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Opinion

Although most readers will not be aware of my effort, on Thursday, Nov. 10, I submitted the required signatures to run for garbage commissioner in Port Washington. My motivation is to give back to the community where I grew up and waste management is one area where I have developed expertise through my career as a securities analyst following the environmental services industry. I am proud of my work in the environmental field, having been recognized by Institutional Investor and The Wall Street Journal on numerous occasions as one of the top analysts in this field.

In my efforts to get on the December ballot, I enlisted the assistance of a local friend, who shall remain unnamed. On the morning of Nov. 15, only five days after submitting signatures in order to appear on the ballot, I discovered an item on my car that, in my opinion, amounted to a deeply personal attack on the friend who assisted me. This information was not only placed on my car, but posted at school bus stops in the neighborhood where he lives and faxed to various local businesses, including his wife's place of employment, causing unnecessary anxiety and embarrassment for my friend, his wife and children. Of course, the source of this material is unknown; however, the timing of the distribution combined with the fact I was the only house on my block that received this information, leads me to the only logical conclusion I can determine - this disgraceful act is related to my decision to run for garbage commissioner and my friend's decision to assist me in that effort. While I am more than willing to serve this community as a garbage district commissioner, I am unwilling to subject a friend to these kinds of personal attacks, and have therefore withdrawn my name from the ballot for garbage commissioner.

The reason for this letter is to make the community aware of these events as the incumbent will now run uncontested. I ask, as all readers of this letter should ask, what possible motivation there was to launch such an attack. It was not a nasty campaign. In fact, there was no campaign. I had not even purchased a sign to announce my candidacy. It certainly wasn't because of the compensation, as this position produces less than $2,000 of annual net pay for each commissioner annually. What could possibly be so important in the position of garbage commissioner that would incite these attacks before a campaign even starts?

I have drawn my conclusion and I leave it to Port News readers to draw their own conclusion. However, one thing is very clear. As a community, we have neglected our special districts and the people we elect to these offices, assuming that those elected will do the right thing.

It is time we all paid more attention, as these districts impose a tax burden on the community and dramatically affect the quality of life on this peninsula.

Doug Augenthaler


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