Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Help wanted

Constituents loves to complain about their elected leaders and government. In fact, it's probably the thing we do best. So a couple local state representatives decided to launch an online "suggestion box" to channel the frustrations of Pennsylvania citizens.

Jesse White and Matt Smith, both Democratic representatives from Western Pennsylvania, uploaded the website,, that asks for budgetary suggestions and posts them on the homepage for viewers to rate. Who knows if any of our ideas will be enacted in this year's budget, but I applaud White and Smith for giving us a platform to express our opinions. Hopefully they are reading them and taking notes on what their constituents want.

The site is easy to use and the suggestions appear online in just a few minutes. It's very interesting to read what others are thinking.

As for the most popular opinion? Reduce the size of the General Assembly.


  1. The idea is great in concept, but looks to be another politically driven scam.

    The last line on the site reads: All comments submitted to the site will be pre-screened and subject to editing for clarity, vulgarity and/or repetitiveness of comments.

    In other words, if the owners of the site don't like what is posted, they screen it out. And, they even reserved the right to "edit for clarity," whatever that means. If the writer is not clear, how will the screener be able to "clarify."

    Sorry, it makes no difference whether the developers of the site are (D) or (R), they have a political motivation. Having the site gives them cover for any suggestion of "no citizen input." Yet, the suggestions are subject to review and screening.

    What does this mean? If they don't like an idea, it can be discarded. Nobody will know, except the screener. If they like an idea, they too can screen it out from public view, and take it to their meetings as their own idea, never giving credit to the author.

    I'm sorry, but my cynicism of what politician's motives are for their actions, tells me this one smells like a dead rat. Oh yes, I understand vulgarity needing to be screened out. But, content "being subject to review and editing." The team putting this thing together know full well what they are doing. Let's see it for what it is, a politically motivated idea that they believe will give them cover, and get positive publicity. It was a good idea in concept, but the caveat at the end crossed my wires.

  2. I submitted an opinion that the state legislature should be a part-time body or significantly reduced in size. My comment in its entirety appeared on the website just a few minutes later.

    I wouldn't call it a scam as much as it probably will be an empty promise. But I applaud White for making an attempt to get public input for all to view.