Friday, 16 March 2012 00:00
The issue is an unaffordable Nassau County government, and the streamlining of one of the contributing factors – the Nassau County Police Department. Our new county legislator expends more words in her newspaper column arguing the pros and cons of the legislative process than she does the pros and cons of the issue. If you are going to write a weekly column, please tell us something we don’t know.
Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton claims there is a ‘rubber stamp’ majority that is going along with the county executive. No news there. Perhaps because she is a new legislator, she hasn’t observed the ‘rubber stamp’ minority also at work in our county legislature, and is unaware that they are themselves a former ‘rubber stamp’ majority. The difference between the two rubber stamps: one says “Accepted” and the other, “Rejected.” The two political parties simply exchange stamps every few years.
The specific issue is the reduction of Nassau County Police Department precincts to save money. The magnitude of the projected savings doesn’t really matter – we have to start somewhere, and every bit helps. If the county is going to wait for that elusive big savings that affects the fewest people, the process will never begin. By echoing the propaganda that this reduction will immediately make Nassau County the most crime-ridden area on the Island, DeRiggi-Whitton contradicts press releases by the prior Democratic administration that Nassau County has one of the lowest crime rates among large counties in the United States.
DeRiggi-Whitton should speak to her constituents in the 18th District and not just go along with her Democratic colleagues. She may find they have a different view of this issue than other districts in the county where the Nassau County Police Department is the only presence. Many of the communities in the 18th District have their own local police departments. In fact, the Village of Sea Cliff, currently covered by Nassau County police, is involved in a study that may result in Glen Cove’s Police Department providing police services to the village. The residents of Glen Cove pay for multiple police services through our taxes: Glen Cove police, auxiliary police, code enforcement officers, and of course, our share of Nassau County police services.
Many of us long for the days before there was a county legislature – an artifact that has proven to be almost as dysfunctional as the state legislature, and one that is simply another drain on the county budget. It is obvious that those who changed the county charter did not learn from the experience of the similarly-defective Suffolk County Legislature which operated for many years prior to Nassau’s getting their own. I, for one, am curious as to the potential savings to be realized by doing away with the Nassau County Legislature. In fact, with the proposed sale of Nassau County assets such as the sewage system, and the recent privatization of its bus service, the giveaway of its parks, and the selloff of county properties, it may be advantageous to eliminate an entire layer of wasteful government and duplication of services. Disband Nassau County and let the Towns of Oyster Bay, Hempstead and North Hempstead, and the two cities, provide the necessary services to their residents that governments were created for.
And if that results in a lot of politicians finding themselves out of work, I find that to be an unexpected boon.
Glen Cove resident