. . .Or, How To Spend 100 Million Dollars Without Even Trying
Michael P. Mulhall of Point Lookout is a self-avowed Republican County Committeeman. Not that there's anything wrong with that. According to RCA (Republican Committeemen Anonymous), admitting the problem is the first step toward recovery. [Just kidding. Gee, you folks are sooooo overly sensitive.] Seriously, its good to be involved. Misguided, but still involved. Hope remains alive.
Anyway, we first learned of Michael P. Mulhall, Republican Committeemen (for today. By tomorrow, he might resign. "Is." "Was." You know how it goes.), by way of a Letter to the Editor he wrote to the local Herald newspapers, ostensibly as a potshot at Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi.
You see, Mr. Mulhall, the Republican Committeeman, believes that Greg Peterson would be the better choice in November based, if nothing more (and there appears to be nothing more to Greg "and your parks are lousy too" Peterson), on Greg being the more fiscally responsible of the two. [Yes, it was topsy-turvy day at Republican Headquarters in Westbury.]
Forget that Tom Suozzi is, flaws and foibles aside, due both accolades and kudos for bringing our County back from the brink of financial suicide. Forget that the Nassau County GOP brought us to the depths of financial despair in the first place. And forget, if you can, that Greg Peterson wants to take us back to that Nassau of old. Then again, don't forget it. There's simply too much at stake to allow nostalgia for the "good old days" of Hoovervilles to cloud our judgment on Election Day.
No, it wasn't Mr. Mulhall's (did we mention he's a Republican Committeeman? Wait, that was yesterday.) incredible play on Peterson's fiscal prudence that prompted this piece. After all, we expect nothing less than themes from bizzaro world from the Borgs who oil the Mondello Machine with money earned through our sweat and toil. It was something else Mr. Mulhall said in that Letter that caught our eye.
You see, according to Mr. Mulhall, when Greg Peterson prematurely left the office of Hempstead Town Supervisor to become Chief of Nassau County OTB just weeks (days?) after his re-election, he left for his anointed successor, Rich Guardino, a $100 million surplus. Greg never did mention a $100 million dollar surplus, that we recall, and Rich told us we were $50 million in the black, but we will make the presumption that Mr. Mulhall, as a Republican Committeeman, knows what we don't - that the Town of Hempstead had a $100 million dollar surplus when Greg Peterson packed his bags at Town Hall for the last time.
So, what happened to half of that $100 million from the time Greg gave up his office for the appointment of his successor until the day Rich Guardino stepped in? We didn't see any rebate checks, returning the people's money to, er, the people, did you? Did Greg take $50 million with him to OTB? "That's $50 million of Joey's Boy to win in the first!" Did we get any tax breaks with this wealth of money in the bank? Nope. Every year since this windfall, the Town - in one or more of its sleight of hand incarnations - raised our taxes. They called it "holding the line." We call it chutzpah!
As Kate Murray was ushered into office (yet another appointee to an elected post. Not that there's anything wrong with that!), the bellows of that Town of Hempstead has a 50 million dollar surplus still echoed throughout the land. Once Kate was elected in her own right, however, we suddenly stopped hearing about the $50 million, let alone the $100 million Greg Peterson is said to have left in Rich Guardino's hands. Gone. Forgotten. What $50 million? Fuggetaboutit!
Where did the money go? Kate cut taxes? Yeah, right. An increase every year, including a 12.8% hike in 2005. Could be Kate spent the $50 million on postage. Or maybe it went to buy turkeys at Sanitary District 2. Who knows? $50 million doesn't go as far as it used to. One tank of gas, if you're lucky.
And it wasn't really $50 million or $100 million or anything like that. After all, you must remember that Kate has "no control" over much of what goes down under color and title of the Town of Hempstead. So, that $50 million, $100 million, whatever, really trickles down to some $3 and 67 cents disposable (through Sanitary District 6) income. Barely enough for carfare. Time for another tax increase, because that "fiscally responsible" shortfall is just around the corner!
What bothers us - even more than the fact that a $100 million surplus seemingly vanished before our eyes (or behind our backs) - is that nobody seems to notice, let alone care. Hey, we misplace our lunch money and we go crazy looking for it. But 100 million dollars? What gives with that?
Fiscal responsibility. Accountability. Transparency. That's what it all boils down to, doesn't it? That's what Michael P. Mulhall, Republican Committeeman, is telling us. We say, believe him! And, having reaffirmed your faith, take just a moment to ask, "WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE TOWN OF HEMPSTEAD'S 100 MILLION DOLLAR SURPLUS?"