Friday, 25 June 2010 00:00The leading story in The Roslyn News of June 17, entitled “Construction Project Moves Forward,” should make every resident of the Town of North Hempstead wake up to what is happening to our community.
Despite the overwhelming opposition to the construction of a building for retail space at the location of the TJ MAXX shopping center on Northern Boulevard, the town board voted to approve the construction, although limiting it in size.
In so voting, by a vote of 5-2, the board disregarded the concerns of the elected officials of the Village of East Hills, numerous civic associations, homeowners, officials from the Roslyn School District and representatives of the Roslyn Rescue Fire Company. In fact, at numerous public meetings, no one spoke in favor of the additional construction except for representatives of the owner of the property.
It is incredible that Supervisor Jon Kaiman and the majority of the board disregarded the clear wishes of the community and foisted this project upon us. In so doing they disregarded the existing traffic conditions and the numerous other problems that this project will create.
The greatest amount of blame must be directed at Councilman Thomas Dwyer, whose district encompasses the area where the construction will take place.
Dwyer will be quick to point out that he voted against the project, but this is nothing more than a charade, for which he must be called to task.
His vote was of no consequence. This was nothing more than a game. Since the votes were there to approve the project, Councilman Dwyer was allowed to vote “no” and place himself in a position where he could argue that he voted against the construction.
However, the real question is where was his leadership and why didn’t he fight to convince the other members of the town board that the additional construction was not in the best interests of his constituents and would cause further problems to the area.
Anyone with a minimal understanding of the system of councilmanic districts in the Town of North Hempstead, understands that when a project affects a particular district, the councilman from that district can, if he or she wishes, veto a project and the remaining members of the council, from outside that district, will go along. In this way they can be assured that when they oppose a project in their own district they will have the support of the other council members.
So let us not be fooled by Councilman Dwyer’s vote. In truth, he did nothing to lead the opposition to the project. He disregarded the wishes of his constituents and failed to heed the concerns of the firefighters, school board officials, village officials, civic association leaders and homeowners.
Back on May 10, prior to the vote on the project, and after having attended several meetings of the town board, where the subject of the project was discussed, I wrote to Councilman Dwyer and pointed out that more was needed from him than just voting “no” on the project. In my letter I stated, “This goes much further than merely voting against the project. The project will pass even if you do not vote for it and thereby place yourself in a position of saying that you did not support it. That game will not work.”
Councilman Dwyer is up for re-election in November. Many people, residing in East Hills and Greenvale, directly affected by the project, have already voiced support to go door-to-door, urging voters not to support Councilman Dwyer. It is hoped that all segments of Councilman Dwyer’s district, irrespective of party affiliation, will cast their ballot against his re-election this November. It he wasn’t willing to fight for his constituents, and oppose this unwanted project, we should make certain that he does not have our support this November. Perhaps this will start a groundswell and will make Supervisor Kaiman, and other members of the town board, understand that they hold office only so long as we see fit to vote for them.
Councilman Dwyer has chosen to disregard his constituents and not use his position to advocate on our behalf. It is time we let him know that his political game playing will have consequences.
It is hoped that everyone in this community will recognize that we have been sold out and will realize that it is time we use our vote to let our elected officials know that we disapprove of their actions.
Andre L. Ferenzo