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Covering All Bases

I’m really not into this year’s presidential election. In fact, I haven’t been excited about any presidential election since the first one that I was old enough to vote in – and it’s not because the candidate I voted for that year lost. It’s not because I dislike the candidates. It’s not because I’m unpatriotic, or complacent or non-appreciative of what a privilege it is to vote. My grandfather, a veteran, was always the first person in line when the polls opened on Election Day, and while I don’t get up that early, I have honored his memory by making it to the voting booth on every Election Day since I turned 18 and will continue to do so because it is my right and my duty to do so.

The reason I am so apathetic about presidential elections is because I feel that my vote is insignificant because of where I reside, New York State. County elections are a different story. The last county executive election was decided by a desperately close photo finish. There is currently a 10-9 split in the legislature, with some of the recent elections for the legislature decided by razor-thin margins. It’s possible that in the 2013 elections, one vote for a legislative candidate or, for that matter, even in the county executive election, could decide the balance of power in Nassau County. Okay, that’s probably a bit extreme, but still, if an election hangs in the balance, it’s easy to get pumped up and head for the polls, whichever side of the aisle you belong to.

Yet, there is not the tiniest possibility that my vote in the presidential election– or yours either, my fellow New Yorkers – will have any significance because of the Electoral College. New York is a blue state and it is almost guaranteed to vote Democratic – unless there is a major, and I mean major, political shift in this state. The same holds true in red states such as Texas. It is almost as certain as death and taxes that the Republican candidate will carry that state, rendering the presidential election inconsequential there. Instead, about 10 states – and perhaps even fewer than that will decide who is inaugurated on January 20, 2013.

And that bothers me. Why should voters in Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan control the country? In 2000, fewer than 2,000 Florida voters decided the presidential election. Should 2,000 votes in Florida be more important than 2,000 votes in New York, Massachusetts, or even Wyoming for that matter? The president serves all the people. Federal policies touch us all and thus everyone should have a say in the outcome, not voters in a few states whose votes are most coveted.

Think about it. As one of the last states in the primary schedule, New York has had no impact in choosing each party’s candidate, let alone the outcome. And that is another issue for me. Why do Iowa and New Hampshire get to choose who the front-runners are, a decision that often has a big impact on who the eventual winner is? Candidates who stumble in these states are often finished before New Yorkers have a chance to voice their opinion. Consider this year as an example. Now, be honest. The New York primary was held on April 24. Were you aware of it? Did you know about it? The Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary garnered national headlines, while the New York primary received about as much attention as the grass growing on our lawns. Did Romney even bother to stop here? If he did, I didn’t notice it. He had all but officially secured the nomination so there was little incentive for him to stop by, but a little campaigning would have been nice. Hey, as ridiculous as it is, I would have liked to have even seen one or two campaign commercials. But there was no need for him to spend campaign funds on the primary, and with New York not in play for the general election there was no incentive for him to build up support for November. Switching to the other party, besides fundraising, will Obama extensively campaign here?

Officials in New Hampshire and Iowa are aware of this. Look at how early the Iowa caucuses are held. When other states tried to steal their thunder and schedule elections before these two states, they reacted by moving up their primaries. Christmas lights still decorate many lawns when Iowa caucuses are held and presidential candidates spend much of their summers in Iowa in the year before an election. Would you expect a candidate to be campaigning in New York, when it is Iowa and New Hampshire that hold so much power? Why is it like this? Why can’t there be one national day to nominate each party’s candidate so that the input of voters across the nation matters?

Whomever you support, wouldn’t it be nice if your vote mattered to them? Obama knows he’ll win New York in the general election by a comfortable margin, but if there were a direct national election, in which the winner is determined simply by who garners the most votes across the whole country, I would expect to see him make an appearance at least a couple of times. With the Electoral College, it makes little difference if he gets 55, 60 or 70 percent of the vote. But if it were a direct election, it would make a big difference. And the same goes for Romney. Getting 45 percent of the vote in New York could have a huge impact on the election, as opposed to 40 or 35. But with the Electoral College, it means nothing. So when October rolls around, neither candidate will pay us any attention except to briefly stop by Hofstra for a debate. And think about it, when was the last time you’ve seen a presidential candidate campaigning here?

