When Going "Back" Simply Reverses Course
Remember the Episode of Lost -- the long-running TV series featuring castaways who try every which way to get off an island (much like Long Islanders, we might add) -- when they finally managed to get home, and then, voluntarily, no less, decided to return to their marooned atoll?
Well, that's television for you. Or is it simply politics in New York?
The reform-touted and empty-headedly glorified return to power of the GOP to the leadership of the NYS Senate reads like that Lost TV script, only write in a few extra cannibals and lose the fat guy. [Actually, NY politics more resembles Fantasy Island. Can you see Governor Paterson pointing skyward, "De plane, boss. De plane!"?]
Yes, the Republicans, led by Senator Dean Skelos (who happens to be the best of the best up in Albany, whatever that may say for the Capitol Gang), have returned to power.
Call it coup. Call it mandate. Call it fate. Call it loss of short-term memory. The GOP is back!
Local Assemblyman, Tom Alfano, had this to say about his party's resurgence in State government:
"Dean Skelos taking the reins as majority leader means only one thing: Long Island wins! We're back! The impact of Dean becoming the majority leader means that we have a seat at the table. It means Belmont is back. It means school aid is back. It means health care is back. It means higher education and colleges are back. It means quality of life with programs like STAR and public transit is back! It means Nassau County is back!"
Quality of life is back, Tom? Which AD do you represent again?
Yes, they're back.
Back to the good old days all Long Islanders yearn for (when Indians roamed the Hempstead Plain, no doubt), or would, if they had their druthers, rather forget (seems as if they have, actually).
Back to getting back 25 cents for every tax dollar Long Islanders send to Albany.
Back to paying through the nose for those special taxing districts. [All but one GOP Senator in the Long Island delegation voted NO on the Special District consolidation bill.]
Back to kowtowing to big business, big money, and the big insurance companies, whose premiums will no sooner be capped than will your school district property taxes.
Back to wishing upon a STAR, the falicy labeled as "relief," putting money in homeowners' pockets with the one hand, while picking their wallets clean with the other.
Back to a stand that says NO to affordable housing, NO to a more expansive bottle bill, and NO to meaningful property tax reform.
A more open government?
Perhaps, as certain concessions, like the fair apportionment of member-item dollars and the doling out of committee chairmanships, were part of the price to be paid for retaking the palace.
Better for Long Island?
Better than what? Was Stalin better than Lenin? [We're not intimating that the Dems were akin to Lenin, or the GOP, Stalin (wouldn't want to disparage either of those fine statesmen by lumping them in with our distinguished legislators), but you get the idea.]
All things are relative, we suppose. To be sure, LIers will fare somewhat better than their NYC counterparts, with Senator Skelos at the helm. Still, if the history of the last four decades of Republican control of the State Senate is any indicia, its not all that much to be cheerful -- or optomistic -- about.
So, here we are, Long Island. Back where we started.
Grumble under your breath, if you will, or beam a gleeful smile. Keep in mind, though, there is a difference, a very real difference, between going "back," and going in "reverse!"
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