Friday, November 1, 2013

The Town of Huntington, New York (11743), November, 2013

 Election Day is coming fast! Let’s look at some numbers!

#1   Town Supervisor                            
       $162.9k **                                                           
       4 / $521.2k
#2   Town Attorney
       $149.8k **
       13 / $1,135.0k
#3   Highway Superintendent
       8 / $603.2k
#4   Planning Dir.
       $131.8k **
       21 / 1,455.3k
#5   Town Clerk
       8 / $496.6k
#6   Town Engineer
       $128.4k **                                                                  
       7 / $581.6k
#7   Parks Dept.
       $128.3k **
       9 / $639.4k  
#8   Public Safety
       $123.7k **
       27 / $2,029.7k
#9   Waste Mgmt.
       $121.1k **
       4 / $389.7k 
# "f-ing" 10     !Parking.! Meter! !Attendent!
                         !$93.7k! **
                         1 / $93.7k 
#11  Harbor Master
        $90.3k **
        6 / $410.3 
#12  Security Guard
        $90.2k **
        1 / $90.2k
#13  Ice Rink  Mgr.
        $77.4k **
        4 / $232.6k 
#14  Town Council Member
        $76.9k **
        9 / $464.6k  
#15  Hart Bus Driver
        $67.2k **
        17 / $1,142.4k
 Health Care, Earned PTO, Retirement Funds, & Special Perks(if applicable). The total Department Budget figures are for the 
               titled office only; they are not for remote offices/locations, or 
               the general labor force.
The positions, salaries, and office budgets, above, are just a sampling of where your Town tax dollars go. When an employee of the Town’s Public Safety Department, "THE PARKING METER ATTENDENT", can earn over $100,000.00 per year with salary, benefits, and overtime, isn’t it time to take a closer look at who’s spending our hard earned cash?

                      WHAT WE HAVE
Most of these folks need to go home and let someone else take over.
                                                WHAT WE NEED!                              


        THE MADNESS*!
* Want to make $51,218.50 per year, plus benefits? The Town Planning Office needs a “Planning Aide”.

 More base numbers:
Table 1
Total number of Town employees
full time

Total number of Town employees
part time

Total Town operating expenses

$181, 264, 125.00

Total Town population

203,264 (2010 census)

Get out your calculators and do some good old multiplying and dividing.
Table 2
Total number of Town employees
$181, 264, 125.00 spent
$197,886.60 employee to expenditures ratio

Total Town population
$181, 264, 125.00 spent
$891.77 per person - annually

                                        What are we getting for our money?
·        We get roads that don’t get plowed correctly, or at all, during the winter.
·        We get a slew of “listed” tree trimmers and their supervisors who can’t seem to keep our streets clear after a storm.
·        We get a sewage plant that overflows when there’s a cloud in the sky.
·        We get a domino effect with the pot-holes in our streets, especially when gas, water, sewer, and drainage is worked on.
·        We get the top of Route 110 in Halesite still flooding even after the millions of dollars we’ve spent to fix the problem.
·        We get parking garages at the train station that have elevators that don’t work, have urine in all the corners, and structural damages that no one seems to able to address.
·        We get elected Town Officials who, along with their Town salaries, have second incomes that put them in the $250,000.00 range every year.
·        We get elected Town Officials who don’t know when it’s their time to go (probably due to the Town salaries they make).
·        We get Republicans who switch Parties simply to get elected for another term.
·        We get Democrats who switch Parties simply to get another term.
&   We get elected Officials and challengers who can’t resist using fear and smear  tactics to get elected, or re-elected, every November.  
&   We get at least two  Political Parties who feel no remorse in bastardizing the democratic process  inside their own committees.

                             What needs to happen to change all this for the better?
·        We need strong voices from a third Party organization, or people with no Party affiliation.
·        We need to challenge how our Town governance works, and force the processes out of the dark recesses of “business as usual”.
·        We need someone who is ready, willing, and able to restructure our Town tax codes.
·        We need a Town Hall administration that refuses to keep borrowing money, and running up deficits.
·        We need term limits at all levels.
·        We need to stop padding the Town payroll with family members.
·        We need to have our elected Officials pay sole attention to Town business and not undertake outside interests for padding their incomes.
·        We need to bring the Town payroll under control and have salaries more reflective of the private sector.
·        We need folks who know how to negotiate contracts with the residents of Huntington in mind.
·        We need to put the hammer down on our Town’s criminal element. Suffolk County Police have most of them on speed dial.
·        We need positive, aggressive trimming of the “fat” in Town Hall.

