Whaaaat? That's The Way It Sounded To Us!
Ohhhh. Black History Month. Now we get it.
But speaking of blog history -- and face it, here in Nassau County, residents just love history (look how often we repeat it) -- here's a golden oldie from way back in 2005.
Problems seem the same? Players? Proferred solutions?
Yes, we should remember it well. Unfortunately, we do not. As with those who do not learn from the lessons of history, we are doomed to repeat them, again, and again, and again. . .
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Thursday, July 21, 2005
If We Knew Now What We Knew Then
The Blissful Existence of the Memory Impaired
Memory is a strange and wonderful thing. Too bad there’s not enough of it to go around. And not only on our computers, which never seem to have enough memory to run those mega-games we load for our kids. Our own minds, from time to time, drag up that apocalyptic blue screen – the “fatal error” that blurs the line between perception and reality.
Fact is, we only retain some 10% of what we learn – even less after the Regents’ exams - and, without doubt, the retention rate of that which we hear and see casually is dramatically less.
So it comes as no surprise that the collective memory is not quite as sharp as we think it to be on matters of how we are governed, and by whom.
We seem to forget, for instance, that Greg Peterson, GOP standard bearer for Nassau County Executive, succeeded Tom Gulotta as Town of Hempstead Supervisor (or was it Presiding Supervisor at the time? We can’t remember). Different body, same glitz, glam, smoke and mirrors. Good old Greg tells us that Nassau County used to be a “jewel.” You mean “jewelry,” don’t you? Greg wants to “restore accountability.” Sure, let’s bring back the days of “borrow and spend” that brought our County to its knees. Greg tells us that our taxes are too high, and points the finger at Tom Suozzi for creating this mess. Funny how memories fade and the mind plays those tricks on you, isn’t it?
By the way – does anyone remember the name of the Town of Hempstead Presiding Supervisor before Tom Gulotta? Wasn’t it a fella by the name of Mondello? And way back when? Does the name D’Amato ring a bell?
And speaking of Town Supervisor, what’s with all the “ooohs” and “ahhs” when the current occupant of the office, smiling Kate Murray, presents artists’ renditions of what the “new” Elmont or the “new" Baldwin will look like? Doesn’t anyone remember that these were the very same renderings shown to us three Supervisors ago? The Town’s Façade Improvement program is exactly as its name suggests – a façade!
Illegal housing has been in the news quite a bit of late. Not a new problem – just a growing problem which, indeed, has reached a crisis point. And yet, our Town Supervisor – 8 Building Inspectors in her “arsenal” – would have us continue to live under the delusion that the Town of Hempstead's approach to the problem is “effective,” and that the Town is “very, very aggressive.” Geez, if Salk were this “aggressive,” we’d still be battling Polio. “Effective?” Yeah, about as effective as gluing those heat-retardant tiles to the space shuttle using peanut butter and spit! Wait. Let’s stick those up our arsenal.
While we’re on the topic – and before we forget - a bit of history vis-à-vis the number of Building Inspectors in America’s largest Township: Five years ago, when our local Councilman was Joe Kearney, the TOH had a total of 6 Building Inspectors. Councilman Kearney assured the community that additional Inspectors had been hired and were in “training.” [We assumed, given the length of time this “training” was taking, that the Inspectors must have been in an Oxford University Doctoral degree program). Today we have a total of 8 Building Inspectors – subject to early retirement – and the assurance from the Supervisor that more are on the way. How many more and when? We can’t recall.
A bit further back in history, some twenty years ago, our then Councilman – now what was his name again? Oh yeah, Joe Ra - “promised” to rid the Elmont community of illegal rental apartments. Ask Roy Mezzapelle, Co-Chair of The Community Alliance, for a copy of the videotape, on which a svelt and youthful Ra tells an Elmont audience words to the effect of, “Get me the addresses of those illegal apartments and we’ll close them down.” [Copies of the video are available – on VHS and 2 DVD set – at The Community Alliance gift shop. Stop in and tell ‘em Roy sent you!] Query as to how many of those apartments remain on the Town’s list of 3900 open cases?
Traveling even further back in time, eons ago, when only dinosaurs and Joe Mondello roamed the Hempstead Plain… Well, you get the picture. Its all beginning to come back to us now.
When the problems we complained about 10 years ago and 20 years ago are the very same problems we must confront today – only compounded by 10 or 20 years of neglect – it's time to start taking more Ginko Biloba. Do they really believe we’ve forgotten the “These things take time,” the “We’re working on it,” and the “We’re studying the problem?” Apparently so.
Now, what were we talking about? Oh yes. Memories, like the cobwebs of our Town. Misty, watercolor memories of the way we were…
So, spare us the regurgitated candidates – they really are getting old. Hold up on the platitudes, the promises, and the same horse and pony show that’s been around Town since Barnum and Bailey merged with the Ringling Brothers in 1907. We know that you folks are relatively smart and in tune, so stop treating us like fools and idiots by telling us silly things like we “enjoy” paying twice as much for trash collection, or that residents have “local control,” while the Town Supervisor has “no control.” And when you invite us to the theater of the absurd, give us some credit – and our memory, be it as it is, its due – as we have some inkling (call it déjà vu) that we’ve seen this performance before. Like that lousy B-movie we keep taking out of the library (because we forgot that we had seen it a dozen times already), we don’t enjoy it, we can’t fast forward, and the rewind button is broken.
Whether we are Republicans or Democrats, Liberals or Conservatives, or consider ourselves among the fiercely independent, there is a point, beyond partisan politics, when our memories are jogged, the intelligence center in the brain kicks in, and we finally say, “No more!”
Sure, you can forget the past. You can even forget the present - or at least try to. If you do, however, it is at your own risk and to our common detriment. Whatever you forget - either by choice or happenstance - just remember that Election Day is the first Tuesday in November.
Ah yes, we will remember it well. . .
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What it is they say about the more things change? Maybe Ed Mangano can help us remember.
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Better yet, don't follow, LEAD! We have too many followers, and barely enough leaders in the great causes of community.
We know you're out there. We can hear you rustling that property tax bill. . .