Category Archives: open letter

Open Letter to Township Committee – 13 Oct 2006: Middletown Township Committee Must Address Appearance of Conflict of Interest Issue

While campaigning for Township Committee back in 2006, then Democratic Candidate Patrick Short sent a letter to Mayor Tom Hall and the rest of the Middletown Township Committee expressing his concerns over the inappropriate public contract that was handed to Sodon Electric Inc. and it’s owner Republican candidate for Township Committee Tim Sodon.
In his letter that you can read below, Short pointed out that Sodon had received over $92,000 for services performed from Dec.2005 thru Sept, 2006 while doing electrical work for the Township. A lot of the electrical work at the time that he did was for maintaining Park and Recreation facilities and other Municipal buildings. At the time of this letter, Sodon was also a member of the Recreation Advisory Board and could direct work to his company when needed.

Today Tim Sodon is the electrical contractor in town by resolution and gets all the work. As a sitting member of the Middletown Planning Board, applicants before the Board have his ear and could inappropriately direct electrical work his way, if they thought that it would improve their chances of having a project approved, as one of the commenter to a previous post pointed out.

The bottom line is, if you are an elected or appointed official in any capacity whatsoever, you should not be contracting service and making a living off the people that you are suppose to be representing. It is inappropriate, a clear conflict of interest and unethical.
If Tony Fiore and his ilk wish to force out Library Board President Randall Gabrielan over some book sale than they should also be ready to ask Tim Sodon to step down from the Planning Board due to his public, no-bid contract for electrical services that he currently holds here in Middletown.
Open Letter to Middletown Township Committee

To: Mayor, Middletown Township
From: Patrick Short

13 October 2006

Subject: Middletown Township Committee Must Address Appearance of Conflict of Interest Issue

I was surprised to find and disappointed to learn that the “Good ‘O Boy” and even Pay for Play may still be active and taking place in Middletown. Despite steps taken to remove this type of conduct in Monmouth County and in Middletown, I do not understand why the Township Committee would permit the appearance of this unacceptable practice to take place.

The relationship between the Parks and Recreation Department and Sodon Electric Inc. may be an example of this impropriety. In the past 10 months, the town has paid Sodon Electric Inc. a total of $92,072.26 for services’ performed from December 2005 through September 2006. This has occurred while the principal partner of Sodon Electric Inc., Mr. Timothy Sodon, is the Republican Party Candidate seeking a seat on the Township Committee; the same committee that approves payment to Sodon Electric Inc. as a contractor in our town. Mr. Sodon is also the chairman of the Recreation Advisory Board; a board that influences projects performed for the Parks and Recreation Department. Any electrical maintenance service that is performed, it is done by Sodon Electric Inc. Most troubling is the fact that payment to Sodon Electric Inc for services performed has more than tripled since Mr. Sodon became the Republican Party candidate and a member and chairman of the Recreation Advisory Board.

Mr. Sodon will have to decide whether he wants to remain a contractor who provides a service to the town or whether he wants to be Committee member, if elected, who approves contractors and the work that they perform within the town. Doing both promotes the appearance of a conflict.

However, it is the responsibility of the Township Committee to ensure that conflict of interest or the appearance thereof does not take place. And if it does, action should immediately be taken to remedy the situation. Our town ought to be viewed as a town that treats all contractors/vendors fairly, impartially, and in the best interest of the tax payer. Our town ought not to be viewed as a town that selects a contractor/vendor off a “Good O Boy” list or because it is an insider to the Republican Party.

I would hope that the Township Committee would view this situation from the eyes of the other twenty-seven (27) electric companies in our town that may want to do business in Middletown. These electrical companies must have confidence that they will not be excluded from doing work in Middletown if they do not subscribe to political patronage. Rather, they subscribe to a high ethical standard and provide quality of service at a cost that is in the best interest of the Middletown taxpayer.

To demonstrate that the Township Committee embraces these principles, I recommend the Township Committee remedy this situation by taking the following steps:

  1. Establish a policy to prohibit any elected and/or appointed official from performing contractual work in the township and any contractor/vendor from being an elected and/or appointed official.
  2. Replace Mr. Sodon as a member/chairperson of the Recreation Advisory Board.
  3. Place an immediate “Stop Work” on all work currently being performed by Sodon Electric Inc.
  4. Re-Issue a Request for Proposal Competitive Bid for electrical maintenance services performed in the Township of Middletown.

