(Editor's Note: The following letter explains the position of the Unity Party in this year's Floral Park village election.)
The Unity Party was formed, over four years ago, by a group of your neighbors who believed that our village board had become unresponsive to the needs and concerns of most residents in Floral Park. We thought long and hard before risking our reputations, friendships and personal comfort, but we decided that something needed to be done.
We are a group of very concerned neighbors who have a strong history of public service in Floral Park. It is well known that our combined efforts have ensured that our village has remained "A Great Place to Live." We have a rich history of serving the families of our village, as leaders in many youth organizations, and as members of official village committees, civic organizations, senior and service organizations, as well as our business community. In our short history, we have been able to energize others to join our ranks and share our vision for change and improvement in Floral Park.
Despite the slash and burn campaign tactics of the incumbent party, assistance from their county and town political partners, and the lack of fair coverage of the issues by our local paper, our three intense political campaigns have succeeded in addressing issues that affect every family in our village. Some may point out that we have not won an election yet, and that is true. However, every family has benefited from our actions and mere existence. The following list presents a sampling of issues brought to the table by our collective efforts.
Over-taxation, which created huge budget surpluses, has been stopped. Tax rates that were double the cost of living rate were temporarily slowed. A multi-level parking garage, supported by the village board, but overwhelmingly opposed by residents was not built. Parking issues, ignored by the village board, were discussed and partially addressed. Previously allowed over-development of residential properties was addressed and zoning codes revised. The irresponsible use of taxpayer money to buy the supposedly historic Nassau Athletic Club on Plainfield Avenue was reversed by our call for the sale of the property for residential use. A fair and equitable contract with our Public Works employees has brought them a giant step closer to a living wage, after years of disparity with other village employees. Only after our many requests was our business community finally recognized as a vital resource that will help maintain our property values.
Introduction of new, young faces into village politics: Interestingly, after criticizing the Unity Party for introducing a young trustee candidate with new and refreshing ideas (Alissa Amato), and personally attacking her with unfounded accusations of inexperience, etc., the Citizens' Party this year has nominated their own new, young and unknown candidate. We are all waiting to see if she has her own refreshing ideas or if she will carry on the Citizens' Party tradition of touting the party lines.
There are still many issues that must be addressed, such as the scripting of village board meetings must end. Open and honest discussion, in public view, is a hallmark of democracy that must be embraced. Enhancement of the village website to include meeting minutes, budgets and explanations of public notices and decisions must be provided. Discretionary spending, which has driven up our tax rate, must be brought under control. Confidence in our police department must be restored. Issues affecting our children, especially our teenagers, must be given a priority. The revitalization of Tulip Avenue is long overdue. Our village library is a vital asset that must be improved. The quality of services provided by every village department must improve. County and town politicking from Floral Park Village Hall must end. The continuing failure to address the growing level of air traffic being diverted over our village must be addressed.
As you can see, there is still much to do. You may be wondering, where is the Unity Party? Who will be running this year? The Floral Park Unity Party believes that having a choice is always better than having no choice at all. We believe the residents of Floral Park have the inalienable right to choose whom they want to represent them. The Floral Park Unity Party has been committed to providing viable candidates and therefore allowing residents to truly choose who will represent all of them in village government. Unfortunately, this year we are not able to fulfill our commitment to this goal due to several reasons.
We have worked throughout the year narrowing the possibilities to present a slate of dedicated candidates who would effectively bring the issues that affect all of us to the table for open discussion. Unfortunately, we have been informed that due to personal and private matters a key member of our slate of three candidates will not be able to run this year. Therefore, rather than hastily presenting a new slate or moving forward with a partial slate, we have decided to sit out this year's election. Nevertheless, the Unity Party will continue to be present, to move forward and bring vital issues into the light for discussion and implementation.
We are not going away. We do need all of our neighbors' help, however. We need you to get involved. We've noticed that civic meetings are not well attended. Village board meetings rarely have more than a handful of residents in attendance. Volunteer organizations have been having difficulty getting new volunteers and fewer than 25 percent of eligible residents even bother to vote. As a result, the same dedicated core of volunteers can be observed working in multiple organizations at the same time, while most stay home and reap the benefits. In order to maintain a successful community, active participation by its residents is essential. We understand you are busy, but doing what you can, no matter how small, is better than doing nothing at all.
Therefore, we encourage you to join an organization, attend a meeting, speak up, write to The Dispatch or The Gateway and express your views, regardless of whether you agree with us or not. We firmly believe that community involvement is the keystone to a healthy community. Communication and dialogue are critical in a democratic society, and discussions, which include opposing points of view, should be encouraged not avoided.
Finally, as has been our position all along, we feel our village must unite to counter the LIRR's expansion plans. Unfortunately, the Citizens' Party has manipulated and spun this critical issue to the extreme point of clouding over any responsible debate and real leadership on the issue. Therefore, we suggest the Citizens' Party spare itself the distraction of another campaign based solely on LIRR obfuscation and direct its energies to secure the best possible outcome for the residents of Floral Park. To learn more, visit our website at http://www.fpunityparty.com for additional information or give us a call. We look forward to hearing from you.
Floral Park Unity Party