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Letter: Facts vs. Politicking

I have been attacked quite a bit lately in Letters to the Editor and by representatives of the Village of Manorhaven in interviews conducted that have appeared in Port Washington News articles.

The points that I’m bringing to light in the two ads that have run in the Port Washington News were supported with documentation provided to Anton Community Newspapers. Their management reviewed the support and was satisfied that the statements being made were factual. As a resident of Manorhaven, I want to be sure our government is honestly and optimally representing us. I am sticking to the facts, plain and simple.

Conversely, Mayor Giunta and her administration are making politically motivated, false statements and false accusations against these proven, supported facts without providing documentation to support their claims.

Here are just a few examples:

1) In a Port Washington News article on Feb. 15 and a Letter to the Editor on March 15, Mayor Giunta and her administration are taking credit for turning the village’s finances around to achieve a Standard & Poors (S&P) A+ rating, blaming the previous administration for the negative rating. The fact, as verified by the editor of the Port Washington News during a conversation with a representative from S&P, is that the A+ rating was given to the previous administration for Fiscal Year Ending May 2011, over a year before Mayor Giunta took office.

2) Mayor Giunta’s Letter of March 15 mistakenly includes me in the administration that preceded the one in which I served as “poor stewards of the village finances.” It was an administration that preceded the one during which I served that the Standard & Poors (S&P) negative rating was based (2000-2008). The administration that followed (and to which I was appointed trustee for its last five months) turned that negative rating to an A+ rating.

3) In a Port News article dated March 8, 2013, Village Attorney Charles Casolaro denounced the newspaper, claiming, “I had a deal with these people…I had written a letter to the Port Washington News…asking to stop this crap…” The fact, as stated by Anton’s former managing editor in a clarification published on March 15, 2013, is

 “…I never made an agreement with anyone not to print letters critical of government…That said, I did have a standard for such criticism—no outright false statements or personal attacks.” It would be wise for Mr. Casolaro and the village to follow this standard and stop making outright false statements and personal attacks.

4) I am being accused of disrupting BOT meetings, but I haven’t spoken during a meeting since October, when the Village Attorney and mayor shouted me down and did not allow me to finish my statement. Although my record as a trustee has come under attack, I only served for five months as an appointed trustee after Mayor Meehan resigned. I am also being blamed for bad fiscal responsibility and other poor performance records, but they all precede my term. While my term was relatively brief, I led the BOT to adopt a two percent spending cap as directed by Governor Cuomo. Ours was one of only ten of 90 villages that met the New York State requirement without asking for an exemption.

5) A quote from a reprinted Letter in the Port News from Manorhaven Village Attorney Charles Casolaro states, “…those citizens and news publication outlets have a responsibility to be right in that criticism.” Based on the verified facts provided to the Port Washington News, the Village of Manorhaven is not being responsibly right in either their claims or criticisms. I have done my due diligence by ensuring that every false statement the village is making is verified. Mr. Casolaro’s criticisms are not.

Every government needs checks and balances to ensure its residents and businesses are being optimally represented. Let’s stick to the issues and the facts surrounding the Village of Manorhaven instead of misleading its constituents and attacking people personally.

Jim Avena

Manorhaven Residents Party