Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Perfect Storm Percolates On 12/11

Fire, Water, And A Tsunami Of Raises Across The Board

There's storm clouds on the horizon, and from the looks of it, they're downright nasty.

Unfortunately, most Long Islanders don't even see this one coming, and will barely realize what hit them until its too late.

We're talking money whisked out of your pockets, folks, as if through the vortex of an F5 tornado.

Oh, it won't be all at once, as in a sudden lightning strike or cloud burst. Still, a trickle here at the water district's faucet, or an open hydrant over there at the fire district, and before you know it, its the Jamestown flood.

What are we talking about?

For starters, Fire District and Water District elections, both of which take place, at uncertain times and unusual locales, next Tuesday, December 11th.

And then there's the Hempstead Town Supervisor who'd like to fatten her wallet by lightening yours, looking for the Town Board members to vote her -- and themselves -- nice raises at their meeting on December 11th. [10:30 AM, Meeting Pavilion, Town Hall, 1 Washington Street, Hempstead.]

If the November 6th general election saw a turnout of roughly 19%, what do you think the numbers will look like for the fire and water commissioner elections? 3%? 4%? We should only be so lucky!

That some reading this blogpost are hearing about fire and water district elections for the first time is sad -- mainly because it means you haven't been reading.

Truth is, few people "out there" realize that there are special district elections on Tuesday, and, based on past poll watching, even fewer actually care.

Here's what our friends at the Nassau GOP Watch had to say:

The Unknown Elections
Some local fire district and water district elections are coming up. It's almost a state secret to find out where and when. If you are lucky you can find a sign if the election is contested. If not, no voting for you.

My water district election is Tuesday Dec. 11th from 4pm-9pm...... Yes, that's 4pm to 9pm.

At my normal polling place?


At the North Massapequa Firehouse on N. Broadway.

Confusing much?

Call your local water district and fire district headquarters to find out when you have an election.

Here is a story in Newsday that mentions the race for South Farmingdale Water District Commissioner.

"TAX TALK: With a cluster of sanitary and water district elections next week, Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi is calling a news conference tomorrow on special taxing districts. In one of the elections, lawyer Craig Heller, who's been working on reorganization proposals with the Democratic executive's office, opposes Kurt Ludwig, a public information official for the Town of Oyster Bay, for a commissioner seat in the South Farmingdale Water District. Broader battle lines are forming; the district in a newsletter argues against the prospect of district consolidations, declaring that "hometown rule makes sense."

Yeah. "Hometown rule." That's the kind of "local control" Chavez was calling for in Venezuela, and Bush's "friend" Putin enjoys at the Kremlin. [We wonder if they have special districts in the former soviet republics?]

As for Town of Hempstead officials giving raises to themselves, whether or not deserved (NOT in the case of Supervisor, Kate Murray), a Letter to the Editor in Newsday says it all:

Hempstead pay hikes 'ridiculous'
Twenty-five thousand dollars in raises from 2006 to 2008 ["Supervisor backs pay raise for self, others," News, Nov. 27]? Where do you find such a job? Oh yeah - Town of Hempstead supervisor!

I don't disagree that raises are important, even for our elected officials, but this is ridiculous. It borders on bribery when the people who are going to approve such a raise are themselves receiving a raise. If the board members don't approve Supervisor Kate Murray's raise, they don't receive their own $5,000 raises.

Our government is supposed to be a system of checks and balances, but this really tips the scale toward the side of corruption. Someone outside the realm of the Hempstead Town Board should be responsible for approving or denying these raises. I wish I could approve my own raise!

Christine Gietschier

Oh come on, Christine. It takes a lot of money in one's pockets to ruin -- er, we mean, run -- America's most blighted township.

And after all, didn't you (certainly, not us) vote for these raises when you re-elected Kate Murray for another two years? You mean you didn't see this coming?

Much like the special district elections of December 11th, we suppose.

Look. How you vote in an election is your business, as is whether you are pro or con on raises at Town Hall, the County Seat, or elsewhere.

That you should be aware that these things involving YOUR money are going on, literally behind your backs, is quite another matter.

If you don't bother to vote or to show up at Town Hall to voice your opinion (whether on raises or, as our neighbors in West Hempstead will be doing on December 11th, on the fate of a crime-ridden no-tell hotel), that's your option. Sad and selfish, perhaps, but its your call.

To not have the opportunity to even know there's a vote or a town meeting [even Chavez and Putin didn't keep their elections secret], whether or not you avail yourselves of the opportunity to truly exert at least some semblance of "home rule" and "local control," is simply unacceptable.
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Suozzi: Special district elections matter

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