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Letter: Is Lavine a Dead Fish?

Fishermen will tell you that fish swim either upstream or downstream. Only dead fish go with the flow. Charles Lavine, incumbent state assemblyman from the 13th Assembly District, always goes with the flow, which explains his undeviating allegiance to the dysfunctional New York State Legislature and his party’s leaders. That form of behavior has marked his three terms in Albany. In that context, name one thing that Lavine has done for the 13th A.D. during six years in Albany? Just one? Actually there is a legitimate “accomplishment” Lavine has recorded, his sponsorship of the infamous “MTA tax” that increases car registration fees and payroll taxes for people in the 13th A.D., but not for upstate residents. Yes, you’re reading right: Lucky you, your car fees and payroll taxes are now higher than upstate residents’ because you live in the 13th, courtesy of Mr. Lavine. To his everlasting discredit, the MTA tax increase is Lavine’s defining issue. He, a lawyer, any lawyer, will call that discrimination and to make a finer point, “selective discrimination.”

Why us and not them? Actually the question might be too parochial, too sensible to ask. Why should anybody have to pay higher MTA taxes, people upstate or downstate?

In point of fact, there are tangible reasons why, the major one is to pay the bloated salaries of MTA officials in the face of an economy characterized by layoffs, cut salaries and sky high unemployment as far as the eye can see.

Anybody familiar with the quagmire that is Albany had to witness the uncommon zeal with which Lavine accepted the mantle of leadership in shepherding through the horrid MTA tax hike that singles out a part of the state and not its entirety. True to form, Lavine is known as an undeviating loyalist who takes his daily marching orders from the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and his merry band of “legislators.” Lavine probably doesn’t have a dislike for voters in his district; he just follows orders, this man whose original mission to Albany was to “fix it,” only to join the boys in the back room.

*(The 13th Assembly District includes all residents of Glen Cove, Sea Cliff, Glenwood Landing, Bayville and Old Bethpage, as well as some in parts of Glen Head, Locust Valley, Mill Neck, Oyster Bay, Centre Island, Cold Spring Harbor, Syosset, Woodbury, Plainview, Bethpage, Farmingdale, Hicksville, Westbury/New Cassel, Jericho, East Hills, Greenvale, Roslyn, Roslyn Heights and Roslyn Harbor.)

Carlos Espinoza,
United States Marine Corp Veteran