Thursday, June 30, 2005
Nassau GOP Attack on City
As a New York City resident, I am offended by Nassau County Republican elected officials attacking my great city for political advantage. Politicians like Peter Schmitt and Gregory Peterson attack New York City residents who work in Nassau County because of where they come from. No one in the city says anything about Nassau residents applying and getting jobs in the city police and fire departments. The city changed its rules to allow non-city residents to work for the city.
If Schmitt, Peterson and their associates don't like New York City and believe as they say the city is a horrible place, they shouldn't bother coming here. We aren't a scare tactic to be used to get votes. Everyone else is welcome with open arms.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Let's talk about TOBAY Reciever of Taxes Jim Stefinach. Back in December 2004, he jumped ship to the republican party. Stefanich won re-election as a Democrat in November 2003. Why did Stefanich jump parties? To hear him tell it, "Since becoming Receiver of Taxes five years ago I have worked side-by-side with Supervisor John Venditto and the Republican members of the town administration and found, without question, that the Republican Party represents the right vision for the future of the Town of Oyster Bay, and, quite frankly, all of Nassau County.....
“John Venditto is the best kind of public official. He works hard. He cares. And he truly wants to make sure that the town that our children and grandchildren inherit is the best that it can be. I am proud to join his team and to pledge that I will do all that I can do to make sure that the Republican Party, and the vision that John Venditto so ably represents in its name, remains at the forefront of community life in our town and county for many years to come.”
Really Jim? Is that your story?
'Cause we know you were kinda upset that the Democratic Party didn't give you all the help you wanted and expected. You used alot of your own money and didn't like that one bit. Do we have to go into what you say NOW about Venditto and the republicans and compare it to what you said in the past about them? The comments certainly aren't consistant. There were some choice words and none of them nice. Now you say the party represents the vision for TOBAY? That's not what you said before. So Stefanich says it's about "vision."
Actually it's about job security.
The GOP almost swept TOBAY in the 2003 elections. Stefanich had a wafer thin margin of victory - 454 votes. He sees the writing on the wall. He could very well lose his well-paid job in the next election. He joined the team that will give him money and a slate that has been winning.
Where are Stefinach's principles? Seems he has none.
Guess he's a perfect fit for the Nassau GOP.
At the press conference to announce the switch, GOP Boss Joe Mondello said "From his first election in 1999, Jim has established a reputation as a dedicated and caring public official with an unwavering commitment to excellence."
Even Venditto chimed in with praise.“Working with Jim Stefanich has been a pleasure. As it became clear, over the years, that Jim shared my commitment to making government as responsive as it can be, my commitment to running government efficiently and like a business, and my commitment to doing everything possible to hold down property taxes so that we can keep Oyster Bay an affordable place to live..."
So why did the republicans run John Canning against Stefanich in 2003 if Stefanich was doing such a fantastic job?
It boggles the mind.
Up Next: Martha Offerman - She's so mad, she won't take it any more.
You would expect some sort of consistancy from a campaign message but for the Nassau GOP, there is no such thing as consistancy.
From one yammering know-nothing GOP hack we get this "One wonders exactly how much money these firms are being payed, and how much of that money could instead have gone to boost the anemic Long Island Economy." The aforementioned hack(s) is employed by the Town of Hempstead.
Why do we bring this up?
It seems that TOH Supervisor Kate Murray is (after 10 years) trying to close a flop-house hotel in West Hempstead. What caught our attention in the Newsday story was "The town has commissioned a so-called blight study by a Westchester firm on the hotel, which Murray said would be completed "in a few weeks." She said the study, if it showed the property to be a blight, would allow the town to close the hotel."
Yes dear reader, Murray is hiring an firm based outside Hempstead and Nassau County to do the work.
Where are the complaints for that?
There aren't any.
Why should the republicans be consistant?
Monday, June 27, 2005
The caption to the photo says "Town of Oyster Bay Councilman Chris J. Coschignano supported employees from The Home Depot of Syosset with their volunteer effort to help clean-up TOBAY beach. Home Depot is another community group that has joined Councilman Coschignano’s call for clean-up efforts throughout the Town of Oyster Bay."
The Home Depot volunteers do a great service for the community. If Coschignano is serious about his "call for clean-up efforts," he should take off his tie and get to work too. Posing with a rake isn't the way to go.
Sunday, June 26, 2005
So we left a comment in a section marked "Comments." The comments pointed out a few things and did not contain profanity.
What happend? The comments section was deleted.
Why? Because on Girardi's website there is no place for the truth.
