Thursday, November 8, 2007
Voters -- or at least the few who bothered to show up at the polls on Tuesday -- had their say, and decided, rather resoundingly, that "same old, same old" is okay by them, and that the status quo is good enough.
We, of course, don't believe that. Not for a moment.
The status quo is never good enough, and "same old, same old" has absolutely no place in representative government.
We'd like to think that, at least on some level, Michael Uhl's message of change, advocacy, and accountability got out there -- at least we know its floating around in cyberspace -- and that, given the indifference of an "off" year election, most voters, already feeling disenchanted, if not disenfranchised by years of benign neglect from their government (we're being polite, if not generous), decided, unfortunately, to register their dismay by staying away from the polls.
The key, going forward, will be to not only deliver the message, but to engrain the message on the minds of the electorate. We must, as well, instill that sense of both excitement and urgency -- the kind where folks are saying, "We just can't wait to get out and vote!"
This campaign, now behind us, has been invigorating as it has been enlightening. Michael has enjoyed his stoop-side chats with residents, and has shared in your concerns over the issues that impact upon both wallet and quality of life.
But that, friends, was the easy part.
The real work remains before us. The task of taking the property tax bull by the horns (without the "bull" that emanates from the legislative chambers) so that we can effectively lower the tax bill without gimmick or faux rebate. The task of protecting the water we drink, the green space that defines suburbia, and that house behind the white picket fence. The task of rebuilding infrastructure, revitalizing downtown, and reinventing community.
In the debate that marked the official start of this campaign, Vincent Muscarella referred to himself as a "low-key legislator."
It is our hope that, if Mr. Muscarella has heard our message at all, he will take away from this campaign a renewed outlook on representative government; one that requires a strong voice, a firm commitment to community, and a willingness not only to listen to his constituents, but to zealously advocate on their collective behalf.
It was, after all, Mr. Muscarella who, so many times over the years, has said, "There is no greater service to the community than public service." We agree!
From the Friends of Michael Uhl, we thank you, and encourage you to keep up the fight. The best is yet to come!
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Today, the Uhl tide turns!
Today is Election Day. It is also Independence Day for those of us who have staked our claim in Nassau County's 8th Legislative District.
Today is the day we, the people, decide whether we want change, advocacy, and accountability, or another two years of a self-proclaimed "low-key legislator" who resists change, advocates only for the party faithful and special interests, and is accountable to no one but the political Machine he serves.
Today is the day we fight back to lower property taxes, not by a foolhearty freeze, but by a well-planned consolidation of local government, eliminating the waste, carving out the corruption, and curbing unnecessary spending.
Today we send a message to our elected officials -- a message that will reverberate from Albany to Town Hall -- that it is time to return government to the people, and for our legislators to get back to work for the people.
Today will mark the end of legislative dysfunction, and the beginning of an era where you will have a voice in government, and a say in your future.
Today is the day we will send Michael Uhl to the Nassau County Legislature, because we understand that WITH A UHL WIN, WE ALL WIN!
ELECT MICHAEL UHL AS YOUR COUNTY LEGISLATOR
Monday, November 5, 2007
Here we are, folks. One day to go before Election Day, November 6th.
There's quite a bit of excitement at the Uhl team. Our polls show that, what once was an insurmountable lead by our sitting legislator (and we do mean "sitting"), has dwindled down to a virtual neck-and-neck. [Shhh! Don't tell Vinny. He might wake up at the last minute and send out a mailing.]
We've climbed the mountain, and can see the summit. [All right. Its the Hempstead Plain. You need a little imagination.]
As far as we have gone, and as close as we may be to pulling off a November miracle, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels -- or on the chance that the friends of Michael Uhl will come out to vote, while the supporters of the status quo stay home.
Now is the time for all of those who believe that change in the Nassau County Legislature is long overdue, to come to the aid, not of a party or an agenda, but of the notion that we can cut property taxes, eliminate waste, consolidate so as to trim costs, and actually have local government that is by the people, of the people, and for the people.
It has been a great run; a real rush of adrenalin as we march from despair toward hope. The finish line in sight, and victory within our grasp, we call upon each of you to take that final lap with us, as we raise high the banner of community and the mantle of democracy.
Whether you hail from Garden City, or call Franklin Square your home, pass along this message to friends, neighbors, and colleagues. Help is on the way.
From Floral Park to West Hempstead, sound the call by telephone, at the local watering hole, and on street corners, to make sure folks know that our community's finest days are yet to come.
Let our friends in Elmont hear it from your lips that renewal and revitalization take more than just talk, and action is but a vote away.
With your help, your commitment to a better day for all of us, we shall gain the inevitable triumph on Tuesday, November 6th.
We all win with a Uhl win!
- - -
REALITY CHECK: We're really not "neck-and-neck" in the polls (although we are still waiting for the latest numbers from Quinnipiac and Zogby). Wouldn't it be nice, though, if Michael Uhl pulled off one of the greatest political upsets in Nassau County history? It could happen. YOU can make it happen. UHL can make it happen!
Friday, November 2, 2007
If He's Vincent Muscarella, Not Much!
- Vincent Muscarella, who, until the start of this campaign (and only because Michael Uhl raised the issue), never said a word about closing the infamous Courtesy Hotel in West Hempstead. Well, that’s not exactly true – he did tell the community, time and time again, that the County wasn’t housing sex offenders, ex-cons, and the indigent at the Courtesy. Did he not know, or was he simply being disingenuous?
- The million dollar filtration system, installed in Hall’s Pond ( a Nassau County "passive" park) back when Tom Gulotta was County Exec – and Mr. Muscarella first took office as our County Legislator – hasn’t worked in more than 8 years. Nor, apparently, has anyone maintaining the County park that surrounds the pond, other than Michael Uhl and his Community Green crew of volunteers!
- The reconstruction of Hempstead Avenue. Promises, promises. NOW its coming? Where – and from whom during which election year – have we heard that before?
- The homeless in our backyards -- and front yards. Doesn’t Mr. Muscarella know the telephone number of the County’s Department of Social Services? Oh, he did hold a 15 minute “conference” on the homeless problem once. Guess the homeless don’t vote, so Vincent Muscarella doesn’t care.
- Remember the $150 million in Environmental Bond monies, some of which was “allocated” for projects in the 8th Legislative District? Have you taken a walk through your local County park lately? Whatever happened to the money earmarked for our communities? [Pssst. Don’t ask Vincent Muscarella. He doesn’t know!]
- Read about the special taxing districts ripping off the public? Franklin Square Water District. Sanitary District No. 1. You name the district, they’re picking taxpayers’ pockets. In just three short years as a West Hempstead Water Commissioner, Michael Uhl took one special district out of the shadows, opening the tap on rampant nepotism, outlandish waste (as in Commissioners drawing pay for meetings never attended), and “water quality by chance.” Imagine what he could do as our County Legislator!
Tip of the iceberg, but hey, you have to start somewhere. Vincent Muscarella has had 12 long years as a County Legislator, and he hasn’t left the gate yet. Isn’t it time for a change?
On Tuesday, November 6th, elect Michael Uhl as YOUR Nassau County Legislator. Its time to get started, for a change!
