With millions of Americans feeling increasingly lost, a thousand points of light emanate from Lower Manhattan, many in sleeping bags. Despite weeks of outright slander and ridicule directed at Occupy Wall Street, they have given a voice to the growing frustration in this country that some powerful people are doing bad things and good people aren’t able to stop them.
Some pretty sharp people down there have been organizing food, toilets, extra clothes, medical care and even reading material. If you want to recruit talented organizers for business or government, I’d suggest setting up a job fair right there at Zuccotti Park (formerly called “Liberty Plaza Park).
1. A few weeks ago, a single dropped character obscured the meaning of a sentence. I’m repeating some points here, but updated through September.
2. During this current campaign cycle, 37.5 percent of the $728,046 collected by candidates for the Nassau County Legislature was made in contributions of $1,000 or more.
3. Between January 1 of this year and the end of September, 48.9 percent of the $9,679,290 collected by candidates for State Assembly, who won’t be running until 2012, was made in contributions of $1,000 or more.
11: The number of manufacturing companies within the circulation areas of the 18 Anton Community Newspapers in which workers have lost jobs as a result of shifts in production outside the United States (2005-2010). These firms are certified for federal Trade Adjustment Assistance to provide reemployment services for workers or direct financial aid for projects that improve competitiveness. These companies are located in: Farmingdale (4); Glen Cove (2); Hicksville (2); Jericho; Roslyn Heights; Port Washington. There are no walls around Long Island.
1. There are 41 days until Election Day as of the day this will be published. Serious local campaigns that move votes and change minds typically go into permanent overdrive at the 40 day mark. Mostly, we have silence, as if both parties are hoping that national trends will depress turnout on the other side. We are being failed again.
2. What happened in Nassau County on Tuesday, September 13 was a kind of voter suppression, even if it was inadvertent. It wasn’t until Friday, September 9 that a court ruled finally that there would be Republican Party primaries held in two business days. The Republicans instigated it with their obnoxious, failed plan to create new districts this fall, but the Democrats made it worse by pressing for an immediate Republican primary elections due to conflicting sets of qualifying petitions. The Dems got to send out their “victory” press releases, so I guess they win.
If Greece goes down and takes some European banks with it, will it affect County Executive Mangano’s plan to have a French transportation conglomerate take over the bus system? This question would have seemed ridiculous only a few years ago, when we had time to reform and adapt, when we had some breathing space. Maybe we still have some. I hope we do.
Mr. Mangano unveiled his latest crisis plan last week. He said, “Government needs to reinvent itself.” This is an incredible statement, because what he plans to do is exactly the polar opposite of reinventing government. Cutting, closing and selling off public assets in panic mode isn’t reinventing. He has squandered 20 months that could have been used to figure out what county residents actually need and expect for their tax dollars, what absolutely has to continue and what can be discarded, what works and what hasn’t worked, what it will all really cost and what is the fairest way to pay for it.
ALEC is the American Learning Exchange Council, an organization of thousands of state legislators around the country who are dedicated to “free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty.” ALEC creates model legislation for members, which in turn is introduced in legislatures across the country. Among its major funders are tobacco, insurance, pharmaceutical and private prison companies, whose representatives vote alongside legislators at closed ALEC conferences and vote on the wording of legislation. Both legislators and corporations have veto power over suggested bills.
The Wisconsin “Voter ID” bill, which requires all voters to present picture identification at the polling place, was an ALEC bill. More than a dozen state houses have passed identical resolutions asking the EPA to stop regulating carbon emissions, another of ALEC’s hundreds of projects.
There was a palpable shift in attitude toward LIPA on Wednesday, August 31. Frustration and outright hostility spilled over as the flow of useful information about outages and repairs slowed and sometimes stopped. A lot of good will has been lost by LIPA. Perhaps they can start to earn some of it back.
Is there a way that widespread outages can be significantly reduced, perhaps eventually to the point where they are a quaint memory of the past? What would that be worth to Long Islanders who lost business, merchandise, foodstuffs and patience this past week?
Perhaps your home sits on land that was seized by the county for delinquent property tax payments.
The Great Depression had hit at full force by 1931, and local governments were faced with a growing problem of “dead properties” on which owners were deep in arrears or had stopped paying property taxes altogether. Budgets were out of wack and it was the county’s responsibility to somehow either collect past taxes or to get the properties back on the tax rolls (“liquidate the liens” in tax talk). An investor could purchase the lien, charge the property owner a 15 percent premium for a year and then take over the title if full back taxes weren’t paid.
From 1964 to 1966, Democrats and Republicans in the state Legislature fought a drawn-out legal battle over how New Yorkers should be represented in the state Legislature. The courts had thrown out most of the existing provisions in the State Constitution, which were designed to almost guarantee that Democrats would not control the state legislature by giving dozens of extra legislative districts to rural, Old Yankee Republican counties upstate. Over these two years, dozens of plans were presented, some of them radically different from what we have today. There were plans for multi-member districts and even no districts.
In December 1964, Republican staffers on an extreme deadline moved the desks and chairs out of Room 500-J of the State Capitol and laid out a giant street map of Nassau County. The map was 25-feet wide by 25-feet long and had population totals marked on each block. Slightly bigger than the room, the map actually curled up the walls.
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Michael Miller is a freelance writer, designer and strategic consultant who has worked in state and local government. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org