Kevin Gaughan, rHouse

May 17, 2010|

Gaughan with Peter Hunt on WBEN

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Welcome to our house the only complete on their resource for your home ownership needs now appears the host of our house Peter hunt. Good morning and welcome to our house this is Peter hunt -- the show was brought to you by house dot com that's little HO USE dot com or. Everything is easier for your real statement homeownership experience. -- comes hard Huntsville state Yuri buffalo Niagara Rochester Syracuse Watertown. Search hope springs and also Phoenix Arizona. The shows also brought to -- -- mortgage a mortgage is the home of the low rate guarantee. There is no Hillary for next home financing experience than through the people -- mortgage. I encourage you call today at 6333700. Interest rates have held to be to a relatively low level again this week. That would encourage your listeners -- any intention of buying a home refinancing the home you have. It is now is the time -- can and can't CNET. With greater emphasis call of people on mortgages 6333700. If you go through this process be assured of the lowest rate available. We are very special for you today in the studio with me is Kevin on mr. gone music civic leader and nationally known expert on government informant community renewal. His work is the impetus behind increasing levels of corporation among Western New York local governments as we've seen through the his actions particularly. Most notably against for. Our listeners who paid any attention. In terms of the efforts to reduce the size of town sports rounder community good morning Kevin good morning Peterson -- be with you could have you here. Kevin. This all of this effort had to start someplace what what's the basis of your. Your actions here you've got -- your lawyer means you could be practicing law and doing things. But you've chosen to take on this -- basically take on. He. Deeply entrenched governmental structure in this community. Why and and and what's the basis of your your whole your whole thinking. Looking back on -- Peter was just over four years ago. When when dad picked up the New York Times and I read as we all did that them. -- economy I just since 1996. Had lost more than 30% of its young people between the ages of eighteen and 34. And in the entire recorded history and American know Connie never lost that -- that amount of young people and by the way when they walk out of here with -- take our future. So sort of driven by about. The and at the same time it was it was about a decade after myself and some others have spent. About ten years. -- attempting to hold to various national conferences and conversations to. And attempt to encourage our elected officials and we citizens to think through and rethink go -- local government. Here enough upstate New York so what I did was idea and I'm under the auspices of several local foundations in collaboration with UB law school. Volume conducted about an eighteen month long study. On the cost of local government. The in enough in western new York and here's what I found. Just since 1970 urinary Condit was lost -- 278000. People students and I've done the math what that means is that every hour forty minutes someone walks out of town. Not because they want to not because I don't like mr. rather because we often so little opportunity and now. We've lost now over 72000. Private sector jobs just since 1990 during the same period -- united over -- thousand public sector government jobs. Which an economist to use no way -- sustainable economy. As -- said before plus solution number of young people as a -- this morning. Unemployment here in Erie county hovers around 10% its highest level. Since 975 in the steel and she collapsed and set us on the snow 35 year chronic path of economic decline. The we have an appallingly low literacy rate here in Erie county one -- highest birth defect rates. According to the federally Environmental Protection Agency -- among the dirtiest air in New York State. And for all of that for all of that performance. Here in Erie county every Erie county taxpayer pays the fifth highest local property taxes in America than 3186. Companies in America only four. A risk residents of stuff for other companies pay our local property taxes and us. To me that's a prescription for what we're experience and that is where community in crisis. We are certainly a people imperil this this this chronic decline we've experienced it sort of it's happened in slow motion it's happened over the course of 35 years but it's happening. The them against that backdrop places in the context of New York State as well and as we all known -- your state has. 932. Towns and 554. Villages. That's more governments and the nation of Japan and that's why we are known throughout the nation in the world. On the MNC state and in upstate New York particulars most pronounced. I'm having to endure an attempt to overcome as a matter of economic development growth. The highest concentration of local government in America. The young during the course of doing all that I just happened one night to do and search can't I can't and some of stumble across India a state law. That's been in the book -- since the depression harassment and 32 which is given rise to this I think medium little sea change in in this effort. It's a law that says. As as New York State residents were Americans were entitled to the petition process in the right petitions and if you can go out and gather sufficient signatures you can actually compelled. Votes public votes on whether to downsize Toms is you've. Mentioned. And as well dissolved village governments and why's that important. Why why why it's important again to put in the simplest terms. We are dying. We are not doing as well as we could and should be. The other night with some volunteers some ability to win -- on the go to Sloan. The village of foreign where we've we've we've been circulating petitions