Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I'm Drawing A "Blank" Here. . .

Nassau County Legislature Begins 2006 With A Clash

The year is less than 4 days old, and already the Nassau County Legislature is stalemated. So, what else is new?

Just when Roger Corbin had thought his deal with the Devil had been sealed (the GOP Legislators would back Corbin for Presiding Officer, ousting Judy Jacobs from the post), Jacobs herself threw a monkey wrench into the works, switching her party registration from Democrat to unaffiliated -- or "blank," as it is called. Theoretically, this would set up a situation where, if Corbin drew the top post by gaining GOP support, and Jacobs could line up a few Dems to vote for her, Jacobs, as a "blank," could conceivably oust Minority Leader Peter Schmitt from that coveted post, leaving Schmitt shivering out in the cold, and more red-faced than ever.

Obviously, this move by Jacobs -- a brilliant political strategy -- didn't sit well with the ego-driven Schmitt (who intended to cast a vote for himself so that he would remain as Minority Leader). The vote for Presiding Officer was put on hold, with all sides ending up in court over the issue of whether Jacobs' change of party affiliation, motivation notwithstanding, would be effective immediately (as it would, as a matter of common sense, appear to be), or would not take effect until the next election cycle (the logic, albeit somewhat convoluted given real world politics -- if you're elected as a Dem you serve as a Dem).

Whatever the outcome of this political dance turned trip over everyone's two feet (or "Judy-Jitzu," as the Nassau GOP Watch cleverly calls it), the real losers here are the residents of Nassau County. Rather than to get down to the business for which they were supposedly elected, the Legislators are mired in blatantly partisan gamesmanship and personal one-upmanship. Again, so what else is new?

In a related story in the Long Island Press, Judy's Last Stand, Democratic Legislator Craig Johnson is quoted as saying that the situation in Nassau's governing body is "surreal." Maybe we could sell the television rights to MTV, using the advertising revenues to pay for, among other things, the economic redevelopment of our "downtowns," the construction and subsidizing of affordable housing, and the renewal and maintenance of our neighborhood parks.

There doesn't seem to be a "recall" provision in the Nassau County Charter. Too bad. Would be nice if we could replace the Corbins, Altmanns and Schmitts with, say, trained fleas. At least the acrobatics would be more entertaining, and far less costly to the taxpayer.

There is nothing in the Charter that even requires the Legislature to vote on new leadership, which would, in essence, keep the status quo -- something the County Legislature has become particularly adept at doing over the years.

Or maybe we could sneak a measure across the table through which the Legislators would simply vote to abolish their own positions. This, we believe, would truly satisfy what both Corbin and Schmitt have been bellowing for -- that the will of the people be served!
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