There are some third Parties out there that are just lying in wait to be summoned forward. I have been going over some of their platforms and two of these organizations jumped off the page at me. The “Modern Whig Party” states to be pragmatic, centrist, common sense, and rational rather than ideological. They seem, on the surface, to embody the good points of the “Libertarian Party”, one of which involves giving the States more autonomy. Their stand on immigration, our borders defenses, our Armed Forces, and our Veterans makes takes a very logical, rational approach. The “Veterans Party of America” is very similar in its approach to government. It does give a lot more weight to the Military and to Military Veterans (I kind of like that). There are plenty of other political Parties to consider; Libertarian, Independent, Social Democrat, Green Party, Coffee Party, etc. The first two that I mentioned caught me interest because of their “don’t talk about it – get off your butt and do something about it” attitude. What a refreshing experience it would be to have a government that actually planned what they were going to do, and, then, did it.
                       Modern Whig Party
                                               Service and Solutions

I pick on the Town Of Huntington for a number of reasons. First, it’s my home town. Second, I’ve had it with Washington, so I’m turning my attention to local politics rather than National. Thirdly, I have seen the inner workings of Party politicking in this town, and I am disgusted at the total disregard some folks at the top have for even the most basic of democratic processes. I am also sick and tired of the arrogance that our elected Officials exude. Under our democratic form of governance, they are paid by us and work for us; not the other way around. Election Day is fast upon us, so I will try my best in the allotted time to voice my displeasure with the status quo.

Monday, October 28, 2013


All this time, I’ve been looking at National politics, and I have become absolutely disgusted with what we pass off as politicians. It wasn’t always so. I started out as a Republican in the early 1970’s and was a member of
the Huntington Town Republican Party. The Nixon fiasco drove me away from politics completely until the late 1980’s. I remained a registered Republican until 1990 when I made the switch to the Independent Party, after experiencing Reagan and Bush, Sr.  As an Independent, I voted for Clinton, and that was the start of my migration over to the Democratic Party, where I am today. Because of recent governmental developments I find myself, once again, in search of a relevant political affiliation that will platform policy that is financially sound and socially responsible, and, above all, ethical.

The last three and a half years of the idiocy we call Washington, DC, has gone so far as to make me question whether this is really the Country I gave up three years of my life to fight for. When I see what is happening to our politics and our economy, there are many emotions rattling around in my brain; sadness, embarrassment, frustration, and disgust. I have become so disgusted, in fact, that I have turned my attention solely to local politics. For years I have simply voted the “party line” when it came to local election cycles. I occasionally voted across Party lines in an attempt to make my vote count, but, for the most part, I ignored what was going on right under my nose.

We have an off-year election coming up in Huntington, New York, and it turns out that it’s going to be a very important election that will set our Town’s course for quite a while. Of note, the Town Supervisor (Mayor), two Town Council seats, and the Highway Superintendent positions are up for grabs. Now, as disgusted with National politics as I am, I know there is little I can do on that front as compared to what I might be able to accomplish on the local front. Some very interesting things happened on the way to this election. As a Democratic Committee member, I can’t speak on the Republican’s trials and tribulations, but I can certainly speak on the mess my side produced. It all started with a good friend of mine deciding at the beginning of this year that he would be an excellent candidate for the Highway Superintendent position. He went about polling his possibilities and concluded that he would run. As a friend, and fellow Democrat, I was asked to pitch in, and did so willingly. Our little team was able to gather enough petition signatures to place his name in consideration. It all seemed to be going fairly smoothly. There were actually three gentlemen running for this one spot in the Democratic Party; my friend, the current Parks Department director, and the incumbent. A nominating meeting was set and that’s when all the fun began. Normal procedure dictates that you take a committee vote to determine who the candidate will be, and vote we did. My friend won the first and second round, but failed to get the required 50% + 1 more vote (for a simple majority). Party by-laws state clearly that we are to vote, and re-vote, until one of the candidates does reach the 50% (+1) level. Concurrently, we were voting for three of our candidates to fill Town Council seats up for grabs this year. There were also originally four candidates involved in the Town Council race, and the initial two votes in that category did not produce a clear winner, either. After only two rounds of voting for each category, all discussion and the meeting were brought to an abrupt halt. We were informed that it was past some people’s bed time and it would be best to set a later date and continue the voting at that time. Just before we adjourned for the evening, one of the candidates for Town Council withdrew his name from list; leaving three candidates for the spot.
"The three contenders seeking the Democratic nomination for Huntington highway superintendent will compete in a primary in September, after the party could not decide on a nominee at its convention Thursday night. Two separate votes failed to produce a majority for any of the candidates -- longtime incumbent William Naughton and challengers Kevin Orelli, a business owner, and town parks Chief Don McKay."
"In the first round of balloting, Orelli received 13,813 votes in a weighted system, McKay had 10,858 and Naughton 4,585.5. The second time around, Orelli received 13,330 to McKay's 9,434. Naughton got 5,020. At that point, the party declared a deadlock -- something Democratic chairwoman Mary Collins said she could not recall happening in her 30... read more »"         [ ]
The alarm bells started going off, triggering my more than healthy cynicism of all things politic. When you fail to pick a candidate in committee, you are required to have a “runoff” election to include all duly petitioned persons vying for the position in question. But first, you are supposed to give voting in committee a chance to work, and the fact that we were cut short after only two rounds can only be characterized as a breach of democratic process. For an entire week the Party Leaders were silent; then they dropped the bomb. The Town Committee members were notified
by e-mail that the County Chairman was brought into the fray to manipulate the situation under the guise of “cost control” (run-offs cost money). The savings was to be achieved by telling two candidates for the Town Council spot that they were no longer welcome, thus relieving the necessity of a costly run-off in that category. They were forced to resign their candidacy leaving a convenient single person on the ballot.
There was, indeed, a run-off for the three contestants vying for Highway Superintendent which itself produced many shades of gray when you looked behind the scenes. The full weight of the Town’s and County’s resources were thrown behind the incumbent, Naughton, to ensure his reelection, and my friend was torn to shreds in the voting due to the third candidate, Mckay, who was tossed in the ring to foil any competition for his cohort, the incumbent.
Eugene Cook
Frank P. Petrone

