Tuesday, January 31, 2006

American Idle

Combating Complacency In A Community Most Content

There can be no doubt in anyone's mind that complacency by any name -- indifference, apathy, languor -- is commonplace in these United States. Here on Long Island, the grumbles and groans of the indignant aside, it has become a lifestyle.

We are, if not content, then at least resigned to live out our lives of quiet desperation paying top dollar for mediocre services delivered begrudgingly by more levels of government bureaucracy than there are stars in the heavens.

When we are heard to complain, it is but a brief respite from the otherwise muted chorus -- a fleeting moment when the few echo sentiments only occasionally brought to mind by the many, and rarely voiced even by the most ardent.

There follows the roasting of those few brave souls who dare to speak out upon the fires of retribution, as the masses retreat behind closed doors of houses overtaxed, lining streets where last season's debris still hugs the curb, at the crossroads of nowhere and no place, the mindset of the majority as opaque as the writing on that corner street sign.

School taxes explode. Illegal apartments abound. 900 taxing jurisdictions knock at our doors demanding their share, my share and your share.

We are polled and surveyed, almost relentlessly. "What do you think?" "How do you feel?" "What will you do?" "Where will you go?"

Our response is overwhelming --"We are outraged." "We feel betrayed." "We're leaving Long Island?" "We'll move to Tennessee." -- while our actions of withdrawal, acquiescence, passivity tell a different story. "We're happy with the services we get." "We're willing to pay more." "We'll always vote the party line."

We clamor for change, yet send the same lineup onto the field for every game. We juggle the monthly bills and wonder how, amidst ever-rising property taxes, we will ever be able to keep our homes, pay our utility bills, or retire in relative comfort. We hear the voices that tell us to rally, to petition, to air our grievances -- and to back our break from bondage with our voices and our votes -- and we resist, we repel, we recoil.

What does it take to move us to action? Do we have the will to fight for lower taxes, better schools, paved roadways, revitalized 'Main Streets' and affordable housing? Or has that will been broken, defeated by too many years of allowing ourselves to be disenfranchised and disengaged?

Fight back! Get involved! Take back your town, your downtown, your community! Tune out American Idle and tune in the American ideal!
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Need a weapon in the war to take back community? Your local civic association holds the key to the arsenal.

Here are but a few of the upcoming forums where you can enlist to combat complacency:

Thursday, February 2, 2006 at 7:30 PM
Elmont Public Library, Hempstead Turnpike
(across from Home Depot)
Civic leaders of Elmont UNITE!
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Monday February 6, 2006
(and first Monday of the month) at 6:45 PM
Uniondale Public Library, Uniondale Avenue
Meeting Room 400
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Wednesday, February 8, 2006 at 7:30 PM
Oceanside School #8 Auditorium
3252 Fulton Avenue, Oceanside
Bring Your Tax Assessment Questions To This Meeting!
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Wednesday, February 15, 2006 at 7:30 PM
West Hempstead Middle School Cafeteria, Nassau Boulevard
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A "Think Tank" For Community Leaders
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Contact Laura Mallay at mallay@optonline.net
or 516-833-6699 for details
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Thursday, February 16, 2006 at 7:30 PM
in the Elmont Public Library
The guest speaker will be new Elmont Public Library Director Trina Reed
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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 at 7 PM
in the Averill Park community room on Schenck Boulevard and Drew Avenue,
just two short blocks east of Covert Avenue
The guest speaker will be newly elected district attorney Kathleen Rice
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Wednesday, March 29, 2006 at 7:00 PM
at the Seaford Public Library
2234 Jackson Avenue, Seaford
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Check the community listings of your local papers for the dates and times of meetings and forums of your neighborhood civic or homeowners association.
Want others to know about your organization's community meetings? Clue us in at info@thecommunityalliance.org.

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