Verizon, the telephone company is expanding its internet offerings with hi-speed access and moving into home entertainment. The home entertainment fiber-optic television FiOS TV will compete with cable. The Verizon Television service is still in its infancy but the company is actively seeking to compete with Cablevision on Long Island. Verizon has been approaching municipalities, which grant franchise agreements, for the better part of a year.
Enter Kate Murray. In the Anton News paper "Floral Park Dispatch", the story describes Murray's involvement thusly; "Other quality of life issues Murray mentioned included her recent efforts to bring another cable television provider to the Town, "so that neighbors can have a cable TV choice."
Murray is taking credit for a company that approached the Town of Hempstead. Murray didn't seek them out, they sought to get a franchise agreement in place for a launch later this year or early next. Murray makes it sound like she had the initiative to seek out Verizon FiOS.
Don't be fooled.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
So what's this all about? It's all about Kate Murray, Town of Hempstead Supervisor and self-promoter extraordinaire! Murray can be found on every mailing TOH sends out, in every commercial about TOH and in every ad about any event taking place with TOH sponsorship. Local grassroots organization Community Alliance started the "Murray-Mail-Meter" which has estimated mailings from Murray this year until June 22nd as $194,400.00. The organization describes their tabulations; "As a convenience to Town of Hempstead residents, The Community Alliance will keep a running tab on mail sent by TOH Supervisor, Kate Murray. No, not the Parks & Recreation Summer Schedule, or other useful material, at least tangentially related to Town business, but rather, the “this would be campaign literature paid for at my own expense if I wasn’t Town Supervisor” stuff we find in our mailboxes on a weekly (we’re being conservative) basis.
In the interest of fairness, we’ll just go back to May 1, 2005. The Murray-Mail-Meter will show only the cost to TOH taxpayers in terms of postage, calculated at 16.2 cents per mailing to approximately 200,000 households. [We leave to the imagination – attempts to FOIL documentation having been stonewalled – the costs associated with either material (just how much is a sheet of 8 ½ by 11 ½ glossy paper these days?) or production (God bless those elves who work so tirelessly for a mere $100,000 a year in that hollow tree buried deep beneath Town Hall)."
In the recent Long Island Press story Politicos Gone Postal about this, Community Allince President Seth Bykofsky calls thier estimate "conservative."
There is more to come on this with FOIL requests flying and questions about in-house operations to churn out purely political mailings on the taxpayers dime.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Alex P. Vassallo, Executive Vice President of the group wrote the first letter to Newsday which we dissected a week ago. Then came the letter from Micheal R. Kaplan, Nassau YR's First Vice President to Newsday which we took care of a couple of days ago. Now comes ANOTHER letter by Vassallo this time in this weeks Long Island Press. The letter is a carbon copy of what he wrote to Newsday with an extra paragraph or so added. We won't go through the entire letter again and point out the obvious failures of Vassallo's arguments but we will take on the extra bonus footage he added for this new addition.
First off, it's not really the content that bothers us. Of course they are both so factually wrong, it's just plain funny but that's not it. It's the fact that Vassallo and Kaplan both refuse to identify themselves as being elected officers in the Republican party and committee-men in thier districts. Newspapers prefer that when writing, the writer identify their affiliations. The letter immediately following Vassallo's letter in the Long Island Press is written by a person who identified himself as being "a 2004 Democratic candidate for New York State Senate, District 3." The letter was not a political one but the writer identified his affiliation. Vassallo should have told both newspapers who he was. Not to do this is deceptive. He isn't an average citizen writing a letter to the editor, he is a party officer who has an agenda. Let's hope both papers keep an eye out for deceptions like this in the future.
Below are the two letters side-by-side. The left is from Newsday and the right is from Long Island Press. The new stuff is hi-lited in red. Following this We dissect Vassallo's new comments. His in red, ours in black.
He supported large tax increases.
There was a 19.4% tax increase his first year and hasn't been one since. Why was there a tax increase? Because Vassallo's party almost bankrupted the county. There was no more money. The county's Bond rating was almost JUNK status. Nassau was chosen as "The Worst Run County in the Country" by the Maxwell School of Public Policy at Syracuse University. The state had to come to the rescue of Gullotta and the republicans. After NIFA was formed, the county needed to perform well or NIFA would take over the county finances. THAT is what the Republicans left Suozzi to deal with.
Since then we have at six bond rating increases and NIFA has looked favorably on the Suozzi budgets.
FYI the COUNTY portion of a homeowners tax bill is only about 20%. The increase for the county was an average of $150 per year per household.
