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Friedrich defends his political role

TimesLedger Newspapers

In a Nov. 10-16 letter to me, Barbara Leonardi asked if my letter to the editor (“E-mail disguised as birthday celebration,” Oct. 20-26), wherein I called for “truth in advertising” by elected officials who send out fund-raising letters masquerading as birthday invitations was “genuine or just another one of your tries at a political position.” In the same paper, Diane Stromfeld characterizes my letter as a “complaint from the perennial candidate, who is a perennial loser.”

Disparaging someone for entering electoral politics to give voters a choice beyond the usual menu of incumbent offerings is offensive. This type of character sniping will continue to discourage individuals from participating in the electoral process. When did running for office become something to vilify rather than admire? Isn’t political participation a fundamental right of citizenship?

Leonardi questions whether a volunteer board member should have political desires in the best interest of the co-op, and she pejoratively remarks that “you seem to stand strong against incumbent politicians, which you then later need.”

Is she seriously suggesting that it is acceptable for an elected official to pick and choose who they wish to represent based on favoritism, rather than what is in the best interest of the community? Perhaps she should ask those elected officials she reveres if they only provide attention and assistance to friends and allies.

News flash for Leonardi: Elected officials are not paid by taxpayer dollars to pick and choose who they represent. They are paid to vigorously represent the entire community — and that includes Democrats and Republicans, donors and non-donors, friends and foes, sycophants and critics. That is representative democracy.

Leonardi suggests that the well-respected Presidents Co-op/Condo Council I founded should discuss “what side business a board president/director can engage in.” Does she understand that a board member serves voluntarily, and the “side business” is their full-time job? Her concern is misplaced.

Vilifying volunteer civic leaders who seek to improve their communities, while groveling to well-compensated politicians who have staff members paid to do just that is embarrassing.

Bob Friedrich

President

Glen Oaks Village

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