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
To say that a challenger has it tough, with press coverage a rarity and the power of incumbency paramount, is an understatement.
When the opposition flaunts the law, however, and stoops to “stealing” the election, successfully challenging the status quo becomes darn near impossible.
Once elected as your Nassau County Legislator, Michael Uhl will introduce legislation that will seek to level the playing field, making it unlawful for a government worker, supervisor, or commissioner to remove or order the removal of any lawfully placed political signage from private property. The penalty? Loss of employment, benefits, and pension rights.
The simple yet necessary goal of Michael’s mission is to bring to an end the unfair and unlawful campaign/election practices that have marred the electoral process in Nassau County for many years.
“We can create a healthy democracy that will encourage more quality citizens to run and serve, not to mention vote.” Says Uhl. “Today’s good citizen will not attempt to run for office in this current climate of sign stealing and political chicanery. Local elections, where officeholders are allowed to run roughshod over the opposition and the democratic process, without accountability, are, in effect, being stolen from the voters.”
Michael will work with the Nassau County Legislature and the Nassau County Police Department to establish a fair local election task force to, once and for all, end the practice of “stealing” elections.
Apathy, and ineffective government, is fueled by unfair local election practices. On Tuesday, November 6th, you have the opportunity to level the playing field.
Friday, October 26, 2007
From the Opinions page, Newsday, October 26, 2007:
Editorial: Hold hearings on Nassau reassessment
Surely reassessment needs to be reassessed. What Nassau County's complex and cumbersome process doesn't need is to be crudely politicized. Yet that is what Nassau Republicans are trying to do this election season, with their false promise that a five-year freeze on assessments will lower property taxes.
The Democrats can't totally escape blame, either. They used the same cynical tactic back in 2003, in successfully defeating the GOP assessor. And the ruling Democratic Party should have acknowledged much earlier the need for a full airing of all the complaints about errors in the process and the unpredictability of bills. The skyrocketing housing market of the past few years, combined with the clumsily implemented massive reassessment ordered by the courts in 2000 (to correct decades of unfair taxing when the county was controlled by the GOP), created this mess.
Freezing assessments won't lower taxes. Decreased spending by school districts will lower taxes. In the Uniondale school district, where houses are reassessed by the same county system, taxes this year are going up a dollar or two at most. That's because the school district produced a no-increase budget. And if the state's STAR rebate program were applied directly to this year's bill - instead of arriving through the mail as a check, in an election-year stunt - the tax bills in most districts would actually be lower.
The county assessor, Harvey Levinson, has already made some improvements. The Ohio firm hired by the previous assessor to conduct the colossal re-evaluation of the tax rolls is being phased out; a local team is likely to make fewer errors. And homeowners will now be promptly notified of the result of their challenge to the previous year's assessment. Before, owners were forced to file annual challenges by March 1 without knowing whether they'd won or lost last year's case. And now, if they win, the result will be immediately corrected on the current roll. The pingpong game should end.
After the election, the county legislature owes it to the taxpayers to conduct full hearings to make sure the system is working better. Unfortunately, honest talk about assessment doesn't fit into sound bites or political mailings. The only way to reduce taxes is to stop spending or find a municipal money tree. Anyone who promises anything else will also try to sell you a bridge.
Copyright © 2007, Newsday Inc
Michael Uhl. A registered “blank,” not beholden to any political party or agenda; not in the pocket of any special interest.
Michael Uhl. An independent for change, asking for your support in his challenge to the status quo, where partisan bickering and political posturing in the County Legislature has resulted in stalemate and dysfunction.
Michael Uhl. A candle in the darkness who says we can tame the property tax monster, consolidate the special taxing districts, eliminate the waste, and reclaim the vision that was America’s first suburb.
For 12 long years, homeowners/taxpayers have endured the hardship of paying too much for too little. We have seen our parents unable to afford to live in their own homes, and our children forced to move away.
For 12 long years, our County Legislator has sat, in virtual silence, towing the party line rather than watching our bottom line.
For 12 long years, we have paid the price and met the burden, demanding responsive and responsible government. All we get is the same old, same old.
After 12 long years, haven’t we had enough?
Michael Uhl says we can do better. We must do better.
We have the opportunity to bring change to the Nassau County Legislature, reform and accountability to local government, and relief to every resident of the 8th Legislative District.
ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6th, ELECT MICHAEL UHL
TO THE NASSAU COUNTY LEGISLATURE
A TRUE INDEPENDENT FOR A CHANGE
VOTE ROW A
Thursday, October 25, 2007
To hear Vincent Muscarella tell it, the solution to global warming is for all of us to stop exhaling.
That's the gist of Muscarella's support for Peter Schmitt's assessment "freeze," an unrealistic, "nothing up my sleeve" approach to a very real problem, and one that won't go away with the wave of a mercurial magic wand.
If you think "the big freeze" is the answer, we invite you to revisit George Rand's piece on The Uhl Blog, Lies My Legislator Told Me.
The proposed Schmitt/Muscarella "freeze" is more than just "stupid public policy," as Newsday called it, it is an affront to the intelligence of every homeowner in Nassau County.
"There's only one way to cut property taxes at the local level," suggests Michael Uhl, candidate for Nassau County Legislature in the 8th District, "and that's to stop spending the taxpayers' money as if it grows on trees."
And speaking of trees, apparently Mr. Muscarella doesn't think too much of them, either.
Muscarella sided with developers -- in fact, he represented them before the Town's Zoning Board of Appeals -- looking to build too big houses on too little lots, all while cutting down the trees.
"We want to preserve the suburban character of our communities," says Uhl, "not turn Nassau into a barren wasteland, where places like Bellmore look more like the Bronx."
Uhl added, "We need zoning that does not carve up our residential neighborhoods by carving out exceptions to the established rules on lot size and frontage from the street, and a Legislator who takes up the cause of community, not the developers."
So where does Vincent Muscrella stand on issues such as property tax relief, the environment, and neighborhood preservation? Not with the good people of Nassau County, we're afraid.
On Tuesday, November 6th, you have the opportunity to change the business as usual politics that keeps property taxes high, code enforcement nonexistent, and trees on the chopping block.
On November 6th, Vote for Michael Uhl for the Nassau County Legislature, and Cut Taxes, Not Trees!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Recognized as Long Island's premier quality of life watchdog group, The Community Alliance has given its endorsement to Michael Uhl in his quest to unseat long-seated incumbent Vincent Muscarella in the County's 8th Legislative District.
Describing Michael as a "longtime community activist, who has pulled out the plugs and opened all the flood gates," The Community Alliance calls him, "a proponent of competent and efficient government," who, "having brought much needed reforms to the waterlogged in his hometown, now challenges the longstanding inertia of legislative malaise in Nassau County's 8th Legislative District."
The Community Alliance has a reputation for not only taking up the many causes of community, a catalyst for action, but also for supporting candidates for elected office who are progressive community activists.
"I am pleased to have the support of those who are looking out for the people who call America's first suburb home," says Michael Uhl. "And I will be delighted to further advance the cause of community as the next County Legislator representing the 8th LD."
