Opinion

There was a story in Newsday on Sept. 30 about promised state grants to organizations like the Port Washington Athletic Association being withdrawn by the state. Why? Because State Senator Balboni, a Republican, is no longer this area's representative and we are represented by a Democrat. This political squabble in our legislature has cost community organizations such as the PWAA ($250,000 as reported by Newsday) and the Port Washington Education Foundation ($20,000). Importantly, these grants were made with a proviso that the money must first be spent, and then the organization will be reimbursed.

This is not and should not be a political issue. This is an issue of ethics and morality. These funds were promised. The state has made a contract, if not legally binding, certainly morally binding. Yet our legislature has put petty politics before ethics. You make a promise, you keep it. I encourage all to write to the majority and minority leaders of the state legislature to tell them to meet their financial commitments - and to change the laws so once the state makes a grant, they cannot withdraw it based on political whim.

I am a Democrat, yet always supported Senator Balboni because he effectively represented our district. But the former senator has now disappointed me. He made these grants. Now, serving in a different position, he has not made any public efforts to ensure his commitments are executed. Instead, as quoted in Newsday, he just says that the distribution of which programs get state funds "is at the discretion and interest of the legislature." True, he is no longer in the legislature. But he should have the guts to publicly state that what is being done is wrong. We need courageous public servants. If Mr. Balboni ever runs for public office again, he no longer has my vote.

Mark Mogul


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