Respectfully,

Patrick Short

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Filed under conflict of interest, Middletown Planning Board, Middletown Township Committee, open letter, Patrick Short, Recreation Advisory Board, Sodon Electric, Tim Sodon, unethical behavior

>NFL Fans: A Letter From Roger Goodell

>If your a fan of the national Football League this may be interesting to you, I received this open letter last night from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The letter was issued shortly after contract negotiations between the NFL owners and players broke off and an impasse declared by the players union which lead to the players union decertifying.

In the open letter, Goodell explains the owners position during negotiations and expresses their desire to continue the collective bargaining and mediation process so that an agreement between the two sides can serve the best interest of NFL players, clubs and fans:

Dear NFL Fan,

When I wrote to you last on behalf of the NFL, we promised you that we would work tirelessly to find a collectively bargained solution to our differences with the players’ union. Subsequent to that letter to you, we agreed that the fastest way to a fair agreement was for everyone to work together through a mediation process. For the last three weeks I have personally attended every session of mediation, which is a process our clubs sincerely believe in.

Unfortunately, I have to tell you that earlier today the players’ union walked away from mediation and collective bargaining and has initiated litigation against the clubs. In an effort to get a fair agreement now, our clubs offered a deal today that was, among other things, designed to have no adverse financial impact on veteran players in the early years, and would have met the player’s financial demands in the latter years of the agreement.

The proposal we made included an offer to narrow the player compensation gap that existed in the negotiations by splitting the difference; guarantee a reallocation of savings from first-round rookies to veterans and retirees without negatively affecting compensation for rounds 2-7; no compensation reduction for veterans; implement new year-round health and safety rules; retain the current 16-4 season format for at least two years with any subsequent changes subject to the approval of the league and union; and establish a new legacy fund for retired players ($82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years).

It was a deal that offered compromise, and would have ensured the well-being of our players and guaranteed the long-term future for the fans of the great game we all love so much. It was a deal where everyone would prosper.

We remain committed to collective bargaining and the federal mediation process until an agreement is reached, and call on the union to return to negotiations immediately. NFL players, clubs, and fans want an agreement. The only place it can be reached is at the bargaining table.

While we are disappointed with the union’s actions, we remain steadfastly committed to reaching an agreement that serves the best interest of NFL players, clubs and fans, and thank you for your continued support of our League. First and foremost it is your passion for the game that drives us all, and we will not lose sight of this as we continue to work for a deal that works for everyone.

Yours,
Roger Goodell

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Filed under collective bargaining, Commissioner Roger Goodell, contract impasse, contract negotiations, Lock-Out, NFL, NFL Players, open letter

Open Letter from Middletown BOE President Laura Agin Requesting Residents To Support This Years School Budget

To all the Middletown residents who will go the polls on April 20, I implore you to vote YES for the school budget. As a result of significant reductions in state aid to school districts, severe cuts are already included in the 2010-11 budget. The budget was developed with significant input from community stakeholders and their suggestions were incorporated into the difficult choices that were made. No area was left untouched.

Middletown has strived for efficiency. We have continually sought fiscally responsible ways to improve on the way we deliver instruction. We have developed programs to keep students in district thereby reducing costly out of district tuitions. We implemented, and will continue, full day kindergarten with the overwhelming support of the community at no additional cost to the taxpayers by strategically restructuring teaching assignments. We have decreased the need for support staff by introducing best practice instructional models in our elementary and middle schools while, at the same time, increasing overall test scores at these levels. We are continuing our efforts to implement the state mandated High School Redesign model at little or no cost to our community.

Middletown has tackled tough issues. We have already achieved cost savings by eliminating traditional insurance plans and increasing employee contributions to health care premiums. We have negotiated caps for accrued sick and vacation time. We have no bogus doctorates and we can assure that no employee of the Middletown school district will retire with a “Golden Parachute”. We are well ahead of the curve.

