Letter to Rep. Adam Schiff March 18, 2017

Dear Representative Schiff,

I was in West Palm Beach, today, at your Town Hall Meeting in Citi Place. As an active Democrat, since 1969, who has been a District Leader in Westchester County in NY and now a Precinct Captain in Palm Beach County, I have been involved in every political campaign. I was also at the LBJ-JFK Democratic Dinner where you spoke last year.

I have also included, with this letter, a copy of a letter that I sent to Speaker Ryan and 16 Republican Senators. I don’t expect an answer from any of them. As a political person, since my teens, I have thought about how this country is governed, how the political process works, and what the Democrats need to do to insure we have a progressive future.

When you came to the podium today in West Palm Beach, I mentioned to you the word “messaging.” In other words, why are the Democrats failing to get their message across! Over the years, in my conversations with Representatives: Nita Lowey, Debby Wasserman-Schultz, Pat Murphy, and Ted Deutsch, I have suggested a district by district, Democratic “truth squad” all over the country. The DNC should pay for an office in every Republican Congressional District, so that when a Louis Gohmert or Stephen King make an outrageous statement, this “truth squad” can hold a press conference countering their positions.  

Over the past eight years, and the two terms of Bill Clinton, I observed that the Republican “Swift Boat” campaign was ongoing, every day and every way! Where were the Democratic Senators, Representatives and officials of the DNC? How come we were exposed to Reince Priebus, every day, and other GOP “taking heads,” while the Democrats were not countering with their own spokespersons? How come most people do not know the difference between Obamacare and the ACA? How come the pace of the recovery from the collapse of 2008-9 was not defended better? Every recovery from a recession, since WWII, was led by domestic housing. This one was caused by Wall Street bundling over- valued derivatives based on domestic, home mortgages. We clawed back over 10.5 million jobs, and since Truman, under Democrats, we created 2.5 times the jobs created than during Republican Administrations. How come virtually no American is aware of that history? I constantly am hectored for money by multiple sources every day on the internet. I am asked to answer some insipid poll and then I am solicited for money! Even when I give to a candidate, I receive more requests, is if my next contribution is the last bulwark for the survival of Western Civilization. 

As a student of the New Deal and the political success of FDR, we have to go back to coalition building. We should be talking about these three key issues: education, jobs and housing. In addition, the Democrats should have been pressuring the GOP-controlled Congress on the need for infrastructure re-vitalization every day of the week. We allowed the GOP to control the political dialogue by focusing on: transgender bathrooms, LGT needs and concerns, Black Lives Matter, Out of Wall Street, Global-warming and Choice. I stand behind all those concerns, but, the blue collar, middle-aged, white worker in the Rust Belt States, who won the election for Trump, couldn’t care less. We already have those voters who support those issues to the hilt. The Democrats also must choose between supporting Organized Labor and continuing to allow undocumented workers to take many of the jobs, especially in construction in places like NYC. This is not hyperbole, but fact.  

The Republicans believe in Social Darwinism, (the survival of the fittest,) “the ends justify the means,” and “work or starve!” Even today Vice-President Pence basically stated that Medicaid and Welfare be determined by work!  Therefore, we must address, “bread and butter” issues and become the champion of FDR’s “Forgotten American.”

I suggest the following:

a.       More money should be spent on the grass roots, not on meaningless, repetitive TV commercials

b.      College campus recruiting is a must, and the future is with the youth of the country. Too many of our City and County Democratic Committees are dominated by senior citizens

c.       Money should be invested in starting Democratic Clubs and outreach on all of campuses

d.      A significant outreach must go out to the labor rank and file, not just focusing on the leadership

e.      In the media there should be Democratic spokespersons available, not journalists to be put in the position of defending progressive issues against professional, conservative operatives

f.        There should be commercials on the media defending and explaining progressive public policy issues. (The Democrats are constantly on the defensive and playing catch up.)

g.       Every Republican Congressional District, no matter how Red, should have a “truth squad” office, staffed and paid for by the DNC. The cost of an extra 240 offices, staffed by two paid staff with volunteers would cost about $6-12 million for rent, etc, ($25-50,000) and probably another $15-25 million for staff. That $20 to $35 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the wasted money on television, pollsters and consultants. These “Shadow” district offices in these Red States could be an ongoing center for year round political action. It could be a coordinator between the local Democratic Committees and the DNC.  We have repeatedly learned that pollsters and consultants know very little, as we again witnessed in 2016. 

