Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick Or Trickle In Hempstead Town

The Golden Age Of Tricks, Pranks, And Freezes Continues In America's Largest Township
And Town Residents Are Left Out In The Cold Once Again, Holding The Kate-O-Lantern
Take off that terrifying mask, Kate Murray. You're frightening the children -- not to mention, Town of Hempstead taxpayers.

All right. It's Halloween. Keep on the scary mask. Just lose that false bravado; that "freezing never felt so good..."

Yes, "Kate Murray is freezing..." Downright frigid, if you ask us. Even that smile upon her face has frozen.

We have to ask, though, can you really fool all of the people all of the time?

Apparently, there are as many fools in Hempstead Town as there are relatives and lackies on the Town payroll, allowing Kate Murray and her ilk (or was that, elk?) to roll to easy, almost unchallenged victory at the polls.

Will it be any different this Election Day -- Tuesday, November 3?

Probably not.

We see the smile. We buy into the phony tax freeze, the "trusted on Main Street" credo, the silliness of

Forget the Lighthouse project, the blight, the misnomer of the planning board cum zoning board, the broken promises of revitalized downtowns. Yes, Kate & Kompany would like us to forget all of that, indeed.

Just look at your Tax Statements for two out of the last three years, during which time Supervisor Kate Murray swears, up and down, that she has "held the line on taxes."

Between 2006 and 2009, here's what Kate Murray has done to hold that line on your Town taxes:

Town General Purposes -- +3.47%
Town Highways -- +16.96%
Town Building/Zoning -- +11.65%
Town Lighting District -- +13.85%
Town Park District -- +$16.05%
Town Parking District -- +136.09% (this is not a typo)
Town Refuse Disposal District -- +15.89%

And these "freezes" don't include the Town's Special taxing Districts, over which Kate Murray avers absolutely no control.

Collectively, the Special District (fire, sanitation, water) taxes increased by 43.79% between 2006 and 2009.

The old "fake a freeze" during an election year, and "stoke the fires" under enormous tax hikes in off years, when few(er) are actually paying attention.

Of course, it's not only about property taxes. folks. You kinda enjoy paying more, as Senior Town Councilman Tony Santino often tells us, right?

It's all of those other quality of life perks we get from the Town, like affordable housing.

And speaking of seniors, and affordable housing, those self-laudatory press releases continue to flow out of the basement at Town Hall, much like they did out of Baghdad during the first Gulf War.

The latest, the affordable Golden Age home lottery in Elmont.

Just what are the Townies offering the thousands of seniors being driven out (or is that "frozen" out?) of their homes by outrageous property taxes?

Thirty (count 'em, 30) housing units.

Don't get us wrong. Thirty affordable housing units is a decent start. It is barely enough, however, to keep up with the demand. A crisis in housing that calls for more than a handful of single-family homes or townhouse-style co-ops.

And what of housing units for the Town's fleeing young workforce? Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Well, at least the Nigerian goats, Point Lookout clams, and the Town's feral cats will be happy -- if not entirely warmed by Kate Murray's "freeze" -- this Halloween.

Trick or treat, Town of Hempstead taxpayers! Prepare yourselves for a long, cold -- more like, freezing -- winter on Kate Murray's frozen Hempstead Plain.
- - -
Election Day is Tuesday, November 3. Be bold, or be frozen. VOTE!
Cue the Victorian streetlights...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bigger (A Smidge), Better (A Bit) Bottle Bill Goes Into Effect October 31

Beginning On Halloween, Those Water Bottles (on which you will pay a nickel deposit) Become Returnable

A victory (sort of) for environmentalists, who decry the ageless plastic water bottle as a mainstay of the landfill for the next billion years, and for those of us who loathe seeing those containers lining our roadways and strewn about our parks and beaches.

Starting on Saturday, October 31, water sold in containers will require a 5 cent deposit, per bottle, which deposit -- as with the nickel deposit on soda bottles, beer bottles, and wine coolers -- will be refundable upon the bottle's return to the store. [Water bottles already in your possession that did not require a deposit are NOT refundable. DUH!]

Our friends at Citizens Campaign for the Environment applauded the implementation of the expanded bottle bill -- which had been contested in the federal court by bottlers and manufacturers (those fiends).

"The original Bottle Bill was one of the most successful pieces of environmental legislation and substantially reduced litter and increased recycling. Many things have changed in the decades since states first adopted bottle bills. In the early 1980’s, carbonated and malt beverages comprised the lion’s share of the convenience beverage market. Now, the largest growing sector of the convenience beverage industry consists of bottled water, tea, and sports drinks. CCE and our partners have worked for years to expand the Bottle Bill to capture these beverages. Recycling saves money, creates jobs, saves energy, and fights climate change."

The expanded bottle bill still does not include other, non-carbonated beverage containers, such as iced-tea, sports drinks, or any beverage with added sugar, nor does it address the issue of whether we should be drinking our water from reusable containers rather than the disposables in the first place, but it is viewed by consumer groups as a step in the right direction.

Detractors of the inclusion of water bottles in the expanded law say that the price of a 24-pack of water will now increase by $2 (the nickel deposit, per bottle, plus handling fees) -- this increase amounting to little more than an additional tax upon the public -- and, based on the history of bottles not returned for deposit refunds, will still leave 50% of the water bottles in the trash or on the side of the road.

Of interest -- and some surprise -- Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., an environmentalist and (what do you know), water bottler (all profits go to environmental concerns) , opposed the legislation as giving an unfair advantage to the sugared beverage manufacturers, as well as undermining recycling programs.

A still bigger and measurably better bottle bill, to include all beverage containers and further encourage and enhance recycling initiatives, perhaps?


While the court's injunction on the water bottle deposit program is lifted as of today, technically, dealers will have until November 8 to "gear up" and be in full compliance with the law.

Drink up, New York, and no more tossing of those water bottles out the car window, or leaving them behind at the beach, park, or curb!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Psst! Have We Got A Proposition For You

Actually, We Have Two Of Them

Unbeknownst to most voters (and even those in the know often have trouble finding them on the ballot), there are two (2) Propositions on Tuesday's ballot, both to amend the State Constitution. [No, they're not proposing to eliminate the State Legislature. How unfortunate.]

Proposal One is essentially and land swap, which would give National Grid the right to erect and maintain power transmission lines on land that runs through St. Lawrence County. The State gives up 6 acres of preserve, and will get 10 acres of forest land from National Grid.

Proposal Two would essentially allow State prisoners to volunteer their time at not-for-profit organizations. Why not? This would appear to be a win-win for everyone. The nonprofits get volunteers to assist in their important work in the community, while the inmates have the opportunity to give make to the community. [Call this an amendment that allows the incarcerated to make amends!]

From the Nassau County League of Women Voters:


FORM OF SUBMISSION (how the proposal will be presented to you on the ballot):

Amendment to section 1 of article 14 of the Constitution, in relation to the use of certain forest preserve lands by National Grid to construct a 46 kV power line along State Route 56 in St. Lawrence County.

The proposed amendment would authorize the Legislature to convey up to six acres of forest preserve land along State Route 56 in St. Lawrence County to National Grid for construction of a power line. In exchange, National Grid would convey to the State at least 10 acres of forest land in St. Lawrence County, to be incorporated into the forest preserve. The land to be conveyed by National Grid to the State must be at least equal in value to the land conveyed to National Grid by the State. Should the amendment be approved?

What will this amendment do if approved by the voters?

The “Forever Wild” clause of the NYS Constitution prohibits any development in the Adirondack Forest Preserve, including the building of power lines, unless the constitution is specifically amended to allow it. A constitutional amendment requires passage by two separately elected state Legislatures and then approval by the voters. This amendment has been passed unanimously by the Legislatures that took office in 2007 and 2009, and is now being presented to the voters on the November, 2009 ballot.

This amendment will make constitutional an action that has, in fact, already taken place. The NYS Power Authority, with the involvement and agreement of the interested environmental and municipal groups, approved the building of a back-up power line through forest preserve land to protect the health and safety of the residents of the Village of Tupper Lake. The line was built and activated in May of 2009.

What is the background on this proposal?

Before this new power line was built, the village of Tupper Lake had frequent power outages caused by damage to its single electrical supply line, principally from falling tree limbs in forested land along its route. There was no back-up line in the event of power failure, and during the winter alternative shelter had to be provided to village residents. This was considered an urgent situation that could not wait for the completion of the constitutional amendment process for relief, since it affected the health and safety of the villagers. The most environmentally friendly route for the new line traverses about two miles of Adirondack Forest Preserve land, affecting a small number of physical acres. While the new line could have been detoured to avoid forest preserve land, the detour would have involved a six mile cut through old-growth undeveloped forest and wetlands, endangering the habitat of wildlife.

