Sunday, January 15, 2006

How Much Is That Legislator In The Window?

While Leadership In The County Legislature Remains In Play, Taxpayers Continue To Pay

Who's footing the bill, you may ask, for the legal spat over the positions of Presiding Officer and Minority Leader in the Nassau County Legislature? Why, John Q. Public, of course.

As Corbin, Schmitt, Jacobs, Altmann and their respective political parties battle it out in State Supreme Court -- with no less than 11 attorneys between them -- Nassau County residents will be expected to pick up the tab for legal fees. To be sure, these lawyers don't come cheap, and with no less than two lawsuits now before the court, taxpayers are looking at quite a bill.

Forget the void in County government -- that the role of the Legislature has been all but nullified while hostilities persist at the County Seat is rather refreshing -- taxpayers may have to face a special assessment just to cover the cost of this politically motivated, self-serving battle royale. [And this time, no one can blame it on Tax Assessor, Harvey Levinson!]

Fact is, as Justices of the New York Supreme Court sitting in Mineola ponder the fate of Judy, Roger, Lisanne and Peter, folks are burning the midnight oil trying to come up with ways to pay for this mess.

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Create a Special "We're All Spoiled Brats With Oversized Egos" District. Surely, residents would "enjoy" paying taxes for yet another Special District. Indeed, with over 400 such taxing jurisdictions in Nassau County and its subordinate townships, it is more than likely that no one (save The Community Alliance) would even notice the addition of one more;

2. Drop the lawsuits, and schedule a lightweight bout -- the winner take all -- between Roger "The Reformer" Corbin and Judy "Not Related To Jay" Jacobs at the Nassau Coliseum, with proceeds to cover legal fees, and anything left over going toward the redevelopment of the Hub. Dub this one, "The Travail In Uniondale." [Other matches on the fight bill to include Peter "The Red Faced" Schmitt vs. Lisannne "I Coulda Been A Contender" Altmann, and Jay "Not Related To Judy" Jacobs vs. Joe "The Machine" Mondello, the victor to claim all rights to the name "Jacobs," the excommunication of Judy notwithstanding.];

3. Have all Nassau County employees contribute 1% of their salaries to the Legislative Legal Fund. Wait, we've already gone that route, haven't we? Scratch that one;

4. Hold a Pay-Per-View Celebrity Poker tournament, with all counsel participating. Needless to say, Fred Brewington, who represents Roger Corbin, will have the advantage, the "race card" (is there any other for Fred?) coming into play. [Question: If they don't want Roger "in" because he's black, do they want Judy "out" because she's white?] While we have serious doubts as to the capacity of the members of the Nassau County Legislature, and/or their respective political parties, to judge their leadership on the "content of their character," we sincerely believe that these would-be leaders are not, in fact, "judged on the color of their skin." There remains too much hate, divisiveness, and "race-baiting" in our society. Let's not use this self-indulgent political and personal posturing as an excuse to create still more.

We haven't seen any numbers out there -- at least none we're willing to stick our caps on -- as to what the bill for legal fees might be when all is said and done. Suffice it to say that the meter is running, both in terms of the price tag and in the declining credibility, if not viability, of Nassau County's lawmaking body.

While the cost to taxpayers of the Legislators' protracted gamesmanship is real and tangible, let us not forget that there is a cost to be borne here that is greater still. It is the cost of representative government, indeed, of any government that is duty-bound to exercise the will of the people who cast their votes and placed their trust in elected officials who have taken that oath to faithfully execute.

And let us remember, too, as we today celebrate the dream -- a dream in many respects yet unfulfilled -- the words of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., spoken on August 28, 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial: "The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred."
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Do not stand silent, dear friends and neighbors. Post a comment. Write a Guest Blog. Cast your vote in an e-Poll. E-mail your local legislator. Speak out and be heard!
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COMING UP: "The Death And Life Of Jane Jacobs" [Not related to either Jay or Judy.]
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POSTSCRIPT: In an earlier Blog, The Community Alliance prematurely reported the death of Shelley Winters. [Not only that, but we misspelled her name as well.] As it turns out, the actress was alive at the time. [Add another name to the necrology conundrum of, "We thought she was already dead..."]

Ms. Winters passed away on Saturday, January 14, at the age of 85. The Community Alliance apologizes for this error, and asks, "Who can we kill off next?"


  1. To coin a phrase from the God Father; no not Joe Cairo, the movie HOW DID WE EVEW COME THIS FAR. Easy we the people let this go on and on by elected the same morons over and over. Nassau County, New York State, the TOH with sticking their nose in everyones business but the towns has been ruined or run by the same do nothing for the people politicians. They are only in it for themselves, DON'T YOU GET IT BY NOW! SCHOOL TAXES will be going up again this year and what has your beloved in the state done? Nothing, they passed a joke of a bill called the School Acountablity bill which does nothing. Did they ever ask the million dollar question as to how much per child is enough to spend? Is it 10,20 30 thosand a year? Did they enact and real reforms? Did they change the way we fund schools? Did they push for competion between private, public and charter schools. The answer is NO NO NO NO they have done nothing, and they will go around telling how much they brought back home to their respected communities. The fuuny thing or really sad thing is they will be telling you this while your taxes will increase by 8 or more percent. So keep sending the same idiots back who claim to be doing so much and yet look at your tax bill and blame yourself for not doing more to change this mess. Government for the people by the people, HAHA, it's for the party by the party or me myself and I.

  2. While we should be sensitive about issues of race coloring our opinions, the current issue with Rodger Corbin has nothing to do with race. Whatever race or nationality a man or women is has no bearing on his or her fitness to serve as Legislative leader. Racal equality has always been a core concept of The Democratic Party (Dixiecrats notwithstanding and they switched to being Republicans anyway). What is at the heart of the issue is an elected Democrat sleeping with the enemy! Does anyone truly believe that the Nassau County Republican Party has any interest in furthering the causes of our minority citizens here in Nassau? One speaker recently reminded us that Nassau County has been one of the worst racially segregated communities in the country, I wonder if that might have anything to do with the exclusive control of the Republican Party these 100 or so years past. These are the very same people Rodger wants to climb into bed with to further his own political ambitions. Before playing the race card with his fellow Democrats Rodger should inquire whether he would even be allowed at the same card table with his newfound Republican allies.