you know -- the volunteers passed something six months and months -- -- which is why do this. In a given -- two different answers and I think that's cause and we understand fully but I've been thinking about it and here's why. I'd like to say I think that I'm doing this for the same reason that we ought to commit ourselves to something. For our own parents for all immigrants and parents all those who went before this community who were deeply committed to this community. And did everything they could to make it is good and as great as it -- it should be. And I think any of those folks any of those folks if they -- with us here today. Who devoted their lives this community and looked around saw what happened to be the first to say I'll carry a petition. I'll do whatever it takes because this is sort of fallen off the rails. The and to the degree that we have in my judgment. From Angola the Williams of members to west Seneca we have the greatest community in America it's magnificent place to raise children to magnificent place to attempt to run business to try to own -- home. Try to make your payments but this. Millstone. Of 45 governments here in the county imperial say that again 45 government's 25 -- sixteen villages in three cities. For now less than 900000 people in my research people Peter I cannot find community. Anywhere near our size most of them are twice -- -- two times sides. That have more than 2345. We have forty thought this simple question be how do we get here. It seems to me that of all kinds of examples of smaller. Organizational government organizational entities around this country why did we developed -- this. Layer upon layer and multitude of governments that's fantastic question and answer lies. The during the course of that that started to which are referred now the which is available at our website at www. Let people decide dot org. The the answer -- interestingly enough goes all the way back to the real quick here goes on the back to the founding fathers and and and that period. On the of those magnificent founding fathers and mothers -- after victories this wonderful national government they gave considerable thought. To help communities on the local level should. Create their self governance structure. To be able to work with -- -- passed through and collaborate with -- -- state and federal governments. He's actually Madison James Madison and Alexander Hamilton gave the most out and in Federalist one of the Federalist papers I can recall. Keep enactment because I'm certainly mirrored. -- -- and Federalist papers that they think they eat them describe and recommend to the states to two two paths that look. You can neither create colonies. -- -- principal municipal corporation. Two with which we in the federal government will work can collaborate. Or you can create towns and villages. Most southern states not the them in response to those recommendations to those companies. Which is why when you meet someone from -- Atlanta and asked whether from the sale from -- can't compete economy because that's that would -- right there it and because that's -- most of the services. Most New England states that -- towns and villages. Which slightly but Boston you never hear anyone refer to Middlesex County which is the largest gun because it doesn't do anything towns and villages to all of New York State. In its inimitable fashion which continues today they couldn't Albany could make up their mind so they chose -- They chose -- towns and villages. And in that decision exodus on this path. Of overlapping multiple governments. That's why we have counties towns villages and cities all of which sort of competing municipalities competing turf control. On the young the other the other. Striking. Statistic that we review -- study -- here in economy theory. From those 45 governments we have 439. Elected officials knows until we sort of started downsizing last year. But that's 439 politicians which is more than ten times the number of politicians and he -- size community in America. On the plastic 11 specific statistic again. We we we for a 3939. Politicians. And that's more than ten times the number of Andy -- size community in America giving example. A greater Baltimore. But growing community we've all visited that state include Baltimore county and Howard county in the city of Baltimore. To our 809000. People they have one point six million people to -- 45 governments they have three. To our 439. Politicians they have about eighty. The and as a consequence to not only financially. I'm again that's why we pay the fifth title of proper Texas America because it's not the government's enormous amounts of elect. Servants there was a time we could afford them by the way but at times past. The other. Downside the other. Unfavorable aspect of of the structure and these number of of bosses if you will. Elected officials is. It turns out that any time we have innovative ideas creative ideas ways to save money ways to create a wonderful waterfront. Ways to them transform the southern tier of the southern towns. The -- the same thing happens we IRI with your we have the greatest intellectual human capital here in some markets reflected in all the magnificent ideas that we can and talk about and discussed. But at the end of all those discussions. Nothing happens we don't change and you know is this is -- have family are adamant about educational institution. Or narcissistic as an individual human being if you don't change you Paris and that's what's happening to this great community divorce and that's why do this work. That was my awful -- I took some detailed notes here and I just wanna kind of go back to a few of these things. One of the striking. Statistics that you quote it is. That government continues to grow. Well the private sector shrinks. What is it what is the basic premise behind it how is that rationalized. And or is just does it just. Kind of an organic process that we just can't stop. I