..............wants his job....................
Mark Cuthbertson

.............wants his job............

Susan A. Berland

.........She's safe, for now!

Tracey Edwards

             ........wants his job.........

Highway Superintendent
Bob Gunther

                .............wants his job.........

  •    "  Enact Term Limits. 20+ years in the same public office is too long. That is why we support term limits for our Town Supervisor and Council in order to promote a continuous flow of fresh and innovative ideas that will lead Huntington to a more promising future."
  •        " Hold the Line on Taxes. Life on Long Island is expensive and you deserve to keep more of your own money. We are committed to lowering the tax burden so that you and your family can afford to live in the Town of Huntington."
  •       " Increase Transparency in Local Government. A government that is more transparent is more accountable. We will use the town’s website to prominently display a record of every dollar the Town spends because you should know where your money goes.
  • Reduce Government Borrowing. Reducing debt starts with reducing spending. Our Town’s out of control spending, especially in the Town Attorney’s office, has led to the doubling of the town’s debt."            [ ]

It is upon these occurrences that I have been keeping an eye on this local Town election. What I see is the incumbents, Democrats, forcing the process in their favor by trying to scare the crap out of the Town residents (a tactic normally attributed to Republicans) by running ads and holding forums where they no longer talk about their accomplishments in office, but rather spend their time, and our tax dollars, smearing the competition. The demographics of this Town are such that political tactics of fear have an effect on our large, older population. We are also blessed with a sizeable population who would be considered “rich” by any standard. They tend not to vote in local elections, as if it were beneath them. That leaves the young voters and the dwindling blue collar class, who tend to be mostly Democrats. This is going to be a big problem if these folks go to the polls and vote the Party line without first exploring the political landscape of their Town.
"Local Huntington Dems are About to Hit an All Time Low"

                                       "At 1:00 today, there will be a press conference asking Candidate Eugene Cook to step
                                       down from his candidacy as Huntington Town Supervisor. 
Based on polls, it is likely that  
                                       Councilman Cook will take over as Supervisor after the November elections.  This has 
                                       caused panic among those that are profiting greatly by the Petrone and Cuthbertson."
                                                  [ ]


"Former Legislator Jane Devine at a press conference today calling for Gene Cook to withdraw."

Since I don’t have the stamina, or the voice, to stand on the old soap box and give oratory to my thoughts and feelings on this election process and the individuals   involved, I have decided the most effective way of countering the overt and covert skullduggery of the Town Democrats and the Town Republicans is to write and post about it, and to come up with a few lawn signs depicting my utter disgust in what I have witnessed. There seems to be a gross lack of democratic process in the Town of Huntington, so I will continue my quest for another Party affiliation that more closely shares my views on the democratic process.