Sunday, June 12, 2005

They Write Letters

On Friday June 10th, a concerned citizen wrote a letter to Newsday to complain about County Executive Suozzi and presented a bill of particulars regarding huge failures of the Suozzi adminstration. The letter writer, one Alex P. Vassallo of Merrick had quite a bit to say. 153 words to be exact. The title of the letter Newsday gave the letter was "A vision that is opposite Suozzi's."
Before we tackle the letter itself, one thing jumped out at us. The name. Alex P. Vassallo. It sounded familiar. To read the letter you think he's just a concerned citizen writing to his newspaper.
He's not just any old concerned citizen. Alex P. Vassallo of Merrick is in fact the Executive Vice President of the Nassau County Young Republicans. In his bio on the Nassau Young Republican website it states he is also Co-Commiteeperson for the Merrick Republican Committee. Interesting that Vassallo didn't identify his affiliations to Newsday.
The letter is the usual bit of pap coming from the republicans for this years campaign. Heck, Vassallo seems to have just cribbed his letter from the Nassau GOP Talking Points. To bad it's all a bunch of distortions and lies.

Here's the letter in red with our answers in black:

Nassau residents are being taxed out of their homes. The abundance of "for-sale" signs is striking. Adding to this crushing tax burden,

Alex Vassallo ought to know more about how Nassau County works. When it comes to taxes, the County portion is only about 20%. The rest is School and Town taxes which Alex should know CE Souzzi has no control over.

residents are asked to support a plan to erect a 60- story tower at the center of Nassau.

“We” are not being asked to support a tower at the coliseum site, that is up to the Town of Hempstead Zoning Board.

They are asked to support a light-rail system, which would increase sprawl and congestion.

I’d love to know how a light-rail system will cause congestion. With travelers on the rails rather than the roads, therewould be less congestion.

Moreover, we are asked to support the construction of low-income housing projects.This flies in the face of the hard work of residents to afford Nassau's lifestyle. It would create a false sense of entitlement to those who can't afford to live here on their own. That discourages incentive. It creates slums and crime.

Vassallo uses the fabulous code words “low income” and “projects” to describe affordable housing for Nassau County’s young people. Why is Alex opposed to keeping the county’s young people in Nassau? The idea of next generation housing is supported by Democrats and Republicans alike (See: Affordable Housing on Long Island Coming Soon? on the Long Island Press website.)

There are better solutions.

And we've heard nothing from republicans about solutions except:

We need leaders who will cut taxes and rein in spending,

Discretionary spending is DOWN in the county. Right now we are recovering from years of fiscal malfeasence and the Republicans in the legislature are also calling for tax cuts AND increase spending.
One thing Vassallo doesn't seem to get is that Nassau is still under the control if NIFA (Nassau Interim Finance Authority.) They have the final say over every budget. Because of the republican fiscal malfeasence, the State stepped in to help under the condition the county meet requirements of the over-sight board. If they don't like the budget and what the county is doing, they can TAKE OVER the county. In 4 years, we haven't been taken over. We came close under Gulotta when he and the then republican majority were was trying to pass budgets with millions of dollars in deficit.

fight to consolidate school districts.

Vassallo again blames Suozzi for something he does not control. Try telling Garden City School District to consolidate with Hempstead School District. Just try. Housing prices are tied to school district achievements. The school districts won't do it and the district residents will oppose it.

We must obtain needed state aid for Nassau County.

In fact Nassau County does receive state aid,which is under the purview of our state representatives. Vassallo should call his state senator and assembly-person on this matter. CE Suozzi is trying to get the state to relieve the medicaid burden on the county and he is joined by Conservative Party leader Micheal Long in fixing Albany.
The county required not only massive state aid 5 years ago but an oversight board because the republicans almost bankrupted the county.

The reassessment project must be corrected.

Umm... this has been dealt with already. The problem is that the reassessment was COURT MANDATED because way back in 1996, Gulotta and the republican leadership REFUSED to work on an assessment plan for the county. The last reassessment was done 50 years ago.

Regrettably, Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi has failed to deliver.

Suozzi HAS delivered. He and the Democratic majority in the legislature have delivered us from the crushing financial mess the republicans left. We are not out of the woods but we are getting there. The reassessment battle was left on Suozzi's doorstep by the republicans. The near-bankruptcy of the county was a gift from Gulotta and Schmitt.

We are making great strides in the county and coming back from the brink. Too bad Vassallo can't see that.


Anonymous said...

This isn't new, even this year.

Frank Moroney, a GOP Committeeman/Town Leader in North Hempstead and a North Hempstead Council candidate for 2005 had a letter published in Newsday on May 27, 2005 where he was identified as "an attorney, is past president of the Carle Place Civic Association" and from Carle Place.

A correction was made the next day identifying him further as the losing Republican candidate for North Hempstead town supervisor in 2003.

No correction was made that he was the civic association president almost 20 years ago.

No correction was made that he lives in Westbury, not Carle Place.

No correction was made that he is a Republican candidate for North Hempstead council THIS YEAR and is looking to score points any way he can in any venue he can.

No correction was made that he was an appointed Republican councilman in North Hempstead in 1981 and then lost the seat once he stood for election.

Letters to the editor are only cursorily verified and Newsday does a poor job of that. Since the GOP always blames Newsday for Democratic-leaning opinion/editorial bias, might not there be pro-GOP bias in the letters area allowing GOP hacks and insiders the ability to talk their points without truly identifying themselves?

J said...

Thanks for the comment..
In Vassallo's case, he should have identified himself. He;s not just a volunteer, he holds an elected position in the party.
I would expect Newsday and letter writers to identify any affiliation to an organization if the letter deals with issues the organization is involved in.
In TOBAY, you can tell who candidates are going to be months in advance because the party sends them out with politicians for photo-ops.