Meet Alan Friedman, he’s my friend and he’s running for senate. He’s #17 on the ballot. Alan is one of the most trustworthy people I’ve ever met in my life. He genuinely cares about the people, especially those that can’t help themselves.
Alan and I have many opposing political views. I’m a Republican, he’s running for the Green Party. But we also agree on some very important issues.
Check out his platform and comment in.
1) Reduce senate size from 15 seats down to seven. This can be done gradually over several elections. For instance in 2014 our populace votes for 13 seats, in 2016 for 11 seats, in 2018 for 9 seats and by 2020 the VI votes on only 7 seats (3 STX, 3 STT and 1 Senator at Large) to write laws for the territory. Reason: Our current elected official payroll is unsustainable for such a small population.
My comments: I agree, the waste here in the USVI is inexcusable, why do we need that many senators, driving around in free cars, raiding their expense accounts for only 100,000 people? Makes sense to me!
2) Reduce power bills. This can be done by introducing more dual use generators, aid our territory’s ability to import liquid natural gas while prioritizing its storage facilities and not take any option of the table when it comes to our islands’ power generation. Reason: Each administration has passed this problem onto the next. It’s time to legitimately invest in our relief.
My comments: Kicking the can down the road is par for the course here in the USVI. And the average USVI citizen just can’t afford alternative energy, read my article here on the real costs of solar: http://www.stthomasblog.com/2012/01/26/for-all-people-saying-just-go-solar/
3) I will not rely on legislation to make a difference in our community. I’ve pledged to donate 20% of my senate salary to The Family Resource Center, a non-profit organization committed to helping victims of domestic violence & sexual assault. I also promise to turn down government vehicles, gas allowances and the countless other perks enjoyed by those we’ve elected to serve the public. Reason: Why wait for a law to obligate our senators to reduce what we all agree is too high a salary? Our leaders should be expected to lead by example.
My comments: How many other greedy senators would pledge this? They expect us all to sacrifice yet they are the second highest paid senators in the US, only behind California. True greed is what is killing the USVI.
4) Introduce a local version of Megan’s Law which requires any person convicted of a sex crime against children to notify local law enforcement upon arrival to The U.S. Virgin Islands. This legislature will also require our authorities to inform victims of the release of their attacker from prison. Reason: Sex crimes in The USVI need to be addressed and dealt with head on. There is no excuse for turning a blind eye to this horrible issue in our community.
My comments: Although not at the top of my personal agenda this is a great idea.
5) Focus on assisting local businesses to thrive through even-handed tax enforcement instead of increasing collections on honest tax payers. Taxes should be a shared burden. Assist in a mandatory revamp of our licensing process to make it easier and cheaper to establish and maintain businesses of all sizes. Reason: Too many business owners are doubly burdened by WAPA and Gross Tax Receipts while government bureaucracy places obstacles instead of helpful measures in their path. I WILL NOT RAISE TAXES. Instead, I will ensure everyone pays their fair share so the weight is more evenly distributed.
My comments: Ironically I wrote an article on this subject back in 2011 entitled The Comical Adventures Of Obtaining A New Business License In St. Thomas US Virgin Islands. You can read it here: http://www.stthomasblog.com/2011/03/28/the-comical-adventure-of-obtaining-a-new-business-license-in-st-thomas-us-virgin-islands/. It’s a joke. And of course how many Safari drivers actually pay taxes on ALL their wages? We all know many cheat the system whilst other honest businesses pay their fair share.
How does that platform sound to you? Clear, concise and he’s not trying to solve every issue all at once.
Check him out in his debate with Senator Malone and Carol Berry:
Here are some questions from the St. Thomas Source to candidate Alan Friedman #17 on the ballot:
Senatorial Election Questions:
1. If you knew a colleague was taking or soliciting a bribe or bribes or otherwise acting outside of the law, would you reporter him or her to the proper authorities?
Yes. I have done it before and would do it again.
2. Should your public life be a reflection of your private life?
I’m sure there are many who would answer “yes” to this question. I’m not one of them. Bluntly stated, my public life is public and my private life is none of anyone’s business.
3. What is your record of volunteer service to the community? Name four organizations or efforts you have served without being paid or otherwise compensated.
Most of us could do more to contribute to our community. I feel like I’m one of those people. However, as a radio station manager I’ve had multiple opportunities to donate my time, my energy and my expertise to many organizations over the past decade. These include:
- Donating radio time for The Boys & Girls’ Club (on STX & STT) and The Family Resource Center of STT.
- Distributing toys to the Nana Baby Home, Kidscope and our hospital during the holiday season along with the “Toys for Tots” campaign (spearheaded by The US Marines)
- My wife & I foster dogs on behalf of the Humane Society and feature them on our station until we find them a good home.
- We’re heavily involved in Rotary East’s fund raising “Cinco de Mayo” Chihuahua races and multiple Breast Cancer fund-raisers.
4. Should government officials travel on public money? If yes, should the miles acquired belong to the public to be used for the public good; i.e. students’ travel?
Government officials sometimes need to use public money on business-related travel. It stands to reason that the miles earned should be donated back to the public. I think students or our representing athletes would benefit greatly from being recipients of these miles.
5. Do you feel it is your responsibility as an elected official to show up for scheduled meetings on time and stay at the meetings for the duration? Will you pledge to do that without fail?
Sadly, some elected officials enjoy “full-time” salaries but have a “part-time” work ethic. It is important that this changes. If I were to conduct myself this way in the private sector, I would’ve gone out of business years ago. I gladly pledge to show up for scheduled meetings on time and stay for the duration.
6. Would you support an anti-vendor statute that would prohibit churches and other nonprofit organizations from soliciting dollars from elected officials for the nonprofit organizations’ events?
The separation of church and state is important to me. However, I think it’s a mistake to group non-profit organizations or any effort that assists with local causes, in this statute. There must be a balance. I wouldn’t want a government agency tasked with the delicate matter of sheltering abused children, much like I wouldn’t want our laws to be written by a priest. Government grants are often required for non-profit organizations to remain active. I would need to read the “anti-vendor statute” proposed in order to properly answer your question.
7. Yes or no – are you in favor of a Chief Financial Officer as proposed by Delegate Donna Christensen?
Yes. I’m in favor of obtaining an independent third party to determine the budget available for our government’s annual expenditures. This level of organization & accountability would be a step in the right direction for the territory. However, as Mrs. Christensen pointed out, a CFO bill would not “be a cure all for what ails the Virgin Islands” and it must be implemented with checks & balances (no pun intended) and administered watchfully. If it’s not, it wouldn’t be the first time The Virgin Islands fall victim to well intentioned legislation.
8. Have you ever been arrested? If yes, please explain.
Yes. As a college student I was wrongfully arrested for trespassing onto my own property (much like Henry Louis Gates but without the “Beer Summit”), all charges were dropped.
9. The electorate already voted in a non-binding referendum in favor of a smaller Legislature. Would you vote to reduce the size of the Legislature to no more than nine senators? Would you sponsor or co-sponsor such a bill?
No. I’m strongly in favor of reducing the size of the senate down to seven, not nine. Not only would I sponsor or co-sponsor the bill to reduce senate size, I would happily relinquish my seat to facilitate its dissolution.
If you like what Alan Firedman stands for please share this article, copy the URL link at the top and post to your Facebook pages. Alan Friedman won’t be winning votes by having the best “Fish Fry”, he’ll do it with hard work, a grassroots effort and your word of mouth.
Vote for Alan Friedman if you want honest change, #17 on the ballot.
You can view his Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/AlanFriedmanSTTSenate.