On Tuesday, November 6th, join your fellow community advocates in sending Michael Uhl to the Nassau County Legislature.
May 9, 2001
Metro Briefing New York: Mineola: Bill to License Tattoo Parlors
By AL BAKER (NYT) (COMPILED BY ANTHONY RAMIREZ)
A Republican bill to have all Nassau County tattoo parlors licensed by the county's Health Department has quickly gained bipartisan support. The bill, proposed yesterday by Legislator Vincent Muscarella, would also require anyone under 18 to receive notarized parental consent before being tattooed, branded or having body parts pierced, except for the ear. Concerns about diseases being transmitted through unclean needles led to the legislation. If passed, the law would take effect on Jan. 1, and violators would face fines of up to $1,000. Al Baker (NYT)
Is this all we get from Vincent Muscarella after 12 long years in the Nassau County Legislature?
On Tuesday, November 6th, make it no more one hit wonders. Elect Michael Uhl, and watch the hits keep coming!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Write on, Joye!
No sooner than my lawn signs are planted in terra firma, they are removed -- mostly by folks who can't even read what's written on them -- at the direction of those faithful to "the other party."
For my own personal experience, read The Uhl Blog post, One Party Rules In The Trashing Of Lawn Signs.
An affront to free speech, if not democracy itself, such juvenile (not to mention illegal) acts undermine the election process, and deprive the voters of a very basic means of communication from candidates for public office.
Hopefully, voters will take this absence of signs as a sign itself; that they need to do their homework, see who's out there, take heed of the issues, and vote -- even if its for the candidate with the fewest signs!
Candidate for Nassau County Legislature,
Monday, October 22, 2007
In the recently concluded -- although admittedly unscientific -- e-poll as conducted by The Uhl Blog, 86% of those responding told us that the escalating property tax is, by far, the most pressing issue faced by residents.
While the blight upon our "Main Streets" and the condition of county parks and roadways ranked right up there, clearly, the bread and butter, "what's left in my wallet," issue of property taxes is first on the minds of Nassau's homeowners.
"This comes as no surprise," says Michael Uhl, Candidate for Nassau County Legislator in the 8th District. "While our legislature fiddles with smoke-and-mirror fixes -- like a "freeze" of the reassessment -- special taxing districts, wasteful government spending, duplication of services, and school budgets that, in some instances, are large enough to operate small countries, are out of control, sending our property taxes through the roof."
Rather than to merely "freeze" assessments (which, for 2008, owing to the decline in the housing market, would most likely go down, not up), Michael Uhl proposes that we clean out the festering would, rather than to pour salt on it, thereafter covering the infection with a Band-Aid.
"If you 'freeze' the assessment," Uhl opines, "as my opponent suggests, and your school district, water district, sanitary district -- shall I go on? -- needs still more money to grease the wheels of its burgeoning machine, then the taxing entity will simply increase the tax rate, leaving homeowners with the same assessed value as the year before, and a higher property tax bill."
Even assuming a "freeze" of the assessment was to hold the line on property taxes, Uhl asks, "Would you prefer that your taxes stay the same, or go down?"
The key, according to Michael Uhl, is not to 'freeze,' but to actually lower taxes by consolidating services, eliminating waste and duplication, and trimming spending of taxpayer money.
"Just how many water districts do we need in Nassau County?," asks Uhl. "And how many sanitary districts, at varying tax rates with inconsistent services, does it take to pick up the garbage? That's our money being flushed down the toilet and hauled off to the dump. Its got to stop!"
Readers of this blog are invited to take the latest e-poll, which asks about the most effective means of cutting property taxes. To participate in the e-poll, scroll down to the bottom of this page.
On Tuesday, November 6th, don't leave the lowering of your property tax to a smoke-and-mirrors "freeze," or to wishing upon a STAR. Send Michael Uhl to the Nassau County Legislature, and let's get some real tax relief.
Why is it that some folks have to steal elections? Is it because that's the only way they can win?
And why has our County Legislator, Vincent Muscarella, not publicly condemned this outrageous and unlawful conduct; that which has apprently become an election season tradition?
Our "low key legislator" on the down low, we suppose.
Sign stealing is not only illegal, it is an affront to free speech and a violation of everything we hold dear in our democracy.
If you see lawn signs or lawfully posted campaign placards being taken down before the election, please call Michael Uhl at 516-521-0044 and let him know.
Hijacking Democracy. This is just one of the many things Michael Uhl is working to change.
On Tuesday, November 6th, Elect Michael Uhl, for a change!
Ever Ask Vincent Muscarella why we're still facing the same problems in the 8th Legislative District that we complained about more than a decade ago?
What's with the runaway property taxes?
"Well, that's out of my control."
Could it be that when your party held reign over the Legislature from 1996 to 2001, and Tom Gulotta was borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, you were rubber stamping the County Executive's budget without giving it a second thought? Now who is paying for that mess?
Shhh! Don't wake the sleeping Legislator!
Crumbling infrastructure? Blight? Roadways and parks that cry out for maintenance and repair?
"Well, we don't have the money."
What was your excuse, Mr. Muscarella, when, back in the days of smoke and mirrors, you did have the money?
Shhh! Don't wake the sleeping Legislator!
All of these special taxing districts, picking our pockets. Why can't you consolidate services and eliminate the waste?
"Well, we're in the minority."
And all those years, Mr. Muscarella, when you were in the majority, and did nothing but borrow, spend, and feed the fiefdoms of Machine politics?
Shhh! Don't wake the sleeping Legislator!
Had enough of this Shhh!?
On Tuesday, November 6th, send Michael Uhl to the Nassau County Legislature, and wake them all up!
Friday, October 19, 2007
Vincent Muscarella, Nassau County Legislator. The product of a tired, old political machine – one that has, through the most obstreperous of conduct and a most contagious malaise, rendered the Nassau County Legislature all but dysfunctional.
Twelve years as a Nassau County Legislator, and not much to show for it back home.
The long, long overdue reconstruction of Hempstead Avenue in West Hempstead. A County project on the drawing board for more than ten years, and no closer to fruition today than it was a decade ago.
Hall’s Pond Park, where neglect is more prevalent than grass, a million-dollar filtration pump, installed during the Gulotta Administration, and non-functional since.
The Courtesy and the Capri, where the County continues to harbor transients, convicts, and sex offenders.
Hey, if Vincent Muscarella, a resident of West Hempstead, can’t muster a response to problems in his own backyard, what do you expect he’ll do for your community?
Do you want someone whose ambition is to serve on the legislature for life, or someone who will bring life to the Nassau County legislature?
Michael Uhl, a true independent, not beholden to any political party or position, offers a change from the stagnation of same old, same old. Environmentalist, conservationist, one of us.
Michael has taken on the Machine before, and won! He ran for Water Commissioner in West Hempstead, defeating – albeit by only three write-in votes – an entrenched incumbent who fought to keep the public in the dark, and his family and friends in no-show patronage jobs.
With Michael’s election, the floodgates were opened, at long last. Inefficiency and waste in the special district exposed; the public informed, for the first time, of contaminants in our water; the cleansing light of day permitted to shine on a water district – by way of newsletter, website, and an unprecedented public presence – that, for too long, operated only in the shadows.
