Thursday, 01 August 2013 00:00
Weeding Our Political Garden
Admittedly, I do not have a green thumb. If our home is verdant it’s entirely by my wife’s efforts but I do recall once reading some gardening advice that seemed useful: you can’t get rid of weeds by simply pulling them out. You must plant something in their place to prevent their return.
I think of that advice when I hear people complain about some politicians. I believe “disgusted” is their term of choice, and certainly the media has uncovered plenty of unsavory behavior for us to be disgusted about. Still, I’m bothered by that cynicism because I know firsthand that most elected officials are honest and good people who take their public service as a point of pride. Nonetheless, I certainly understand where that cynicism stems from, especially when you read the sordid affairs smeared on the pages of New York’s newspapers these days.
That’s why I’m baffled by how many disgraced public servants make a comeback. Forget about the Marion Barry’s or the Silvio Berlusconi’s of the world. Right here in New York, at this very moment, there are three former politicians whose relatively recent, scandalous behavior forced them out office in shame. Yet all three seek to regain public office.
You know who they are because if there’s anything the media loves more than scandal, it’s the public’s obsession with the villains we supposedly, “love to hate.” One of these married men patronized prostitutes, another who had a pregnant wife at home would regularly send lewd pictures of his anatomy to other women on the internet, and the last sexually harassed so many female staffers that it cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in settlements and legal fees. Any of them would rightfully have been fired from the private sector, yet each now has the audacity to throw his hat into the public arena once more. What’s worse, despite their tremendous lack of judgment, polls show they have notable public support while they simultaneously rake in campaign dollars.
What’s going on here? As a “public” official always mindful of being in the “public” eye, I wondered whether each of these men had lost their minds. Now I can’t help but think maybe we’ve collectively lost ours as well. Let’s face it. People don’t get far in politics and win primaries and elections without public support and more so, the direct financial support of their parties. And what does that say about those political organizations who publicly celebrate their commitment to women’s rights, to then quietly back its worst abusers? Is their commitment to battling exploitation in word only? Obviously, candidates should be vetted by their party to ensure that they value the ideals we’re all fighting for.
So, why don’t they? A party can certainly revoke a candidate’s registration sending a clear message that such antics will not be tolerated while preventing that candidate from seeking further public office. But it hasn’t and won’t. Again, I ask why?
Let’s hold them accountable, individuals and the party they represent. Regardless of how out-of-touch party leaders are the real power belongs to you, the voter. Members can guarantee their party is better represented by getting out in primaries and voting for the candidate who truly values their ideals. A party’s tacit support of candidates who have a track record of, at best, poor judgment and, at worst, misogyny sends a clear message as to that party’s priorities. Of course, your voting in all the general elections is the best way to guarantee that better candidates prevail.
Over time, you’ll find that public service and policy improves as we weed our political garden.
Saturday, 26 July 2014 00:00
The Village of East Williston was recently ruled against in the second round of lawsuits with neighboring Village of Williston Park involving the latter’s water rates—establishing a 13 percent increase from $3.83 per 1,000 gallons of water to $4.33.
Village of East Williston Mayor David Tanner said that the lawsuit, “still does not resolve the underlying problem between the villages, which is we feel that we’re being charged too much for water—the cost is excessive.”
Tanner said the village is still calculating the financial impact will be, and that the village has been making payments in escrow for every water bill received.
Friday, 25 July 2014 00:00
Only once a year a 25-foot movie screen sits in the middle of Wilson Park in Mineola, ready to entertain residents. This year’s Movie Night in the Park feature The LEGO Movie, sponsored by the Village of Mineola and Mineola Chamber of Commerce on Friday, July 18.
The event, which was free of charge to all of the moviegoers, was meant to help promote local Mineola businesses, according to president of the Mineola Chamber of Commerce Bill Greene.
“Small businesses are the backbone of the American industry, and we feel that this is a great way of giving back to the community with hopes that they’ll remember to shop locally,” said Greene.
Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00
Runners from all over Long Island came to run at the fourth annual Katie Oppo Memorial 5K on Sunday, June 15. The runner first across the finish line was Mineola resident Michael Mariotti, general manager, owner and host of the famous local restaurant Cafe Continental in Manhasset.
The day was glorious as the runners and walkers began their trek through Flower Hill from the starting line at Flower Hill Park. Organizers of this year’s event made the race a USATF Certified 5K race, timed by Long Island Race Timing.
Thursday, 17 July 2014 00:00
Mineola Hurricanes lost a battle of the bats on Sunday, June 29, at St. Joseph’s Field in Kings Park, falling short in a 9-8 ball game against the St. Joseph’s Saints in the first game of a doubleheader.
The top of the first saw the Hurricanes take an early 2-0 lead. The runs came home for the Hurricanes when T.J. McManus scored on an error and Connor Eakin scored on a fielder’s choice. The Saints never surrendered the lead after the first inning, scoring five runs on two errors and an RBI single by Jonathan.