couldn't I would not answer your question apocalypse rationalize and I don't think there is rationalizations for but I can but it just happens as a much. You know it is not a matter of if the budget will increase -- how much whenever whenever there's a budget. That's that's proposed in it and any well that's it that's great point Peter -- just -- during the course of them. Of them. I'm after conducting the study and and and making some recommendations if you call it you know it's at least the the results of the study. I went back -- 25 counts as a team goes through cities and I asked you to our elected official bodies to voluntarily changed. And reduced just like every other institution in our community from hospitals to places where he and wipers on downsizing all consolidating. To adapt and why's that important is -- the first essential step toward growing again. And of course they refuse to announcement took my back pocket the law. So we started last year and by towns west Seneca Evans. Orchard Park all of them in Hamburg we magnificent volunteers just. Toiled endlessly and with endeavor with magnificent effort. Cause these historic votes. And in the course of them making the case for change his -- we showed us that's a good example -- was something used to have about. Oh like you know 67000. People down now to run some 54000 votes. The tax -- in the town west Seneca just in the past ten years has risen 45%. 45% since the 20022002009. Which. Result in what that means is what that means is each year. It -- with Seneca is taking more and more money from fewer and fewer people and again that's you can sort of get your mind around -- -- yet. With 3086. Companies in America how did we get to the top five and in profit. And that's that the that lethal combination -- let fewer people. And growing public budgets. That you know that. Just as counterintuitive though you'd you'd think that. People reasoning people in government would say we have fewer people were serving. So we should reduce costs proportionately to the number of people that we now serve. And and as you point out begin the process of of of creating a climate where growth as possible as opposed to stifling in through increasing costs. The mission of the shows helper listeners and everybody you know in this community protect enhance their investment. Real state right here. One of my. Arguments is that. Our taxation has depressed values in this community. Disproportionately. Ridiculously disproportionately to address the country. Part precisely because we pay too much from property taxes. Now and -- argument would be that if you take a 3000 square foot house and then. Attractive suburban location here and look at the actual dollars in taxes paid it might not be that dissimilar from other metropolitan areas. 43000 square on the differences the value of that home would be half for a third of what it would be someplace else. One of our people program are one of our offices for a long time. Lovely lady who's who's retired from their business. She and another -- she her husband bought a home and -- or suburbs here. The same time very good friends there -- part of very similar home in a server location in California. When she and her husband chose to sell it they paid sixty something or thereabouts they sold it to run in the two hundreds mid two hundreds. Their friends -- California paid about the same they sold their house for one point two million dollars. Now this is this is. It in my mind that that -- shows that our community has lost wealth grow wealth growing opportunities. And and the only difference that I can see. -- is is the extent to which we have been governed. For over governed and -- overtaxed. -- just. React to that little bit in my off base. You know again as -- -- speaking with with folks like yourself Peter. Businessmen still so small businessman in this community they make the same argument and more more western New Yorkers are aware of this I think that's a great phrase lost. Opportunity. To grow well. On the -- and the truth of the matter is the rate at which you're losing those opportunities is actually accelerated. We try to express it in our research in the following way we took it home valued at 150000. Dollars. Here in our community and compared it with -- home at the same value in different communities. The for instance of home value and 150000 dollars in the village Sloan which in the town Cheektowaga here -- in your -- A pace about well almost 6500 dollars in property taxes per year. For that same home and and Baltimore county and via regent which it is referred it's about 3000 dollars. For the same home in Mecklenburg County Charlotte, North Carolina were so many of young people are moving it's just under thousand dollars. That's an immense difference the M and and I think it's -- it's one of the principal reasons why we see this exodus of of of western New Yorkers. If you talk to people in business and you'll you'll hear that. People move young people middle aged people people move for a opportunity. And they leave because of lack of opportunity. A lot of what we're seeing here religious translates into is there an opportunity here is isn't there. Can -- business that would operate here or could operate anywhere else. If they choose to operate here what -- the handicaps what are the disadvantages. You cited accurately the advantages of living in this community and we cite them regularly in the show last week the mayor was here the previous week the current executive was here. We've had our state legislators on that and everyone agrees that the quality of life that we have here is exception. And is worth preserving on -- yet yet we -- we shoot ourselves in the foot. -- right destroying opportunity for businesses to grow. Young people find opportunity. Respond what you I think. To that point and I'm gonna point you made a few moments ago which I think was an excellent question I didn't answer. The trying to understand