Despite these efficiencies, significant cuts ($10 million) are included in the Middletown school budget for 2010-11. These have been presented in forums, reported in the local media and outlined on our website www.middletownk12.org so I will not reiterate them here. I do feel, however, that I must address what has become an election target: Administrative Excess. Middletown has, over the years, continuously evaluated and restructured the administrative team based on ever-changing, district -wide needs. It is the administration who brings new initiatives to the district, develops ways to improve instruction, provides training and staff development and supervises the delivery of curriculum. With more than 10,000 students in 17 schools, good administration directly impacts students in the classroom and is required to ensure continuity and equity for all students. Our administrator to student ratio has been, and will continue to be, among the lowest in the county and well below the state average. As in all other areas of the budget, however, we will do more with less. This budget includes the elimination of 15% of the administrative staff in the district.

As community members come to me to speak about our budget, I know there is anger and frustration about what is happening to our schools. No one likes to see cuts of this magnitude. We have tried very hard to make reductions as equitable as possible in all areas without significantly impacting students in the classroom. Be angry, but don’t let that anger get in the way of good judgment. Let this be the worst-case scenario. A defeat to the budget will only bring further cuts to staffing, educational programs and extracurricular activities and the things that make you angry will not have changed. I am not asking you to like this budget but to vote YES because it is the best thing we can do for our children and our community. Our town is measured by the quality of our educational programs. Now is the time to come together as a community and continue to take pride in who we are.

Laura Agin
President
Middletown Township Board of Education


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Filed under budget cuts, Laura Agin, Middletown Board of Education, Middletown NJ, open letter, school budgets

AN OPEN LETTER CALLING ON DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATORS TO POST MARRIAGE EQUALITY LEGISLATION FOR A VOTE

The following letter, which was signed by more than 200 prominate democrats from around the state, was sent to the State Legislature in an effort to convince members there to support marriage equality:

We believe that equality and fairness are fundamental principles of New Jersey’s Democratic Party, and that is why we call on the state legislature to vote immediately on, and pass, the marriage equality bill.

New Jersey has a proud history of supporting civil rights. It was this legacy that encouraged many of us to become involved in politics. We believe that allowing committed gay and lesbian couples to marry is, at its core, about treating our family members, friends, coworkers, and neighbors with dignity and respect.

We appreciate that this is a difficult issue for some state legislators. But marriage equality is an idea whose time has come. We are confident that the voters will stand by those elected officials who do the right thing.

When our children and grandchildren look back on this moment, we want to be able to tell them that we, too, did the right thing.

As Martin Luther King poignantly reminded us, “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” That is why we’re proud to lend our names and our voices to this important cause. We do so in our capacity as private citizens and Democratic voters, and not on behalf of any particular office or organization.

The full list of signers:

