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POV: Term Limits vs. Career Politicians

In The Beginning
Derelict in their duties.”
“Disconnected from reality.”
“Cognizant of only their own self importance.”

Such words and phrases have been used to describe career politicians, whose maniacal pursuit of public adulation has set us on the path of self governed destruction.

In Huntington, the urgent neglect of property rights seems to have taken hold on board members as they prostitute themselves in front of, and in the name of, their prostrate followers and donors. Whatever rights we seem to have left are being whittled away by hordes of faceless bureaucrats and corrupt politicians as downzoning and ‘revitalization’ increase their bureaucratic stranglehold on our freedoms. As a result, the quality of life that was once enjoyed by most residents only a generation ago is now a relic of the past.

The God Of The State

As if expecting the residents to surrender to the god of the state, the town board of Huntington has now embarked on a crusade in search of a “Master Developer”, who will impose his version of government sponsored reality on those who have already been unfortunate enough to reap the benefits of past legislative stunts. Huntington is in danger of further becoming a warehouse of failed government experiments and a toxic political dumping ground.

As eminent domain becomes the lubricant of choice for this mostly corrupt and utterly hapless troupe of civic performers, tax abatements for large multinational corporations are also offered to slick campaign contributors and their deviant offspring, who infest town hall as special ‘committee’ members and political appointees. This comic tragedy plays out even further as straw candidates are lured out of hiding with the promise of free lunch, ‘green energy’ soundbites and a chance to pose with dwarf movie clowns.

Reformers Of Local Government Need Not Apply

Are term limits the answer? Will a regular turnover of “do-gooders” prevent the kind of complacency that has stalled government transparency and reform in the past? Or are we stuck for eternity with a the same gang of delinquents who had once foisted upon us the ‘day laborer’ site and the soon to be urban catastrophe of Avalon Bay?

As Clever As A Rock

With the ability to ‘politic’ on the public dime and disguise it as ‘official’ business, most career politicians would rather attend restaurant openings, Easter egg hunts and ribbon cutting ceremonies rather than tackle important issues like out of control property taxes, patronage and rising crime.

After all, aren’t photo-ops much easier and also a necessary part of the job?

I’ll tell you what’s not part of the job. It’s sending home flyers with Half Hollow Hills schoolchildren asking them to join the town’s ‘dark sky’ art contest. This unfortunate piece of intellectual dysentery was the brainchild of councilwoman Susan Berland, whose name was conspicuously posted at the top in her latest attempt to coddle the minds of young adults and pre-pubescent children during an election year.  Such misdeeds have not gone unnoticed and restraining orders may need to be issued.

The Road To Apathy

The two-party hammerlock on the electoral system needs to be broken in order to save what’s left of our republican system of government. Most voters choose not to participate, as evidenced by low voter turnout year after year, but instead wait for someone or something to stand the system up on its head and shake out all money changers who have infiltrated town hall.  Remember, complacency is what happens without opposition.

Term limits might not be a panacea, but it will at least speed up the process of eliminating omnipotence and possibly bring us into the second decade of the 21st century. Town clerk Jo Anne Raia, who fought tooth and nail along with Glenda Jackson and Susan Berland to defeat a term limit resolution last year, still, after 28 years, sticks classifieds on a bulletin board in the clerk’s office. That’s the only place you’ll get to see such pertinent information because, that, and the minutes to public meetings, are not available over the internet.

Patronage And Inbreeding

Nothing is more of an indication of an abuse of government power than the current patronage system that exists today in Huntington. It is well known that former councilman Stuart Besen was compensated for his electoral loss with a $50,000 no-show post last year that still has no job description. It took a filing of a formal complaint in order to awaken the Ethics Department from its self-imposed coma, but ultimately the complaint was dismissed on grounds that being a former board member shouldn’t prevent him from nursing on the taxpayer’s ‘teat’. Also, after three months the town attorney’s office finally said that the language of my FOIL request was “too vague” and they couldn’t tell me what Mr. Besen did all day to earn that $50k.
Excuse me, the only thing that was “too vague” was the explanation as to why we hired Mr. Besen in the first place.

Now What?
Most career politicians are long in the tooth, short on ideas and desperate for cash. They will appear any where, at any time and if you wind them up hard enough, say anything for a vote.