the origin of this of this chronic. Affliction with which we have to. Live. And some of -- are attempting to change. -- the you can Trace it back to the mid 1970s which was when the real sort of you know and the collapse of the steel industry and -- And the manufacturing based society of security that we had. Was a pivotal moment. And the truth of the matter is looking back -- -- you went back and the the micro pieces but both the Buffalo News anchor express. From almost the entire protected and his that I found. In typical western new York fashion. The and I mean admirable Western New York character and personality and and and values. -- leaders at the time business leaders in the in the community leaders what they did was they saw that it could be still a mystery was collapsing folks were out of work. And day in a very humane way they started to them putting those folks back to work in these local governments it was sort of a backstop. The and it was it was this short term solution to attempt to do it you know and humanely help out some folks from losing jobs and that's the sort of mindset and culture has continued for 35 years there were certain. Pharmacies to those through those moves which which we'll talk about after the break we -- have to break be right there with more from Austria or so after these messages. Looking for bargain price residential real estate opportunities in the hottest markets in the country. Look to -- real estate ERA and there Arizona and Florida portfolios. And with today's conditions and low mortgage interest rates they've incredible deals going on for short sales and foreclosure properties in both Arizona and Florida. Source bureau Western Europe president considering to escape to warmer weather these bargain price properties are available exclusively to -- -- relocation division. There has never been a better time to buy your real estate as it in the hottest markets in the country. Called Diane golden -- ERA relocation division at 88013. 43 to discuss these opportunities. It may play a president's term mortgage if you're renting -- forum on your current home it's time to take advantage of these historic low rates. -- low rates available could CD literally thousands of dollars in interest. -- mortgage offers free consultations with their mortgage experts we'll shop for the best mortgage products and the lowest rate available for free consultation call 6333700. -- email info at mortgage dot com. Market is licensed mortgage banker with a New York State banking department and an equal housing lender. In the market to buy or sell your home but not sure where to start. We'll check out how -- its new website at our house dot com for complete inventory of homes in western new York and tips on how to fulfill your dream of homeownership. Hunt's new website has got it all neighborhood -- interactive maps you can -- create a personalized account to find and track your properties of choice. Visit our house dot com for access to real estate and homeownership services for just a click of a miles real estate mortgage insurance and so much more. You don't even have to knock at our house dot com the doors are always open unrealistic -- is always there for you. And welcome back to our house this is Peter hunt in the show is brought to buy our house dot com insular dash USC dot com where everything is easier. For your real estate and home -- experience can also get their -- real state dot com. And he's the only place in the -- confined to complete inventory of homes available by region before and tiger Rochester Syracuse search program Watertown and also Phoenix Arizona. -- also find access to complete set of homeownership services in our house which is powered by populous state theory. The shows also brought to buy hunt mortgage in US troop from when no more than Malia the president out mortgage during the break in his own Mosul lower rate guarantee. And we will send you free of charge homebuyers CD's just by calling us at 6333700. But ask about today's rates they. Aren't still near historical lows and it's an opportunity that I would hate to see if you miss if you are all considering buying home. Or refinancing the one you have this is an exceptional opportunity. If you just wanna pick of the phone have a discussion about anything melted through Estee com on real state -- customer service center the only ones kinda North America. 6314800. One of our customer service reps is waiting for your call right now. To either answer your question or drift to the appropriate professional for whatever -- -- you may need when you're considering buying or selling home. Financing your home ensuring homered and fixing -- the one you. Remember guarantees stands we will sell your home or your Erie will -- that's the so -- security plan available only through on real estate agent that you can meet this weekend at an open house either today or tomorrow. Meet a real pro talk to -- -- state -- agent today and call 631400. -- where the open houses are. In your neighbor to that -- looking at four or go to our website. -- there are listed for you. In the studio with me today as Kevin -- mr. -- -- is a civic leader and nationally known expert on government reform. And also is an attorney and we've been discussing the situation here -- sexual discussion the first segment how old did we get where we are just before the break. Who just about to mention an assumption that -- and by both the mayor in the county executive the last two weeks. And that is that and that's what there was have agreed editorial in the them. Wall Street Journal week ago Thursday. About this and and it's it's basically argues that the premise over the contract social contract so to speak between. The people. In every community in this country and elected officials and government employees. Now your entire bureaucracy was some something like this. If you accept lower wages we will give you better benefits. Well now the latest study shows