Friday, March 14, 2008

The Two Faces Of Kate Murray

Its Not Only The Sewage That Stinks In Hempstead Town

There is no stench more aromatic than that which emanates from Hempstead Town Hall, permeating the very soul of the unincorporated areas of America's largest -- and, apparently, stinkiest -- township.

Sure, the Town Supervisor, Kate Murray, and her cohort in grime, Councilman Tony Santino, are up in arms over the plight (or was that "blight?") of Bay Park residents, who complain about mores sewage being pumped in to the Cedar Creek treatment plant.

Suddenly, the cause of community is worthy of government's concern, and the voice of the people, which typically falls upon deaf ears at Hempstead Town Hall, now reverberates off of the ear drums of Supervisor and Councilman alike.

Bravo for the good people of Bay Park.

But what, dare we ask, of the concerns of our neighbors in West Hempstead? Why is it that their voices are not heard by Kate & Kompany?

More than 2000 signatures on Petitions to close the infamous Courtesy Hotel in West Hempstead, and to rezone the parcel for private sale, all hand-delivered to Town Supervisor Kate Murray. They must have been flushed down the toilet or tossed into the bay, for it was as if not a single resident raised an eyebrow -- or flared a nostril -- over the Town’s ill-conceived Urban Renewal Plan.

A groundswell of support for the Bay Park faithful (or was it merely an opportunity for Town of Hempstead officials to take potshots at Nassau County Dems, and to appear for yet another self-serving photo op?), but only platitudes (if that) and broken promises for the beleagured of West Hempstead.

As for that “foul aroma of government” Councilman Santino so deplores, we say, “take a deep breath, Mr. Councilman. We have smelled the stench of a ‘government that refuses to address the concerns of the residents it represents,’ and that God-awful odor is coming from Hempstead Town!”

“Thank you, Kate Murray.” Thanks for nothing. And shame on you, Tony Santino. A stench by any other name would surely smell as bad. . .

From the Lynbrook/E. Rockaway Herald:

Amid cries of Don't dump on us, We are not Nassau County’s toilet and Toback, your plan stinks, close to 200 protesters showed up at a Bay Park rally on Saturday to voice their outrage at a county Legislature-approved consolidation of Lawrence and Cedarhurst sewage into the county’s sewage plant in Bay Park.

Waving homemade signs, wearing masks and biochemical garb one participant was dressed as a toilet bowl residents from Bay Park, East Rockaway, Angle Sea, Oceanside, Island Park and Long Beach joined Hempstead Town Councilman Anthony Santino who called the rally to protest the consolidation plan.

Our message is simple, said Santino. Rather than shutting down the plants in Lawrence and Cedarhurst, and spending, by some estimates, $15 million to build a pipe ... that money can be used to rebuild a plant in Lawrence and Cedarhurst ... our cause is right and just.

New York state Sen. Dean Skelos reminisced about fishing for snapper in Reynolds Channel when he was a young man. The reason we live here is quality of life for ourselves and our children, Skelos said. We want to make sure that what you catch is safe to eat. I pledge to work with Santino to see that Bay Park does not get dumped on.

Kristin Octera, spokeswoman for the residents, marveled at the size of the crowd. Look around you, she said as she scanned the small sea of people. We are together on this. We want to tell the county that their decisions affect our lives. We will not be deterred.

Legislator Fran Becker, who joined the protest, recalled the meeting at which the consolidation plan was passed. I stood with all of you, and they shut the microphone off on me, Becker said. Look at all these kids, he added gesturing toward the crowd. Look at what they-re learning. I-m so proud of each and every one of you, and I was ashamed of the way the Democrats took the vote that day. I pleaded with them to table it. It was passed 9-10 along partisan lines. They have shut you and me out.

Becker likened the rally to the Boston Tea Party, and jokingly suggested throwing something into the bay in protest. Someone from the crowd shouted, Throw Toback in!

Mayor Brian Curran attended the rally to show his support. We in Lynbrook care about this issue, and we stand behind you 100 percent, he said.

East Rockaway Mayor Ed Sieban said simply, We will get our bay back again.

In addition to writing to county officials on the sewage plan, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and Santino have commenced a petition drive against the plan to increase the sewage that Nassau will pump into Bay Park. To date, the town leaders have collected over 1,000 signatures.

We’re hopeful that Nassau officials will be persuaded to listen to the united voice of hundreds of Bay Park and East Rockaway neighbors, Santino said. Indeed, there is only one thing worse than the stench emanating from Bay Park, and that is the foul aroma of government that refuses to address the concerns of the residents it represents.

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