So, if you’re reading this, residents of Virginia, New Hampshire, and Nevada, be sure to take the election seriously, for it is you who will choose the winner of the presidential election. And to everyone else, could we at least consider a change so our voice matters? In that way, every vote would count. What a concept.

News

While this year’s New Hyde Park Street Fair takes place one day before the first official day of fall, the event keeps the spirit of summer alive a little longer for the 20,000-25,000 attendees. 

 

Organizers are looking to up the ante for the 19th annual event on Saturday, Sept. 20, with the usual clowns and crafts supplemented by a petting zoo, pony rides and a new children’s carnival, from New Hyde Park-based Send in the Clowns.

 

“We try to capatilize on all the elements of the fair that work and modify ones that need work,” said New Hyde Park Village Board Research Assistant/Fair

Coordinator Janet Bevers. “The fair has been in place for 19 years now so in essence we follow a similar format. We invite all the village merchants to participate.”

 

The pony rides will be stationed near the Green Meadow Farms petting zoo on Lakeville Road, with the carnival setting up shop in the village’s Central Boulevard parking lot.

 

“It’s exciting to see a local company taking on a big piece of the fair,” Bevers said.

 

Fair reps expect at least 220 vendors to line the street fair this year. In the fair’s inaugural outing in 1995, just 90 craft vendors showed up.

 

“I think it’s one of the biggest events in Nassau County,” Queens-based Craft-A-Fair President Tony Ciuffo said. “The fair accentuates the local merchants.

Every year it gets more and more exciting. I expect new vendors this year. Around 25 percent of the vendors will be new this year.”

 

Each year, vendors rent space on the turnpike from New Hyde Park Road, continuing west to Covert Avenue. Last year, a few extra blocks were added near Lakeville Road.

 

Former trustee Florence Lisanti was one of the first organizers of the street fair, who trustee Donald Barbieri commended for leading the charge.

 

“[The fair] is a great day for the community,” he stated. “We’re proud to have all our local organizations along the turnpike. The merchants get to showcase what they do. We are very proud of the street fair.”

 

Local merchants, Greater New Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce members, charity and service groups can set up tables on the sidewalk free of charge, Bevers said.

 

“We view the fair as the premiere street fair on Long Island,” Bevers stated. “It goes about a square mile. The community feel to the fair is crucial. It’s a big fair and still retains its local charact

Drivers—get ready to slow down. Nassau County is currently in the process of installing school zone speed cameras in an effort to enhance safety by encouraging drivers to travel with caution, as well as support law enforcement efforts to crack down on violators and prevent accidents caused by speeding.

Nassau County officials say Sewanhaka High School will receive a camera on Covert Avenue, which spans the eastern stretch of the property. Tulip Avenue runs in front of the high school and was also considered. Cameras could begin operation in September.


Sports

New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler and catcher Travis d’Arnaud brightened the day for some patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center last week in New Hyde Park, posing for pictures and handing out gifts and autographs. The players hung out with the kids in the afternoon, playing video games and answering questions.

They also found the time to make the rounds, stopping by bedsides to spread some cheer. Mr. Met also joined the tour and was a big hit with the children, who peppered him with questions about everything from his four-fingered hand to the whereabouts of the missing Mrs. Met.

The Sewanhaka Indians football team has a season of change in store.

The Indians have moved up from Conference III to Conference II, due to an increase in enrollment, and are set to face teams that they have never seen before, according to head coach George Kasimatis.

“It is hard to gauge where we will be in this conference,” he said. “There is a lot of uncertainty as where we fit in.”


Calendar

Library Board Meeting

Thursday, Aug. 28

Welcome Reception

Wednesday, Sept. 3

Herricks School Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 4



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com