The chosen route along an existing road through previously cleared preserve land was judged to be more ecologically friendly. National Grid, the builder of the line, will compensate for the loss of existing preserve land by conveying new forest preserve land to the State. This new land must be of equal or greater value than the land that was lost. Environmental and civic organizations are supportive of this remedy to what was a serious and persistent public health and safety issue. Since the amendment is specific to this situation, it does not give broader constitutional permission to other such solutions; each would require another constitutional amendment.

Given that the underlying "taking" by National Grid is a fait accompli, and the swap of 6 acres for 10 favors the public, The Community Alliance supports the proposed amendment, and encourages voters to VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION ONE.

Proposition One is supported locally by the Citizens Campaign for the Environment.


FORM OF SUBMISSION (how the proposal will be presented to you on the ballot):

Amendment to article 3 of the Constitution, in relation to authorizing the Legislature to allow prisoners to voluntarily perform work for nonprofit organizations.

The proposed amendment would authorize the Legislature to pass legislation to permit inmates in state and local correctional facilities to perform work for nonprofit organizations. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?

What will this amendment do if approved by the voters?

The NYS Constitution currently prohibits labor performed by prisoners in state or local correctional facilities to be “be farmed out, contracted, given or sold to any person, firm, association or corporation”, except the state or any political division of the state and its public institutions. This means that prisoners cannot perform work, even voluntarily, for nonprofit organizations, such as churches, charities, social service agencies or educational institutions. If passed by the voters, this amendment will remove this constitutional impediment, and will authorize the Legislature to allow these inmates to voluntarily perform work for nonprofit

What is the background on this proposal?

The sponsors for the legislation proposing this constitutional amendment argue that prohibiting prisoners from voluntarily performing work for nonprofit organizations denies these often under-funded organizations access to a willing labor force for tasks such as grounds-keeping. They say that many localities have requested that the prohibition be removed. They also say that allowing inmate work crews to provide labor to these organizations will help fill the gaps in funding them, and will give the inmates a sense of “giving back” to the community.

The sponsors also make the point that passing this amendment would only give the Legislature authority to pass a law allowing inmates to do such work. This “enacting legislation” could include restrictions, in the interest of public safety, on which inmates would be eligible to perform this work. Two separately elected Legislatures passed this constitutional amendment with near unanimous votes in favor.

The Community Alliance supports permitting prisoners to voluntary perform work for nonprofit organizations, as set forth above, and encourages residents to VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION TWO.

Again, scour that ballot carefully for these Propositions. They are easy to miss!

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3. VOTE!

Click HERE for the Nassau County Voter Guide

It's Not Only About The Islanders

It's About Saving Nassau County From The Dust Bowl

If the Lighthouse Project was only about keeping the hapless, and nearly winless, Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum (home to the International Great Beer Expo), we would almost certainly be inclined to say -- no, to beg -- 'take 'em away!"

But this planned redevelopment of what is now an asphalt wasteland --reminiscent of the great plains during the 1930s, sans the tumbleweed and the dust storms -- is about so much more than keeping a hockey team (is that what the Islanders are?) on Long Island.

The Lighthouse Project would not only be a job creator, an economic booster, and a civic center for a county whose hallmarks, at least over the past quarter century, have been sprawl, brownfields, and suburban blight, it would be a boom to an aging island population, trying to keep Generation Next close to home, and beckon those next door to take a second look.

"It would be too big, too massive, too tall?"

Well, what does it say for a county whose tallest structure, by far, is the Covanta incinerator chimney in Westbury?

How do we stop the brain drain and attract a young, vital workforce, when redevelopment is defined as a white picket fence circa 1952?

Where is the vision that will take America's first suburb from the current nightmare scenario, where flight seems right, to the full potential of the suburban dream?

Are we lacking visionaries? Leadership? The will to find a way?

We have the visionaries, apparently. Folks who see the big picture and understand that a thriving suburbia is a great deal more than Levitt capes surrounded by vacant strip malls.

Is it the lack of leaders who can take an island with a 1950s mindset into the 21st Century?

Well, face it, Kate Murray is no Moses, and the Town of Hempstead, whose Zoning Board ostensibly holds the key to any changes in the infrastructure of the greater part of Nassau County, is much better at carving out exceptions to the Building Code than in incorporating Smart Growth principles into the Town's agenda. [We'd say, the Town's Master Plan, but clearly, beyond Blight Studies and faulty "Urban" renewal schemes (scams?), there really is no Master plan!]

As much as we chided Katuria D'Amato (Al's wife) as a patronage hack in her early days on the Town ZBA, she's proven herself the brightest member of the Board, shaking her head when one or more of her fellow Board members chimes in with a foolish comment or altogether dumb question, and rolling her eyes whenever the Chairman opens his mouth or counsel needs testimony repeated because he simply cannot hear. [As opposed to the rest of our Town officials, who can hear, but simply choose not to listen!]

Actually, Katuria D'Amato (congrats on the new baby, by the way) gets it. Too bad no one else at the Town of Hempstead seems to.

The will to find a way? Maybe they're all stuck in traffic on the Merchant's Concourse. Or it could be that the vision thing we so often speak of is shortsighted rather than long term.

Imagine if planners of yore (not mine, but yore), did not have the vision to turn a filthy, downtrodden slum into what would become Lincoln Center? An overflowing great ash heap into Flushing Meadow Park (and two World Fairs)? Or a flat, nearly barren plain, twenty miles from the City, into America's first suburban community?

Before us, right here in the Town of Hempstead, Nassau County, Long Island, New York -- that place we so humbly call home -- lies the great opportuninty not only to reimagine the future of suburbia, but to reinvent it, and to make it work again, for ourselves, our children, and generations of Long Islanders yet to come.

We are, each of us, pioneers of a new sort, in a new and significant era, on these Hempstead Plains.

We are, each in his own way, Islanders!
- - -
Cue the tumbleweeds. . .

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fresh Start Versus Status Quo In Nassau's 8th LD

Tumminello Challenges Muscarella For Seat In Nassau County Legislature

If Vincent Muscarella, the longtime Republican incumbent representing Elmont (part), Floral Park (part), Franklin Square, Garden City South, Stewart Manor, and West Hempstead in the Nassau County Legislature, appears to have a familiar face, it could be because that face is plastered all over the local papers, week after week after week.

Give Muscarella, who has been in the County Legislature since it was created back in 1995 (time to update your photo, Vin), credit for showing that face all over the District, at pancake breakfasts, pasta dinners, street fairs, and ribbon cuttings, anywhere there's likely to be a camera.

Okay. So Vincent Muscarella is the consummate politician, rivaling, perhaps, only Town Supervisor Kate Murray for that smile behind the photo op. That's the name of the game. Can't fault him for that.

What does irk us at The Community Alliance is, that while Muscarella has been the 8th LD's placeholder going on 15 years, and an Assemblymember, representing pretty much the same district, prior to that, very little of substance has changed on the ground since.

While Muscarella often cites his status as a minority member of the Legislature, Dems having ruled the roost since Tom Suozzi swept into office as County Exec, the snail's pace of progress in the 8th -- be it the reconstruction of a major thoroughfare (Hempstead Avenue) more than a decade in the making, or the rehabilitation of a local park (Hall's Pond), for which monies have long ago been appropriated under the Environmental Bond Act -- are demonstrative of representation that looks to maintain the status quo, rather than to change it.

Worse yet, Muscarella's tendency to use taxpayer-funded mailings, by way of Legislative reports, to do little more than lambast the folks across the aisle, does nothing to enhance his standing among his legislative peers, or to improve the quality of life of the people he has been elected to serve -- Democrats, Republicans, and independents, alike.

Vincent Muscarella has always said that there is no greater service to the community than public service.

How true!

Yet, to serve the community, which Vin Muscarella has done for lo these many years, on the whole, admirably so, requires more than keeping things the way they are, or, heaven forbid, returning things to the way they were -- under, say, Tom Gulotta.

To serve the public of Long Island's too often forgotten South Shore requires not a nostalgic look back to an era long passed, but a forward-looking vision with new ideas, a fresh perspective, and the notion that change can be for the better.

Gaspare Tumminello, Democrat, has taken up the challenge to the status quo in Nassau's 8th LD.

Tumminello is a Deputy Commissioner (Purchasing) in the Suozzi administration, and, like Vin Muscarella, a local boy committed to serving his community through public service.

Full of youthful enthusiasm, and embracing change as a forerunner of a brighter, more prosperous future, Tumminello may just be that shot-in-the arm fresh start residents in the 8th LD need to spur real economic growth on "Main Street," not to mention something akin to a renaissance along Hempstead Turnpike.

We applaud Vincent Muscarella for showing up at civic meetings, community forums, Rotary functions, and, yes, those pancake breakfasts. Visibility is important, both to the candidate and the community.

Progress in the 8th LD, however, requires so much more than just showing up. To get the district moving forward necessitates a desire to move off square one, abandoning the status quo for a more hopeful tomorrow. It requires a different vision, a fresh start, and, in this instance, a new face.

The Community Alliance is pleased to endorse that change in Nassau's 8th LD.

