Sanitary District 6 "Election" Day Passes With Barely A Whimper
Fred "Sandy" Senti coasted to victory yesterday in his bid for re-election as one of six paid Commissioners in Sanitary District 6. Never mind the final vote count. It really doesn't matter. Senti was unopposed. A single vote would have put him over the top (or at least in a run-off with a "write-in" candidate).
With all the hoopla and fury over exorbitant and disparate tax rates in the Town of Hempstead's multiple Sanitary Districts - where some residents pay double the tax rate of those serviced directly by TOH Sanitation - one would think there would be sufficient outrage to at least foster token opposition. With 35,000 "stops" in this patronage-riddled fiefdom, one would surmise that at least a single candidate would surface to challenge the status quo.
Ah, to think and surmise. Too much time and energy. We've got more important things to do than take on the status quo, upset the apple cart (where last year's bad apples, harvested for 2 cents a pound, are being peddled to us for $2.99 apiece), or, heaven forbid, vote (they still permit "write ins," if only in protest).
Why, even the local civic associations - and there are a multitude within the artificial boundaries of Sanitary 6 - remained virtually silent. Nary a mention of the election, let alone so much as a paltry attempt to stir the community to action.
In a community that should be up in arms over the abuses - and yes, they are abuses - of local government, there is a growing malaise, spreading like a malignant tumor smothering senses and thought processes alike. We say we care, yet do no more than grumble. We live, sometimes paycheck to paycheck, often surrounded by conditions no better than sqaulor, yet fail to take even the smallest steps forward to improve our quality of life. We have borne witness to the near-demise of suburbia - and, in many ways, its "planned" annihilation - yet remain tethered to a sputtering machine, mistaking life-support for that which, in reality, has taken away not only our ability to breathe on our own and to think for ourselves, but even the mere will to live.
As for the civics, their failure to make any noise on the glaring issues that mire our community in the muck is perhaps more disconcerting that the self-absorbed contentment of the general populace. True, the civics reflect the communities they serve, but at what point do we begin to take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we like what we see? Our efforts to "partner" with the politicos rather than to fight City Hall - suggesting that we can catch more bees with honey than we can with vinegar - has rendered many a civic association into little more than a "mini-me" to the occupants of Town Hall. Too much time spent patting the pols on the back as they patronize us with promises rather than taking them to task on the salient issues of the day - praise-heaping supplanting much needed pot-stirring. Yes, we have caught many bees over the years, but not a drop of honey to be had. [And that sting - Ouch!]
We've become, in effect, apologists for the failures and inadequcies of our government, rather than the protagonists of beneficial change. Good for them. Very bad for us.
Let no one say we are complacent. Perish the thought. We are comatose. Dare we say, in some instances, absolutely brain dead. Someone please show us mercy and pull the plug!
By the way, a call this morning to Sanitary District 6 revealed that, while the vote count had yet to be completed (nearly 12-hours after the polls had closed), the tally thus far is 859 votes for Commissioner Senti, and 3 "write-ins," including one for Tom Suozzi. The victory, of course, is hallow where there is but a single candidate on the ballot, and the process about as wholesome as elections held by dictatorships under the guise of freedom of choice. [You can choose between the guy on the ballot and not voting!] For the 862 residents of Sanitary District 6 who voted, there is a rejoice of sorts for democracy in action. For the rest of us, there can be only lament for democracy's inaction!