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From the desk of Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton: May 17, 2012

Speak Now... Or Your County Goes to Pieces

Many of you are reading in the papers what I am hearing in person at Nassau County’s legislative sessions. County Executive Mangano is threatening “Draconian” cuts to your services, along with devastating eliminations of funding meant for the needy—youth, seniors, those with mental health issues, the disabled.

It must be so tiresome for you all to hear the political back and forth. You work all day. Or you saved your money and finally retired. You pay your taxes and just want to get what you need from your government.

Your county executive and his team of supporters in the legislature know this. They know this is tiresome and confusing.

They know a simple message works. They say if the Democrats in the legislature don’t let them borrow as much money as they want – because they don’t know how else to run their government – then they will have to go into some horrifying crisis mode.

They are creating a political situation to manipulate you… and me. The truth is, this is just who they are. You have a group of people who came to power by saying they’d cut government spending and never raise taxes. Well, I ran on those same principles. However, this group is just doing it by cutting your services… while not lowering taxes.

They have altered police coverage. They have slashed public transportation and transport aid for the disabled. They have drastically reduced youth funds. They are throwing away a major asset right now, the sewer system. They have quietly made a complicated move to stick millions of extra dollars into your school budgets.

Democrats are not making them do these things. It has always been their plan.

Worse still, none of this is lowering your taxes – much of it is creating extra expenses for you. Sewer privatization will create an extra expense for those with sewers. When more communities find they might need to create their own police forces, there is a new expense. When the schools have millions of dollars extra to cover, courtesy of the county executive, an extra expense to you again.

As far as service cuts to come, the same day this column was written, I met with a concerned group of senior advocates who are up in arms at the idea that dedicated funds meant for their services could be taken away by the county executive.

I told them that I have been fighting for them, and everyone like them, since day one. But now, we must all fight together. Come to the Nassau County legislative session on May 21, at 10 a.m., when we vote on these terrible plans.

What you will be told by the county executive’s team in the legislature is that Democrats are causing a crisis because we want a fair election district map drawn before the next election.

While it is not true that we are causing a crisis, shouldn’t we all want a fair map? The big question is: why don’t they? As you can all see, it is because they are not good at their jobs. 

All we are doing is calling for an independent committee to put together a map that represents us all fairly in true democratic manner.

Come to the session. See if you find this group to operate in a democratic manner at all. See how the presiding officer of the legislature treats you. I have asked seniors to come to this session but I fear that Mr. Schmitt will force them to wait eight hours before they can speak, knowing full well that they can’t wait that long and he will stop them from being represented.

Speaking of representation, if this group has it their way with their redistricting map, bi-partisan government will no longer exist. No matter what party you belong to, checks and balances are necessary for government to work.  

Come to the legislature on Monday and tell them you want your services intact and you want a fair map. Feel free to call my office at 571-6218.