On Tuesday, November 3, elect Gaspare Tuminello to the Nassau County Legislature!

COMING SOON: Wang Threatens To KEEP The Islanders In Nassau If Lighthouse Project Not Approved [Who Would Have Them, Anyway?]

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What Can Browne Do For You?

Judging From His Lack Of Accomplishment On The Town Zoning Board, Not Very Much

At the News12 Debates, the candidates for the 5th Legislative District -- incumbent, Joseph Scannell (D) and challenger, Christian Browne (R) -- were asked about vacant stores on our Main Streets, and the revitalization of downtown -- particularly Grand Avenue in Baldwin.

Browne, who sits on the Town of Hempstead Zoning Board of Appeals -- the folks responsible (too bad no one holds 'em so) for planning, zoning, and deciding what gets built where, and what doesn't -- had little of substance to say.

Is it any wonder?

Browne and the Town's Zoning Board have not done much to advance the cause of downtown revitalization in the district, the Grand Avenue redevelopment project -- stalled for years and going nowhere fast -- being a prime example.

Browne and the Town are very good at declaring blight (as the Town did in Baldwin, via Blight Study, circa 2006), and resurrecting plans and renderings, on the drawing board for decades, but when it comes to community revitalization, and getting shovel to pay dirt, there's not much in the way of substance.

Christian Browne's tenure on the Zoning Board -- which body is itself a major roadblock to redevelopment and economic growth, not only in the 5th LD, but the entirety of Nassau County's South Shore -- is unremarkable, at best.

Indeed, if Browne's lack of accomplishment on the Town Zoning Board is prelude to what he could do for the District as its representative on the County Legislature, more blight for Baldwin, Freeport, Lakeview and South Hempstead may well be in the offing.

As the LI Herald (which, last time around, endorsed Browne over Scannell) said in its endorsement of Joe Scannell, "Scannell has delivered and fought for his constituents in the 5th."

Without further, that, in itself, is more than Chris Browne has done for his constituents -- the residents of Hempstead Town -- as a member of the Town's Zoning Board.

The Community Alliance endorses Joseph Scannell for Nassau County Legislature in the 5th LD.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3. VOTE!

UP NEXT: If Muscarella Won't Come To The Mountain. . .

Monday, October 26, 2009

If TV Spots Decided Elections. . .

. . .Nassau County Dems Would Win In A Landslide!

You can't sit in front of the television set, this last week or so before elections, without being barraged by TV commercials for -- or against -- candidates for public office.

Yes, most offer the typical borish "vote for me" stuff, the kind that makes us run to the fridge for a snack. Some are matter of fact and all business, relying on the record -- or what purports to be the record -- real or exagerated.

And yet, there are others that, for one reason or another, catch our attention and make us groan, giggle, or simply scratch our heads.

For instance. There's a TV spot for George Maragos, GOP candidate for Nassau County Comptroller. Bland enough. Blame taxes on the sitting Comptroller, Howard Weitzman (as if the Comptroller has anything at all to do with establishing taxes or setting tax rates).

Never mind reality.

Has anyone stopped to ask, though, why George Maragos, in this TV ad, is sitting in front of a portrait of Ronald Reagan? Has he forgotten those other "Georges" of somewhat less fiscal restraint, or did he simply sleep through the immediate past Bush administration, where surpluses were routinely squandered, the nation's coffers plundered, the national debt trillionized?

By George, we think he's missed it!

Then there's the Nassau County Republican Committee spot, featuring a George W. Bush dead-ringer (deer caught in the headlights stare, and all) asking us whether Nassau County Democrats think we're stupid.

Well, we must be, if we are willing to buy into the GOP horseradish of fiscal responsibility!

And speaking of phony fiscal tidings, just in time for the holidays, there's that Kate Murray, Town of Hempstead Supervisor spot (cast in the vein of a public service announcement. Did taxpayers pay for that, too?), telling us about that "warm and fuzzy" feeling Town residents have as a result of Kate Murray's property tax "freeze."

"We're not cutting programs and services," says smiling Kate Murray.

Programs and services? What programs and services?

Victorian streetlights for the Feral Cats? Hydrogen Fuel to keep us "warm and fuzzy" when we can't pay our Special District tax bill? Nigerian goats to eat that tax bill? Those friends & family patronage jobs at Town Hall? Zoning for the Dark Ages? Or is it that added touch of blight and neglect on "Main Street" in America's most blighted township?

That's not "warm and fuzzy," Kate. That's our blood pressure boiling and temperature rising, as homeowners come to grips with the fact that Kate Murray and the Town of Hempstead Republicans have increased our tax levy by more than $57 million since Kate took office in 2003.

Thank you, Kate Murray!

By the way, we've tried to track down the links or posts of the Republican Committee and Kate Murray TV spots, even searching YouTube, but have not, as of yet, found them online. If any of our readers have links, pass them along and they will be posted on the blog.

The best TV ads, in our humble opinion, come this season from the Nassau County Democratic Committee.

They're not only funny (as in sad but true), but they actually cast these GOP candidates and party leaders portrayed as the very mockery of representative government that they, in fact, are.

Enough said about that. Watch the spots. Get a laugh. Then go, and vote!

The Mangano Press Conference

The GOP Gang of Three

Kate Murray & Kompany

And what surprises will we see when next we turn on our television sets? Kate Murray, in HDTV (are there screens wide enough?) with her GOP compatriots, traveling through the unincorporated areas of America's largest township, boisterously singing the Town of Hempstead theme song, Always Look On The Blight Side of Life? [YouTube video to follow!]

Come on, you folks in Baldwin, East Meadow, Elmont, Freeport, Hempstead, Inwood, Massapequa, Oceanside, Roosevelt, Seaford, Uniondale, Valley Stream, West Hempstead, and wherever blight now defines "Main Street" and "downtown." Join in the chorus!

Is it us, or is it that elephant in the room (no, not the one wearing the red pants suit) that's taking down the Town of Hempstead, and holding up even the faint facsimile of progress and economic resurgence in Nassau County?

Ahh. To be young, out of touch with reality, and Republican in Nassau County!

Right. Stand up and be counted, because TV spots don't decide elections. YOU DO!

VOTE on November 3rd!

You Be The Judge

An Official Voters' Guide To The Judiciary

"Justice is blind," or so the saying goes, and the judiciary is looked upon by the public as impartial, fair, and above the political fray.

Of course, just look at the ballot -- and the lawn signs -- and you will note that our judges, or at least so many as are popularly elected, are candidates of one political party or the other.

While obligated to serve the law and administer justice without bias, does the underlying political allegiance make strange bedfellows? Are important decisions that impact upon all of us made along party lines or based upon political favor or favoritism?

Do we simply vote party line, for a name that's familiar, or do we actually try to learn about the backgrounds, mindset, and temperaments of the judges we elect?

The Community Alliance makes no endorsements of judicial candidates this year. That said, your endorsement, and, ultimately, your vote, should be both knowledgeable and informed.

The New York State Court System has a non-partisan website which gives voters the opportunity to learn about judicial candidates.

It some instances, the site gives you no more than the name of the candidate. [Well, it's a start. You can, and should, do your own candidate research (a Google search, perhaps?) from there.] In other cases, there is a link to the candidates' bios.

Click HERE for Nassau County judicial candidates.

Click HERE for Suffolk County judicial candidates.

It's always a good idea to know, to whatever extent possible, where those who represent you actually stand on the issues. This is perhaps even more of a prerogative as it applies to those who may well be asked to decide the issues that impact upon our very future on Long Island!

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3. VOTE!
- - -
COMING SOON: That "warm and fuzzy" tax freeze in Hempstead Town.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Property Taxes, Then And Now

A 10-Year Retrospective On Your Local Property Tax Levy

Its not too often that we wax nostalgic, longing for those "good old days", here at The Community Alliance, but, having recently received his Statement of Taxes, this blogger figured he'd take a step back in time to see what he was paying in County, Town, and School taxes back in 1999 (when we were supposedly partying, in anticipation of everything coming to a grinding halt at the strike of Midnight on January 1, 2000).

So, I pulled out my property tax statements for 1999 -- Angie M. Cullen, Receiver of Taxes (don't these folks ever go away?) -- and offer now a quick comparison. [Your tax levy may vary.]

1999 General Tax (County of Nassau, Town of Hempstead) -- $2532.12
2009 General Tax (County of Nassau, Town of Hempstead) -- $4546.24

1999 School Taxes -- $3732.76
2009 School Taxes -- $7245.75

1999 Town Taxes (including Special Districts) -- $1545.39
2009 Town Taxes (including Special Districts) -- $2532.65

1999 County Taxes -- $986.73
2009 County Taxes -- $2013.59

Town Special District (water, fire, sanitation) Taxes [for those who still buy into the legal fiction that these entities are not under the control of the Town]:
1999 -- $769.82
2009 -- $1368.67

1999 total property taxes (County, Town, School) -- $6264.88
2009 total property taxes (County, Town, School) -- $11,791.99

We're not accountants here at The Community Alliance, so you can do the math. Better yet, pull out your own property tax statements (go back as far as you'd like, if you can stomach it), and see your bank account drained before your very eyes.

