When two legislators call each other “sir,” you know it’s not out of great respect. When “sir” comes up, it’s usually in a shouting match in which the two red-faced participants strain to take the high ground by effecting a false pose of civility.
But this never works.
In such instances, “sir” is just another word for “idiot.”
A recent case and point was a Dec. 1 meeting of the Westchester County Board of Legislators budget committee chaired by Jose Alvarado, D-Yonkers. During the meeting, Alvarado got into a verbal tussle with Mike Kaplowitz, D-Somers when Kaplowitz persisted in asking questions over a litigation matter.
Listening to a recording of the meeting, it becomes obvious that Alvarado (at left) was rapidly tiring of the filibuster. He tried to put a stop to it.
“We do have a subcommittee that addresses this issue and time is of the essence here.” Alvarado said. “I’m going to stop it right here, Michael, because you keep going, going and going on issues that the subcommittee has already addressed. So…”
Kaplowitz (at right) shot back, “I’m still talking Mr. Chairman. I’ll finish up.”
At this point, the two agitated legislators begin to talk over each other. This is when the mighty “sir” word enters the fray.
“You were budget chairman before, sir.” Alvarado can be heard saying.
To which Kaplowitz replies, “And I allowed everyone the opportunity to pursue the extent of their legal representative questions.” He adds, “Sir, I’m fed up with you cutting me off.”tjndc5-5g5cxlkyepk1gxbb7ajg_thumbnail
“Alright,” Alvarado says, “I’m going to stop this right now.”
Alvarado then says the meeting was only supposed to last two hours “and not a full day of discussion.”
“Mr. Chairman,” Kaplowitz rejoins, “if you didn’t run out of here every day at 1 O’clock, we could probably continue our business. Unfortunately, we don’t run this business by a clock.”
Well, that was the gist of it. The proposed 2010 budget left by the departing county executive Andy Spano is a mess and no one really knows who’s going to be the next Board chairman– so tensions must be high.