Philip Alagia

Stephanie Albanese
Albert Alvarez
Hiver Ambrose
Rob Angelo
Byron Arnao
Paul Aronsohn
Frank Askin
Alison Badgett
Ann Baker
Edward Barocas
John Bartlett
Elsbeth Battel
Dan Benson
Rosemary Bernardi
Michael Beson
Ravinder S. Bhalla
Randy Bishop
Rick Bolger
Peter Bondi
Cory Booker
John Borowsky
Barry Brendel
Kelsi Browning
Tonio Burgos
Marge Caldwell-Wilson
Aaron Carter
Jason Cassese
Leah Casterlin
Bill Castner
Salma Chand
Ron Chen
Colleen Connolly
Tai Cooper
Rob Corrales
Maureen Coxwell
Jenny Crumiller
Jeff Curley
Sean Darcy
Bob DeCheine
Lizette Delgado-Polanco
David DelVecchio
Steve DeMicco
Shane Derris
George Devanney
Donna Dolce
Chris Donnelly
Craig Dorsett
Janellen Duffy
Liz Duthie
Charles Eader
Rosi Efthim
Paul Eisenman
Michael Embrich
John Evans
Everette Falt
Ben Feldman
June Fischer
MichaelAaron Flicker
Janice Fuller
John Fuller
Karen Gaffney
Allen Gannett
Jeff Gardner
Rob Garrison
James Gee
Angelo J. Genova
Mike Giglio
Brendan Gill
John Gizis
Jen Godoski
Chad Goerner
Adam Goldfarb
Steven Goldstein
Vin Gopal
Jeff Grayzel
Adam Green
Marta Harrison
Avery Hart
Maria Havasy
Joshua Henne
Victor Herlinsky
Carol Hoernlein
Rush Holt
Deborah Howlett
Rafi Jafri
Michele Jaker
Kyle Jasey
Bianca Jerez
Paul Josephson
Jeffrey Kaszerman
Dan Katz
Michael Kempner
Sheila Kenny
Steven W. Kleinman
Justin Kolman
Janice Kovach
Orin S. Kramer
April Kuzas
Adam Lambert
Justin Lambert
Tim Larsen
Jay Lassiter
Brad Lawrence
Bertin Lefkovic
Chris Leitner
Liz Lempert
Steve Lenox
Cathleen Lewis
Juanita Lewis
Kay LiCausi
Mada Liebman
Brooke Liebowitz
Doris Lin
Jose Lozano
Ian MacAllen
Blair MacInness
Gordon MacInness
Colleen Mahr
Francisco Maldano-Ramirez
Claire Manning
James W. Manning, Jr.
Marcia Marley
Laura Matos
Mark Matzen
Rocco A. Mazza
John McCarthy
Raymond J. McCarthy
Regan McGrory
Matt McHale
Jack McHugh
Pat McKenna
Cathy McLaughlin
Juan Melli
Alicia Menendez
Rob Menendez, Jr.
Naomi Michaelis
Ruth Miller
Bernie Miller
Maggie Moran
Tricia Mueller
Neil Mullin, Esq.
Lauren Murphy
Michael Murphy
Rachel Napear
Adam Neary
William Northgrave
Joseph Novick
Ed Oatman
Lucy O’Brien
Bonne O’Flanagan
Kat Orr
Frank Pallone
Jim C. Peeler
Desiree Peterkin
Cristina Pinzon
Barbara Plumeri
Braxton J. Plummer
Andrew Poag
Michael Premo
Dan Preston
Ronald C. Rice
Chip Robinson
Julie Roginsky
Arlene Romoff
Mariel Rosen
Hetty Rosenstein
Keith M. Rosso
Steve Rothman
Nathan Rudy
Jorge Santos
Peg Schaffer
Julie Schreck
Carolyn Schwebel
John C. Schwebel
Michael Sedita
Jed Seltzer
Shawn Sheekey
Scott Shields
Zach Silber
Troy Singleton
Babs Siperstein
David Smith
Nancy Erika Smith
Vincent Solomeno
Robert Sommer
James Souder
Jason Springer
Domenick Stampone
Adam Steinberger
Jake Stuiver
Carol Tangorra
Rosanna J. Tangorra
Earl Thomas Teasley
Brett Tinder
John Valentine
Frank Vespa-Papaleo
Tom Vincz
Joe Waks
Mike Wallace
Elnardo Webster
Dana Wefer
Scott Weingart
Terry West
Joseph Wojtecki
Betty Wyka
Tom Wyka
David York
Alison Zayas
Joshua Zeitz
Harry Zikas, Jr.
Dawn Zimmer
Matt Zinader
Ed Zipprich

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Filed under Democrats, Marriage Equality, New Jersey, open letter

Letter:Michelle Roth, Democratic Candidate Adresses the 12th Assembly District

Dear Neighbor,

My name is Michelle Roth. I am running for Assemblywoman in District 12.

Like many women in Monmouth County I wear various hats. I am a working mother (of three daughters), wife and public servant. I have dedicated my time since my children were young to creating solutions that improve the future for all our children. I understand the challenges modern families face. I also understand that government needs to do a better job providing essential services and a lower tax bill so that our children and our parents can afford to stay in New Jersey. I worry about the future our children will inherit.

Because the challenges that face us are both great and grave, we need to make sure that we have the right people in office making the tough decisions. As the Mayor of Manalapan, I made local government more transparent by televising all meetings and improving access to public records online. I prevented urban sprawl by purchasing open space and supporting farmland preservation programs. I also reduced the size of government while making it more efficient. I will work to do the same in Trenton.

I am not the usual candidate for public office. I earned an MBA in Finance from Fordham University and own a small consulting firm that does no business within the State of New Jersey. There is nothing I want from the Trenton machine. Instead, I would like to change the way business is done in Trenton so we can get our spending under control and shift the funding of education away from property taxes and over to the State income tax system, where it belongs.

