Friday, July 22, 2005

Life Outside The Box

Ramblings On What The Community Alliance Is All About

Boy, do we get lots of e-mail at The Community Alliance. And people are beginning to add their comments to our blogs. Way to go!

Thanks for the kudos - as well as the challenges to refrain from the truly partisan. Both are appreciated, and necessary. As for being "over the top," you betcha. Get used to it! [Hey, we got your attention, didn't we?]

The Community Alliance Mindset

In terms of espousing a philosophy, The Community Alliance holds itself out as neither Republican nor Democrat, liberal nor conservative - although, admittedly, we all have our leanings, and, at times, more than freely express them. [So far, we are still permitted to do so under the Supreme Court's interpretation of the First Amendment. See, there we go again. Stay tuned...]

We consider The Community Alliance to be a tool of progressive thought, and a vehicle for positive change. [When The Community Alliance was founded, it was our hope that we could encourage folks to think outside of the box. Right now, we'll take simply "thinking" as a step in the right direction! :-)] Our “bent,” if you will, is to rock conventional wisdom; to stand what has been and what is on head in favor of what we know could be. Innovative. Avant-garde. Blunt. And, yes, even outlandish. That's us!

The approach was - and continues to be - that quality of life here on our Long Island is, indeed, what we make of it, and what we've made of it - even in a light most generous to local government - is none to good. There is a real need for us - and all of us - to stop relying on the spoon-fed propaganda (even this spoon-fed propaganda) and to start thinking on our own. To question - motives, words and, above all, the actions of those in whose hands we have entrusted our futures.

Now that's not a partisan commentary, although it may seem that way at times. Just a fact of life as we have come to know it on our Long Island.

There are Republicans in local government who are the closest of allies in our endeavor to restore the suburban quality of life to Town, County and Island. They know who they are, and we never hesitate to give them both credit and the opportunity to blog - or at least to comment.

Then, too, there are Dems who have become as much a part of the problem as the problems themselves. Seldom do we hesitate to point that out as well.

We reference, in chapter and verse (okay, so its bad verse. Let it go!), both the shortcomings and the virtues of our elected representatives, pointing out the good as well as the bad, hoping to peak interest and to garner a response. Above all, we stand by the credo that public service is a privilege, not a birthright.

Good government - and good government officials - defy broad labels and artificial designations. A Roosevelt by any party, we suggest, would make a good President.

Endorsements for the Good of Community

In terms of endorsements, you may be surprised at our picks. Or maybe not. Our objective is not to tell you how to vote. You can, and should, make up your own minds, based on the community of interests you hold dear. We simply opine and offer our views as to whom we believe would best serve "We the people" in any given office, based on our perspective of who we think will do what must be done, and our collective experience on the front lines of community. The bottom line is that the endorsements of The Community Alliance are purely self-serving. After all, we live here too!

As for the endorsement of Laura Mallay over Gerard Brown for Commissioner in Sanitary District 2, this is not, to us, a matter of partisan politics, but rather, of intuitive common sense. A no brainer, if you will, for anyone who takes a moment to stop and think about it.

We don't know whether Mallay is a Democrat, Republican, or a member of the Tupperware Party. Frankly, we don't care. We are reasonably certain, and would be shocked if proved wrong, that Brown is a good cloth-coat Republican. Not that there's anything wrong with that, in the least. The only questions here are who would be best suited to challenge a system that is rife with patronage, and to overthrow a feifdom that exists - at exorbitant expense to the public - only for the benefit of the few? Mr. Brown has said that the Sanitary District system works. The trash is fine. Come on in. Ms. Mallay says the system is broken, and if it can't be fixed, then it must be dismantled and scrapped. That, in and of itself, is justification for our endorsement. [Not that we need justification. SEE BELOW, “We can say pretty much whatever we darn please…”]

We Are Not A Potted Plant

On the involvement of civic association's in day-to-day politics, we are faced with a double-edged sword. Civic associations, as a matter of law, cannot immerse themselves in the political process. So, for example, they are forbidden to endorse any candidate or to make a contribution to a political campaign fund. [Fortunately, The Community Alliance is not a civic association, nor any type of chartered or incorporated organization, so we can pretty much say and do whatever we darn please – short of yelling “fire” in a theater or advocating the violent overthrow of our government. As for campaign contributions, sorry, our coffers are empty. That’s what happens when you charge nothing for “admission” to the “club!” :-)]

Of course, sidestepping pure politics in no way precludes civic groups from participating in government, and this, by its very nature, means that getting in the faces of elected representatives and, from time to time, publicly stirring the pot, is a very good thing. There is a fine line to be walked, to be sure. Still, walk we must. All of us.

Here at The Community Alliance, we can simply walk the walk with a little more beat in our stride, and talk the talk with considerably more punch. We dare to say what the civics can't - or won't.

The whole idea of civic involvement, as we see it at The Community Alliance, is to challenge the status quo at every level, at every turn. As we frequently say, you don’t need civic associations or quality of life watchdog groups to maintain the status quo. The status quo maintains itself quite nicely on its own!

If you think that all is well in our Town – or beyond – that’s fine. If, after counting what’s left in your wallet, you feel comfortable with the property tax system, sanitary districts, and the plethora of local taxing jurisdictions, no problem. If you verily believe that you are getting the best bang for your buck, and that those who are elected to represent us are truly doing so, that’s great. [If you believe these things, of course, you probably stopped reading these blogs long ago…]

If, on the other hand, you believe we can, and we must do better, then come on board. That, in a nutshell, is what The Community Alliance is all about.

We invite you to consider, to contemplate and to conceptualize a better community. We welcome your comments – good, bad, pro and con (just hold the personal vitriol). Agree or disagree, you are free to make some waves, to stir that pot, and to – may the heavens protect us – think, question and suggest!

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