For most of us, the end of the year causes reflection. The beginning of a new year often brings resolutions. As we begin this new year, I hope that members of our community would consider adding a resolution to their lists. The resolution being to join us, the members of BOBCAT (Better Oyster Bay Community Action Team), in the fight against substance abuse in our community. BOBCAT is a community coalition which does not have an affiliation with any pre-existing organization.
We have gotten off to a good start, however, we need to increase our ranks. Three teams have been formed: asset building, community watch, parent network and support. We invite you to come to our meeting on Monday, Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. in the Oyster bay High School cafeteria to learn what these teams are doing and how you can help. Everyone has a role to play, a contribution to make. Don't sit back and ponder or criticize what should be done. If you want to see positive change, you must become part of the force that effects change! The time of denial and complacency is in the past.
At the end of 1999, when we pause to reflect the events of the year, let us hope that we will be able to say no other lives were lost or ruined, some battles were won and that together we made a "Better Oyster Bay" for all. I want to be able to say that I was part of the reason for this. Don't you?
Mary Di Sario
BOBCAT Steering Committee
With one dissenting vote, Oyster Bay Cove's mayor and board of trustees passed a resolution at the Dec. 15 board meeting that in effect states, we do not trust the electorate. The resolution calls for a public hearing on the enactment of a new village law that would extend the terms of office for mayor and trustees from two to four years. Thirty days after this hearing, the law would go into effect unless a petition requesting a public referendum on the proposal law is submitted to the board. This petition would have to contain the signatures of at least 20 percent of the voters registered at the time of the last election (about 300), a daunting task in the dead of winter.
As his rationale for this change, Mayor Peragine states that "elections cost the village money" and that it would "quell the divisiveness presently existing in the village." The fact that we have an active electorate is a compelling reason for the present two year terms and annual elections. It seems to me that our most sacred democratic right is the right to vote! Limiting elections, extending terms, and stifling debate dilutes the electorate's control over local government.
The village has adhered to two year terms since incorporation in the 1930s as have most of our neighboring north shore villages. Why should we change now? I sincerely hope that village voters will voice their opinion at the public hearing scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 19 at East Woods School. This important decision belongs to the citizens, not to the mayor and board of trustees. Nothing short of a public referendum will do. Let the people speak.
Rosemary E. Bourne