What ails Huntington is not the lack of housing for the young or programs for the needy. Do supporters of Avalon Bay really think that 379 apartments are going to make a dent in the housing needs of a population over 200,000? No, but the career politician makes his bread and butter by promising a chicken in every pot.  (Sorry, not one of my better lines).

What ails Huntington is voter apathy and constituent indifference, all of which career politicians bank on like large donations from corporate sponsors and progressive ideologues.

Term limits has the best shot at changing all that, but it needs candidates who actually believe it’s our best chance at cleaning up the system.

Otherwise, we’re screwed.

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7 comments to POV: Term Limits vs. Career Politicians

  • Anonymous

    plant seeds of love and reap the rewards that grow.

  • Village Voter

    Wow. That’s a very blunt, fearless article. Thank you. I hope many, many people read and digest.

  • rocket88

    Having just gone through a permit process with town hall,i think Pete is right on the ball. These are incompetent people who have jobs because of political connections or family relationships. They could not care less about you, your problem or the town in general, they have attitudes that are not only insulting but are so far away from what their mission should be it’s disgraceful. Be aware that the town codes have changed but they have not changed the web site, nor are theor inspectors aware of the changes. So much for doing your job. Please try and call town hall and get someone on the phone. I don’t think they ever heard of Thomas Edison, unless of course he invented the ring, because that’s all that happens, it rings and rings and no one picks up. Then you trot up to town hall and find half of them sleeping with the phones ringing. There is no leadership, no management, no concern, no work ethic, no respect for the very people who pay them, bad attitudes,and a “we’ll take it up whenever” attitude. This place needs a top to bottom clean up. It needs a leader who represents the people not the political placed employees. We need a reponsive, efficient, and professional town hall, not a bunch of people “on the dole” who walk around like western sheriff on the take.

    • Vivienne H. Wong

      The reason you had a terrible experience is that the Town Board has eliminated a large number of staff positions. A number of Engineers were eliminated a few years ago. If you are waiting for an inspection, etc the wait is incredible. When Supervisor Petrone’s Deputy Supervisor retired 12/00 (never had one in the history of town – a $6,00 stipend would be paid to one of the Councilpeople now it is a $146,000+/- job) Pat Del Col who was the Director of Engineering became the new Deputy Supervisor and that position has not been filed). We have no Director of Maritime Services or Director of Public Safety. Huntington has over 68 miles of waterfront and is the reason that I and many many people moved to Huntington. I am actually afraid that something terrible will happen this summer to a boater. How can the Town Board at each meeting pass new resolutions yet not fill these Department Head positions? I think something is terribly wrong with the town finances and our resources are knowingly being squandered. The Town of Huntington for the past 10 years accelerated its decline under Berland and Jackson run for photo ops and nonsense press releases. Vote both of them out November 8th.

      • Npt Resident

        We need to vote in REPUBLICANS, get the Dems out.
        Too bad we don’t know who our choices are. Still no announcement out of headquarters.
        MAY 20TH!!!! Hello, anybody home??? What are they waiting for? Please, someone answer me.

        • rocket88

          What’s May 20th? Sorry for the ignorance on my part but really, I don’t know what May 20th means, plaese fill me in. I’m also not sure when election day is for Petronea dnthe rest of these sand bagging politicians. And, as I heard from the grape vine, town taxes are going up big time. CAn anyone tell me what is required to run for town supervisor as an independent ? In order to avoid either party buracracy I guess you would need to run as a true independent or pick up an endoresement from one of the third parties. But is their a petition required? I’d love to know because there are many outstanding citizens who are baby boomers that are early retiree’s, wealthy enough to support their own campaign, that would do a great job for the people, and be a term limit advocate!! Where can I get the info?

          • Vivienne H. Wong

            I think the person above means that on May 24th the Suffolk County Republicans have the convention and state who they are endorsing for candidates. Huntington has not named any one yet. I don’t know why this has not happened as every two years a town and county election. You don’t have to be a registered Republican to get the endorsement. In fact, Huntington for the last number of years has picked non Republicans, people that have never voted and even nominated a few people guaranteed to lose as they have lost 2 or 3 times. 2 seats up this November Berland and Jackson. my email address is if you have any further questions.

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