The Women’s Political Caucus of NJ recently endorsed me. They said that women elected to public office make a difference in our quality of life and change the political environment for the better by helping to restore the public’s trust in government. Women elected to public office waste no time in rolling up their sleeves to get the job done. I have also been endorsed by Planned Parenthood as I stand in defense of women’s rights.

Along with my running mate John Amberg, I have run a grassroots campaign, walking door to door and trying to speak with as many of the 141,000 voters in our district as possible. If we missed your door, I do apologize. You’ll notice that we had no fancy literature and did not bombard you with mailing after mailing. Nor have we said anything negative about our opponents. We’ve run a clean campaign based upon our ideas that we would enact when elected.

I know I can begin to fix the problems in Trenton but I need your help. On November 3rd, when you go out to vote, please vote for Michelle Roth and John Amberg. Let our voice be your voice in Trenton. Let us put your family first.

With warm regards,

Michelle Roth, Candidate
12th Assmebly District

www.roth-amberg.com

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Filed under 12th district, John Amberg, Michele Roth, open letter

Open Letter to President Obama on Consumer Protection

I am no fan of Ralph Nader, but today he posted an open letter to President Obama on the CommonDreams.org  website which makes perfect sense to me. In his letter, Nader expresses his concerns over the economy and the need for consumer protections against fraud and deceit:

Dear President Obama:

Underneath many of our country’s economic problems is the thirty-year collapse of consumer protection-both of the regulatory kind and of the self-help kind known as proper access to justice.

Last month major consumer groups sent you a letter proposing action to rein in exploitation of consumers as debtors, as buyers of oil, gas and electricity, as patients needing health insurance and as eaters wanting safe goods.

Under the Bush regime, the words “consumer protection” were rarely uttered and the Bush administration almost never initiated any pro-consumer efforts, even with massive evidence before it, such as predatory lending and credit card abuses.

You need to recognize and elevate the GDP significance of fair consumer policies along with their moral and just attributes at a time of worsening recession.

I suggest you focus on the state of the poorest consumers in the urban and rural ghettos. As you know from your days with the New York Public Interest Group (NYPIRG) and as a community organizer in Chicago, the consumers in these areas are the most gouged and least protected. That the “poor pay more” has been extensively documented by civic, official and academic studies, and numerous local newspaper and television news reports.

Unfortunately, neither Congress nor the Executive branch have paid adequate attention to the tens of millions of people who lose at least 25 percent of their consumer dollars to multiple frauds and shoddy merchandise. You should establish special task forces in the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission on their plight and on the many proven but unused remedies to assure a fair marketplace with effective enforcement and grievance procedures.

Working with and galvanizing local and state agencies to enlarge their capacity and staff-with stimulus monies-can produce a triple-header-making the federal effort more effective, providing valuable jobs and freeing up billions of consumer dollars from the financial sink-hole of commercial crimes.

It requires the visibility and eloquence of your personal leadership to launch this long-overdue defense of poor people.

A second area of action is simply to update major areas of regulatory health and safety that have been frozen for thirty years. These include modernizing standards for auto and tire safety, food safety, aviation and railroad safety and occupational health and trauma protection.

New knowledge, new marketing forays, and new technologies have accumulated during this period without application. It is the obsolescence of so many safety standards hailing from the fifties, sixties and seventies that permits the tricky, corporate advertising claims that products “exceed federal safety standards.”

Note for example that the SEC has never come close to regulating the recent explosion of myriad collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). The massive speculation in this area is destabilizing the national and world economies.

Third, you need to articulate and provide a high profile to what western Europeans have long called “social consumerism.” Citizens are consumers of government services for which they pay as taxpayers. In return they are entitled to prompt, accurate and courteous responses to their inquiries and to their perceived needs as embraced by the authorizing statutes.

To begin with, Americans need to be able to get through to their government agencies and departments. Being put on hold interminably with automated messages to nowhere, not receiving replies of any kind to their letters, and generally getting the brush-off even with the deadlines explicated in the Freedom of Information Act have been a bi-partisan failure.

However, under the Bush regime, not answering serious letters from dedicated individuals and groups on time-sensitive matters of policy and action-as with the Iraq war and occupation-became standard operating procedure-starting with President Bush himself.