In Palm Beach County, we apprised the local head of the Clinton Campaign, one Mike Coleman, that there would be four “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” marches (two in Palm Beach County, one in Broward and Miami-Dade) with 100,000 women marching. We advised them to recruit volunteers and print palm card handouts for all four events! With weeks of ample warning, nothing was done! This cost us thousands of votes in these three critical counties. I asked them to recruit college students at FAU, Lynn University and Palm Beach State College for door to door canvassing and registration. I suggested they offer students $50 for work every night of the week from 6-9 pm and on Saturday mornings from 9-12 noon. If they did any of this (which I doubt), it was way too little and too late. It is always the claim that there is no money or campaign HQ hasn’t authorized that strategy.

We were making calls for Hillary for about one year. We were instructed to call only the prime voters. Many of these people were listed as being called 10-12 times, and we were told to not leave a message. What a waste of time. Why weren’t we calling independents and “soft” Democrats? Later we learned that the Republicans did just that.

The Democrats are getting caught in the “politically correct” snare every day of the week. Why was Keith Ellison even in the running for Democratic National Chairperson? He would have been a disaster.  Personally, after almost 50 years in this “game,” I am getting tired of fighting “windmills,” at the beck and call, of every new generation of “experts,” who aren’t “dry behind the ears!” By the way, our precinct went 69% for HRC and only 11% of the registered voters here didn’t vote, and they were probably Republicans or Independents. I will include with this letter a chart showing all the lead districts, including our- 5038 and please note the fall-off vote in the top districts for Hillary! Where was the ground game in those districts?  

Again, we appreciate your work and the message you are sending to the country. Please keep it up. But, also remember that the other side has unlimited money attracted by tax cuts and deregulation. Thus, we have to mobilize the public, and without a change in tactics, we will either be losers for a generation or only benefit by another Republican disaster.

