It was announced last week by Nassau County Democratic Chair, Jay Jacobs (not related to Judy, Jane, or my old collegeg buddy, Mark) that County Legislator Denise Ford -- a registered Democrat who was elected, and serves, as a Republican -- will be cross-endorsed (is that like being cross-pollenated?) by the Democrats.
That will give Denise both major party lines in November's election, and the Democrats, hopefully, at least the prospect of some breathing room, not having to be held hostage, with their slim 10-9 majority, to the egotistical whims of the likes of a Roger Corbin -- he who withholds votes like a 2-year old has temper tantrums, and much for the same reasons.
True, Denise Ford, intensely popular -- and you'd have to be, running as a Republican in a Democratic district -- would be hard to beat. [Frankly, viewing the field of candidates that the Dems feebly muster year after year as a whole -- individual exceptions (and they will be e-mailing us later) aside -- would be difficult to beat, under the best of circumstances. And Denise says she will continue to caucus with the GOP -- which may delight Peter Schmitt, or, assuming Denise maintains her independent stance on the issues, voting conscience and community over party, as she has done in the past (though not as regularly as we would have liked), give the red-faced Minority leader agita, if not cause for consternation. Sure, Denise votes with the GOP more often than not. Not surprising. The Mondello camp paid for her prom ticket. She at least owes them the dance. An endorsement from the Dems this time around, however, at least gives Denise Ford the option to pick and choose her dance partners.
Denise Ford is a Democrat. Denise Ford was elected as a Republican. Come next legislative session, Denise Ford will have the opportunity to fully exercise her independence as a representaive of all the people, without the typical and customary political labeling, posturing, finger-pointing, and game-playing.
We have always believed, and often opined, that locally, at the village, town, and county levels, the designation, if not affiliation, of party -- be it Democrat, Republican, Conservative, or Working Family -- is misplaced, and certainly misused.
With rare exception, the issues upon which local legislators are called upon to act -- community-based matters like maintaining roads, sewers and parks -- do not fall one way or the other along ideological lines. There are no Conservative ways to cut the grass or Liberal means of picking up the garbage. Local legislators are not making decisions on the death penalty or abortion, but rather, whether our downtowns will be revitalized, our young workforce will be housed, and whether parking on the side of a particular street will be restricted.
Indeed, party affiliation locally, while serving, sometimes, as a cohesive force vis-a-vis the voting block, is more often than not an obstruction to serving the best interests of the local community.
Our interests, no doubt, would be best served by local legislators not bound to vote along party lines, regardless of the issue (where 10 to 9, or whatever the majority to minority mix is at the moment, is the norm, and independence, or the appearance thereof, is the aberration), but rather, by local legislators free to use their own minds (borrowing Peter Schmitt's is dangerous to one's health and sanity), voting solely on the merits.
Would that there were no Republicans or Democrats in our county legislatures and on our town boards. That all of the locally elected were "blanks" -- or at least clean slates with open minds beholden not to party or favor, but only to the residents they were elected to serve -- might just be a good thing for community, with natural leaders, rather than annointed ones, setting the pace, and the spirit free to move, at least slightly, away from the dysfunction of what can be viewed as a creeping dystopia -- a totalitarian tendency toward party loyalty, unwittingly expressed, through word and deed, as community disloyalty.
Having Denise Ford, Democrat elected and serving as a Republican, elected to the Nassau County Legislature, as both a Republican and a Democrat, may stem more from the political shell game than from an endorsement of the best person for the job. And cross-endorsement, by its very nature, in narrowing -- or eliminating entirely -- the people's choice, is seemingly undemocratic (how anyone could garner both the Conservative and the Liberal lines always gave this blogger pause). Still, in this cross-endorsement of Denise Ford, the door is at least opened slightly to a less partisan, more open-minded, and hopefully somewhat more productive county legislature. That would be a very good start!
In its first of the campaign season (has it started already?), The Community Alliance is pleased to endorse Denise Ford, Democrat -- and Republican -- for Nassau County Legislator, 4th District. She is, we believe, the best person for the job!