that. Everything outstrips private sector both repairs salaries and and -- for like kind jobs it's all reversed and and and I think on top of that -- that that breeds a continuous growth and of course than in in both the company -- the and the city's case we have. Unfunded. Pension liabilities that that are gonna go on forever. And it's interesting as I talked to people who have these jobs and this is this is not. This is the show our our discussions not a tech -- and anybody in that position. And say I admire what went to -- what any. Organization has been able to accomplish in terms of negotiating on behalf of their of their members because. That's their job and they've done a wonderful job that -- may be criticized. At the same time. We have to face reality sooner or later this community. The governor in his in his proposal for example for one day a week furlough I mean that that's a gutsy move. Who knows -- happen in and the course I think that target right now. The unfortunate side effect is the is the university system if if that affects the university system. Let's say -- listening to a professor of radio yesterday let's say I've got a class on Friday. Or some exam and that's my -- day. What happens. What do you do so it it if there's there's this fraught with pero no question about it but we've got ourselves into a system. That is that is built on on the numbers that you quoted in the first segment. But who what when we go with this mean you're you're taking. -- -- -- you've taken a little bite out of this seventeen officials believe elected officials of urban. Kinda removed from the system by erection so far zip their connector elected positions positions okay so. Just. Hope that this is a monster on how we how we deal. I point's well taken which is we are where we are doing this them step by step and perhaps small step place small staff. But Hitler and the Peter in the course of attempting to plow these reform rose. For over a decade is that's the only way that she can create coalitions forced substantial lasting reform. And let's say with respect to those governments as you know and we've mention before we have begun circulating petitions and three villages. We have sixteen villages here in the company theory we have 25 towns. I have pledged. Two the residents that are counting I'm going to do this but I mean cause these votes securities petitions so that people have direct voice in the -- testing their own future. In each of these 44 government so if we succeed and so far we've succeeded in five. Five towns along with these -- -- legislature via response or it's gonna vote next month and downsizing you're -- legislature's going to vote this November. We're gonna add another Tom this year along with the three villages in my view -- we kept a couple of steps back. And view this effort. And as it should be viewed as one piece so if we do succeed in residence at its all sixteen villages. Agree to. To solve their village governments about the village village government. That will eliminate you know some 82 elected officials along with their compensation and lifetime benefit you just referred to New York State spending on on. Guaranteed benefits and lifetime pension benefits for employees. A large portion of those. Are the local government officials on the state. Give rise to settle at the end of the day I actually think it's going to be a large. Accomplishment if we do it and secondly it builds its its momentum. We some callers on trying to and I think we should take these calls this is Chris from Niagara Falls. Chris are coming up you. This morning German picture taking my call. The live in the city as well by Hitler is actually. With the school districts in the latest Thursday. We should use a public hearing and order -- six million notebook. One of the solution to. -- to -- it what would there. School board would say it won't work in -- government's actions or. Her interest in question and how would you respond to that. To -- home. Christian terrific question nicely here and economy of -- local property taxes are made up of our economy. Town village where where applicable and school taxes -- break the break terrorism your local -- property taxes are about 58%. A schools and 42%. Local government. So it's 50% as much larger for sure but 42% as a large percentage of it and unfortunately Chris. The only law that I can find that permits us to circulate petitions and and and downsize you know either of those is local government but here's my theory. My theory is that if we succeed in that and god willing Albany legislators will expand that petition powers that we can circulate petitions and how votes on consolidated school districts. I know and Niagara county have a problem I should say challenge here and Tony -- we have 27 school districts in two -- The I'm there sometimes and in Erie county and have five school districts and one time -- and of course the -- overlapping and add administrative costs that come come without. The young. So much -- might mighty my my idea and my promise. We will let them on addressed this this a local government and then we'll move on to these other areas that you of the -- which you refer. I will say this Chris what's interesting is I I hears that and have heard you know your question is very well taken. And in the past of an experience of vote present in my study for to a local government officials of the town or village and and in several ways to two. Dodge responsibility they'll see what Kevin what about all -- what about the authorities in the and media and the commission visitors practice a shadow government the and what about school districts. And to me that that's that's that's a bit of a shell game and and -- plays continuously units of another country of infected how we've gotten to where we we have which is. You know no one wants to take responsibility. However here's my theory if we can succeed in -- local government in and return it to its proper size for