Friday, April 03, 2009

Get Your Shovel Ready In Hempstead Town

Latest Murraygram Seeks Stimulus Money For Coliseum Redevelopment

She shoots. She Misses. She hits Hempstead Town residents in the head with a scheme to end all Town Hall schemes: A Petition drive to secure federal stimulus money for the Lighthouse Project.

Forget that there is no stimulus money available for this project, and that, as of the latest list of projects released by the NYS Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Cabinet, not a single request for stimulus funds has been submitted by or on behalf of the Town of Hempstead, Supervisor Kate Murray, apparently kicking off the election season a bit early, is at it again -- sending out some 40,000 Murraygrams, at the taxpayer's expense (of course), urging residents to sign a Petition (to be sent to Nassau County Executive, Tom Suozzi), to secure stimulus money for the purpose of renovating the Nassau Coliseum.

Okay, so the County Executive has absolutely zero control over federal stimulus dollars -- nada, zippo, naught. And anyone, including the Hempstead Town Supervisor, is at liberty to submit a project proposal to the NYS Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Cabinet. But never mind the facts.

"Put Islanders fans first," said Murray, in a Town-issued press release that briefly appeared on the Town of Hempstead's website.

How about we put the taxpayers first, Kate? Using public monies to finance private projects? Sort of like Citibank using federal stimulus dollars to buy the rights to name Citifield, only worse.

Newsday calls Murray's ploy "smoke-and-mirrors." We call the shenanigans that go on at Hempstead Town Hall, shameful.

We realize that all politics is local, and that the Supervisor has her sights set on re-election -- or higher, should she be the GOP choice for County Exec -- but that three-ring circus act at Hempstead Town Hall cannot go on. The days of fooling all of the people all of the time in Hempstead Town -- and using their tax dollars to perpetuate the hoax -- are over.

"shovel ready," Kate? Oh, you bet it is!
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Hempstead plays a stimulus smoke-and-mirror game

Stimulus dollars here, stimulus dollars there. Everywhere stimulus dollars are being used by state and local politicians as window dressing to mask their refusal to make tough choices. The latest example of this charade is the petition drive to get federal dollars for the Lighthouse Project, the big redevelopment proposed for the Nassau Veterans Coliseum and the area surrounding it.

At least in Albany, there are real bags of dollars from Washington specifically designated for Medicaid, education and transportation projects. The Democratic leadership, however, used the money as a stopgap to avoid politically difficult spending cuts. In Hempstead, Republican Supervisor Kate Murray is perpetuating an even bigger stimulus fraud with her petition, mailed to 40,000 homes, pretending there is federal money that could be used to renovate the Coliseum. (It's not too early to note that this is a local election year.) This ploy seems to be a way for Murray to shift blame if Islanders owner Charles Wang follows through on his threat to move the hockey team off Island if Hempstead fails to approve the entire project, not just the Coliseum renovation, by October.

The town can't identify any pot of stimulus money available because there isn't any. We've asked. And could you imagine the national ruckus if taxpayer dollars were used to renovate a sports stadium - especially when the developer plans to use private financing?

Murray's flier says the Coliseum is a "shovel ready" project. The only thing shovel ready right now is what the elephants in Hempstead just dropped in this mailing.

Copyright © 2009, Newsday Inc.

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