Editor's Note: The below letter does not necessarily represent the views of Patch media.
In response to Bronxville Republican Chairwoman Rene Atayan's Letter to the Editor on April 6 regarding NY State Assemblyman George Latimer's commuter surveying which can be , Latimer has provided a rebuttal below.
Bronxville Republican Chairwoman Rene Atayan has attacked for me doing something I've been doing for eight years—simply put, doing my job as an Assemblyman. Local newspapers and online outlets covered the story back in February—over a month in advance of my announcement for the State Senate— that I was engaged in surveying Metro-North commuters once again, to gauge the issues at hand in their daily commute. I've done so in past years, and never been accused of improper politicking, even in years when I was a candidate for re-election.
Perhaps, this year is different: I have, after due deliberation, announced that I would compete for a seat in the Senate that has been redistricted to benefit the GOP, a race where the 2010 Republican candidate, Bob Cohen, has been running nonstop for 2012 since the end of that 2010 race.
This year is different in that I have been victimized repeatedly by anonymous attack robo calls, even before I decided to run. Thus, Ms. Atayan's criticisms seem to be one more example of a hyper-political desire to make everything that happens in 2012 subordinate to the Republican desire to win this particular seat.
In point of fact, when I have been "on the platform," handing out surveys, I never identify myself as running for office, nor do I ask for a vote, nor is there any literature hyping the campaign in any manner. I have volunteers helping me, and whenever one is mistaken about what our task is, I am quick to remind them we are striving to get feedback on commuter preferences, and nothing else. That feedback will be collated when completed, and shared publicly with Westchester Assembly members, to the public through the local media and to those who, in responding to the survey, wish to see the overall results.
My purpose is to assess the New Haven Line experience, five stations of which fall within my Assembly District (A.D.), and one, Harrison, which serves a large number of Rye residents who live within my A.D. Surveying the Harlem Line stations provides an important comparison; some New Rochelle residents, for example, commute out of Crestwood, rather than the downtown New Rochelle station; if there is a reason that ties into the quality of the commute, then we should know it.
In general, Harlem Line commuters—with newer railcar equipment—should project greater user satisfaction than New Haven Line riders. You'd need to see results from both lines to properly draw that judgment. Despite the constant misrepresentation by my opponents, I have a 20-year career in business marketing, and I know exactly what I'm asking for and why, and how that information can better inform Metro-North and my Albany colleagues.
Let me be clear to Ms. Atayan and her political confreres: I intend to do a vigorous job as Assemblyman, through to December 31, as I was elected to do in 2010. I will not accept attacks on my diligence and duty as an elected official to satisfy her political agenda.
Anyone can respond to the survey online at my Assembly website: www.assembly.state.ny.us/Latimer. In this early stage of Campaign 2012, it is time already to send a message to those who intend to turn this year into another Political Demolition Derby, that the people of Westchester will simply not validate one more nasty, political partisan campaign.