Have salaries doubled in ten years? Not for most of us. Social Security been increased two-fold? No. Investment income matching the rising property tax? Not in this economic climate.

In the first year that we could find where total tax levies were included in the Statement of Taxes, which was 2003 (thanks to Don Clavin, Receiver of Taxes, then and now), the numbers present a picture that is even more astonishing.

In a matter of 6 years, we've seen, as example, the following increases in the tax passed along to the public:

2003 County tax levy (rounded to the nearest thousand) -- $402,706,000.
2009 County tax levy (rounded to the nearest thousand) -- $425,781,000.

2003 Town tax levy* (rounded to nearest thousand) -- $156,885,000.
2009 Town tax levy* (rounded to nearest thousand) -- $214,024,000.
*Includes Special Districts

2003 Town Special District tax levy (rounded to nearest thousand) -- $18,882,000.
2009 Town Special District tax levy (rounded to nearest thousand) -- $24,314,000.

2003 School tax levy -- $25,833,996.72
2009 School tax levy -- $33,949,929.56

For those crunching the numbers, and looking to point fingers and place blame, in the 6 years from 2003 to 2009, the increase in the total tax levy was as follows:

County of Nassau -- $23,075,000.
Town of Hempstead -- $57,139,000. [So much for TOH Republicans saving taxpayers' money!]
Town Special District* -- $5,432,000.
School District** (rounded to nearest thousand) -- $8,116,000.
*Figure represents single Fire District, Water District, Sanitary District, combined
**Figure represents single School District

Okay. Let's point fingers and lay blame, since that's what the politicos seem to do.

In just 6 years (3/4 of Tom Suozzi's tenure as County Exec, and all of Kate Murray's time in office as TOH Supervisor), the County (which encompasses the Town) raised taxes by $23 million, while the Town (smaller than the County, which includes 3 Towns, 2 cities, and numerous villages), raised taxes by $57 million.

And the GOP has the gaul to ask residents to put Republicans back in control of the Nassau County Legislature, and keep the GOP in Hempstead Town Hall for another hundred years? [Let's see. 6 years=$57 million. 100 years=??? Too mind-boggling to even think about!]

An Ed Mangano tax revolt? While the Republican tax increases at the Town level are revolting, indeed (as were the handling of finances at the County level under former CE, Tom Gulotta and his Republican administration, which, in great measure, led to the necessity of tax increases under Tom Suozzi and the Democratically controlled County Legislature), we always assumed a tax "revolt" meant you wanted to lower taxes, not raise them!

And here we were, thinking that Kate Murray, Tony Santino, and the Town of Hempstead Republicans were serious when they declared "we're holding the line on taxes."

Silly us!

But we digress. No more pointing fingers. You know who's been naughty and who's been naughtier. You are smart enough (we can only hope) to differentiate the big lie from the damned lie.

Truth is, property taxes are not a Republican problem or a Democratic problem. Given their druthers, both parties would tax -- and have taxed -- us out of house and home.

And let's not even talk about the school districts. [All right. We will, but for a moment.]

The figures posted above represent but a single school district levy in Nassau County. Multiply that figure, more or less, by the 57 (as many as Heinz has varieties of pickles) school districts in Nassau (out of a mind-blowing 124 on Long Island), and the increase alone in the total tax levy to finance Nassau County's schools in the 6 years from 2003 to 2009 was a whopping $462,612,000., plus or minus a few million dollars, here and there.

Now we're beginning to talk about real money! [More than 60% of the average homeowner's property tax bill, in fact, and climbing.]

Then, multply the $5,432,000.00 Special District tax levy increase by how many Special Districts in Nassau County? We cringe at the very thought!

Indeed, the numbers are so staggering that they have become almost as statistical as they are painful, difficult to reduce to terms the individual taxpayer can comprehend.

Let's make it simple, then. Pull out your own Statement of Taxes -- go ahead, we dare you -- and take a look at the bottom line.

Our elected officials may lie, skewing figures and ceremoniously, if not disingenuously, "freezing" budgets. [Recall that Tom Gulotta, as County Executive, also "froze" taxes, year after year. We all know the end game of that charade.] The numbers, on the other hand, do not.

No, high property taxes, occasioned by reckless spending, excessive borrowing, the accumulating interest upon debt our great grandchildren will still owe (lest they all abandon Long Island, as polls and pundits portend), and the burden they place upon homeowners and businesses alike, are neither a Democratic problem nor a Republican problem. High property taxes are OUR problem (that's WE, the People).

Change, you say? Oh, they can keep the change (and they will). What we need, whether in Albany, the County Seat, Town Hall, or on our local School Boards, are folks willing, able, and ready to make the tough decisions (and understand, those decisions, and the dramatic cuts in spending they must entail, will be difficult), and offer us up something more than empty rhetoric as property tax relief.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"New Face, Fresh Start"

Gaspare Tumminello Challenges Long Time Incumbent In Nassau's 8th LD

Democrat Gaspare Tumminello's campaign slogan is "New Face, Fresh Start." The new face is his. The fresh start is what he hopes to give residents of the 8th Legislative District, where the incumbent, Republican Vincent Muscarella, has coasted to victory in every election since the Nassau County Legislature was formed.

Tumminello is a lifelong resident of Franklin Square. Muscarella hails from West Hempstead. And this is shaping up to be quite the battle. One might say, a choice between yesterday and tomorrow, or, more aptly, between the status quo and, as Gaspare Tumminello says, a fresh start.

We thank Gaspare for responding to our call to post on The Community Alliance blog. We again invite Vin Muscarella to do likewise. [Vin, we'll even post your photo (circa 1976). LOL]
- --
New Face, Fresh Start

"I am a Man on a Mission." I am running for Nassau County Legislator of the 8th District, which encompasses Garden City, Garden City South, Stewart Manor, West Hempstead, Franklin Square, and portions of Elmont and Floral Park.

As the only child of immigrant parents, my parents instilled in me early in childhood that in order to succeed in life, both professionally and personally, one must set high goals and work hard to achieve them. At first, I was driven to excel in school because I could not bear to disappoint my parents. Today, I am most driven by my own burning desire to become a public official.

H. Frank Carey High School in Franklin Square, New York helped me develop into a responsible young man who takes education seriously. I joined baseball, basketball, and was part of the music program. These extracurricular activities taught me three critical ingredients in order to become successful: how to work as part of a team, how to work harder than I thought possible, and how to communicate effectively, both verbally and through writing. High School also taught me how to manage my time, keep up with my work, and how to thrive on my own. My high school development helped prepare me for attaining a B.A. in 2005 and my Master’s in 2007 at St. John’s University.

When I commenced my graduate studies at St. John’s University I already had a long burning desire to become a public official: someone whose representation could dramatically improve the lives of others. However, as a consequence of my college studies, most especially in my major of government and politics, I concluded that becoming a public official was not only a romantic kind of quest it was also the right fit for me and my dreams, both professional and personal.

My goal is to pursue becoming a public official, which will allow me to build a career based on helping people and fighting for their rights. I am particularly interested in becoming a public official, advising citizens on how to address their troubles and frustrations while trying to make a living. My practical and moral education at St. John’s University has given me the knowledge and confidence to use my abilities to solve complex problems.

"I would like to bring Youth and Transparency to County Government."

Notwithstanding a heavy employment schedule, voraciously, I have taken advantage of that opportunity as suggested by my 3.61 G.P.A. in my government and politics undergraduate major and my 3.64 G.P.A. in my master’s study in that field. As a consequence of my college studies, my desire to help others, as a public official, has become fortified. Intellectually, the position would afford me a challenging avenue to learn and grow. Personally, I view my becoming a public official as an ideal way to fulfill the highest possible calling: to help others.

My current employment by Nassau County Government as a Deputy Commissioner has helped me understand government away from the classroom and dealing with everyday situations. I have initiated and planned the online surplus auction process and was part of an initiative to put inventory controls in place, which allowed Nassau County to save 23 million dollars. Initial results of disposed unwanted surplus yielded over a million dollars.

I am also involved in the community as well. I am currently a member of Son's of Italy Lodge 2245, Franklin Square Chamber of Commerce, the West Hempstead Rotary Club, Long Island Breakfast Club and Nassau County Young Democrats.

As the only child of immigrant parents, who both depend upon me heavily to deal with the difficulties of living in a foreign land, and being destined, quite happily, to marry my eight-year girlfriend, I am more than amply motivated not only to become your legislator but also to fight for everyone in the 8th district. Given the opportunity, I would do whatever I could to bring further honor to my family and work exceptionally hard for everyone in the district.

"Together, let's write a new chapter in the history of our community.

Could BioTech Be The Future Of Long Island?