The 8th Legislative District has been represented – or should we say, under-represented – by the same person since its opening session back in January, 1996. And here we are, 12 years later, through both Republican and Democratic majorities, no better off today than we were then.
Isn’t it time for a change? Isn’t it time for an independent voice in your County Legislature? You bet it is!
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Never mind those stolen lawn signs, or the inability of a challenger to get a word in edge-wise in the press (West Hempstead Beacon, excepted). The former being the sad state of affairs, where one party verily believes that it has an entitlement to absolute power; the latter being the way that the media, best of intentions aside, unwittingly perpetuates incumbency.
Let's talk about the issues. Wait a minute. That's the problem. Who's talking about the issues this campaign season?
The incumbents seem content to rest on their, er, laurels -- certainly their records would not provide a sufficient platform for repose -- and the challengers, with rare exception, seem to be simply absent from the scene.
More troubling, where are the good people of our towns, villages, and county, up in arms about property taxes, blighted 'Main Streets', twenty miles of ugly along the Turnpike, and special districts that threaten to tax us out of house and home?
Sure, a few among us are standing up and speaking out, but let's face it, there's not much of a tidal wave -- or even a ripple -- among the populce of our county's fair hamlets.
Do we have to be driven off the island before we are moved to action? Are we that complacent, content? Are things that good? Or have we been caught in the headlights as we are driven to distraction by the same old smoke-and-mirrors politics -- call it the Tom Gulotta effect -- that practically drove Nassau to ruins?
Michael Uhl, candidate for Nassau County Legislator in the 8th District, offers a change from same old, same old, and the opportunity for each of us to stand up for true tax relief, real downtown revitalization, and a beautification of the Turnpike that goes far beyond brick pavers and Victorian-style street lamps.
Michael Uhl knows that we do care, we are concerned, and that "deer in the headlights" look on the faces of some of our neighbors is not fear at all, but shell shock and frustration brought on by local government that is both ineffective and inefficient.
It is now for us, and each of us, to take back our government from the special interests, the career politicians, and the patronage hacks; to discuss and debate the difficult issues that impact on our lives and our livelihoods; and to raise our voices to say, ENOUGH!
On Tuesday, November 6th, do more than simply watch that grass grow. Send Michael Uhl to the Nassau County Legislature, and give your community a voice!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Having dwelled in the political swamps, the primordial waters stirred only slightly by the rust-laden paddles of the political Machine for the better part of two decades, Mr. Muscarella, coming onto terra firma infrequently -- and then only to issue a press release on sunscreen -- has become resistant to change.
You say we need some evolution? Michael Uhl agrees.
On Tuesday, November 6th, Vote for evolution in the Nassau County Legislature. Elect Michael Uhl, For A Change.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
From Merrick Life, www.merricklife.com/stories/081607blwashdevelopment.html
Hempstead Town BZA hears Washington Avenue development argument
by Loraine A. Milazzo
On August 9, as members of the Town of Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals heard an application for a variance on property at 400 Washington Avenue in Bellmore, a large contingent of Bellmore residents were there in force to oppose the application.
The controversy surrounds a house on Washington Avenue that has a 100-foot frontage along that street and measures approximately 125 feet in depth. The builder, Avillano Development, is in contract to purchase the property for $550,000, raze the house and erect two homes. The property would be subdivided into two lots measuring 50 feet across and about 125 feet in depth. Generally, building lots in the Town of Hempstead require 6,000-square- feet and at least 55 feet of frontage. Though each lot, if subdivided, would still maintain over 6,000-square-feet, the frontage would require a variance of five feet for each.
It doesn't seem like much, but to residents of the surrounding streets it means a great deal, indeed. The property in question is across the street from the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Regional School with an enrollment of 294 students, requiring 21 buses each day for both arrivals and departures. According to Jeffrey Toback (county legislator for 7th LD), attorney for the opposition - which calls itself The Bellmore Preservation Group, a letter from the principal of the school noted that the student population will increase by 50 to 65 more students in September. Residents complained that parking and traffic were major problems at present. The additional cars presented by another family would further exasperate the problem.
Plan laid out
Vincent T. Muscarella (county legislator for 8th LD), attorney for the developer, brought along real estate expert Barry Nelson to address questions about the subdivision. Mr. Nelson said that school buses, unless parked on a street, do nothing to negatively affect a neighborhood.
Mr. Nelson said that he had investigated the character of the surrounding community and determined that the character of the homes on Washington Avenue was different from the homes on St. Marks Avenue, which lies to the west and abuts the property. According to Mr Nelson, homes on St. Marks can be valued between $500,000 to $1 million, while the values of homes on Washington fall between $350,000 to $600,00.
Strong community ties
However, residents of both streets reacted vehemently against the distinction, saying that it was all one community. Matthew Walden, president of the Bellmore Preservation Group, declared, "We're all here because it is a community." Many of the residents protesting the subdivision had homes on St. Marks, on Centre Avenue and on surrounding streets, attesting to the strong community ties.
Many residents agreed that the subdivision would compromise the character of the neighborhood. Edward Lupardo, an 11-year homeowner on St. Marks Avenue, said that he moved to the neighborhood because of the size of the parcels of land, the tree canopy over the street and the general look of the neighborhood.
The proposal by Avillano Development would change many things, residents said. One objection was the tearing down of many of the 27 trees on the property. The application calls for a detached garage at the rear of each property requiring the removal of many trees.
County Legislator Dave Denenberg, who once worked for the Environmental Commission of New York City, spoke on behalf of the preservation group by stressing the importance of trees. "Environmental conditions are enhanced by trees," said Mr. Denenberg. Trees provide improvement to air quality, and the nutrients they contribute to soil are beneficial to water quality., he added. Mr. Nelson agreed that landscaping adds to the value of homes; however, he said that the property in question was vastly overgrown and that many of the trees could require removal owing to disease.
The objections of neighbors included the tree removal, the increased traffic and the removal of trees, but Mr. Lupardo stressed another important factor: precedent. Mr. Lupardo indicated that there were six parcels with a frontage of 100 feet in the immediate area. He feared that if the subdivision of 400 Washington were permitted it would clear the way for the six parcels to become 12 and then extrapolate beyond the area. "We don't want to set this precedent," said Mr. Lupardo.
In summation, Mr. Toback asked that the application for the subdivision be denied based upon the congestion problems, the effect the subdivision would have on the character of the neighborhood and concerns about the precedent being set. It is "a unique and beautiful part of central Bellmore," said the attorney.
Mr. Muscarella told board members that the request for a variance of five feet on each parcel was "not a substantial variance." Once again, he noted that homes on St. Marks were clearly different from homes on Washington. In regard to the trees, Mr. Muscarella said that a number of the trees are recommended for removal. The attorney stressed that Avillano Development was willing to make compromises to suit residents, such as creating an interior garage instead of a detached garage, thereby eliminating the need for longer driveways.
