Thursday, January 07, 2010

Welcome Home To Hempstead Town

Through The Looking Glass Of Myopia

Well, here we go again. The inauguration of smiling Kate Murray as Town of Hempstead Supervisor. Under other circumstances, the rhetoric would be less pompous; the reality more in line with the blight that is the landscape of many a "Main Street" in America's largest township, the expanse of patronage and cronyism that pervades what is passed off as local government, the undue expense, and corresponding burden, of the Town's all too many special taxing districts, and the failures -- almost too numerous to mention -- of an administration fixated upon self-laudatory preservation, rather than the improvement of the quality of life of the Town's residents.

But we digress.

Let us pay homage to Kate Murray and her ilk, great savior of shellfish -- and Nigerian goats (hope they're not Al Queda operatives); hero to bovine survivors of the slaughterhouse; proponent of smart growth (though we find little evidence of it beyond those beautiful artists' renderings); and purveyor of sleight of hand that would make Houdini's head spin.

Thank you, Kate Murray, for the old Argo in Elmont (still standing); the infamous Courtesy in West Hempstead (still open); the granduer of Grand Avenue in Baldwin (still on the drawing board); the blight designation of so many of the Town's unincorporated areas; the brownfields of our business districts; the illegal accessory apartments in our residential neighborhoods; and, oh yeah (we almost forgot), the Victorian-style street lamps, cornerstones of the Town's revitalization and facade improvement program, that dot the otherwise barren and scarred landscape of the once fertile Hempstead Plain.

Thank you, Kate Murray, for the Town that time forgot!

Yes, thank you, Kate Murray, for including each and every one of the Town's 762,000 citizens as members of your "close-knit family." Does that mean we're all on the Town's payroll now, or next in line as a million dollar Sanitary commish, or destined to run a cemetery into the ground, literally?

It certainly is, as Kate put it, a town government "thoughtful and innovative in their approach to government..." It's what they're thinking, and the utter malevolence of their "innovative" (as in, ignore the masses, and maybe they'll go away) approach, that truly frightens us.

If the American Dream to be embraced encompasses a crumbling infrastructure, biways and commercial thoroughfares that parade as open sewers, ersatz tax freezes that mask wasteful spending, unnecessary borrowing and an ever-escalating bottom line on that property tax bill, then Kate Murray, draped in the American flag as she extols the virtues of community that, so far, exists only in the hobgoblin of the little minds at Town Hall, then, to her credit (exceeded only by the obfuscatory banter of a P.T. Barnum), the future of Hempstead Town is bright, indeed.

If, as we see it, the vision of Ms. Murray is as narrow and nearsighted as that of Mr. Magoo, the proof being not in the hollow words uttered in the hallways of Town Hall, but rather, in the broken promises and missed opportunities that lay strewn along the Turnpike, the Avenue, and the Boulevard -- deeds all yet to be done -- then Kate Murray's "welcome home" to Hempstead Town is little more than vacuous bellowing offered up by Long Island's Wizard of Odd; little more than the plumes that billow from the stack of the Covanta incinerator, or the lighter-than-air gas that fills the tank at the Town's Hydrogen fueling station.

"We have opened the door to a bright future..." Tell that to the folks who, all these many years, have supported the Lighthouse!
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From the Town of Hempstead:

"Welcome Home" To America’s Largest Township:

Murray Inauguration Focuses On Hometown's Future, Santino, Goosby & Hudes Installed To Council, Bonilla As Clerk

Kate Murray, the first woman elected Supervisor of America's largest township, was inducted for her fourth term during a moving ceremony at Hempstead Town Hall on January 5, 2010.

After a stirring rendition of the National Anthem by Trent Kowalik, star of Broadway's Billy Elliot, Murray focused her remarks on the township we call home and its rich culture and diversity. She also spoke about the initiatives she has undertaken for the future of the township, specifically speaking about development, housing, senior citizen programs and efforts to preserve the environment. "As we celebrate 365 years of rich history with 762,000 members of our close-knit family, our town officials will continue to be careful, thoughtful and innovative in their approach to government," said the Supervisor. "We will look beyond the four walls and the bricks and mortar of our houses as we continue to build a place that embraces diversity, provides opportunity and gives all people a stake in the American Dream."

Murray has continued the excellent leadership, bolstering the fiscal stability for which the Town of Hempstead has become known. During her tenure as supervisor, Murray has enhanced services, facilities and programs throughout the town. She has stepped up the town's affordable homes program, opened Hempstead Town's newest nature preserve in Lido Beach and added green energy technology to town facilities. Long Island's first hydrogen fueling station, a wind and solar powered shellfish nursery and a beach grass planting program which stabilizes local beaches comprise an aggressive ecological agenda. In addition, she has upgraded the town's infrastructure, worked to secure grants to bring "green energy" to town facilities and added an "e-cycling" computer recycling program. She has also helped local downtowns, bringing a medical complex and financial institution to re-energize the struggling Nassau Road corridor of Roosevelt. The Supervisor has also recently secured $2.5 million in state grant money to complete new storefront facades and beautify streetscapes along Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont.

The Supervisor spoke of the need to focus on innovative development while preserving the township's suburban character. A newly approved commuter friendly homes complex at the West Hempstead train station will help keep young workers here. The recently approved AvalonBay development in East Garden City includes a mix of rental and purchase homes and features a "next generation" component and houses for wounded vets. Murray also detailed the town's commitment to the development of the area around the Nassau Veteran's Memorial Coliseum. She mentioned meetings between the developer and government officials focused on an amended development project plan.

A special component of the induction ceremony was a video presentation featuring the hometown feel of Hempstead Town. One of the most poignant moments of the inauguration ceremony was when Supervisor Murray honored a US Army National Guard Specialist who just returned from Afghanistan. East Meadow resident Ricardo Farquharson led the Pledge of Allegiance and was presented with the Town of Hempstead Veteran's Medal in appreciation of his service. Greater Voices of Praise from the Greater Second Baptist Church in Freeport provided uplifting musical performances.

Prior to becoming Hempstead Town's first chief executive, Murray served as the first woman and the first native Levittowner to hold the position of New York State Assemblymember for the 19th district. She was then elected the first woman and first attorney to serve as Hempstead Town Clerk.

Senior Town Councilman Anthony Santino (4th Councilmanic District), Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby (1st Councilmanic District), Councilman Gary Hudes (6th Councilmanic District) and Town Clerk Mark Bonilla were also inducted after being re-elected in the November 2009 election.

"The men and women who are being sworn into office today, along with the rest of the town board, have as their common goal a prosperous future for all residents of the town," concluded Murray. "We have opened the door on a bright future and we are proud to proclaim 'Welcome Home- welcome to Hempstead Town.'"

1 comment:

  1. To quote Harry Truman, "Some people grow with their jobs, other people just swell up."