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‘Back in the USSR’

“Glasnost,” which Robert Germino references in this section, means in English: “Openness.” In the Soviet Union, it was a policy that forced the oppressive, faulty government to become transparent. (This contributed to the fall of the USSR.) The policy of “Openness” allowed newspapers to report freely on political and governmental issues. For someone in the government - or apparently wishing to be in the government, like Germino - to say that Glasnost applies to newspapers says a lot. The idea was that the papers would be the ones free to report news, not that papers should be pressured and maligned by the politically motivated. What Germino is creating seems to be a climate similar to the one in the USSR that caused the need for Glasnost to begin with.

The true application of “Openness” would be for the political people to be transparent and honest, focusing the spotlight on their own actions and intentions. So, in the spirit of this policy that first Mikhail Gorbachev, and now, Robert Germino have championed, we should hear Robert Germino, the aspiring political entity, talk government, not newspapers. For instance, last week, we asked Germino to submit his position on public employee compensation, a hot-button issue that divides the left and right across the U.S. He hasn’t responded. 

While promoting a spirit of “Openness” for others, he doesn’t explain why he maintains a Friends of Robert Germino presence, presenting himself as a political figure to this community. Instead of focusing on an un-American bullying of newspapers and small businesses, the Friends of Robert Germino platform should be used to clearly explain what he stands for. In that regard, anyone he thinks he’s reaching out to should ask these questions of him:

• Why are you so concerned with a random item of public comment against a union action? The person who made the comment was not part of the negotiation between the city and the CSEA, so how could their opinion be important to you in the context of a news story? Will you now continue speaking out against all people who criticize any unions?

• Are you now a Democrat? It is public information that you collected thousands of dollars from Glen Cove Republican residents and local Republican clubs and committees to run for state assembly. Many of these residents and Republican groups have gone on record vehemently and repeatedly calling for changes in the compensation given to public employees, including teachers and police officers as well as those in the CSEA. How do you explain to those who contributed to your campaign on the Republican / Conservative ballot that you have recently worked so hard to publicize a union’s effort to secure a favorable contract? Your contributors and leaders publicly condemn the benefits in that very contract.

• The Record Pilot is certainly not against the efforts of the CSEA or other labor organizations in any way… but, weren’t you? If somehow you have recently become pro-labor, now fervently advocating on a union’s behalf, how do you explain to workers, for example, that you just recently called for the state to curb public employee pension and benefit costs? And, that you criticize Nassau’s “living wage,” which creates higher payments to workers? And, again, that your contributors are solidly anti-union interest?  

• You said that the MTA payroll tax was hurting local business and you were there to save area commerce. Now, Friends of Robert Germino pits itself against the Glen Cove Chamber of Commerce repeatedly and even criticizes local business somehow for impeding the full force of a public employee union demonstration. As you apparently are working to appeal to voters in this region, would you say one of your main goals as an elected official would be to continue to antagonize local businesses and chambers of commerce? Which party platform does this fit into?