At Least One Long Island Assemblyman Sees BioTech As A Potential Cure For Island's Economic Ills

Tom Alfano Joins Women's Health Advocates in Announcing Cancer Drug Therapies at Cold Spring Harbor Lab

Long Islanders were the first in the nation to receive a new report today from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) on a record 969 medicines in the research pipeline for disease that disproportionately affected women. The medicines are awaiting approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or are in human clinical trials. The announcement at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory was attended by Assemblyman Tom Alfano, a strong supporter in Science Research Initiatives in the State and in local High Schools. Joining Alfano at the announcement were Tony and Oscar Award winning actress Marcia Gay Harden, Pop Singing Star Deborah Gibson, Senator John Flanagan, Geri Barash of 1 in 9, and Assemblymembers Tom McKevitt and Dave McDonough. Doctors, Scientists and researchers shared their findings in the report and answered questions for the press and women’s health care advocates.

"This was a big day for Long Island and our State," said Assemblyman Tom Alfano noting, "finding different drug therapies and medicines to combat cancer and illnesses must be a priority in science today. Today, this report takes a giant step forward in bringing science and industry together to help those who are sick and suffering." Alfano was invited to the announcement due to his work in encouraging and supporting science research programs in local high schools and New York State. Locally, Elmont Memorial High School recently boasted an Intel Science Research Semi-Finalist in Winston Waters II. Other students from the school have captured several awards and honors from Science Symposia and competitions throughout New York State. Alfano’s work with the program has been through grant funding he has channeled to the program over the past 4 years.

The main thrust of the conference was the release of the 2009 Women's Health Report. The report centered on medicines and vaccines in development for women. Specifically, research is being conducted on Athritis, Autoimmune, Cancer, Diabetes, Eye, Gastrointestinal, Kidney/Urologic, Lung/Respiratory, Neurologic, Obstetric, Psychiatric, Sepsis and Gynecologic health issues.

“We are releasing this report on Long Island because that status of women’s health here in many ways reflects the situation nationwide,” said PhRMA Senior Vice President Ken
Johnson. Johnson served as Senior Advisor to the Chair of the US House of Representatives 9-11 commission. He also served as Deputy Chief of Staff to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce that investigated ENRON, WorldCom, Global Crossing, Qwest and human cloning.

Both on Long Island and nationwide, for example, lung cancer is the leading cancer killer of women, breast cancer affects one in eight women, and depression and anxiety affect
more women than men. To help raise awareness of breast cancer, the release of Medicines in Development Women 2009 coincides with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Sixteen of the medicines in the report are being developed by companies with a presence
on Long Island. These include potential treatments for breast cancer, gynecological cancer,
depression, osteoporosis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Asthma. In addition, nearly 4,000
clinical trials conducted on Long Island are listed on the U.S. government’s clinical trials
Web site, accounting for over a third of the 10,255 clinical trials
conducted in the entire state of New York.

The report lists a total of 969 new medicines in development, including 86 new treatments for obstetric/gynecologic conditions; 76 for asthma; 114 for autoimmune diseases, which strike women three times more than men in the U.S.; 155 for diabetes, which affects 11
million American women; 80 for Alzheimer’s disease; and, 131 for arthritis, which affects
41 million women nationwide----including 28.6 percent of women in Suffolk county, and
30.8 percent in Nassau County.

One medicine in the report is a potential cutting-edge treatment that attacks the cause of
Alzheimer’s disease rather than merely treating its symptoms. Currently, treatment
options for Alzheimer’s disease are limited. This groundbreaking medicine holds the
potential to slow the progression of the disease and could vastly improve quality of life for
Alzheimer’s patients. Women account for 70 percent of Alzheimer’s deaths.

During the press briefing, Academy Award-and Tony-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden and American pop icon Deborah Gibson described the personal experiences that led them to advocate for women’s health issues.

Harden was inspired to become an advocate while preparing for the role of a woman with
breast cancer in the film Rails and Ties. “My character had Stage Four breast cancer and
a mastectomy, so as part of researching my role we brought a group of breast cancer
survivors to the set,” explained Harden. “Meeting these women was transformative for
me and helped me realize what a problem breast cancer is. I welcome the chance to raise
awareness about it.”

Gibson, who had a No. 1 hit song at 16 years of age, explained that it was the stressful
experience of being a child celebrity that led to her battle with anxiety and depression.
“You see a lot of professional children who grow up to have problems, because fame is not
a natural thing we’re wired to know as kids how to handle,” said Gibson. “Once I was
able too to acknowledge my anxiety and depression, I was able to get help through therapy
and medication.”

Alfano discussed with Deborah Gibson her experiences with anxiety and depression during the event. "Here is woman who on the surface had it all. When you got past the concerts and publicity events, she was struggling to get through the day. Therapies like the ones discussed at this event helped Debbie Gibson and look at her today. She's a broadway star, actress and symbol for women to get help," said Alfano.

“We live in an era of medical discovery in which we understand more and more about the
unique and biological and behavioral differences between men and women and their
respective health care needs,” said PhRMA’s Johnson. “This knowledge is inspiring
a continuing medical revolution that is bringing new hope to women around the world in
the form of promising new treatments and cures.”

“We are pleased to participate in events that promote the development of new drugs that
will save women’s lives,” said Geri Barish, president of 1 in 9: Long Island Breast Cancer
Action Coalition. “With over 40,000 women still dying of breast cancer every year, it is
these new drugs that hold the promise to help eradicated breast cancer or at least relegate
it to a chronic condition. These new drugs promise us something we breast cancer
survivors need----hope.”

New York Biotechnology Association President Nathan Tinker discussed Long Island’s
role in developing new, life-saving medicines for women. “Long Island is contributing to
the incredible progress made by America’s Biotechnology and pharmaceutical research companies in developing new and more effective treatments for a wide range of diseases that affect women. The area has a number of educational facilities, research hospital, laboratories, and innovative biopharmaceutical companies that have proven critical to developing the new drugs that address the needs of women,” said Tinker.

“While scientists at America’s pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies are
making exciting progress in the research for new cures and treatments for breast cancer
and other diseases that affect women, these efforts are wasted if the medicines we develop
aren’t accessible to patients who need them,” said PhRMA’s Johnson.

Help is available to patients in need through the Partnership for Prescription Assistance
(PPA), a program sponsored by America’s pharmaceutical research companies. To date,
the PPA has helped nearly six million patients nationwide, including more than 193,000
people in New York State. Since its launch in April 2005, the PPA bus tour has visited
all 50 states and more than 3,000 cities to educated people about patient assistance

The “Help is Here Express" is staffed by trained specialists able to quickly help uninsured
and financially struggling patients access information on more than 475 patient assistance
programs, including nearly 200 programs offered by pharmaceutical companies. When
the “Help is Here Express” moves on, patients can visit PPA’s easy to use Web site
( or call the toll-free phone number (1-888-4PPA-NOW).

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the
country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are
devoted to inventing medicines that allows patients to live longer, healthier and more
productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures.
PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $50.3 billion in 2008 in discovering and
developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record
$65.2 billion in 2008.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Some Girl?" Is "That Girl" In Support Of Lighthouse Project

Nina Petraro Bastardi, Candidate For Nassau County Legislature, Sheds Light On Her Support For The Lighthouse

We asked candidates to stick in their two cents here at The Community Alliance blog, and the guest posts are just rolling in.

Here's a post from Nina Bastardi, Democratic candidate for Nassau County Legislature, running against long-time incumbent (a NC Legislature original), Republican, John Ciotti.

As some of you may recall, Nina was formerly the president of Nassau County's Young Republicans. Having seen the light -- if not the Lighthouse -- and having since been saved from the Borg-like "Resisistence is Futile" hold of the local GOP, Nina is now part of the Democratic organization (is that an oxymoron?).

Fortunately, Nina is focused, organized, and still knows how to put together a cogent campaign on the issues. [In other words, Nina still thinks like a Republican. LOL So, electing her, in our opinion, would give constituents the very best of both worlds!]

Nina has zeroed in on the issues that truly concern Nassau County residents: property taxes, revitalizing downtowns, next generation housing, and the special districts, among others. [Is it any wonder we feel such a close affinity to her campaign, and so enthusiatically endorse Nina's candidacy?]

Anyway, here's Nina Bastardi on the Lighthouse Project...

It’s ok to come back to reality for a moment: building the Lighthouse project alone is not going to ‘save Nassau County.’ It may be the single biggest development proposed since Levittown, but it is nowhere near the size or scale of the Levittown development, by any measure. It will not spawn hundreds of other similar developments in Nassau County, create a massive expansion of our tax-base, or get everyone to drive less. At less than one hundred acres of new development, it isn’t even that big.

But what it’ll be is proof that things can still happen in Nassau County. Nassau has stopped growing, and stopped innovating. It is becoming more like a boring bedroom community, as businesses close, taxes continue to rise, and our well-educated younger generation continues to leave. Meanwhile new growth and development continue even during a recession…in places other than here.

