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Opinion

The election results of May 16 speak volumes about Port Washington and represent a paradigm shift in its future. What was once for years a charming, somewhat isolated North Shore community with a reputation for good schools and an easy commute is now ancient history.

Longtime residents of Port Washington have benefited by these attributes as evidenced by the grossly over-priced housing market. Many a young family from Manhattan or elsewhere was willing to pay for the opportunity of living in this ideal heterogeneous community with good schools and an easy commute.

To call Port Washington a community would now be a mistake. We are a divided town. The division is between those who are passionately committed to a bright future for their children and recognize the need for significant improvements to our schools against those that are committed to keeping things more or less the same at a minimum or no-cost basis. Those with vision know you can't hear the music unless you pay the band. But as the cliché goes, the people have spoken.

What they have said is reflected in the final vote - we are about mediocrity. No one, including this writer wants to pay more taxes and face an additional debt burden. But to defeat the operating budget - hello, is anybody home? If an alternative bond plan was thoughtfully and intelligently presented, a plan that could be executed and satisfy the educational requirements of a rapidly growing district - then this would have been a good, highly-spirited election. Rather, it was an "us" versus "them" campaign and the only ones trapped in the middle are the current and future students that attend Port Washington schools.

For those gloating over the results, this is truly a shallow victory. Far bigger problems loom around the corner which can no longer be patched over with yet another band-aid. Perhaps the collective wisdom, experience and dedication of the newly formed school board is up to the task. Or perhaps, we've just created our very own Frankenstein.

Farewell to Port Washington. Hello Port Mediocrity, lacking vision and guts - but still an easy commute.

Barry Abrams


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