"His proposals to build high rises and urban style light rails threaten all we worked for."
Where are the "high rise" proposals? No where. The only "high-rise" is Wang's plane for the rebuilding of the Nassau Coliseum area. And the light rail system is a limited one which copies what many other suburban areas are doing.
"His hostile relations with state lawmakers have left us without needed state aid."
No state aid? Take that up with the State Senators and Assemby-persons whose responsibility is to represent Nassau in Albany. Is Vassallo saying they are not doing thier jobs? No, actually they are helping get funds for the County. The 2005-2006 state budget includes funds for an Empire Zone. Suozzi worked to get this and it is the first one in Nassau County. There is also a plan to get help for Museum Row at Mitchel Field.
"This county executive represents a threat to Nassau's environment,lifestyle and reputation."
With SIX bond rating increases, NIFA approval of county finances and more people looking to live in Nassau County, Suozzi isn't threatening anything.
"Should Tom Suozzi be reelected this year, you can expect: a tax increase in 2006;"
Doesn't seem to be one in the works. More scare tactices from Vassallo.
"low-income housing dispersed throughout the County;"
Please see Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and Supervisor John Venditto of Republican of Oyster Bay who both support affordable housing plans.
Actually the police academy has been graduating new officers and are filled to capacity. Why would Vassallo lie?
"plummeting state aid due to Albany's disdain for Mr. Suozzi;"
Doesn't seem to be the case at all. Since the "Fix Albany" campaign began the word "reform" has been found of the lips of Albany legislators.
"disappearing open space;"
Actually under Suozzi and the Democrats there has been an increased effort to save open space. For development in the County Suozzi has said "We must focus on recycling formerly productive or underproductive properties instead of assaulting our last acres of open space,"
The County Legislature passed an Open Space Fund that would set aside 5% of funds from the sale of County-owned real estate property to be used for the acquisition, rehabilitation and maintenance of open space.
Also, Vassallo should know that it is the LOCAL TOWN zoning boards that decide what gets built and where. If Vassallo has a problem, he should take it up with Supervisor Kate Murray and the republican controlled Town of Hempstead where he lives.
"and an empty county executive's chair next year, as a run for governor is in his sights.
Tom Suozzi has an agenda to obtain power at our expense. Let us reject that agenda in November."
More hyperbole from a repulican hack supporting a candidate (Peterson) who quit his job as Town of Hempstead Supervisor two months after getting re-elected to take a higher paying job at OTB.
Alex P. Vassallo, Merrick
who forgot to mention he is the Executive VP of the Nassau Young Republicans, currently works for the Town of Hempstead Receiver of Taxes, and is as a Co-Commiteeperson for the Merrick Republican Committee.
The truth shall set you free, Alex.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
The letter follows in RED with my comments in BLACK
Airport expansion is right for Nassau
Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, I was a student pilot flying out of Farmingdale's Republic Airport.
Why did Kaplan stop? Flight Schools still operate out of Republic.
"Recently I read about Nassau County Legis. David Mejias' opposition to the proposed expansion project."
Legislator Mejias is representing the interests of his constituents who have expressed safety and noise concerns.
Mejias is joined by Babylon Superviosor Steve Bellone, Farmingdale Mayor George Graf, Suffolk Legislator Elie Mystal, Amityville Mayor Peter Imbert various civic organizations and hundreds of residents.
I think Mejias (D-North Massapequa) does not have the interests of Nassau County at heart with his politically driven assault on the airport ["Pressure delays airport taxiway plan," News, June 15].
As I said, Mejias is representing his constituents. "Politically driven?" No, he's doing his job.
The only thing "politically driven" here is Kaplan's letter.
Now we know why Kaplan ceased flight training. He put Republic Airport in Nassau County. when it is actually in Suffolk County.
"Republic Airport has long needed an expansion. It would be very worthwhile for Long Island."
Does Kpalan live next to an airport or in the flight path of one? This is more than an economic issue, this is a quality of life issue.
"The increased revenue would help businesses afford the increased tax burden imposed on them by Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and his rubberstamp legislators, including Mejias."
Ahhh... and there you go. Kaplan's real reason for writing the letter. It's not about Republc Airport at all... it's about attacking Suozzi and the Democrats. The airport stuff is just a McGuffin.