We need a visible project to jump-start our local economy. We need projects happening here that aren’t necessarily happening everywhere else. We need to get creative while we are faced with an uncertain future. We need to actually start doing the things we are always saying we must do to build our way to the future. The Lighthouse is a major investment in our local economy, a tangible beginning for the model of “New Suburbia,” and will finally put an end to that now-proven conventional wisdom: nothing gets done in Nassau County. That’s why I support The Lighthouse, and that’s why Nina supports it.

This idea that Town of Hempstead officials have floated, in which ‘reasonable development at the Nassau Coliseum site’ and ‘The Lighthouse project as-planned’ are mutually exclusive, is absolutely ridiculous. The Lighthouse needs to be, and has been, thoroughly vetted through the mandatory state environmental quality review process, and will require infrastructure improvements of which every level of government is more than aware. Make no mistake: local government often moves at a snail’s pace. But our procedures work, and with competent, interested people involved at every level, approvals for the Lighthouse project can certainly be expedited, and still done properly. As a member of the county government, and someone interested in moving this project forward, Nina will make sure of that.

Nothing has ever been accomplished by obstructing progress. And our old guard elected officials are great at doing just that. Their “experience” working in local government really should matter to us: it’s been a bad experience for everyone. There has been no progress, problems have persisted for years, no one actually wants to re-organize our costly government structure, and now they can’t even approve a project they don’t have to finance… one that may just be the beginning of a better future.

Thus, when someone like Nina comes along, a candidate with ideas, who knows that politics can get ridiculous, and isn’t a partisan hack… you have to support her. There will be nothing more miserable for everyone if we just keep returning the same old tired faces to office. And nothing will change. And we’ll still be complaining about that every day. They say at some point ‘something’s gotta give,’ and The Lighthouse will be that moment. But only if it gets approved.

Nina can help make it happen.
- - -
Check out Nina Bastardi's website at, and her supporters' blog (because everyone needs a blog) at

We welcome all candidates -- including the incumbents, who, too often, seem content to rest on their, er, um, laurels -- to chime in here at The Community Alliance blog. Send your guest posts to us at

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Meeting Of The Mindless In Hempstead Town. . .

. . .Or, Three Hen In A Room

Oh, we didn't create this TV spot (credit the Nassau County Democratic Committee), but its as good as it gets vis-a-vis Town of Hempstead politics.

Kate "Murraygram" Murray (Town of Hempstead Stuporvisor), Joe "Am I still breathing, or did Tom Gulotta just walk into the room" Mondello (Nassau County GOP Chair, and NYS GOP Chair, once removed), and Christian "Are there really Zoning Laws?" Browne (member of the Town of Hempstead ZBA, GOP candidate for Nassau County Legislature, and one of Nassau's original Brownefields), team up in this smoke-filled room homage to a patronage system that, aside from going back 100 years, keeps on giving, and giving, and giving to cronies, lackies, and family, while taking, and taking, and taking some more from Town of Hempstead taxpayers.

This would all be extremely hilarious if everything these talking heads have to say wasn't so terrifyingly true.

You really want these folks in elected office, saying they represent you, but truly representing only their own selfish interests? Really???

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3rd. VOTE!

"Balloon Boy" Hoax Had Hempstead Connection

Will Town Taxpayers Be Tethered To Ballooning Tax Hike?

Just when you thought that, not everything in the world could possibly revolve around or emanate from Hempstead Town Hall, comes word from the Sheriff's Department in Larimer County, Colorado.

"It was a conspiracy of gargantuan proportion," said Sheriff Jim Alderden. "At first, we thought the hoax was geared toward some kind of ploy to get a reality TV show. Then, while dragging the balloon across the Colorado plains, we discovered the truth."

And just what was "the truth?"

Well, hundreds of Elk, each sporting NY Islander jerseys and reading the latest Murraygram, gave rise to speculation that Town of Hempstead officials might be involved in this sordid scheme.

"You see," explained Sheriff Alderden, "the Heenes were originally contacted by Mike Deery, Town of Hempstead's Director of Misinformation, with a request to use the weather balloon as a campaign dirigible, the idea being to drop thousands of self-lauding Murraygrams over the villages and hamlets of Hempstead Town. Then the wind shifted to the west, and, well, as they say, the rest is history."

Senior Hempstead Town Councilman, Tony "they enjoy paying more" Santino, speaking on behalf of Deery, denied the allegations, emphatically.

"Its simply not true," said Santino, sticking his head out from behind a life size mock-up of the Heene balloon, upon which were emblazoned the words, "Trusted on Main Street."

"We were just trying to publicize our new reality show, Supervisor Swap!"

Others, however, were convinced that Kate Murray, herself often mistaken for a weather balloon -- or that Michelin guy (or was it the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man?) -- was behind the hoax, this in a last ditch effort to divert the attention of Hempstead Town residents from the more pressing issues of property taxes, inept planning, haphazard zoning, and that dreaded Lighthouse Project.

According to Nassau County Executive, Tom Suozzi, the thousands of Murraygrams found in the box that dropped from the balloon shortly before its decent were dead giveaways.

"Who does Kate think she's fooling?," asked Suozzi at an impromptu news conference held outside the Nassau Coliseum. "This is classic Kate. She envisions herself as a new age Wizard of Oz, which, now that I think of it, probably had something to do with her strange skin color, oddly shaped hat, and that ride-into-town on a broomstick, at the kickoff of Green Levittown. [Nah, Tom. That greenified look was simply the mold from Archstone!]

The scuttlebutt around the town is that Murray had long planned to fly the balloon over Hempstead Town, dislodging Murraygrams, those ignoble, tri-colored, photogenically-shopped campaign pieces, shouting epitaphs at Islander fans, and touching down in the Hempstead Plains, proclaiming herself, before an adoring crowd of Munchkins (aka followers of Town Attorney, Joe Ra), as The Wonderful Wizard of Odd.

"She conspired with the boy, Falcon Heene," revealed Sheriff Alderden, "to commandeer the balloon, and to fly it due east to Long Island. Unfortunately, the prevailing winds shifted, and her navigator, Wrong Way Cullen (not affiliated with Angie's List), dropped her compass somewhere east by northeast of Fort Collins."

The Community Alliance has learned that Falcon Heene, whose real name is Arthur, was given the code name, "Falcon", by Kate Murray's operatives. "Kate goes by 'vulture,'" said a Murray aide, speaking on condition of anonymity. "'Falcon' seemed appropriate."

Reached for comment at the Town's animal shelter, Murray remained resolute in denial. "I absolutely had nothing to do with the balloon hoax," said the Supervisor, summoning to her side what appeared to be a flying monkey. [No wait. Its only Joe Mondello. Never mind.]

"Besides," Murray continued, "I don't know how to work those things."

Showing her true vindictive nature, Murray raised her fist, flung a feral cat across the room, and screeched, "I'll get those misogynist scarecrows who want to pin this hoax on me. And their little dogs, too!"

Meanwhile, back at Hempstead Town Hall, Receiver of Taxes, Don Clavin, was making preparations to convert the Town's EZ-Pay Drive Thru Window to a fly-thru window, one that takes the EZ-Pass.

"We have to come up with some creative way for Town residents to foot the bill for this fiasco," exclaimed Clavin.

"Its either this," laughed Clavin, "or a Special 'Hot Air Balloon' District."

The Community Alliance will continue to follow the unfolding saga of the balloon boy hoax, or, as we know it here in Hempstead Town, Flight of the Vulture -- The Kate Murray Story.

Monday, October 19, 2009

School Tax Deadline Approaches

Almost As Many Ways To Pay As There Are School Districts

First, we want to thank -- we think -- all those who e-mailed over the weekend (more than 300 of you) regarding our endorsements of candidates for the November 3rd elections. [We didn't think you cared!]

Oddly, Republicans wrote to complain that we endorsed too many Democrats, while Democrats railed about us having endorsed any Republicans at all.

Good grief!

Interestingly, a few of the candidates themselves e-mailed The Community Alliance, some wondering why we hadn't reached out to them (aren't they supposed to reach out to the community?), and others requesting blogspace for the online equivalent of Op-Ed pieces. Write on!

As we have said, we welcome any and all views -- from the left, right, and smack dab in the center.

All candidates for elected office, as well as John and Jane Q. Public (remember them?), may submit Guest Blogposts by e-mailing us at

We love hearing from you, as do our readers. We only wish you had as much to say about substantive quality of life issues that impact upon the Long Island community, and would get half as worked up, as you do about our silly endorsements.

Gee. You would think people were actually listening to us, and taking what we have to say to heart. Hmmm. Then again, maybe they are.

And now, without further ado, back to your property taxes...

Check book in hand? Have a credit card handy? In your car and want to execute a drive-by payment?

The Town of Hempstead (which only collects the school taxes, they don't set the rates) is making it easy for you to pay up. [And "pay up" you'd better, lest Kate Murray be tempted to drive by your house and steal your Kristen McElroy for Supervisor lawn sign!]