our population. The metal fest dot community of local government elected officials with the moral authority to go to the school districts would go to Albany. And for the first time -- fellas we've sacrifice we've done it now it's your turn. Well I think that is the appropriate the appropriate attitude it is this is a time shared sacrifice. In many respects and it's not fun. But it's something that that -- don't think and he can anyone can be exempted from. Be another we have lots of -- and our callers -- from Boston area Camille you. Yeah almost -- Chris. All the schools and all the different district. Or your weight I think maybe we are. Did some kind of paperwork on the big chart -- -- -- hang up the libraries and probably all restaurants -- and sure how many different districts we're. Compared involving nuclear parts of the country people maybe if you all of this knowledge actually get handles well. Both of these meetings in all interest in Utah home you're gonna straight trip it was well -- -- taxes you know maybe that'll get rid of the -- just walk -- I don't know. I think it's a good point 2000002. Gary brings the point of public education. Yeah I -- it Gary that's I like your style -- and in this community education is the coin of the realm and by that I mean. The more we can inform each other. And learn ourselves of the true the true costs of of this system under which reliving. The better one other point with respect to both Chris and -- on on the school boards and the much more larger much larger budgets with which they deal. When you think about it you know school board members are all volunteer. The they're not paid -- they'd receive some benefits like that they're not status as a local town -- -- school district receives calls today that they're the one exception the other 26 other districts are all volunteers in the overseas even larger. Budgets so the truth of the matter is and I can tell you this in our search in town board to do exports outside of New York State. It's a town much impossible to find folks who are paid as our town council members and village trustees now does not in particular sort of villages they're they're competitions is modest our India and all up. It gets to be something of a large number so it's not something else to think about. The win when there's dramatic evidence of other institutions being governed by folks on a volunteer basis -- something to buffalo government. It is something I think evidence I think if you look at other institutions in this society that function very well many of them are function because of very dedicated volunteers to be right back with more from roasters after the easement. In the market to buy or sell your home but not sure where to start. We'll check out how -- -- these new web -- at our house dot com for complete inventory of homes in western new York and tips on how to fulfill your dream of homeownership. Its new website has got at all neighborhood -- interactive maps you can even create a personalized account to find and track your properties of choice. Visit our house dot com for access to real estate and homeownership services with just a click of a mouse real estate mortgage insurance and so much more. You don't even have to knock at our house dot com the doors are always open unrealistic -- is always there for you. Hi this is an animal -- -- a -- mortgage if your renting or among your current home it's time to take advantage of these historic low rates. The lower rates available could stadium literally thousands of dollars in interest. -- mortgage offers free consultations with their mortgage experts. We'll shop for the best mortgage products and the lowest rate available for free consultation call 6333704. Email info at -- mortgage dot com. -- market is licensed mortgage banker within your steep banking environments and in equal housing lender. Looking for bargain price residential real estate opportunities in the hottest markets in the country. Look to hunt real estate ERA and there Arizona and Florida portfolios. And with today's conditions and low mortgage interest rates they've incredible deals going on for short sales and foreclosure properties in both Arizona and Florida. Source bureau western York -- considering to escape to warmer weather these bargain price properties are available exclusively to hunt CRA's relocation division. There has never been a better time to buy your real estate as it in the hottest markets in the country. Called Diane golden -- ERA relocation division at 88013. 43. To discuss these opportunities today. Welcome back to her house this is Peter hunt in the -- was brought to you by our house dot com which can also reach it but real estate dot com -- everything. Is easier for your realistic home ownership experience the show was also brought to you by hunt mortgage home with a low rate guarantee. Can reach the people find -- incredible. -- today. On mortgage at 6333700. And stop and whenever you open house this week in -- to one real pro surgery actions. Asked about the source security plan -- the other programs include uniquely available to you. Through state eaten for an easy and simple and relief fund this process can be. I think for a long time and -- torture. And in the suit today with Kevin on mr. gone news. He civic leader nationally known expert on government reform that's have been talking about today the issue government reform and fundamentally. To the mission of the show. How weakened protector and answer investment in our. Real state -- community very here in Western New York. And part of it has to come through in my opinion some some effort and government reform. Kevin you -- you -- -- -- a lone wolf and that if I could characterize it any way you know we've. Interviewed many people on this show and I -- him even interviewed authors and books on how. We make things change here and in -- community and for the most part it's come down to. With everybody else I mean just about everybody else has come down -- one thing your power is in the ballot box. It's your powers voting Booth. And so you've got one day a year when you can do something about this. You've changed that little bit of change those rules it through the referendum. Petition process. This this is this is an area. A departure and you told pro you stumble onto this size they stumbled did the research and came up with an answer. But had you not done that Internet did that if this law didn't exist that allowed four. A petition to be circulated and ultimately. The people -- -- effort to decide on the issues you're talking here. What we have done it would it would we have just been -- all boiled onto one day and and is one of our callers mentioned. He -- was hearing. 