Zoning Board of Appeals member Robert W. O'Brien then said that members of the board would visit the site and surrounding area as a part of their decision-making process. A decision is expected within the next 60 days. Mr. O'Brien told those in attendance that if either side is unhappy, the decision could be appealed in court.
- - -
Care about the trees, the environment, and the preservation of suburbia? Michael Uhl is on your side.
As for Vincent Muscarella, well, you know whose side he's on!
On Tuesday, November 6th, save a tree, preseve community. Elect Michael Uhl to the County Legislature.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Newsday reports that "It will take at least 10 years and $13.2 million dollars to clean up contaminated groundwater at the Old Roosevelt Field Superfund site in Garden City, according to a federal plan announced last week..." Read more.
Two Village of Garden City supply wells have been contaminated with potentially carcinogenic chemicals such as tetrachloroethane (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE).
What's in your water? Who's watching the pot?
Can we trust the multitude of water districts in Nassau County to protect the public?
MTBE, PCE, TCE. What will they find in our drinking water next?
The contamination at the Garden City Superfund site dates back to the 1960s. Isn't it time we had timely testing and honest reporting from the folks who are supposed to be keeping our water safe?
Isn't 10 years too long a time to clean up a site that's been polluted for the past half century? And who's to blame for contamination to our groundwater to begin with? Is no one held accountable?
Think its time to consolidate water districts, professionally manage our water supply, cut the waste, and clean up this mess? Michael Uhl thinks so.
On Tuesday, November 6th, send Michael Uhl to the Nassau County Legislature, and tell them to clean up their act!
There we are, Nassau County. Right behind Hunterdon County in New Jersey, boasting the SECOND HIGHEST PROPERTY TAX in America.
Number Two and, from the looks of things, still trying to be number one.
Read the article from Forbes.com. then think about whether we can afford to keep on going in the wrong direction.
On Tuesday, November 6th, Elect Michael Uhl to the Nassau County Legislature, and tell them we need to try harder!
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Who has highest property taxes?
Expensive home prices and steep tax rates combine to put New York and New Jersey residents at the top of the list.
By Matt Woolsey, Forbes.com
America’s priciest property taxes
After navigating a tight credit market and securing a home loan, a big property-tax bill really hurts. And nowhere is it felt more than in New York and New Jersey, where residents pay more in these taxes than anywhere else in the country. The hardest hit? Homeowners in western New Jersey's Hunterdon County.
Last year, the median yearly property-tax bill amounted to a whopping $7,999 here, according to the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research group in Washington, D.C., which compiled data based on 2006 figures.
Things aren't much better in New York. In Nassau County, Long Island, the median homeowner drops $7,706 a year, while up north, Westchester County residents pay $7,626 a year.
In fact, New York and New Jersey residents can expect to pay up to $6,500 more in yearly property taxes than the national average. The reason: The region's homes are among the priciest in the country, and tax rates there are high as well.
"They spend more on government (in the Northeast)," says Gerald Prante, an economist at the Tax Foundation. "In New York and New Jersey, they're high on every tax."
Elsewhere, it's one or the other, not both. California properties are among the country's most expensive, but property-tax rates there are a third what they are in the Northeast. Property-tax rates in the Midwest and South are comparable to the Northeast, but the homes there are often half as valuable, making the amount paid in taxes significantly less.
Dishing the duty
Many homeowners are paying taxes based on assessments done during the real-estate bubble. Now that it's popped, they're overpaying because assessments have not kept pace with the decline in prices.
In other parts of the country, prices continue to climb. The Virginia Beach and Norfolk areas have seen four straight years of price increases, and homeowners there are finding themselves writing bigger and bigger tax checks.
Take a look a Vincent Muscarella's Blog. [Click HERE.]
Okay. So its not the Vincent Muscarella of Nassau County's 8th Legislative District, but for all the substance and sense of reality our Vincent Muscarella has, virtual or otherwise, he might as well have been playing Atari and Donkey Kong all these years.
To quote the Vincent Muscarella of the blogosphere, "Maybe I am just a little disillusioned right now with games that seem to be all flash and no substance."
Aren't we all disillusioned?
Yup. All flash and no substance. Political fun and games. That's our Vincent Muscarella.
On Tuesday, November 6th, tell the Legislature to stop playing games and get real about the issues facing Nassau County. Vote for Michael Uhl.
Unseating an incumbent is invariably an uphill battle, so challengers grab for every opportunity they can. For challenger Michael Uhl, a Democrat running for the Nassau County Legislature against GOP incumbent Vincent Muscarella, that includes his name and the Internet.
He recently send out an electronic press release headlined: “Incumbency Has Its Privileges; Michael Uhl Has The Internet.”
You can read about his campaign on his web site, uhlwin.com.
And read his blog, The Uhl Blog. Get it? Yule Log? Uhl Blog?
We’ll stop now.
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Please, Bill, don't stop now. We need all the publicity we can get! ;-)
If your local legislator scratches his, er, head, it makes front page. As for the challenger, well, short of advocating for the secession of the 8th Legislative District from Nassau County (and even then), its tough to get your foot in the door -- save a hometown newspaper that's willing to give the new kid on the block a break.
Michael Uhl's press releases may not be making news in The Richner publications, Anton News, or Newsday, for that matter, but that doesn't mean Michael isn't out there -- talking the talk and walking the walk -- looking to make a difference for the people of Nassau County.
A big "thank you" to the West Hempstead Beacon for giving us a forum, and to Newsday's Spin Cycle for putting the Uhl campaign on the map!
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Incumbency Has Its Privileges; Michael Uhl Has The Internet
Open any local paper – maybe even the one you’re reading right now – and you are likely to find a photograph, or three, of your elected officials.
Your county legislator shows up – often with his own photographer -- at a pancake breakfast or pasta dinner, barely saying more than “hello,” and voila, a photo opportunity.
Such is the power of incumbency, and the ability of those in office to get their names – and pictures – in the papers on a weekly basis.
“It hasn’t been about the issues,” said Michael Uhl, candidate for County Legislature in the 8th Legislative District. “It has been about the photo opportunity and name recognition, and that’s what we’re hoping to change.”
Change, indeed. Campaigning on a platform of across the board reform, from consolidating special taxing districts to breaking down the partisan roadblocks that stymie the best of intentions in the legislature, Michael Uhl is looking beyond the photo op to the 21st Century “webolution.”
“Not only have we created a presence on the web with a traditional website,” says an enthusiastic Uhl, “we’ve also launched a blog, or web log, where residents can read about and discuss the issues that matter most to them.
While Michael Uhl’s website – http://www.uhlwin.com/ – offers the standard fare of bio, issues, news, and links, The Uhl Blog, as it is called -- http://uhlwin.blogspot.com/ -- takes a more cutting edge approach.
Sometimes lighthearted and often over-the-top, The Uhl Blog offers unique perspectives, as well as the opportunity for residents to post comments, participate in polls, and to literally direct the issues in the campaign.
“If we’re going to bring change to Nassau County,” declared Uhl, “and reform a system that is driving homeowners off the island and taxpayers into debt, we need to engage the voter in the debate, and not belittle the electorate with the meaningless photo op.”
