Monday, January 5, 2009

Barack's Blackberry - one public servant who knows why he needs one!

Below is the bio of the man who is my locally-elected official:

Paul Feiner began his career in public service at the age of 12, when he worked as a volunteer on the successful 1968 Congressional campaign of Ogden Reid. At the age of 16 Paul Feiner was already fighting for quality of life improvements. As Chair of the Teen Democrats of Westchester, he persuaded the county of Westchester to open the Bronx River Parkway on Sunday for cyclists, a program that remains popular to this day. Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude at Fordham University and a 1981 graduate of St. John's Law School, Mr. Feiner immediately put his academic skills to good use. He led the campaign to open committee meetings of the Westchester County Board of Legislators to the public. This successful effort prompted Common Cause to name Mr. Feiner one of six national recipients of the Common Cause Public Service Achievement Award in 1982. His award cited Mr. Feiner's "force of imagination, initiative and perseverance that have made an outstanding contribution to the public interest in the areas of government performance and integrity." In 1983 he was elected to the Westchester County Board of Legislators, defeating two opponents who were supported by the political establishment. As a County Legislator he always put his constituents first. Thanks to Mr. Feiner the county Legislature adopted a number of open government reforms, including meetings with public speaking access. And, in 1986, Mr. Feiner established the "Have a Heart for the Homeless Committee" which to date has helped over 400 families avoid homelessness. As a Legislator Mr. Feiner worked to lower utility rates and find housing for indigent families.

I consider myself to be a blessed individual - each morning when I have my morning devotions, I thank God and the universe for allowing me to have as much as I have - truly an abundance in a world where so many have so little.

I am very blessed to have in my life many men whom I find incredibly intelligent, passionate about life, causes, people, places and the like. They are, in no particular order - elected officials, attorneys, professors, teachers, coffee shop owners, restauranteurs, school teachers, small business owners and now a President of the United States, along with any number of professions in between.

I live in Greenburgh, New York - Hartsdale, actually, but we are unincorporated. Greenburgh was rated by Money Magazine as a top place to live in the country. Prior to moving here, I lived in Salt Lake City, Utah - also a top-rated place to live. Blessed I am indeed.

What does all this have to do with Barack's Blackberry, you ask?

Recently, Paul Feiner, my Town Supervisor, was on a weeklong vacation with his family and we experienced an inordinately rough winter storm in his absence. Apparently, trash was not picked up during that time. At least, based on the emails I received from Paul via listserve. I live in a condo, so I don't pay attention to such things. Apparently it was a bit of an issue for other residents who wanted to know why their trash had not been picked up. The email from Paul was brief and to the point - sorry for the missed pickup, the storm had delayed it and bear with the public services folks who would get the trash picked up the following day.

It was a minor interruption in Paul's vacation - at least I hope so - but it serves to illustrate the importance of keeping in touch with one's constituents and department heads when one is an elected official.

The Governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman Junior - does not use email - he writes everything out longhand. Rumor has it, things are then sent to the shredder.

Barack Obama wants to keep his Blackberry when he is Commander in Chief. He needs it and he should be allowed to keep it. I know of many individuals, myself included who have used wireless devices to keep abreast of constituents and fast-emerging political situations whose systems have not been breached.

If the powers that be cannot figure out how not to compromise Barack's Blackberry - they should be looking for another job.


Jude said...

I totally agree with you. In this day and age, you have to be connected at all times. There should be a way to figure out how to track and maintain the "public records" of the on line connections.

Annette James Daley said...


Thanks for posting. Can you elaborate on the "public records" portion? Are you speaking of GRAMA requests? I wonder - can one GRAMA the records of a President? That is, phone and Blackberry? Interesting thought. Any attorneys out there know the answer to my question?