126. Million dollar budget. And he's the only human being there as people just given up and when you walk the streets what would you -- people. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Slogan are they managed however they have they given up what's the attitude. Let's have entered terribly interesting question Peter Pan and this this wonderful work that but I am privileged to do. And I must say with the with the great an increasing number of volunteers who have joined our cause let people decide again to gift to give as you say this is all about giving residents of Erie county -- to which -- -- voice and they decide. DM. The the the experience of going door to door and chatting with folks in the kitchens are on the front. Driveway suspend enriching beyond measure to keep a journal. To publish a small -- book about it and here's what I've found. It's a combination of both the whether. A school board meetings. The other in -- I went to my 294. Town -- village for me in the past three years. And and folks don't go anymore on the the average attendance at a town board meeting in Erie county is so fourteen people -- kept track. By the way up into -- town board meeting in Latin Lincoln's. Massachusetts town of 181000 people. They average 350 people per per meeting. One of the reasons they do is because at the end of their debates -- -- time to take a vote on budgetary matters and the long debate. Everyone can speak and at the end of it you know who votes everyone everyone who split the town has a right to vote the you know gonna talk about that India in the spring. Here's my sense my sense is that. We hear in your economy to. We don't feel map represented by the system we -- managed. And no one wants to be managed. And as a result folks have sort of you know whether the public hearing on downsizing or public hearing on enough. On the -- raising the sales tax rate you know you notice folks don't go. And I think the power. And and perhaps potential of the -- work that we do because derived from this little law that I discovered because it gives folks. Opportunity go to that well thought she'd seen in some villages now and I respect the folks in New Orleans they'll. Who have are engage in this discussion and have a position perhaps oppose to a dissolving village government folks put up signs and folksy know write letters and on the -- My sense is though the folks who are going to come out and vote yes just as they did last year in the towns. On average atomic downsize referendum passed than five times by an average 70%. They no longer they don't wanna put up a sign that don't wanna go to a meeting when they wanna do is have the opportunity to go into that voting Booth and closed that curtain and say this is enough. I wanna change and that is not I've found that's gonna -- expressed an anger. I don't believe -- is -- long term basis upon which to -- to to forming. A reforma. A coalition sources say put frustration votes yes and also hope. The young -- we talk about other communities outside of New York State that actually. -- viper to reduce in the number of politicians increased their volunteer citizen committees. And have much more direct authority and say over what happens in your own community this is an Albany or Washington where we need people to represent our. Cells cause we can't be there it's 400 miles away Philly -- on Tom hall's right on the corner. And part of the work that I do -- -- mark my view is I'm attempting to get people to come back to their village hall and a town hall. And and be able to have 888 firsthand. I'm basis upon which to make decisions themselves through volunteer committees that's how it's done throughout the country outside New York State. That's for interest and because -- I'm I'm hoping any way that just like you said earlier that out of this. Discussion and the other discussions we have all along these lines which we will continue to have. That we will develop a sense of hope because that's that's really what it's all about I mean you talked about the issue of change. What change really is is mine mine motivated bio hope for a better future. Why change if there's no hope for a better future so want to -- to resign myself to something or Horry or have that hope. I I elect is to to think that you know all all all these referenda. In these towns and villages are asking people or -- in this question which is look. We are in crisis would -- -- too many people too many jobs most heartbreak -- -- in Seoul South -- would -- too many young people. The so what are we gonna do what we're gonna do is what we as Americans do -- test where the best that it. We face a crisis facing problems what do we do we adapt we innovate. We experiment we change we don't stand up and say no no no you can change this this is the perfect system. We've had one earlier actually couple callers waiting a long time but this is Tom from Amherst Tom how can we help you. I tell my biggest concern is that by reducing local government -- -- -- producer representation. And it looter or is it government. These smaller towns -- we have a direction a it's the bigger you make. I would have only moved back here was -- terrible that there -- giants school system. There