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Political Pawns or Voters Depending on Who You Ask

Nobody told me to bring aspirin while watching our legislators take turns trying to make each other look bad. Sadly, the citizens of Nassau County are the ones who lost out.

A few days ago I was asked to speak on behalf of Counseling Center at a rally at the Nassau County Executive Building and before the legislative session that followed. Public speaking is not something I do professionally nor is it something I particularly relish however I accepted enthusiastically because of what I see going on in Massapequa as well as our surrounding communities. I also accepted because I planned on including my children and wanted to demonstrate that quotes such as be the change you wish to see in the world are more than just inspirational words stolen from Gandhi to be posted on social media. They are words that deserve action.

My daughter and three of her best friends attended the rally with me. It was with great pride that I watched as they stood on the steps of the Executive Building and fielded questions from news organizations. At 14 and 15, they stood there representing a small segment of our future. It was, I hoped, something our legislators would have the opportunity to see. I had hoped that those people who are voted into office would look into those faces and all of the other young faces that showed up in hopes that voices would be heard, and have to tell those kids why their programs were being held hostage to political machinations.

While in the legislative session which could be a reality show called Legislators Behaving Badly, my daughter and her friends were paying attention. Our Presiding Officer Republican Peter Schmitt and our Minority Leader Democrat Kevan Abrahams went back and forth each blaming the other party for this funding issue. Neither denied that the funding was there yet neither side could come to a reasonable solution that would help our youth and families. The word pawn was thrown around and my daughter’s friend, Jess, whispered that the legislators both needed a sharing stick. My daughter smiled and suggested that if she fought with her brothers like that, they’d get sent to their room for a time-out. Out of the mouths of babes….

Unfortunately, while I had the opportunity to speak at the press conference, the legislators all chose to interrupt the public comments to fight over closing out the 2011 budget. It seemed that this session was the first time that any of them had seen the budget, at least that was the impression I had after listening to over an hour of questions and fighting over funds that one legislator labeled fictitious. I am not a professional demonstrator nor would I classify myself as politically savvy but it seemed to me the timing of the closing out of the budget business was designed to clear out the room, which it did. We finally had to leave at 3:45 while legislators were still fighting over whether funds were fictitious or not and whether or not money that is fictitious could be borrowed.

I have met Peter Schmitt in the past just as I have met Kevan Abrahams. They both seem like nice men though I don’t know either of them personally. I have written both. The Minority Leader does not represent my community though he is a representative of my County. Every legislator there represents Nassau County, the county I live in. My interest doesn’t end at the Massapequa borders. I hold every legislator there responsible for what will happen to our youth if they continue to hold our kids as pawns. It was, by the way, a lovely description provided by our legislators. Pawns.

What our legislators really need to understand is that I am not just a pawn. I am a taxpayer and a voter. I do not limit my votes to party lines. I look at the issues and the people who are running, people who may be very nice people, but people who in the end, will be serving me, my kids, and my community. They serve all of us, not just Republicans and not just Democrats. They serve all of us. In three years, my daughter and her friends will be eligible to vote. It isn’t that far away. Those legislators need to end their squabbling and do what is right for their communities. But they will only do that if all of the pawns step up and let their voices be heard.

There will be another session on Monday, June 25. This pawn, I mean voter, plans on attending. My voice will be heard.

 

 

 

 

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John Rennhack June 30, 2012 at 05:18 AM
The money can be found tomorrow if the County stops hiring outside law firms to do the work that the County Attorney office SHOULD be doing and did do for 8 years under Suozzi. Look at the money being handed out to Mangano-connected law firms. And now with the Unions suing Mangano over his power-grab, expect another couple of million being spent on outside firms.
Kristen Ferrari June 30, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Hi Mel, It is disappointing to me that people seem so uninterested in this. You are right though, when they need it then they will care. I was unaware of a rally planned for next Friday. The 6th? If that is the case I will be there. I'm working on a letter that I have several signatures for. I'm going to figure out a way to make that letter available for anyone who would like to sign it. Thanks for your comment and the support for these programs!
Kristen Ferrari June 30, 2012 at 11:56 AM
John, as usual I appreciate the knowledge you bring to this. It has been my understanding, and still is, that the money is there whether the red light funds are given back to the youth programs as originally intended or whether the bonding issue gets approved. There is no reason that these programs should be on a political chopping block. And I did hear from Peter Schmitt. I will post more on that later.
Yankee Man June 30, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Kristen Are you siggesting that govt run day care helps curb herion use and crime. In there a connection with crime rates and lack of services for young kids. Some very poor area ( none of which you have ever stepped one foot in I can assure you ) have very little crime, because of solid family structures, and private institutions like churches, sports leagues etc. The greatest indication of future criminal activity is whether you have a father in the house.
Kristen Ferrari June 30, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Soup Nazi, First, don't draw conclusions about where or where I have not been. I'm reasonably sure we've had variations of this discussion on other threads when you posted under another name. The economy is in the tank. Kids are using drugs and harder drugs at younger ages. I would say the rise in addiction rates would be a great indicator of future criminal activities and some of those future criminals DO have fathers in the house. I will never minimize the importance of a father or mother's role, but what would you presume to do with kids who don't have both parents or kids who have parents but parents that are crappy? Should we just pretend they don';t exist? Not all of them become criminals but should we wait until they become criminals before we consider the financial impact they will have on society? I'm not sure what your solutions are other than make sure every household has a father and every working mother should have a neighbor who babysits. Please tell me what you suggest.

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