Friday, December 01, 2006

I Want My M(urray) TV!

Town Of Hempstead Supervisor Gets More Money For Air Time; Sole Dem On Town Board Opposes Political Grandstand

The face that launched a thousand Murraygrams, and cost Town taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars for Town mailings (every one emblazoned with photos of the Town Supervisor), each little more than another piece of campaign literature, now has $85,000 MORE of your money to spend -- this time, on television spots.

Welcome to The Kate Murray Show. Yes, its a realllllly big shoe, ah, show, hosted by none other than Town of Hempstead Supervisor, Kate Murray, and sponsored by YOU, the Town of Hempstead taxpayer.

Newsday reports on this week's vote of the Town Board (5-1 in favor of spending your money to see more of Kate Murray's smiling face), with GOP Board members solidly behind Kate's bid to literally "face" the nation, and the lonely Democrat, Dorothy Goosby, the sole voice of dissent.

Frankly, we can't understand, for the life of us, why Dorothy is so upset. After all, what's another $85,000. Add it to the pot. Why, taxpayers in the Town of Hempstead would gladly pay twice that -- maybe four times -- just to see Kate's smiling face!

In fact, why not spend even MORE of the taxpayers' hard-earned money to plaster Kate Murray's face in every possible form of media? We are outraged that the Hempstead Town Board has only appropriated a paltry $135,000 for Kate's TV spots in 2007! How much exposure will that buy?

Its not enough that Town of Hempstead residents have Kate's face in their, ah, faces through the seemingly endless barrage of nonsensical mailings, costing the taxpayers nearly a half million dollars in 2005 (an election year for Ms. Murray) and almost that much in 2006 (thank heavens for that printing press in the basement of Town Hall).

Now, the Republican-dominated Town Board wants to throw an additional 85,000 tax dollars away so that Supervisor Murray can flash her smile into taxpayers' living rooms via the boob tube. [Try You-Tube, Kate. It costs us nothing!]

Were this expenditure about promoting the Town of Hempstead -- its beaches, its parks, its communities, its people -- that would be money well spent, indeed.

Unfortunately, this is merely the latest assault upon the taxpayer in the name of shameless self-promotion, a smiling Kate Murray on every TV screen, and a Murraygram (count the photos of Kate) in every mailbox.

One of this year's spots -- featuring Kate Murray, of course -- shows the Supervisor at Elmont's Belmont Racetrack (a State facility). Of course Kate's at the racetrack, silly. After all, she's off and running -- again!

When will this tiresome and costly charade come to an end? No time soon, we're afraid. And with Nassau County GOP Chair Joe Mondello ascending to the throne as NY State Republican Chair, be prepared for more spending, and a whole lot more of Kate.
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Commercials featuring Supervisor get rapped
Newsday Staff Writer

Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray should share the spotlight in the town's TV commercials, says the town board's only Democrat.

Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby voted this week against spending $85,000 on airtime for town advertisements next year. She said they serve only to promote Murray, a Republican up for re-election in 2007, who narrates and appears in the commercials.

"I'm very upset by it," Goosby said. "It's not necessary." Goosby complained at a town board meeting Tuesday evening that the supervisor was excluding members of the 5-1 Republican board from also appearing in the ads.

Murray said the spots promoted townwide tourism, affordable housing and sanitation programs and that she was elected to represent all the residents. "I am the chief spokesperson," she said, adding that the other town board members would agree with her.

Goosby shot back, "They'll agree with you because you're all the same party."

Murray Thursday called the commercials "governmental in nature" and said the town also runs ads in years when she's not running for office. She said local television was an effective way to reach the town's constituents.

"You're paying for your programs," she said of the taxpayers. "You should know what's out there for you."

In one of the tourism ads running this year, Murray appears at the racetrack at Belmont Park, the Long Island Rough Riders soccer field and the town's Rock Hall Museum in Lawrence. "Call Hempstead Town's tourism office ... to plan your hometown vacation," she says.

For 2007, the town board approved a total of $85,000 for 30-second ads for tourism, affordable housing, and hazardous waste and recycling programs. The town will pay for 1,190 spots on Cablevision, town spokesman Mike Deery said.

The 2007 budget also includes $50,000 for 704 airings of other public service announcements, Deery said. The town's office of communications and public affairs directs all of the commercials but must pay outside production and editing costs. The town spent $142,000 this year on commercials, Deery said.

Goosby said the town hardly needs to publicize its affordable housing program because of overwhelming demand. The waiting list is so long that it could take as long as 10 years for an apartment to open up, according to the town's Web site.

In response, Murray said she was proud to tout the program "even though we may have a big crowd on the list.

"Republican Councilman Anthony Santino said in his 20 years of working for the town, the supervisor always has served as the chief elected official and spokesperson.

But Jeff Gold, deputy chairman of the Hempstead Democrats, said the town could provide information about its programs "without promoting a candidate for office."

Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.
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