Martins vs. Waiters


I am a resident of Great Neck and a constituent of Jack Martins. I confess that I eat out a lot.

Waiters and waitresses are among the hardest working people I know. They have to carry heavy trays, deal with rude customers, and stand on their feet for hours. Are you aware that catering companies on Long Island made a habit of pocketing gratuities meant for the staff? In 2008, the state’s top court ruled that catering service charges must be paid to workers if the customers had a reasonable assumption that it was a gratuity.

As a result, lawsuits were filed against the caterers by restaurant workers who claim they were cheated out of millions of dollars in gratuities. However, the caterers found a friend in Senator Martins. He took $56,000 in campaign contributions from them, and then wrote a bill that would grant them immunity from multiple lawsuits, already filed by workers, seeking tips dating back to 2004.

Senator Martins must listen to the voice of his constituents and the residents of Long Island, and not to big money donors like the catering industry. The people of the North Shore deserve a clean state government free of the corruption and undue corporate influence. We, as constituents of Jack Martins, want and need a true voice in our state election system. If Senator Martins cannot deliver the elections we deserve, if he refuses to support the Fair Elections proposal in Governor Cuomo’s budget, then we need a senator who will.
—Ruth Shalom, Great Neck


  1. Unfortunately, the “fair elections” bill won’t actually make a difference, except to waste taxpayer money.

    Under the bill, candidates who want it can get gobs of taxpayer money, then just add it to the enormous fundraising sums they already get — and there is no spending limit (which usually comes along with public funding).

    Also, even though participating candidates have a slightly lower cap on the size of individual donations they can receive, it’s extremely easy to get around them, through the “PAC loophole.” A large donor need only to create a bunch of PACs (which takes opening a bank account and filing a one-page form), and then they can continue to make virtually unlimited donations.

    What’s worse, if this bill passes, then all the groups that geared up for it will go away, and New York won’t get REAL campaign finance reform for at least a generation.

    There is a better way. Learn more at

  2. Re: Jan Jacoby–To throw away the “good” while waiting for the “perfect” is foolish and ill-advised. Election reform is a very complicated issue. To accomplish what Jacoby is advocating below will take YEARS to do. We have the opportunity NOW to help candidates who don’t have millionaire friends with deep pockets to at least run a credible campaign. If based on NYC limitations, contributions of up to $175 will be matched 6:1. According to the Governor’s budget plan, “STRICT LIMITS WILL BE IN PLACE TO PROTECT TAXPAYERS.” Cuomo’s plan would also reduce annual limits on aggregate contributions from a contributor. “Housekeeping accounts” will be limited to $25K per year. Corporate contributions will be limited to 1K per year. Candidates who receive public matching financing will have lower limits. Right now, large contributions to, and transfers from, political party committee accounts are unlimited. So, isn’t it better to push for this reform now, while we have a chance to accomplish it? Contrary to Dan Jacoby’s opinion , the groups geared up for election reform are not going to go away. Money in politics is a much bigger problem. Overturning Citizens United by adding a comprehensive 28th Amendment that states that 1) corporations are not people and 2) money isn’t free speech is necessary, but will take time. And the McCutcheon v. FEC decision, due any day now, will further complicate the issue. So, let’s pass NY election reform now, as a step toward much more comprehensive campaign reform, not only in New York State, but throughout the country. Isn’t that better than the widespread corruption that is rampant throughout our state and counties? Maybe our legislators will actually start listening to their small-donor constituents’ needs rather than constantly kowtowing to their corporate donors’ agendas. This is a win-win for the people. (

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