Wouldn't it be wonderful if our elected officials were as creative and demonstrative in finding ways to cut our property taxes, as they are in thinking up new ways for we, the people, to pay those property taxes?

Yeah, right.

Anyway, word has it that the first 500 taxpayers to roll up to the Receiver of Taxes EZ-Pay Drive Thru Payment Window (say that ten times fast) will receive a FREE Kate Murray bumper sticker, autographed and numbered, a copy of Kate Murray's Tips for The Forlorn, along with a coupon for 10% off any order of $1000 or more at the Coliseum Deli. [Kate Murray doesn't make the deli sandwiches. She just collects them!]

Hurry on down, folks. These offers won't last. And your school taxes are most likely going up, even as we post this blog.

But wait! Pay your school taxes TODAY, and Don Clavin, Receiver of Taxes (doesn't he know its better to GIVE than to RECEIVE?) will throw in not one, but TWO school property tax bills per year. And that's not all... You'll also get two -- count 'em, two -- oversized County/Town tax bills, each suitable for breaking the bank (the Town DOES set Town tax rates, but hey, they won't own up to that).

And there's more! Because this is an election year, your Town taxes -- much like the Town itself -- have been frozen in time. Borrowing and bonding that you will pay and pay and pay for later? Of course. They wouldn't have it any other way.

Tax collectors are standing by...

From the Town of Hempstead:

Clavin Expands Options For Paying School Taxes

Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin reminds residents to take advantage of the convenient payment options his office offers as the November 10 deadline for paying the First Half School Taxes approaches. Residents may take advantage of extended office hours, satellite offices, the mobile tax office or the EZ-Pay Drive Thru Payment Window located behind the town receiver's office in Hempstead. Taxpayers also have the alternative to pay their property taxes by credit card or e-check, online or via telephone.

Payments for the First Half 2009/2010 School Taxes received or postmarked by the November 10 deadline will be penalty-free.

"Residents enjoy the convenience of paying their taxes in person from the comfort of their car at our EZ-Pay Drive Thru Payment Window. I would also like to remind taxpayers my office also accepts electronic payments via e-check and credit card," said Clavin.

The E-Z Pay Drive Thru Payment Window, located behind the tax office at 200 North Franklin Street (follow the signs on the corner of Bedell Street and North Franklin Street), will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., November 2, 4, 5, 6, 9 & 10. Only checks and money order payments can be accepted at the E-Z Pay Drive Thru Payment Window. Taxpayers must bring their tax stub in order to use this service.

Clavin has extended office hours during peak collection times at the main tax office located at 200 North Franklin Street in Hempstead. Hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on November 2, 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10. "Our fully staffed main office can assist taxpayers with account inquiries and all forms of payment," Clavin noted.

Satellite offices at Rock Hall Museum (located at 199 Broadway in Lawrence) and Levittown Hall (located at 201 Levittown Parkway in Hicksville) will be open to receive checks and money orders for tax payments from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on November 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10.

Residents who would like to pay via credit card may log onto the town's website at www.TOH.LI and follow the Receiver of Taxes link to "Online Tax Payments," or call Official Payments Corporation toll-free at 1-877-306-6056. A 2.5 % convenience fee payable to Official Payments Corporation, the company that processes the credit card transaction, will be incurred for credit card payments. A flat fee of $2 will be charged for electronic check payments. Hempstead Town receives no portion of these fees.

The Mobile Tax Office is scheduled to visit the following locations from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.:
Monday, November 2- Merrick Senior Center, 2550 Clubhouse Road, Merrick
Wednesday, November 4- Town Parking Lot O-3, Davison Avenue, Oceanside (directly across from Oceanside Library)
Thursday, November 5- Elmont Memorial Library, 700 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont
Friday, November 6- Franklin Square Senior Center, 1182 Martha Pl., Franklin Square

"From offering residents varied payment options and E-mail reminders to supplying them with beneficial information that can help reduce their tax burden, Supervisor Murray and I are committed to assisting taxpayers in every possible manner," stated Clavin.

For further information visit the town's website at www.TOH.LI or contact the Office of Receiver of Taxes at (516) 538-1500.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Community Alliance Endorses. . .

The Best Choices For A Better Community

You know where we stand on the issues, and that which matters most to the Long Island community, its people, and our collective quality of life.

We take our responsibilities to community seriously, and our endorsement of candidates, who, we believe, will best represent all the people, as a public trust.

Without further, we encourage our readers to support -- and, on Tuesday, November 3 -- to vote for -- the following candidates for public office.

Above all, regardless of your choice, we urge you to exercise that most honored and significant privilege, and cast your vote on Election Day. It truly does matter!

Thomas R. Suozzi - County Executive
Howard S. Weitzman - County Comptroller
Maureen O'Connell - County Clerk
Kathleen M. Rice - District Attorney
Kevan M. Abrahams - County Legislator, District 1
Pablo Sinclair - County Legislator, District 2
Nina Petraro Bastardi - County Legislator, District 3
Denise A. Ford - County Legislator, District 4
Joseph K. Scannell - County Legislator, District 5
Francis X. Becker, Jr. - County Legislator, District 6
Jeffrey W. Toback - County Legislator, District 7
Gaspare Tumminello - County Legislator, District 8
Dolores Sedacca - County Legislator, District 9
Judi R. Bosworth - County Legislator, District 10
Wayne H. Wink Jr. - County Legislator, District 11
John E. Rennhack - County Legislator, District 12
Stephanie G. Ovadia - County Legislator, District 13
David L. Mejias - County Legislator, District 14
Dennis Dunne, Sr. - County Legislator, District 15
Judith A. Jacobs - County Legislator, District 16
Rose Marie Walker - County Legislator, District 17
Diane Yatauro - County Legislator, District 18
David W. Denenberg - County Legislator, District 19

Kristen McElroy - Town Supervisor, Hempstead
Mark A. Bonilla - Town Clerk, Hempstead
Dorothy L. Goosby - Town Council Member, District 1, Hempstead
Jean Brett-Leach - Town Council Member, District 4, Hempstead
Gary Hudes - Town Council Member, District 6, Hempstead

Jonathan S. Kaiman - Town Supervisor, North Hempstead
Leslie C. Gross - Town Clerk, North Hempstead
Vivianna L. Russell - Town Council Member, District 1, North Hempstead
Lee Seeman - Town Council Member, District 5, North Hempstead

Keith Scalia - Town Supervisor, Oyster Bay
Matthew T. Meng - Town Council Member, At Large, Oyster Bay
Erin A. Reilley - Town Council Member, At Large, Oyster Bay
Doug Watson - Town Council Member, At Large, Oyster Bay

Francine Adelson - City Council Member, At Large, City of Long Beach
Michael Fagen - City Council Member, At Large, City of Long Beach
Lenny D. Torres - City Council Member, At Large, City of Long Beach

Ralph V. Suozzi - Mayor, City of Glen Cove
Nicholas A. DiLeo - City Council Member, At Large, City of Glen Cove
Sean Dwyer - City Council Member, At Large, City of Glen Cove
Michael Thomas Famiglietti - City Council Member, At Large, City of Glen Cove
Anthony P. Jimenez - City Council Member, At Large, City of Glen Cove
Timothy J. Tenke - City Council Member, At Large, City of Glen Cove
Delia M. Deriggi Whitton - City Council Member, At Large, City of Glen Cove

Edward P. Romaine - County Legislator, 1st District
Jay H. Schneiderman - County Legislator, 2nd District
Kate M. Browning - County Legislator, 3rd District
Brian J. Beedenbender - County Legislator, 4th District
Vivian M. Viloria-Fisher - County Legislator, 5th District
Bryan Lilly - County Legislator, 6th District
William J. Lindsay - County Legislator, 8th District
Ricardo Montano - County Legislator, 9th District
Patrick W. Nolan - County Legislator, 10th District
Thomas F. Barraga - County Legislator, 11th District
John M. Kennedy Jr. - County Legislator, 12th District
Wayne R. Horsley - County Legislator, 14th District
DuWayne Gregory - County Legislator, 15th District
Steve Stern - County Legislator, 16th District
Louis D’Amaro - County Legislator, 17th District
Jon Cooper - County Legislator, 18th District

Steven Bellone - Supervisor, Town of Babylon
Carol Quirk - Town Clerk, Town of Babylon
Antonio Martinez - Councilman, Town of Babylon
Mark J. Lesko - Supervisor, Town of Brookhaven
M. Cecile Forte - Town Clerk, Town of Brookhaven
John H. Rouse - Superintendent Of Highways, Town of Brookhaven
John J. Leonard - Councilmember, 2nd Town District, Town of Brookhaven
Constance M. Kepert - Councilmember, 4th Town District, Town of Brookhaven
M. Craig Charvat - Councilmember, 5th Town District, Town of Brookhaven
Ronald S. Lupski - Councilmember, 6th Town District, Town of Brookhaven