was no real voice problem. Indonesia's that there was and that's just an 181000. With a small community. And your argument it. Take that community away which -- short. Should be done it should be singing just sit there as a teacher is an image here and as near retirement. That -- split -- much. I think enough luster had very few people lend itself. Chiefs chief small films because we're gonna for the situation that we -- the new York state senate foreign country people controlling everything. We'll read them reducing their local government. Unity kicking the perks away that are costing so much I think that's what -- My voice and my small community. That's I think it's an excellent point let's have photo of mr. gonna respond thanks for calling tough. The sir I understand it you your point a couple things one is like to Massachusetts -- -- -- with 181000 people -- -- town board is such a three members. And the reason I went there was to find out you know what was the effect of having to remember town board. On representation and the like and I sat down with the -- town supervisor and she said. Well well Lou the -- the the effect of having three people is you know -- we don't do that much emphasis in committees do everything. Citizens have direct they have more voice to have more direct say the in the town remembers where you live sir the other stadium a seven member Tom board. It's temporarily six we hope it's gonna downsized its return to its original size five. But the truth of the matter in the town of Amber's -- if -- Hampshire you know this the between the town and in the village you have 23 elected officials represented it. 23 elected officials you don't hear so much about the you know excesses and and town clerks and highway superintendent but they're all people who are elected -- painful time. My views -- reduce in this town boards as we're gonna bring those other elected officials -- more into play. A failure selves of of avail ourselves of them as well and perhaps most important again I hope that I hope that to him that you understand this point. The purpose of reducing the number of politicians is to increase citizens' voice. By restoring citizen volunteer committees in getting folks back into the Amherst town hall I've walked the Amherst town hall on the middle of the afternoon in the week in and in -- week and there's not very many people there and threaten the -- -- citizens folks who are engaged in and -- and decision making and I'm trying to trying to restore. Can you -- I'm gonna I'd add one last point tradition no one here is is advocating the media elimination of town government I agree with that. The you know we're talking about reducing the number of elected to. -- you made one comment earlier Kevin which struck me. I want us to question it -- kind of focus on this. That is that you your impression news has received earlier that people feel managed and not represented in 22 US callers point. It doesn't matter if you've got a million representation represented is that if they are quote managing as a poster presenting. Social just elaborate on that that's the difference between being managed and represented what I -- that's a great point the call from Amherst again raises the most one of the most important aspects of this which is how to get better reputation. And ironically what I found in my researches these 439 elected officials our community because of that large number. They act not as say. A boost of representation but rather as a burden on wall. And here's the here's the practical. Effective when you go to town board meeting in our community. You're told to sit down and remained quiet and not make any quick moves. There's very little opportunity for citizen -- huge the other at the beginning of the variant of the meeting after all the decisions have been made. Myself and a wonderful reform committee made -- elected officials and citizens now we've been meeting for six months. To prepare and recommend changes in India structure of these meetings as we go down to remember -- So that folks can have the opportunity to stand up and speak to every issue contemporaneous with the issue before the board. How we can take these board members off of -- highlight. Platform and and and you know remote sort of distance from the from the media from the folks who attend the community. He go to community or town board meeting in Mecklenburg County in Massachusetts Connecticut. It's a bunch of folks sitting on table. There's no distinction between the elected officials and citizens it's not a lecture as it is in our community. But rather conversation folks collaborating together to solve problems and I think that's much more democratic and much more exciting. I think of the parlor where scholars point also about the fact that. State government -- dwindled down to release three people making. It in a room as they say making a decision. Or lots of decisions. I -- think that the tragedy that is of course the three there was three white man and one room behind closed door sitting there. While some you know 300 more than 300 other elected officials were being paid by taxpayers do absolutely nothing. So by here's my view we who are on downstate to the other from downstate we'll take care of ourselves and we're gonna move on Albany downsize their next. That was book and in my last question what's what it let's assume you get all the way through -- all your plans here or worse Kevin -- going next and you just told us it's of the state and I. I wish you the very best of luck -- that because that's and I hope we have a bodyguard. Haven't gone community activist and lawyer and and a a gentleman whose really kind of how they're doing something that I think many of us would like to CEO. Expanded upon thank you very much for being us this morning thank you Peter like to thank our listeners are being a -- back and next week at the same time. -- when it comes to real state Western New York is our house.