Thursday, September 17, 2009

Have The Dems Given Up On Hempstead Town?

The Invisible Campaign For Town Of Hempstead Supervisor

The Town of Hempstead, officially, America's largest township, goes by many names: The Town That Time Forgot; The Land Of Make Believe; America's Most Blighted Township; Home of the Murraygram.

Now, it may be proclaimed that the Town of Hempstead is The Town the Democrats have Forsaken.

In a town where, for more than a century, one political party has ruled the roost, it would appear, from all indications (note the eerie silence), that Nassau Democrats have bailed on the race for Hempstead Supervisor, with nary a lawn sign -- none, in fact, that we have seen -- to show for Kristen McElroy's nearly stealth campaign.

Kristen who?


Yes, Kristen McElroy. The official nominee of the Democratic Party for Town of Hempstead Supervisor.

Never heard of her? You are not alone.

Indeed, search the web, and the only site you are likely to find associating Kristen McElroy with a run for public office is McElroy for Senate, a remnant of last year's effort to unseat NYS Senator Kemp Hannon.

Is McElroy preparing to take another shot at Hannon, a veteran of the old guard in Albany who may call it a generation next year?

A Facebook page, perhaps? Not this Kristen McElroy. Twitter? Not a tweet.

How difficult would it have been to change "Senate" to "Town of Hempstead Supervisor," tweaking the McElroy website to reflect the fact that she is on the ballot this year -- for a different office?

Are there no personal appearances, save a few cameos at local Democratic Clubs?

And if you're going to be in the race, shouldn't you be in it to win -- even if you won't?

Sure, we all know that the Town of Hempstead, the last remaining stronghold (or is it, stranglehold?) for the Republicans on Long Island (if not the world) is a tough nut to crack. Toppling this entrenched GOP machine, where everyone and her father is on payroll, and the tentacles reach far and wide into every crevice, is a near insurmountable task.

And then, there's Kate Murray's insufferable smile, winning the hearts of seniors, little leaguers, and those with both short and long term memory loss. [Where's Dot Goosby, when we need a good "You Lie" from the gallery at Hempstead Town Hall?]

So, do you just give up? Doesn't say much for democracy in the Town of Hempstead, does it?

Okay. It boils down to a matter of money. Not being able to raise enough to mount a formidable -- or even a lighthearted -- campaign. Putting the party's scarce resources to where they can best be used, as in races that are close and perceived to be winnable.

Still, where does that leave the residents of Hempstead Town, many of whom see through the facade of streetscape improvements (read as, Victorian-style street lamps), and hear the emptiness when the Supervisor says, with mock pride, "We are all Islanders"?

What does that say to those who, over these many years, have carried the banner and stood fast on the front lines, fighting to eradicate illegal accessory apartments, to increase the number of affordable housing units, to rebuild our downtowns and revitalize our "Main Streets," to plan with more than myopic vision, to zone responsibly, to relieve us of the burden of the special taxing districts, to improve the very quality of life which, in so many respects, defines the dream of suburbia?

The word "abandoned" immediately comes to mind. We're certain you can think of others.

We always knew that, but for a bone tossed the way of those who reside in the Town's unincorporated areas, there was short shrift from the top of the ticket at Hempstead Town Hall.

And yet, though a far cry from the cavalry riding to the rescue, we could always count on a reasoned -- well, mostly -- and boisterous outing during the campaign season from the Democrats, the loyal if but under-represented opposition giving the Town clowns a run for it.

A fight well fought, even if in defeat.

Not this year, apparently. Seems the stage has left the station in Hempstead Town, with Jay Jacobs (Nassau County, and now, State Democratic Chair) and Kristen McElroy aboard.

Harvey Levinson, where are you when we need you? [Oh, we forgot. In Florida.]

No cavalry. No bugle calls to advance. No rallying of the troops. Not even a good bumper sticker.

No, we, the people of the Town of Hempstead, are destined, at least for the foreseeable future, to hold the fort on our own.

May God, if not Kristen, be with us!


  1. Another 2 years of Murraygrams. I'm going to have to buy another garbage can to manage the B.S. to come.

    Seriously though, why doesn't Kristen McElroy get out there and just hammer Kate on her handling of the Lighthouse project. She'll get a lot of free publicity and then she can begin to point out all the other problems at the Town of Hempstead.

  2. I'm hoping that you're wrong but I'm worried that you're right. I've been thinking I'd hear something from McElroy by now, but the silence is deafening. At this point, given the lack of leadership we're getting from Murray, I no longer view the need to replace her as a political issue half as much as it reflects the need to have someone who is at least competent, responsive and willing to exert a minimal amount of leadership. The challenges Hempstead faces are way too pressing for the kind of uninspired and unimaginative leadership we have been getting. As you state, there have been Republican supervisors in Hempstead for decades and many of them were very capable administrators - Rich Guardino, for example, is a name that comes to mind. At this point,I'd vote for ANYBODY in ANY political party who could take Hempstead forward. But right now, what we're seeing is what happens in the absence of a credible two-party political system: the dominant party will put forward any old candidate they want, no matter how lame he or she might be, as long as that candidate respects the party hierarchy and doesn't rock the boat. I'm a lifelong resident of Hempstead and at this point I'm losing hope, and yes, it does seems as if we're being abandoned.

  3. dear lifelong resident,

    my advice to you is-if you can afford to -leave. there are plenty of places where the taxes are much lower and the quality of life much higher than the TOH.

  4. I will be running against Katie M. Full strategy to be unveiled once Bob Young decides to call me back
    We will win Gary Levine