Benjamin L. Zwirn - Supervisor, Town of East Hampton
William F. Taylor - Trustee, Town of East Hampton
Joseph Giannini - Trustee, Town of East Hampton
Scott A. King - Superintendent of Highways, Town of East Hampton

Dominick J. Stanzione - Councilman, Town of East Hampton
John P. Whelan - Councilman, Town of East Hampton

Frank P. Petrone - Supervisor, Town of Huntington
William J. Naughton - Superintendent Of Highways, Town of Huntington
Stuart P. Besen - Councilman, Town of Huntington
Mark A. Cuthbertson - Councilman, Town of Huntington

Christopher Bodkin - Councilman, Town of Islip
Jim Morgo - Councilman, Town of Islip

Philip J. Cardinale - Supervisor, Town of Riverhead
Diane M. Wilhelm - Town Clerk, Town of Riverhead
George “Geo” Woodson - Superintendent of Highways, Town of Riverhead
Kathleen Berezny - Councilman, Town of Riverhead
Shirley E. Coverdale - Councilman, Town of Riverhead
Rose A. Sanders - Councilman, Town of Riverhead

James Dougherty - Supervisor, Town of Shelter Island
Joseph R. Messing - Assessor, Town of Shelter Island
Donald M. Kornrumpf - Councilman, Town of Shelter Island
Patricia M. Shillingburg - Councilman, Town of Shelter Island

Anna E. Throne-Holst - Supervisor, Town of Southampton
Alex Gregor - Highway Superintendent, Town of Southampton
Frederick Havemeyer - Trustee, Town of Southampton
Jon S. Semlear - Trustee, Town of Southampton
Eric L. Shultz - Trustee, Town of Southampton
Edward J. Warner Jr. - Trustee, Town of Southampton
Bridget M. Fleming - Councilman, Town of Southampton
Sally G. Pope - Councilman, Town of Southampton

Jerilyn B. Woodhouse - Councilman, Town of Southold

Patricia Biancaniello - Supervisor, Town of Smithtown
Daniel Ryan - Superintendent Of Highways, Town of Smithtown
Mark A. Mancini - Councilman, Town of Smithtown
Craig J. Tortora - Councilman, Town of Smithtown
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All candidates, whether endorsed by The Community Alliance or not, are welcome to share their views, express their positions, and get out their message (we will hold you to all promises, should you prevail), by submitting a guest blog for publication on this site.

Write us at, and you shall be heard!

Kristen McElroy Speaks Out

Kate Murray's Absence From The Community Speaks Volumes

Where is Kristen?

Perhaps the most asked question of the heretofore phantom campaign of Kristen McElroy, Democratic challenger for Town of Hempstead Supervisor.

Well, it seems that Kristen was confined to bed with a difficult pregnancy, kept from the campaign trail by the most important thing in her life -- family.

Were there no surrogates to be had, making appearances around town on Kristen's behalf? No campaign staff or volunteers to post lawn signs, make phone calls, send out e-mails, create a blog, or even set up a website?

Questions still unanswered, but, hey, this isn't the first time The Community Alliance had to wake those in repose, on either side of the aisle. We'll give Kristen a pass for her lax campaign faux pas. For the moment.

She's out there now, talking, greeting, telling voters it is time for a change, not more of the same.

Of course, Kristen's absence from the scene since launching her campaign begs a more compelling question, one that deserves an answer before election day -- Where has Kate "Murraygram" Murray been these past six years?

Where was Kate, when community forums, from Elmont to Wantagh, called for revitalization of "Main Street"? Nowhere to be seen, save under the dim light of the occasional Victorian-style street lamp.

Where was Kate, when the clamor called for "smart growth" in the downtown business districts? Back at Town Hall, doing anything and everything possible to block the redevelopment of America's oldest suburb.

Where was Kate, when a solid majority of residents said "YES" to the Lighthouse Project, core to the rebirth of Nassau's hub, creating jobs, housing, recreation space, economic growth and a new suburbia for the 21st Century? In her office, ordering in from the only Coliseum she ever cared about -- the Coliseum Deli -- emphatically saying "NO" long before she sheepishly said "MAYBE," and plotting a torturous course that would, if not derail the project, then, certainly, create sufficient roadblocks to make sure that no shovel was ever put to pay dirt.

Where was Kate in Elmont, in West Hempstead, in Uniondale, in Baldwin, in every unincorporated area of America's largest township, where the best she could do was to declare communities "blighted," then plod away, leaving our town's good citizens to fend for themselves amidst the brownfields, the crumbling roadbeds, the neglected downtowns? Like an absentee slumlord, Kate was in hiding, spewing forth the propaganda from the Town Hall printing presses, misinforming, misleading, misspeaking, all the while spending the taxpayers' money, not on initiatives that would improve quality of life for all Town residents, rather, on incessant and innocuous mailings, where Kate could conceal herself behind that insidious, disingenuous smile.

Where was Kate -- no, really, where -- when she so pompously declared herself to be "trusted on Main Street?" Back in Levittown, on her own street, where her former Building Commissioner was constructing a McMansion, right under Kate's nose, without permits or approval of the very department he was responsible for.

Where was Kate, when the people of this great Town needed leadership, vision, forward-thinking, and a mindset that would take Hempstead Town well into this 21st Century? Back in the 1950s, short-sighted, joined at the eyeball with the Mondello myopia, giving her all, not for the people she'd been appointed, then elected, to serve, but for goats, clams, and feral cats.

And then there's Kate's commitment to family.

Kristen, Kate has you beat on that score.

You may have heeded the advice of your physician, with complete bed rest to protect the life of your unborn child. But Kate took the cause of family just a few steps further -- putting every Murray, from her father to her brother, on the Town's payroll.

So, where was Kate when it came to "family values?" Counting the cash, of course, that patronage and nepotism brought into the house that Murray bilked, all on the taxpayers' (that's you, friends) dime!

Indeed, Kate will tell you about the Town's "A" Bond rating (easy when you fail to lay out money for what the people need, and you borrow, ala Tom Gulotta, so you can claim a smoke-and-mirrors tax freeze).

On making the grade as Hempstead Town Supervisor, however, give Kate an "F" for planning; an "F" for zoning; an "F" for vision; an "F" for accomplishment; and an "F" for just showing up.

As for Kristen McElroy, well, give her an "A" for making the effort, getting out there and taking on Kate & Kompany. More than this, give Kristen McElroy a chance to take Hempstead Town in a new direction, charting a course away from the blight, the neglect, the decline of more than 100 years of one party rule, and toward than bright, new suburbia we all talk about and dream of, but never seem able to get to.

The time has come to take back our town! On Tuesday, November 3, Vote for Kristen McElroy, and send Kate Murray back to Levittown!
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Fighting Words From Kristen McElroy
By Chris Botta, My Point Blank

Kristen McElroy, the Democratic candidate for Town of Hempstead Supervisor, is pregnant, peeved and pro-Lighthouse Project.

After her introduction in late May as Kate Murray’s opponent, McElroy disappeared for four months. She explained her absence by revealing her pregnancy and doctor-prescribed bed rest. McElroy says everything is okay now and she is medically cleared for campaigning. (My choice of words). As for my perception of her sudden, maybe-too-late-in-the-game emergence, McElroy said campaigns at this level are typically a one-month sprint to election day.

When we spoke by phone on Friday afternoon, the Garden City resident was returning from a meeting with the Newsday editorial board in which both McElroy and Murray made their pitch for the newspaper’s endorsement. She came out of the meeting with little respect for her political opponent.

“The Supervisor acted like a disgusting politician,” McElroy said. “She pulled the same stuff on the Lighthouse Project that she’s been doing all year. Kate Murray has been a roadblock. She says her actions on the Lighthouse are not politically-motivated, but everyone knows they are.

“Every agency that has approved their piece of the project, like the Department of Transportation, she does not accept. She continues to say the ball is in Charles Wang’s court, yet everyone knows this is in Kate Murray’s hands. This project is essential to the entire county - the jobs, the tax base - and Kate Murray continues to stall.”

The Labor Council gave Murray their endorsement months ago, before the Lighthouse hearings that led to no progress and infuriated union leadership. McElroy said she “screened” with the trades in July but wants another meeting. McElroy also had an informational session with the Lighthouse Development Corp. two months ago and would like to schedule a meeting with Charles Wang and Scott Rechler in the next two weeks.

Time is running out. I believe McElroy is fighting a monumental uphill battle and told her so. When I asked her if she genuinely feels she has a chance to defeat Murray in the election next month, McElroy said, “Absolutely. I have every intention of becoming the next Supervisor of the Town of Hempstead. And when I do, the political games around the Lighthouse will end and the project will be approved.”
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So what'll it be, folks? Back to the future, tumbleweeds rolling across a sprawling asphalt wasteland, with your host, Kate "The Merciless" Murray, or straight on to tomorrow, a new beginning for America's first suburb, guided by Kristen McElroy?

The Community Alliance reaffirms its endorsement of Kristen McElroy for Town of Hempstead Supervisor!