“The real opportunity,” said Uhl, “is for residents to take back government so that it works for them, not for the benefit of the political parties, or for the career politicians who woo voters at pancake breakfasts, but do little to address substantive issues that are our bread and butter.”
Friday, October 12, 2007
Review of the 2007-2010 Proposed Capital Improvement Plan and 2007 Capital Budget
Hempstead Avenue Drainage Improvements (60040) includes a carry forward budget of $942,470 and requires new debt of $2.2 million in 2007 and $3.0 million in 2008. The Capital Plan details proposed solutions to combat the drainage/runoff problem that is currently causing flooding. The project includes curving (sic) on Hempstead Avenue.
From Wikipedia: http://wik.ed.uiuc.edu/index.php/Most_Italian_Americans_have_a_Mafia_connection
The stereotyping of Italian Americans as mobsters is not just limited to adult content. When DreamWorks released its publicity for its new animated film, 'Shark Tales', it became clear that these same stereotypes were being perpetuated in content meant for children. A letter writing campaign was begun to encourage DreamWorks to take out the offensive content. Below is an example of one of many letters sent:
"Today, we live in a politically enlightened age where racial and religious profiling and ethnic stereotyping are rightfully denounced by all. Society rejects derogatory generalizations and guilt by association. Indeed, we celebrate the cultural diversity and mosaic that makes up our American society. How sad it is when the entertainment industry continues to perpetuate a negative image of one particular ethnic group: Italian Americans. And how wrong and disturbing it is when such denigration is presented as entertainment to the most impressionable...our children. Nevertheless, this appears to be exactly what DreamWorks is doing with the anticipated film, Shark Tale. Set underwater, this animated movie is expected to portray the subterranean sea world life of organized crime. Not satisfied to merely tell the story, the mob-like characters are given Italian surnames, lest we fail to comprehend what this "children's movie" is really about. Directed at children and negatively portraying one ethnic group, one may only speculate as to Dreamworks' motivation. Is it to imply that only Italian Americans are involved in organized crime, or is it to teach young people that Italian Americans as an ethnic group are not law-abiding citizens? Whatever the reason, one cannot justify defaming an entire ethnic group to advance a children's story. Certainly, the film's success will not depend upon the surnames of the characters. That being so, I call upon Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg to eliminate references and implications that the mob characters belong to any ethnic group. The entertainment industry has a particular responsibility to promote diversity and tolerance for all. I urge DreamWorks to review Shark Tale and eliminate the offensive characterizations and present a true childrens' film".
-Vincent T. Muscarella, Legislator, District Eight, Nassau County Legislature, New York.
Well said! A bit overdramatic, if not downright silly, given that the portrayal complained of presents within the context of a Steven Spielberg animated movie (Shark Tales), but nevertheless, well said.
Actually, this is the most we've heard Mr. Muscarella ever say about ANYTHING!
Too bad he doesn’t have the same zeal – and lend the same voice – when it comes to property taxes, cell towers, blighted neighborhoods, or, for that matter, any issue of significance to residents of the 8th LD!
On November 6th, VOTE to give your community a strong voice. ELECT MICHAEL UHL TO THE NASSAU COUNTY LEGISLATURE!
Thursday, October 11, 2007
There's a debate going on in the Nassau County Legislature on the funding of programs for Nassau's senior citizens -- including the popular and critial "Meals On Wheels."
On the line, for many of our county's seniors, is, quite literally, their next meal.
You see, Nassau County has a policy known as the 10% Rule, where, out of every dollar in public funding, not-for-profit organizations, such as Catholic Charities, must chip in 10%.
"We all applaud the good work of Catholic Charities, and similar relief organizations," said Michael Uhl, who is making a bid for the seat in the County Legislature's 8th District. "That said, the County cannot predicate its continued support of important and necessary programs such as "Meals On Wheels" on a rule that conditions public money on private contributions."
Uhl, noting that Suffolk County does not have a 10% Rule, expressed concern over the Legislature's tentativeness in assuring seniors that money will be available for programs and intitiatives that not only sustain, but also enrich the lives of Nassau's greatest generation.
"This is a no-brainer," said Uhl. "Providing the funding for meals and services for our seniors must be among the County Legislature's top priorities. The money must be there, whether or not there are private contributions."
Want to keep "Meals on Wheels" rolling? On Tuesday, November 6th, elect Michael Uhl to the Nassau County Legislature.
The Town of Hempstead's Zoning Board of Appeals -- the folks who brought you Katuria D'Amato -- have scheduled yet another public hearing on the proposed Omnipoint/T-Mobile Cell Tower at Franklin Square's Franklin Bridge Centre for Thursday, December 6, 2007 at 9:30 AM.
"How many times does a community have to say 'no'?" asked Uhl. "What will it take for the Town's Zoning Board to stand up, show some backbone, and tell the advocates of cell towers in our communities to take a hike?"
All Franklin Square residents, and friends of community everywhere, are encouraged to attend the December 6th hearing, which will be held in the Town of Hempstead Meeting Pavilion, 1 Washington Street, Hempstead.
"If elected to the Nassau County Legislature on November 6th," assured Uhl, "I'll be at Town Hall on December 6th, standing shoulder to shoulder with our neighbors in Franklin Square."
On Tuesday, November 6th, vote for Michael Uhl for Nassau County Legislator. On December 6th, say NO to a cell tower in Franklin Square!
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
The NYS Commission on Local Government Efficiency & Competitiveness is looking at them. Residents are talking about them. Elected officials need to start implementing them.
Initiatives designed to streamline government and make the delivery of services less costly to the taxpayers.
In Nassau County, the Commission's initiatives include:
- Water System Infrastructure: Analyzing possible consolidation of all water districts and private water companies in the county
- Parks/Road Maintenance: Exploring options for efficient maintenance of parks and roads
- Consolidation of Sanitation Districts: Examining whether existing sanitation services could be provided by three town-run sanitation districts rather than multiple independent sanitation districts
- Library District Consolidation: Exploring creation of a countywide public library district to replace the current decentralized system and achieve greater efficiencies, while enhancing or maintaining current service levels
- Sharing/Consolidation of School District Back Office Functions: Studying options for school districts to share and consolidate administrative functions, including non-public school transportation, maintenance, bonding, insurance services, printing/graphics and other functions
- Sewer System Infrastructure Consolidation: Exploring consolidation of county’s remaining sewer collection and services and infrastructure
- Special District Restructuring: Seeking to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and accountability of commissioner-run special districts
- Fire District Collaboration: Proposing that the Long Island Regional Planning Board explore governance of fire districts regionally in Nassau and Suffolk Counties
Michael Uhl says, "Let's get it done!"
On November 6th, take the next step toward reducing government waste, consolidating overlapping services, and lowering your property taxes.
Elect Michael Uhl to the Nassau County Legislature!
I. The neighboring communities that shoulder the greatest burdens are to be guaranteed the greatest benefits.
Preserve and Protect Racing and Our Communities Alike
II. The neighboring communities support the preservation and fostering of the world-class premier thoroughbred racing facilities within their neighborhood. The communities encourage the protection and incorporation of all buildings and landscaped features of historic, architectural or cultural significance into the local communities visioning, economic or historic planning.
