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Letter: What Ever Happened to ‘Majority Rules?’

Regarding your article on the consolidation bill signed into law (M.P.7/23/09), I am appalled that such a potential for mischief could be enacted by our laughable legislature. The Albany antics have been front-page news for weeks. They are unable to pass serious legislation, consumed with internal fighting – yet this law slipped between the cracks.

I have lived in the Inc. Village of Flower Hill for 57 years in which I currently now own two properties. I am most satisfied with our local government and services. Garbage is promptly and efficiently picked up, snow is plowed immediately. I read of complaints of Town of North Hempstead residents about the quality of their services. Yet that would be the alternative for us and other villages, if the provisions of this bad law are enacted. People choose to live in incorporated villages because of the ability to have “hands on” government, easy access to officials and a say in the quality of life here. Yes, we do pay a village tax, which I happily do to ensure the services I consider important. That is the fundamental issue this country was founded on.

The mischief in this new law lies in letting 10 percent of registered voters call for secession from the village. Ten percent! A dissident minority can determine the lives of the majority! What ever happened to “majority rules?” As I recall our nation fought a war over the issue of secession. No one is being forced to live in an incorporated village, but don’t be spoilers for the rest. All too often our country is being held hostage to special interests. Even calling for a referendum is costly and disruptive. The idea of saving taxes is absurd. Did you ever hear of municipal taxes going down? Only the services. Is this what we want?

Fortunately Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel and Senator Craig Johnson voted against the bill; local mayors have decried it. I urge my fellow citizens to join me in protesting this – more evidence that our rights are being trampled on by the officials elected to represent us. Albany decided this without adequately studying the issues and consequences or submitting it to a referendum of the people.

Kaye Byrne