Election Time In America's Largest Township. Oh Boy!
In case you hadn't noticed -- and how could you not, what with all the lawn signs planted and election placards plastered (many illegally) on boarded up commercial buildings and upon fences that surround nearly every abandoned property and festering brownfield -- there's an election coming up in Hempstead Town.
Yes, it's the seemingly perennial (as the same folks keep popping up year after year) races (if you can call them that) for Town Supervisor, Town Clerk, Receiver of Taxes (boooooo hissssss :-), and so on down the line.
This year's yawn of an election -- one, for all intents and purposes, surrendered by the Democrats at inception -- pits the always polished, ever effervescent Team Murray (Kate Murray, Supervisor) against the listing badly, we hardly knew ye Team Port (Gary Port, standard bearer for the walking wounded and permanently disengaged).
Inspiring music on the Team Murray site. And nice to see Supervisor Murray switch out the iconic red blazer for a crisp white one. Other than that, the story is much the same as it was in the last election, and the one preceding that. Ersatz tax freezes. Value for your vanishing tax dollar. Trusted on Main Street, Reviled on Brownfield Turnpike. Yada. Yada.
As for Team Port, or more aptly, the Nassau County Democrats, there's no music, perhaps indicative of the silence of the Party on many of the great issues of our time, and only a listing of candidates for office, with highlights from last May's Nominating Convention.
Yes, there are the typical and customary GOP videos and the Dem YouTube moments (we won't bore you), but, for the most part, you've not only heard it all before, you've lived it! [If you could call this living...] There's even mention, by Gary Port, of "Murraygrams," a word we, at The Community Alliance, coined, and duly expect to be paid royalties on. Thank you, Gary!
The Democrats, in a nod to the 21st Century perhaps, have their blogs. The blog of the Democratic Committee, posted sometime last century, being as vacuous as the achievements of the Party the last time it held favor in the State Senate and the Nassau County Legislature. Gary Port's blog, entitled Future Vision (to be distinguished from the Tunnel Vision that too often defines politics, on both sides of the aisle, here on our Long Island), is more a biopic (myopic?) jaunt down memory lane, peppered with the failings of the Murray administration -- from the Coliseum to the Courtesy, the Animal Shelter to personal animus -- than it is a view toward a better, brighter tomorrow.
The GOP offers no blog, per se. At least not one this blogger could discern. Heck. Who needs a blog when you have a fine-tuned machine to rally the troops and get out the vote? We did find a Team Murray blog in our search. It, thankfully, had absolutely nothing to do with either the upcoming election, or, for that matter, politics. There is a God!
To say that this campaign season has been lackluster, if not a complete ho hum bore, would be an understatement. But for the lawn signs and eye-polluting placards -- with ongoing forays into the enemy camp for sign-snatching, unlawful postings, and the hurling of racial epitaphs (as if we needed even more reason to dissolve the Town's Special Taxing Districts, including Sanitary District 6) -- there hasn't been all that much one could call election excitement.
No shows -- mostly the Democratic challengers, whose capitualtion from the get go is overshadowed only by their absence from community forums, News12 Debates, and interviews in the local papers.
No ideas -- well, not any new ideas. On the economy. On Taxes. On the Coliseum. Nothing. Nunca. Nada. Let's just rehash the old ideas one more time, and call them new. Yeah. That's the ticket!
No vision -- other than those backward glances over the shoulder, to make sure yesterday isn't catching up with them before November 8th.
No cooperation between the parties or players. No cessation to the finger-pointing and opposition-bashing. No independence of thought or action. No deviation, by anyone at anytime, from the party line.
Thank the heavens above for the likes of Sanitary District 6's Vinny Prisco, posting signs -- on the taxpayers' dime -- for GOP Legislator John Ciotti outside the Dem opponent's office, while muttering racial slurs -- on camera, no less. At least we have something to break the monotony, and to remind us that not only are we alive, but we still live in a very dark age where the antics of henchmen, hoods and goons are not only tolerated, but, at least until caught on video, condoned and encouraged.
In reading this tirade, one would think that this blogger was disenchanted with the state of politics in Hempstead Town, if not on Long Island, and well beyond these pristine shores.
I am. Or do I say, he is. This blogger should be saying, "We are," as in we've all had more than we can stand and, thank you, Popeye, we "can't stands no more!"
Looking back, more than 100 years of single party rule in a township that is noted more for blighted biways and bloated patronage than for innovative planning and the cultivation of anything more than Victorian-style street lamps and decorative planters. Nothing changes. Nothing.
Looking forward, toward that tomorrow, with the promise of the rebirth of a vibrant, vital suburbia, we see little offered, by either party, to reflect upon, let alone as harbinger of the ideals upon which a suburban way of life fluorishes and thrives. No, beyond the rhetoric of that poorly paved-over yellow brick road lined with lawn signs lies only the perception of Oz, behind which curtain we are forced to admit, with disheartening tomes, "there's no place like home." No place, indeed.
Over the years, our credo has been echoed from the Turnpike to the Boulevard, Elmont to Wantagh. "The status quo is never good enough!"
But change for the sake of change alone, out of the proverbial frying pan into the all-consuming fire, doesn't quite do it for us.
The party now in power in Hempstead Town offers us more of the same. They tell us that, after a century, their work is not yet done. Two more years. Three more years. One hundred more years. Whatever it takes.
And the party that would be king? Well, just put us in and.... Wait. We saw that in Albany, where the State Senate devolved into nothing short of a three-ring circus, and in Mineola, where the magical mystery bus tour of revitalization left us all stranded.
What were those lyrics again? "The buyers and the sellers are no different fellas than what I professed to be..."
If you are looking for an endorsement here, as has been our practice and policy over the years, move on. Not now. Perhaps not at all. Well, maybe later, because sitting on the sidelines, cursing at the darkness to our right, and raising a clenched fist to the faint light of an oncoming freight train, far in the distance, to our left, is simply not our style.
For while we respect all who hold or run for public office, there being no higher calling (well, maybe blogger :-) in service to the community, and, in more than political circles, we call many in or seeking office "friends," we must profess, with profound sadness, that, as benefactors of the portended public good, collectively, systematically, and, perhaps, unwittingly, they have let us down.
The status quo may not be good enough. Not now. Not ever. It is, nevertheless, what it is, what it was, and, what might yet be. The Devil we know versus who the heck knows what. Mediocrity, like water, seeks its own level.
We'd like to think, and even believe, with all of our hearts, that we can do better; we must do better. That happy days will, indeed, be here again. If not by way of this election, with an electorate duly motivated, or should we say, incensed, and candidates with the gumption to fight for the causes of community, or to at least talk about them, then maybe in the next!