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About admin

A lifelong New Yorker, who now lives full-time in Palm Beach County, Richard was raised in Mount Vernon, New York and he was educated in the Mount Vernon public schools He graduated from Boston University with a BA in American History. After spending a year on Wall Street as a research analyst with Bache & Co., he joined a manufacturing and importing firm, where over the next twenty-five years he rose to the position of chief operating officer. After the sale of that business, Richard entered into the financial services field with Metropolitan Life and is a Registered Representative, who has been associated with Acorn Financial Services which is affiliated with John Hancock Life Insurance Company of Boston, Ma. Today, he is a retired broker who had specialized in long-term care insurance and financial planning. One of Richard’s recent activities was to advise and encourage communities to seek ways to incorporate “sustainability and resiliency” into their future infrastructure planning. After a lifetime in politics, with many years working as a district leader, which involved party organizational work, campaign chair activity and numerous other political tasks, Richard has been involved with numerous civic and social causes. In recent years, Richard served in 2005 as the campaign coordinator of the Re-Elect Paul Feiner Campaign in Greenburgh, NY and he again chaired Supervisor Feiner’s successful landslide victory in 2007. Over the next few years, he advised a number of political candidates. He has served as an appointed Deputy Supervisor of the Town of Greenburgh, with responsibilities regarding the town’s “liaison program.” He was a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board of the Town of Greenburgh, NY. Richard has lectured on FDR, The New Deal and 20th century American history in the Mount Vernon schools, at the Westchester Council of Social Studies annual conference in White Plains, and at many senior citizen groups, which include appearances at the Old Guard of White Plains, the Rotary Clubs of Elmsford and White Plains, and various synagogue groups around Westchester. In the winter of 2006 Richard was the leader of the VOCAL forum, sponsored by the Westchester County Office of Aging, which addresses the concerns of Westchester County’s Intergenerational Advocacy Educational Speak-out forums for senior citizens. Richard has given lectures for the Active Retirement Project, which is co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Center on the Hudson, the Greenburgh Hebrew Center, and other groups around Westchester County. Richard also is the founder and Chairperson of the Jon Breen Memorial Fund, that judges and grants annual prizes to students at Mount Vernon High School who submit essays on public policy themes. He also sponsors the Henry M. Littlefield History Prize for the leading MVHS history student. Richard serves on the Student College Scholarship Committee of Mount Vernon High School. In past years Richard chaired and moderated the Jon Breen Fund Award’s cablecast program with the Mayor and local and school officials. Richard has been a member of Blythedale Children’s Hospital’s Planned Giving Professional Advisory Board, and was a founding member of the committee to re-new the FDR Birthday Balls of the 1930’s and 1940’s with the March of Dimes’ effort to eliminate birth defects. Their renewal dinner was held at Hyde Park on January 30, 2003. Richard is currently an active contributor to the Roosevelt Institute, which is involved in many pursuits which included the opening of the Henry A. Wallace Center at Hyde Park, and the Eleanor Roosevelt – Val-Kill Foundation. In 2007, he proposed to the City of Mount Vernon an effort to develop an arts, educational, and cultural center as part of a downtown re-development effort. Richard was a team partner with the Infrastructure & Energy Solutions Group. IEFG which has developed innovative strategies for the 21st Century. Richard hosted a weekly program on WVOX-1460 AM radio, called “The Advocates,” which was concerned with “public policy” issues. The show, which was aired from 2007 until May 15, 2013, has had amongst its guests; Representative Charles Rangel, Chairperson of the House Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Jonathan Alter of Newsweek, along with hundreds of others. All the 300 shows are archived at http://advocates-wvox.com. Richard currently gives lectures on Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, FDR and the Jewish Community, The New Deal, FDR and Douglas MacArthur, 20th Century American Foreign Policy Resulting in Conflict, and Israel’s Right to Exist. Richard lives in Boynton Beach, Fl, with his wife Linda of 44 years. They have two married children. Their daughter Dana is a Rutgers College graduate, with a MS from Boston University, and is the Assistant Director of Recruitment at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Their son Jon is an electrical engineering graduate of Princeton University and a senior software architect at NY/Mellon Bank in NYC. Richard J. Garfunkel rjg727@comcast.net Recent Appearances: KTI Synagogue, Rye Brook, NY- Long Term Care & Estate Conservation- Anshe Shalom Synagogue, New Rochelle, NY- Long Term Care- American Legion Post, Valhalla, NY- Long Term Care and Asset Protection- Doyle Senior Ctr, New Rochelle, NY-Long Term Care and Asset Protection- AME Methodist Ministers, New Rochelle, NY, LTC and Charitable Giving- Profession Women in Construction, Elmsford, NY, LTC and Business Benefits- Kol Ami Synagogue- White Plains, NY, Long Term Care and Disability - Beth El Men's Club-New Rochelle, NY-Long Term Care-Is it Necessary- Greater NY Dental Meeting Javits Ctr, NY, NY- LTC and Disability- IBEW Local #3 , White Plains, NY, Long Term Care and Asset Protection, Health Fair -Bethel Synagogue, New Rochelle, NY-LTC and Disability, Heath Fair- Riverdale Mens Club CSAIR- Riverdale, NY- LTC- Life Weight Watchers of Westchester and the Bronx-LTC and Tax Implications Sunrise Assisted Living of Fleetwood, Mount Vernon, NY-LTC Sprain Brook Manor of Scarsdale-LTC- November 15, 2001 Sunrise Assisted Living of Stamford, Connecticut, February 2002 Kol Ami Synagogue, White Plains, NY, February, 2002 The Old Guard Society of White Plains, NY, April, 2002 The Westchester Meadows, Valhalla, NY August, 2002 Kol Ami Synagogue, White Plains, NY, October, 2002 JCC of Scarsdale, Scarsdale, NY, November, 2002 The Westchester Meadows, Valhalla, NY, January, 2003 The Rotary Club of White Plains, NY January, 2003 The Westchester Meadows, Valhalla, NY April, 2003 Westchester Reform Temple, Scarsdale, NY January, 2004 Mount Vernon High School, Mount Vernon, NY March 2004 Kol Ami/JCC of White Plains, NY November, 2004 The Westchester Reform Temple, Scarsdale, January 2005 The Sunrise of Fleetwood, Mount Vernon, April, 2005 The Woodlands of Ardsley, assisted living, November, 2005 The Woodlands of Ardsley, assisted living, December, 2005 The Woodlands of Ardsley, assisted living, January, 2005 Rotary Club of Elmsford, April, 2006 Kiwanis Club of Yonkers, June, 2006 Greenburgh Jewish Center, November, 2006 Temple Kol Ami, White Plains, February, 2007 Hebrew Institute, White Plains, March, 2007 Temple Kol Ami, White Plains, NY, April, 2007 Westchester Meadows. Valhalla, November, 2007 Hebrew Institute. White Plains, November, 2007 Art Zuckerman Radio Show- January, 2008 JCC of the Hudson, Tarrytown, February, 2008 Matt O’Shaughnessy Radio Show, March, 2008 WVOX –Election Night Coverage, November, 2008 WVOX – Inaugural Coverage, January 20, 2009 The Advocates-host of the WVOX Radio Show, 2007- 2010 Rotary Club of Pleasantville, February, 2009 Hebrew Institute of White Plains, May, 2009 JCC Hudson, Tarrytown, December, 2009-10-11-12 Brandeis Club, Yonkers, March 25, 2010

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