Monday, February 22, 2010

"All things are as they were then, except...

You Are There!"

"...Republicans lead in the wrong direction and Democrats are unable to lead in any direction at all."
--Lincoln Chafee, former GOP Senator and independent candidate for governor of Rhode Island

Partisanship. Stalemate. Hubris. Dysfunction.

Words that ring as true in the halls of Congress as they do through the cold marble corridors of the legislative chambers in Albany.  A theme seemingly central and entrenched from Washington, D.C. to the County Seat.

And where a single party is in control, either at any particular moment in time, as in Nassau, or for the last century, give or take a decade, as in Hempstead Town, still, no forward momentum, no rush to change the status quo, no impetus to do anything more than, at best, stay the course.

Newsday, questioning what has changed here on Long Island over the course of a generation or so -- or, perhaps, springing nostalgic -- asks, "Where are we going?," as they revisit where we have been.

Good question.

Certainly, we've seen vast changes here on Long Island since Newsday first reported from the crossroads back in 1978.

Property taxes soaring through the stratosphere. Traffic congestion snarling. Transportation alternatives stalled. Education, once the crown jewel, too often slipping toward mediocrity. Infrastructure crumbling. Affordable housing unattainable. Blight consuming. Downtown fleeting. Our children, fleeing.

Not the Long Island many of us had in mind when we settled here to raise our families and live the American Dream.

Of course, we can't blame everything on government that has, time and time again, failed us in so many ways.

We, of the NIMBY generation, had our own sorry role to play in keeping this portal to suburbia from moving forward. "Just say no" to anything innovative or imaginative. Nix that which may be "too big," "too tall," "too far reaching," or simply "too grand for little minds to ever possibly comprehend."

Mired, are we, in a mindset of smallness, pettiness, the contrite and contrived of "can't do." Sometimes, or so even a casual observer would conclude, we appear to have just thrown up our hands and quit.

Not so here at The Community Alliance, where we have only just begun to fight for our Long Island.

And what say you?

Perhaps, as Lincoln Chafee opines in his Op-Ed column in The New York Times, we need to adopt and exude a true post-partisan stance, bowing neither to the right or to the left, aligned with neither Democrat nor Republican, capturing "popular, centrist energy" as a means of moving Long Island not merely off center, but toward a bright and prosperous tomorrow.

We need a legislature that is more than a stick in yesterday's mud. A governor who, while as much a victim of economic downside as the rest of us, evinces confidence and hope. And local government officials, both county and town, with more allegiance to serving the public good than to adhering to stodgy political dogma.

More than this, we need citizens -- yes, We, The People of our Long Island -- with a newly found spirit of independence. Independence of thought. Independence of will.  Independence of party.

Bound only by our imaginations. Constrained, if at all, only by the physical limitations of this land bordered by the Atlantic and the Sound. Seized by the mantra of Yes In My Back Yard. With this, all things are possible for the future of our wonderful suburban oasis, Long Island.

We have two choices -- or only one, really, as we see it. We can forge ahead with a fierce and focused independence to reclaim, to rebuild, to rejuvenate, and to revitalize, illuminating our times, or, we can simply hang our heads, turn our backs, and mutter, "Will the last person off Long Island please turn off the lights."

Your call. . .


  1. This weekend's Newsday article had an interesting bit of irony. Back in 1978 New York City was a mess and Long Island was trying to continue its growth . In 2010, it seems the roles have reversed. With a couple of good Mayors, the City has transformed itself into a social, economic and cultural juggernaut, while Long Island has become the mess where nothing can get done.

    Unfortunately Long Island does not have a Rudy Giuliani or a Mike Bloomberg to get us back on track either. What we have are hundreds of fiefdoms all looking to serve and protect their own self-interest rather than doing what's right for the region.

    Which one of our leaders has articulated a vision of where Long Island should be in 30 years, or put together a comprehensive plan detailing the necessary steps needed to get this region prospering again. Sadly, none of them have and none will until we demand that they do!

  2. Right you are, at least about the role-reversal.

    In the 1970s, you knew when you were leaving NYC and entering Nassau County. The roadway turned from cratered to smooth, and the litter strewn along the highways and biways disappeared.

    Long Island was the place to be, to grow, to raise and educate our children, to earn a livelihood and make a life.

    What happened? Is it us or is it them?

    It is both, we suppose...

  3. This article is a damning indictment of just about any politician at the state, county, town or municipal level who has been in office in the last thirty years, and don't forget the folks from those lovely special districts too. That we could be spending over thirty years making essentially no progress relative to the problem areas identified in the Newsday article is unforgiveable, and yet, as noted, we keep electing the same hacks over and over again. What I'd like to know is which one of our elected "leaders" is going to have the backbone to stand up and take their fair share of responsibility for this inexcusable lack of progress? Since Newsday is going to run this series for a while, maybe that will come from some quarter, but right now the silence is deafening and it tells you all you need to know about the lack of integrity of those we have elected.