This stonewalling has turned people off so much that they do not even bother to “ask their government” for assistance and that includes an astonishingly unresponsive Congress (other than for ministerial requests such as locating lost VA or social security checks.)

As you shape the Obama White House, bear in mind that the “change you can believe in” is one of kind, not just degree.

Sincerely yours,

Ralph Nader

 

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Filed under CommonDreams.org, Congress, consumer protection, deception, fraud, GDP, open letter, President Obama, Ralph Nader, Securities and Exchange Commission

>Open Letter to President Obama on Consumer Protection

>

I am no fan of Ralph Nader, but today he posted an open letter to President Obama on the CommonDreams.org  website which makes perfect sense to me. In his letter, Nader expresses his concerns over the economy and the need for consumer protections against fraud and deceit:

Dear President Obama:

Underneath many of our country’s economic problems is the thirty-year collapse of consumer protection-both of the regulatory kind and of the self-help kind known as proper access to justice.

Last month major consumer groups sent you a letter proposing action to rein in exploitation of consumers as debtors, as buyers of oil, gas and electricity, as patients needing health insurance and as eaters wanting safe goods.

Under the Bush regime, the words “consumer protection” were rarely uttered and the Bush administration almost never initiated any pro-consumer efforts, even with massive evidence before it, such as predatory lending and credit card abuses.

You need to recognize and elevate the GDP significance of fair consumer policies along with their moral and just attributes at a time of worsening recession.

I suggest you focus on the state of the poorest consumers in the urban and rural ghettos. As you know from your days with the New York Public Interest Group (NYPIRG) and as a community organizer in Chicago, the consumers in these areas are the most gouged and least protected. That the “poor pay more” has been extensively documented by civic, official and academic studies, and numerous local newspaper and television news reports.

Unfortunately, neither Congress nor the Executive branch have paid adequate attention to the tens of millions of people who lose at least 25 percent of their consumer dollars to multiple frauds and shoddy merchandise. You should establish special task forces in the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission on their plight and on the many proven but unused remedies to assure a fair marketplace with effective enforcement and grievance procedures.

Working with and galvanizing local and state agencies to enlarge their capacity and staff-with stimulus monies-can produce a triple-header-making the federal effort more effective, providing valuable jobs and freeing up billions of consumer dollars from the financial sink-hole of commercial crimes.

It requires the visibility and eloquence of your personal leadership to launch this long-overdue defense of poor people.

A second area of action is simply to update major areas of regulatory health and safety that have been frozen for thirty years. These include modernizing standards for auto and tire safety, food safety, aviation and railroad safety and occupational health and trauma protection.

New knowledge, new marketing forays, and new technologies have accumulated during this period without application. It is the obsolescence of so many safety standards hailing from the fifties, sixties and seventies that permits the tricky, corporate advertising claims that products “exceed federal safety standards.”

Note for example that the SEC has never come close to regulating the recent explosion of myriad collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). The massive speculation in this area is destabilizing the national and world economies.

Third, you need to articulate and provide a high profile to what western Europeans have long called “social consumerism.” Citizens are consumers of government services for which they pay as taxpayers. In return they are entitled to prompt, accurate and courteous responses to their inquiries and to their perceived needs as embraced by the authorizing statutes.

To begin with, Americans need to be able to get through to their government agencies and departments. Being put on hold interminably with automated messages to nowhere, not receiving replies of any kind to their letters, and generally getting the brush-off even with the deadlines explicated in the Freedom of Information Act have been a bi-partisan failure.

However, under the Bush regime, not answering serious letters from dedicated individuals and groups on time-sensitive matters of policy and action-as with the Iraq war and occupation-became standard operating procedure-starting with President Bush himself.

This stonewalling has turned people off so much that they do not even bother to “ask their government” for assistance and that includes an astonishingly unresponsive Congress (other than for ministerial requests such as locating lost VA or social security checks.)

As you shape the Obama White House, bear in mind that the “change you can believe in” is one of kind, not just degree.

Sincerely yours,

Ralph Nader

 

Leave a comment

Filed under CommonDreams.org, Congress, consumer protection, deception, fraud, GDP, open letter, President Obama, Ralph Nader, Securities and Exchange Commission