Two other things, again a Nassau County Young Republican just doesn't know how taxes work in the county. The County portion of the tax bill is 20%. The high taxes come from School and Town taxes and in the case of the Town of Hempstead, all the little special districts. And to call the Democrats "rubberstamps" just ignores the reality of the two parties. Only one party votes party-line every time and that is the Republicans. Votes by the Democrats have often gone against Suozzi and his plans. Kaplan probably knows this but is too dishonest to say it.
"Such an expansion should be welcomed with open arms."
Tell that to the Farmingdale residents that oppose any expansion of the airport. Maybe if Kaplan lived at the end of a runway he would sing a different tune.
Michael R. Kaplan
Hey Michael, you forgot to mention you are the First Vice President of the Nassau County Young Republicans and a member of the Freeport Republican Committee.
See, apparantly Newsday has requirements for its letters and one is for letter writers to identify themselves if they belong to or are an officer in an organization that has direct interest in the topic.
If I were to write to Newsday, I would Identify myself as running this website. To try to come off as some concerned citizen and not a partisan elected officer of a political organization is just deceitful.
This is the second time in three weeks this has happend with officers from the Nassau County Young Republicans. Looks like honesty is not a virtue for them.
Sunday, June 19, 2005
Assessing property taxes
Property taxes throughout Nassau County are out of control. The Department of Assessment does not set municipal, school district or special district operating budgets or tax rates, mail out tax bills or collect taxes. But the department's property assessments are often blamed for the tax hikes in order to divert taxpayers' scrutiny from the budget increases and redirect their anger and frustration.
Since assuming office in January of 2004, I have never shied away from difficult issues - finding new ways to combat the growth of illegal and unsafe multifamily houses throughout the county or lobbying the State Legislature for a phase-in of assessment increases. With the knowledge that my assessment phase-in initiative was left to die in a State Senate committee, despite its overwhelming support by both parties in the Assembly, I introduced a resolution at the June 7 meeting of the Board of Assessors calling for the restoration of a 16-percent cap on assessment increases for residential properties for the 2007-08 tax year.
By passing this resolution, the Board of Assessors is complying with Article 18 of the New York State Real Property Tax Law, which mandates a 6-percent cap for Nassau homeowners. This is the law. Unfortunately, when the previous administration agreed to the terms of a Supreme Court order in March 2000, no-one advocated that assessment increases be phased in. The lack of a phase-in resulted in tremendous shifts in school property tax increases for middle-class communities.
Until the State Senate agrees to cooperate with its colleagues in the Assembly and passes the initiatives I proposed in 2004, I have no option but to comply with existing state law.
Harvey B. Levinson
Thursday, June 16, 2005
"State Probes Transfer of OTB Funds / At issue: $4.5M sent to Nassau"
What year was this? Late 1999, early 2001.
Who was involved? A TG and a GP.
When exactly was this? Three days before someone resigned.
How illegal was this? Very.
Who got screwed? Nassau County Taxpayers.
Stay Tuned, More to come....
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Steve Labriola not only NOT expand hours, it seems he CUT BACK!
Offerman said in 2003 the office is open "....evening hours until 7:30 p.m. every Tuesday."
What was that?
What does the 2005 schedule reflect?
"... hours until 7:30 p.m. on each of the following Tuesdays:"
and this is followed by dates indicating 2 days a month.
So if Offerman opened the office late EVERY tuesday in 2003 and it's EVERY OTHER in 2005, Labriola cut hours.
What is the truth here?
Monday, June 13, 2005
Former Town Clerk, the defeated Martha Offerman who is now a former Democrat and running for the Legisalture against supurb first-termer Diane Yaturo, also takes credit for expanding office hours; "Among the many innovations she [Offerman] brought to the town clerk’s office during her tenure was the establishment of evening hours, several nights a month, to make the many services offered by her office more accessible to the taxpayers and residents of Oyster Bay."
"opened the Office of the Clerk for evening hours until 7:30 p.m. every Tuesday. Whether you need a marriage license, birth certificate, senior beach pass, passport application, or a parking permit they may now be obtained at a time convenient for the public."
The current hours of operation according to the Town website
"Town Clerk's Offices' Late Hours 2005
The two Town Clerk's Offices, Town Hall East, 54 Audrey Avenue, Oyster Bay, New York 11771 and Town Hall South, 977 Hicksville Road, Massapequa, New York 11758, will be extending their hours until 7:30 p.m. on each of the following Tuesdays:"
So, in 2003 Offerman campaigned on having expanded hours on tuesday till 7:30pm. Now Labriola is campaigning on "expanded office hours" which is THE SAME as when Offerman was there. What did Labriola expand? Looks like NOTHING.
Labriola told a fib.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
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.