It was with some head scratching that we read Sen. Jeff Klein’s absurdly titled “The real facts about the IDC” in the April 28 issue of The Riverdale Press. Klein asserts that if it were not for his IDC, there would be no progressive outcomes in the legislative and budget process.
Though that is his point of view, it is not a fact. Facts can be proven.
Members of NYCD16-Indivisible see things though a very different lens than the leader of the Republican-friendly Independent Democratic Conference. Klein takes a page straight out of the Trump playbook when he labels his own sales pitch a fact. Republican rhetoric relies on “alternative facts” and silencing public response.
Here are the real facts:
Fact: Members of the IDC receive committee chairmanships, higher salaries, more staff and larger offices as a result of their collusion with the GOP.
Fact: When casting their ballots on the Democratic line, voters reasonably believed they were supporting a candidate who was aligned with their party and their views.
Fact: Some voters, aware of Klein’s deal with the GOP, have been willing to turn a blind eye because Klein brings enormous checks home to the district. But these benefits for our community are paid for by a deal that jeopardizes the civil rights of all New Yorkers.
Fact: The tide has turned. Trump’s dangerous presidency has awakened citizens to political double-dealing from Washington to Albany. New York is positioned to lead the country in a stand against Trump’s anti-democratic agenda. Newly alert, New Yorkers are in an uproar.
Bottom line: Elected officials must be accountable to those they serve. A public forum is the appropriate venue for dialogue.
Klein’s op-ed is not a substitute for meaningful engagement with constituents. However, it’s unsurprising from a politician who routinely holds private events for handpicked small groups — but refuses to hold public meetings open to all.
Opinions do differ on what Klein’s IDC has accomplished. Open dialogue will help voters establish the facts. To that end, many of our members have reached out to Mr. Klein to urge him to meet with his constituents at a town hall we would be eager to sponsor.
Sen. Klein, voters are ready to get to the facts. Are you?
The authors are members of the IDC Action Group of NYCD16-Indivisible.