Plan And Provide New State-of-the-Art Infrastructure
III. In order to achieve that goal, there must be a plan in place for a state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities worthy of being called the nation's premier venues for thoroughbred racing and a source of community pride. Such modernization of the infrastructure must encompass and be projected into the surrounding neighborhoods in which such world-class entertainment facilities are situated. This includes a complete updated inventory and evaluation for updating of roads, state-of-the-art water, sewer, water recharge basins and electrical systems both within and surrounding these facilities. From user-friendly sidewalks and lighting to new estate fencing, the facilities must be able to compete with and be comparable to the support already provided or committed to other major entertainment facilities in the State of New York such as the new Major League Baseball facilities at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, the new Citi Field in Flushing Meadows, Queens, and the new National Basketball Association venue in Brooklyn.
Education Funds Made Here Must Stay Here First
IV. Since Video Lottery Terminals will be permitted by the State of New York at one or more of the facilities, there must be an irrevocable commitment that the communities that are neighboring these three facilities receive a dedicated stream of revenue earmarked for education institutions within their communities, prior to any additional funds being distributed to educational institutions outside of those neighboring communities. One way to ensure the neighboring communities get at least their fair share of state aid to local school districts is to require that their state aid to local school districts be at least what the overall state average is in any given year.
Play By the Same Rules and 'Pony Up' a Fair Share
V. These facilities are not an island, but are an integral part of the communities in which they are located. They should be subject to the same rules as their neighbors, including zoning, employment, housing codes, regulations and police oversight. The facilities should, therefore, contribute their fair share for the services and infrastructure their neighboring communities make available to the facilities. This includes amounts for police, fire and sanitation services, either through actual property taxes or a similar amount even if a tax-exempt status is present. An iron-clad Payment in Lieu of Taxes [PILOT] agreement guaranteeing such a revenue stream to surrounding local political subdivisions, including the central high school and elementary school districts, should be completed.
Safety and Security Is a Necessity Not a Luxury
VI. The safety and security for the facilities and their neighboring communities must be maintained and increased. Safety includes the safe inflow and outflow of traffic to and from the facilities whether the sites are hosting an event or conducting ongoing operations. Security should include use of state-of-the-art technology, including requiring proper identification of all individuals permitted in the non-public areas at the facilities. In addition, as these facilities have already been designated as staging areas should an emergency or natural disaster take place, there must be state-of-art readiness and facilities in place.
Be a Good Neighbor to Your Neighbors
VII. The neighboring communities that have existed in peaceful co-existence with these facilities for decades should have their right to the quiet enjoyment of their neighborhoods respected and continued to be maintained. Those areas that are natural parklike settings must continue to be maintained. There must be a comprehensive facilities management plan addressing both modernization and preservation plans and must include design guidelines, based upon generally acceptable community standards, to be used in the development of individual capital and maintenance projects. Any proposed material change in the nature or time of operations at the facilities must be fully disclosed and reviewed with the neighboring communities prior to such a change.
Be an Economic Engine for Your Communities
VIII. The facilities must continue to be an economic engine generating jobs and business for the communities in which each is located. It must be ensured that local residents and businesses are protected from any adverse economic impact as a result of activities at the facilities. Local residents should be given preference in hiring at the facilities, and local businesses be given preferred status, including as suppliers, vendors and service providers. Creating an overall business and service center should be considered, with the goal of generating additional revenue streams to benefit the surrounding communities.
Be a Part of, Instead of Apart from, Your Neighboring Communities
IX. The facilities should become an integral presence within the communities in which each is located. This includes the support of and the participation in active civic and volunteer life as a pillar of the neighboring communities in which each facility exists. This includes the support and participation in annual community events and the inclusion of the local communities in events taking place at each facility, including but not limited to, world-renowned thoroughbred horse racing events taking place at the facilities. This also includes providing, at little or no cost, facilities and recreational areas to groups and organizations in the surrounding communities.
Transparent Responsive Oversight Creates Community Trust
X. The neighboring communities must be involved and considered in any significant change of operations or activities at the facilities. The facilities must be subject to formal local oversight and review to consider all proposed additions, renovations or demolitions at the sites. There should be the establishment of a corporate ethics compliance official and a local community liaison who will be available to the surrounding communities to ensure implementation of both the letter and spirit of this Statement of Principals.
From Statement of Principles, Village of Floral Park, Task Force for Belmont’s Preservation and Improvement
Monday, October 8, 2007
Okay. We exaggerate. The ocean wasn't really that blue. More like a murky green.
No, Vincent Muscarella wasn't on the campaign trail in 1492 -- that was the year he was appointed to his post by the Crown -- he didn't have to actually run untl 1494.
Of course, this is a dramatization. Would we have gotten your attention if we simply told you that Mr. Muscarella has been a Nassau County Legislator for the last 12 years, and he still hasn't discovered the issues that concern his constituents?
12 long years, sailing the seas of the 8th Legislative District, and never reaching the new world.
Why haven't we heard from Vincent Muscarella on the important issues on our horizon?
Perhaps he's fallen off the end of the Earth. It is flat, after all. Or was that simply the Muscarella record?
Charter a course for the new Nassau County Legislature. On Tuesday, November 6th, Elect Michael Uhl.
From the Franklin Square/Elmont Herald:
“Whalen also said that Omnipoint/T-Mobile considered alternate sites around West Hempstead and Franklin Square. The Little League field on Ocean Avenue in West Hempstead; Wesley United Methodist Church on Fenworth Boulevard in Franklin Square; Echo Park in West Hempstead; and Halls Pond Park on the corner of Ocean Avenue and Hempstead Avenue in West Hempstead were all considered. Whalen said that both Echo Park and Halls Pond Park were "doable architecturally," but Omnipoint/T-Mobile attorney Keith Brown said the Franklin Bridge Centre was selected because it was the "least intrusive site."
"Least intrusive?" To whom?
Gee. Omnipoint/T-Mobile doesn't even know the names of the streets where our parks and ballfields are located. You expect them to know where to build a cell phone tower?
Michael Uhl will tell Omnipoint/T-Mobile where to put it!
“Nowhere in our residential communities, “ declared Michael Uhl. “No way. No how!”
As your County Legislator, Michael Uhl will fight to keep intrusive and unsightly cell phone towers out of our backyards, and out of our front yards.
“This is a quality of life issue,” insisted Uhl. “Residents should have an absolute right, federal pre-emption notwithstanding, to maintain control over their property values, their community’s environment, and their health. We are surrounded by cell towers, some poorly disguised as trees, others as flagpoles, and still a few more, right out there, staring us in the face. Enough! We’re not going to let the cell phone industry dump another tower in our towns.”
Where does Vincent Muscarella stand on the Franklin Square cell tower?
"I believe he said he'd send a letter," laughed Uhl. "I know we can do more than that!"
Had enough of the cell phone towers? Michael Uhl has.On November 6th, send Michael Uhl to the Nassau County Legislature.
Friday, October 5, 2007
News12 Long Island will re-air the Muscarella-Uhl Debate on Saturday, October 6th at 9:30 AM and Sunday, October 7th at 9:30 AM.
