Just another totally normal email newsletter from a state Senator.
From: Brian Nieves
Date: February 2, 2012 6:07:42 PM CST
Subject: Access to Elected Officials...
Is it Easy to visit Our State capitol?...
One of the things I think all Reps and Senators look forward to is when actual “Real People,” folks from back home, come to visit us. My office is one where constituents are welcomed and encouraged to visit BUT unfortunately there are certain segments of our population who have difficulty doing so. Why? In addition to the challenges inherent to a 100+ year old building, we also have the challenge of limited parking. Our capitol building houses 163 Representatives and 34 Senators as well as multiple members of the executive branch. On any given day there are many, sometimes hundreds, of visitors who need to visit with their elected officials and have their voices heard. Over the last ten years I’ve become increasingly upset to see persons with disabilities, particularly those who became disabled in the service of our great nation, having to park blocks from the capitol and walk long distances to get to the building! I have, on multiple occasions, quietly filed legislation to correct this problem by changing the way parking is reserved at our capitol but have received little or no support. You may wonder why our politicians would resist fixing this obvious problem and I’ll tell you why… The only way to expand handicap parking is to reduce or eliminate the premium, reserved parking held for members of the press. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard legislators indicate they’re unwillingness to “tangle” with or get in to a battle of sorts, with the press! Legislators are, with good reason, afraid to upset the press and typically try to avoid doing so. Why? Very simple, have you ever heard the old adage, “Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel?” There is a very very good reason that adage is so well known and I can tell you from personal experience that when you tangle with the press, it gets ugly! Several members of the press have written ugly, insulting and downright attacking articles, editorials, and opinion pieces in the recent days since I filed my expansion of handicap parking bill. Our very own Bill Miller Sr. and a Saint Louis reporter named Tony Messenger have written “Hit Pieces” about me filing my parking fix that are so ugly that many people read them and immediately called me to express how sad they were to see members of the press act like such bullies! Mr. Miller’s article was entitled, in big bold print, “Nieves is an Embarrassment” and it only got worse from there. Both of these so called “News Reporters” had not written anything about me for a long time but WHAM! As soon as I file a bill to replace the press parking with handicap parking, they suddenly feel the need to attack attack attack! Do I feel like a victim? Not at all. Do I feel intimidated by the obvious attempts to bully and cajole? Not at all. Will I be forced by the press to sit silent while our disabled veterans have to walk from two blocks away so that healthy, able bodied members of the press park right up front? Never!
Let me share a story and answer some of the Miller and Messenger attacks… Recently, I had the honor of hosting visitors from back home. One of these visitors was a man who, at seventy years of age, has seen more combat in the service of our Republic than you or I could imagine in our worst nightmare. He is a disabled Combat Veteran and is Highly Decorated for Valor but guess what? You got it, No Handicap parking! On that very day, I introduced SB694 to correct the injustice he and countless members of our disabled community have endured while trying to visit their capitol. To answer Miller and Messenger… Did I introduce the bill with a bit of Fire? Yes! Did I call out the press? Yes! Was I understandably upset about what had happened to my constituent, a true American Hero, that day? Yes! Am I sorry for not acting more “Senatorial” in my introduction? No! I am tired of Milk Toast Politicians ruling the day and will not be counted among them, if that upsets Mr. Miller or any other member of the press, so be it. Mr. Miller is, himself, a Veteran and I honor his service but why, why won’t he stand up and do what is right? Why does he attack me for simply trying to right a wrong? Is his dislike for me so strong that he can’t see past me to the issue at hand? I’m here every day of session and I know there are not enough handicap parking spots. I also know it is wrong for a private, for profit industry to be granted free parking while our disabled Veterans park two blocks away. I call upon Miller and Messenger to withdraw their fight against me and this rightful bill and endorse my plan to give more access to folks with disabilities and particularly our disabled vets. I will also mention that both these reporters asked me to give up my parking and I’d like to remind them both of something they already know but failed to mention. My parking is in a secured underground area that is a long walk from the capitol! Giving up my spot does nothing for disabled folks because they’d still be walking just as far but press parking is right up close! Miller and Messenger know they are wrong and I will gladly work hand in hand with them to work out a “Parking Fix” that will still allow them a spot but not at the expense of allowing easy access to those who truly need it. Miller and Messenger, I’m sure I will never look, act, speak, have the demeanor, or carry myself in a manner that is pleasing to you but it’s time to put our differences aside and fix this! My phone number is 573.751.3678 and I’ll be eagerly awaiting your call. www.senate.mo.gov/nieves