Bill that cut Senate and Assembly access to health insurance, and any insurances and pensions accumulated by state’s past and present elected representatives. I would cut all elected office budgets in the state and limit legislation hours to ZOOM meetings every other Monday.

How do WE want our tax money divvied up?

Write-in Ron Throop and my vote would divvy up the dough equitably, even to Senators and Assembly people who take willingly from the till while expecting us to suffer cheaper government.

11. Would you prioritize state spending on infrastructure projects such as our roads and bridges, as well as projects that would provide improved internet and cellular access to rural parts of our state?


Ron Throop answer:


Prioritize over the people’s health? No. Health and contentment pathways first, and then better roads and Internet for business.


12. Have you ever considered moving out of New York for any of the following reasons? Please check all that apply.


Lack of jobs

High taxes

Cost of living

Better schools elsewhere

Crime

Weather

I have never considered leaving New York

Other

12a. If other, please explain (other comment box)


Ron Throop answer:


Over the years I have thought of leaving New York. Who my age has not? Still, I have deep connection to our state. This land is my family and most of my friends. I plan to live out the rest of my life here. Now with climate change affecting other areas of the U.S. more profoundly than New York, and a pandemic that will certainly make people rethink their urban existence, I forecast a future emigration surge to our small cities, towns and wild spaces. The economy is changing fast. Millions of Americans have proved during this pandemic that office jobs don’t need one base camp in one base city. Certain industries can continue their functioning from Anytown, U.S.A.

The past exodus of young people from New York to look for jobs available in other cities might very well end this decade for good reason. I believe the younger generation is more apt to seek contentment now, rather than a nebulous retirement in some distant future.

I still can hope with a healthy dose of realism.


13. In what area(s) would you like to see costs reduced to lower your cost of living in New York?


Taxes

Housing

Healthcare

Energy

Other

13a. If other, please explain (other comment box)


Ron Throop answer:


All of the above. We must legislate for a Billionaire’s tax, for starters. Stop this incessant “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” talk. If it ever worked at all (have you tried it Senator? It sounds physically impossible), it is not a competent philosophy for the many. It glorifies the few, who are more likely to be sociopathic men wasting the wealth from the labor they stole.

My vote will only allow what we can afford. It is the arrangement and distribution of our actual and potential revenues that is distorted by incompetence, corruption, and just downright bad, ineffectual policy.


14. Do you have any additional comments or suggestions?


Please Write-in Ron Throop and retire this year. Let’s make room for a sustainable future. There are many good young people coming into adulthood, and they don’t appreciate fear and blame politics. Let me take this term, and then maybe together we can consult with young leaders who have so much more to lose. It’s their time. Party politics be damned. Please see my website for more information.


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