You can watch all of the legislative debates, anytime, day or night, at Cablevision's interactive channel 612.This is "must see TV!"
Check out the News12.com story, Flying LIRR debris makes crash landing in school field.
Track debris in the school yard. Denials from the MTA? Our children in danger?
Thank goodness the LIRR has abandoned plans to construct a third track adjacent to the Floral Park community!
"Transportation on Long Island, particularly mass transportation for the 21st Century, is a critical concern," says Michael Uhl, candidate for Nassau County Legislature in the 8th LD.
"Still, plans to upgrade must be tempered by the concerns for the safety of our families, and the quiet peace and enjoyment of our residential neighborhoods."
As your Nassau County Legislator, Michael Uhl would vigorously oppose any plan to construct the MTA's third track mega project near Floral Park, and would insist that the LIRR "clean up its act" on its tracks.
Okay. Anyone catch the Muscarella-Uhl debate on News12 last night? Not exactly high drama, or of Nixon-Kennedy moment [although, Mr. Muscarella's five-o'clock shadow, coupled with that olive drab suit, took us back a bit to those early days of televised politics].
Having had nearly two decades -- 4 years in the Assembly and 12 years in the Nassau County Legislature -- to hone his skills, and up against a novice who had never been before a camera (except in home movies), one would have thought that Mr. Muscarella would have made a less wooden presentation.
Clearly rehearsed, but certainly not polished, Muscarella was stiff. The man who described himself as "a low key legislator" ["low key?" We thought Bill Mooney would have to place a mirror under Muscarella's nose to see if he was still breathing! :-)], often stumbled over his own words -- words that were no strangers to his vernacular, having been rehashed every second year as if on a continuous loop.
Michael Uhl wasn't exactly Lloyd Bentsen up there, relative newcomer to the public spotlight that he is, but he certainly held his own against someone who, clearly, hasn't said anything new since Al D'Amato was Town of Hempstead Supervisor.
On substance, Muscarella stayed the course.
Asked about the revitalization in Elmont, re-energizing Nassau's economy, worforce housing, and financing education, Muscarella stuck with the tried and true, talking about "plans."
Yes, the very same plans he's talked about for the past 12 years.
"Its great to talk about plans," said Uhl, "but at some point, you have to put those plans into action."
Score one for the Uhl Team!
On attracting business to Nassau County, Muscarella, who during the debate dropped the name of every elected official in Nassau -- at least twice -- said that the roads must be maintained, as must the facades along "Main Street." True enough.
Fact is, for the last 12 years, nothing has been done to maintain either roadway or facade.
Where has Mr. Muscarella been since 1996? Oh, that's right, in the Nassau County Legislature. We forgot.
Mr. Muscarella offered little of his record. Perhaps that's because his record offers little, his only significant accomplishment in more than a decade being the sponsorship of the tattoo parental consent law.
A good law -- one that should be tattooed onto the backside of every legislator -- but not a heck of a lot to boast of after 12 years in office.
The bottom line: Not much can really be said in what amounts to four questions in twenty minutes.
We will say this much. If you wanted yesterday's news, you got that from Mr. Muscarella. The promise of tomorrow? Well, that's where Michael Uhl is headed.
Let's hit the road!
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Thursday, October 4th at 4:30 PM and 12 Midnight
Grab the popcorn, sit back, and watch Michael Uhl take on Vincent Muscarella on the issues, only on Long Island's News 12.
Property taxes -- How much more?
Special taxing districts -- Robbing us blind
Environmental Bond monies -- Where did they go?
Passive parks -- Going to seed
Crumbling roadways -- Not exactly paved with gold
Did we mention property taxes?
12 long years of inaction and indifference
Tonight, Michael Uhl speaks out. On November 6th, you get to vote the bums out!
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
With all the talk about contaminants in our aquifers, from pesticides to gasoline additives, coupled with the scandals in our water districts, where no one is watching the till, let alone the water, should we be worried about the quality of our water?
"For sure," says Michael Uhl, candidate for Nassau County Legislature in the 8th LD, and a former Water Commissioner from West Hempstead.
"Right now, the water we drink and bathe in is relatively clean and safe," Uhl declared, "but given that our drinking water comes from aquifers below Long Island -- and some of them, not all that far below -- what we put on our lawns and down our drains and sewers today will likely end up in our drinking water tomorrow."
Uhl pointed to the vast number of contaminants already in our water, the aging of pipelines and pumping facilities, and the manner in and extent by which water is tested, and test results are reported, which varies greatly from water district to water district.
"The function of water services, from pumping to testing to delivery, should be centralized and under professional management," concluded Uhl. "This is too important to all of us to be left to political hacks, with little experience or knowledge, whose interests lie not in the purity of the water we drink, but in pumping the well dry for themselves."
Does Michael Uhl believe we should consolidate the water districts under a central system with professional management and oversight?
"You bet," says Uhl, emphatically. "I've been there, and seen first hand the laxity in tracking and remediation of toxic spills, the total lack of accountability, and the loss of anything resembling transparency, which clouds not only the water, but the public's perception of its safety. We can do a heck of a lot better, and consolidateding the fiefdoms of these water worlds would be a great place to start!"
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Click HERE to read The New York Times Op-Ed piece, Pipe Dreams.
To say that freezing the Assessment, as suggested by the Nassau County Legislature's Minority Leader, Peter Schmitt -- and adopted by our sitting Legislator, Vincent Muscarella -- will lower taxes, not only defies credulity and reason, it is simply not true.
Take a look at the change in the County's General Purposes Tax Levy from 2006 to 2007, as well as the change in TAX RATES, during a time when the assessed values of homes in Nassau County was relatively stable.
2006 Levy: $35,641,318.61 Tax Rate per $100 in Taxable Assessed Value: 6.092
2007 Levy: $55,008,646.00 Tax Rate per $100 in Taxable Assessed Value: 18.965
IT'S NOT THE ASSESSMENT, IT'S THE TAX RATE!
Assuming the Assessment was not only "frozen," but actually lowered, the revenues necessary to operate the county, towns, school districts and special districts would not likely decrease. In fact, year to year, financial "need," all things considered and few things changed, will likely increase.
Assessment goes down -- Tax Rate (and your taxes) GO UP!
And who, dare we ask, changes the Tax Rates? In Nassau County, its the Legislature!
Are the Peter Schmitts and Vincent Muscarellas delusional, or do they really think that taxpayers are that dumb?
"The only ways to lower property taxes," says Michael Uhl, "legitimately, are to cut costs, trim expenses, eliminate waste, and consolidate duplicated services. A 'freeze' as a tool to 'hold the line' on taxes is a farce; a rouse that harkens back to the smoke-and-mirrors of the Gulotta Administration, where they took money out of one pocket to make believe the other pocket was full."
Hmm. The Gulotta administration. And who, back in that day, was in the Majority on the County Legislature, rubber-stamping the Gulotta Budgets? Why, Vincent Muscarella, of course.
Isn't it time we stopped paying through the nose for government's excesses? Michael Uhl says its time. On November 6th, tell them you've had enough!