Friday, March 10, 2006

He's As Mad As Hell. . .

And He's Certainly Not Going To Take It Anymore!

Call for a little more outrage, and not only does that window open wide, but in flies Pat Nicolosi -- resident rant artist extraordinaire -- belting one out for everyone to hear.

The perfect segue to yesterday's Network piece, here is community as seen from Pat's Perch, in a corner of The Community Alliance we like to call, Nicolosi's Niche. . .

Glad to see everyone from County Executive to Town Supervisor working together, but before we celebrate, let's look at theory and reality.

In theory, the atomic bomb was developed to secure peace, in reality it escalated war. Albert Einstein stated had he known the outcome of his invention he would have never gone forward. Now that doesn't mean someone else wouldn't have invented the bomb, it means Einstein's theory for peace wasn't a reality.

Which brings me to the point of the Empire Zone. In theory, it will help bring business here, and a strong commercial base will help stabilize or reduce the tax burden. However, looking at Long Island and communities with a strong commercial base, that theory is far from reality.

Look at Oceanside, Farmingdale, Uniondale and other communities with strong commercial tax bases -- homeowners in those communities still complain about school tax increases every year.

The next part of the Empire Zone which no one seems to mention is, where will people live? Most business groups on Long Island are finding it hard to keep the young, educated work force for lack of affordable housing. Now, I am against just building for the sake of building, because unless we get control of property taxes, which is the driving force behind Long Island being unaffordable, building or using the term "affordable housing" is an oxymoron.

Let's look more critically at this new tool -- are seniors and the middle aged looking for jobs? Well maybe, but more universally, we are looking for tax breaks and consolidation of wasteful taxing districts.

Are the young looking for better, higher paying jobs -- the answer is yes. Here on Long Island, however, what might be considered a good paying job elsewhere, hardly pays the bills here.

Take a job, starting pay 50 thousand a year. Sounds great. On Long Island, for a young person starting out, it would be hard making ends meet. After state and federal taxes, that young person might be left with around 2 thousand clear a month. After rent about, 12 hundred, and car insurance and gas and food, and you can clearly see where this is heading. And let's not forget to mention college loans.

Politicians have a way of using euphemisms to make it sound like they are doing something when, instead of confronting the main issues head on, they skirt around them. They use phrases like Education President, War on Drugs, War on Poverty, School Accountability Bill, Nail and Mail and so on, and the question still remains, what has changed?

We are still complaining about taxes and we will be doing that long after the Empire Zone, or any other term, is enacted because unless they confront the issue head on nothing will change.

You want to reduce taxes, then you have to consolidate. You want to reduce or get rid of school property taxes, then you will have to change the way we fund education. You want to make Long Island affordable for everyone, then you will have to come up with a plan to rid us of the waste and realize there is no need to run Nassau County, the Town Of Hempstead, and all the other over 400 taxing districts like it's 1930 all over again.

Now we have another tool in our arsenal of tools. In theory it sounds great. In reality, we will still have the high taxes and illegal housing issues before us. What should have been an ongoing maintenance plan from the Town with our roads and continued enforcement now needs fancy terms and gimmicks.

So we will watch and pray and let the pieces fall where they may, but my guess is we will still be complaining about the taxes, the young will still be leaving, and the illegal housing problem will still be ongoing. Oh, and the term "affordable housing" will still be an oxymoron. The only words that will work for us are Change and Consolidation.

-Pat Nicolosi

The writer is President of the East Elmont Civic Club, and a frequent contributor to this blog. This missive originally appeared in the Elmont Herald, and has been modified, with the author's permission, to fit this blog.
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Okay, it's your turn to rant, to rave, to call the play-by-play of community. E-mail us at Are you "as mad as hell and not going to take this anymore?" Then open a window and shout. At the very least, post a comment. It does a community activist good!

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