Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Land Of Photo Opportunity

Where A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words ~ And A Thousand Votes

The South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside puts out a full color 12-page newsletter - Healthy Outlook - on a regular basis. Inside, stories on breakthroughs in Cancer research and dialysis treatment, updates on the hospital's Renaissance Project, and the requisite pitch for donations.

Embedded in these pages can also be found the perfunctory photographs of physicians, hospital directors and trustees, and noteworthy contributors to the cause of healing community, as the South Nassau newsletter professes, "one patient at at time."

As we glanced through the first few pages of the September, 2005 issue, making mental note of the photos of South Nassau's President and CEO, diverse volunteers, Congressman Peter King (presenting a commemorative plaque), and a cadre of community leaders, the thought crossed our minds - "wouldn't it be funny if there was a photo of Kate Murray in here?"

And all at once, there we were, on page 10 (talk about getting buried), Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray, center stage with the folks from Citibank, the Roosevelt School District, and South Nassau Hospital, touting free seminars on financial and physical fitness. [No doubt, Fitch Ratings - the Bond folks - are offering aerobics, further evidence of our robust financial status in the township. Query as to whether Kate Murray's brother, a Physical Conditioner with Town Parks, is offering tips on the physical fitness end? Why not?]

We had to chuckle. Not that there's anything wrong with offering free seminars - although one has to wonder how many times "the Town of Hempstead has the highest bond ratings in the Country" was mentioned - but this constant barrage of photos, as if to say, "I'm everywhere. Vote for me" (in this instance, standing in front of a sign that reads DREAM MAKERS, as if to send the subliminal message of "not only am I everywhere, but I can make your dreams come true") is, by any measure, over the top. Thank God Ms. Murray didn't try to take this photo - or to offer a lecture on financial and physical fitness - at the Franklin Square Public Library!

The whole scenario as it plays out - photos, Bond ratings, promises of no tax increases and all - is reminiscent of an earlier era (or should we say error), when Bond ratings soared, taxes were frozen every year, and those charged with watching the pot were instead out taking photographs. [Just how much do the photographers at Hempstead Town Hall draw in salary, anyway? Judging from their demanding schedules, the photogs are the ones who should be earning $125,000 a year!]

While the collective memory is short -- very short -- it doesn't take much of a stretch to bring to mind the days of Tom Gulotta. Budgets balanced through incessant borrowing and constant juggling (hey, the rates were just soooooo good, we couldn't help ourselves), without tax increase to cover the escalating tab. Life was grand, and Tom Gulotta - Joe Mondello's poster boy at the County - had the smile on his face to prove it. A smile that could be seen everywhere, thanks to the ever-present camera at the ready. Ribbon-cutting? Smile. Store opening? Smile. Tax freeze? Smile. Smoke and mirrors? Smile.

Those "in the know" understood what was going on. The rest of us, too, eventually figured out what was happening - and not a moment too soon. Borrow. Spend. Never increase taxes. They'll love you on Main Street. Nero fiddled as the County burned. The GOP Chairman pulling the strings. "Just get out there in front of the cameras, Tom. Leave the driving to us?"

Ah, the more things change, the more they stay the same - or get that much worse. The Town Hallers hang on, proclaiming, "We're not the County." Great Bond ratings. Borrow. Spend. A freeze on all taxes. Sound familiar? "Just get out there in front of the cameras, Kate!" And we leave the driving to whom?

Yes, the photo op. Place that face. Make note of that smile. Remember the name. True, you'll be paying the price later -- as will your great grandchildren. What the heck. We'll be long gone by then!

Make the connection? What they say is so -- those who do not learn from the lessons (and the mistakes) of history are doomed to repeat them. "Okay. On the count of three ---SMILE!"
NEXT UP: Harvey Levinson's Income Tax versus Kate Murray's Property Tax, and why Tom Suozzi and the Nassau County Democrats raised taxes 1,765,432 percent last year alone. Stay tuned...


  1. And once again the grand community alliance has nothing more to offer except the same old garbage!!!

    Keep on writing Harvey these will really help you in the election!!

    The more you write the more and more I will do everything possible to help stop you and the rest of your Democratic comrades out of office.

    Keep it up you should be writing this stuff on toilet paper because what do you use toilet paper for anyway????


  2. Write on toilet paper? Hmm. We never thought of that. What a great idea.

    Wait. There's a roll now. What? There's already something written on it. Let's see. . .

    "The Town of Hempstead has the highest Bond rating in the Country... Kate Murray, Supervisor."

    Oh, but you'd rather talk about "the same old garbage." Come to think of it, so do we. How about Sanitary District 1, Sanitary District 2, and Sanitary District 6, for starters? And might we add, KATE MURRAY, SUPERVISOR!

  3. OOH that's right Harvey Levinson and Tom Souzzi are doing great jobs huh???

    Well I guess you actually have to do something to be considered "DOING" your job - Right Harvey????

    And as usual the TOH is to blame for everyones problems & high taxes??

    Wake up and face reality - there is corruption in all areas of government and the only thing that will stop it is stricter rules & audits for EVERYONE that includes the COUNTY, TOH, SPECIAL DISTRICTS & SCHOOLS!!!!

    So you want to talk about highest bond rating????

    Give me and everyone else a break with your mindless banter, how do you think things get done????

    And as far as the same old garbage what would that be????

    That's right the "OLD" problems don't need fixing we'll just ignore them and create new ones like new income taxes for all nassau county residents to eleviate the illegal housing issue???

    Good Job

  4. Finally some one with a brain, there is corruption, and absolute power corrups absolutly. That is why after 100 years of Republican domenation of the TOH THERE NEEDS TO BE A CHANGE.You complain about illegal housing you complain about school taxes, yet you are content to return the same old tired Republicans. How about new ideas and solutions? How about ridding ourselves of a regressive school tax? How about cutting waste? Guess what if the Democrats don't deliver we could always turn back to the tax borrow and spend Republicans. Hey! I though that was the democrats who taxes borrowed and spend. Just goes to show you that the republicans sound like the old democrats.

  5. Whether it be Democrat or Republican there will ALWAYS be corruption unless someone is WATCHING the store!

    Republicans Tax and Spend? Guess the Democrats don't do that at all huh? Their so conservative you can see such a BIG difference in your COUNTY ASSESMENTS???/

    Where are the tax cuts????

    And yes I do want to see a change in illegal housing, School taxes & special tax districts but what the DEMOCRATS escpecially HARVEY LEVINSON proposes is ridiculous and I am not willing to TRUST that they will do the right thing and FIX the current problems.

    As far as the OLD regime of REPUBLICANS I'll cast my vote for them!!!