(warning: this is a political topic, so there might be a few curse words.) (Updated with no bad words.)
It’s election time! Well, I am just going to jump right into it. Based on their performance, I want status quo. Keep the Long Beach Democrats in power and let them finish what they started. How did I come up with that conclusion? Well,
Can you imagine if our Sandy-damaged boardwalk wasn’t built yet? If we procrastinated even longer, contruction would have been at an even greater cost and/or lessor quality. I give our administration full credit for not only getting the boardwalk done in just a year, but for building one that’s even better, stronger and more beautiful than before.
I loved how the process of rebuilding was conducted, where we, the people, got to pick exactly what we wanted (I wanted wood and fancy light posts!!). Don’t forget about the icing on the cake: this boardwalk is 100% fully paid for by FEMA and NY State. If you find one negative with that, you are just being a jerk.
We are extremely lucky by how swift our current administration moved with the rebuild, because the boardwalk is, without a doubt, one of the most important parts of our city’s infrastructure. The boardwalk is the crown jewel of Long Beach (along with the beach, of course). The boardwalk is what gives Long Beach an identity that separates us from pretty much every other community on Long Island. The boardwalk is where we meet, exercise and meditate. Many people want to live in Long Beach solely because of the boardwalk. Many people want to visit Long Beach solely because of the boardwalk. For that, we needed the boardwalk to be rebuilt as soon as possible.
Must I remind you that the boardwalk-rebuild has NOTHING to do with whether or not your home is being taken care of. They are two completely different topics. Different money. Different politics. Don’t listen to the smoke and mirrors that’s floating around on those other websites and Facebook groups. It’s nothing, but smoke, mirrors, tricks and folks acting like negative-nancy jerks. Please, enough with the manufactured negativity. End of discussion.
Government transparency was big issue during the last election and a main reason why these guys are in office in the first place. Did they deliver? Here are a few which really hit home for me:
- Long Beach Listens (website). I loved those community meetings which were conducted in the various sections of our city; where the West Enders got to complain about their fellow West Enders in the West End, while the East Enders complained about themselves in the East (which part of Long Beach has the squeakiest wheels??). Although post-Sandy, Long Beach Listens morphed into more of a beautification effort, it’s still very active, as the city continues to host events such as the most recent Dune Grass Planting.
- The current admin started to film and post videos of all the City Council meetings online. All are available to the public and with no crazy FOIL-crap. These ARE public meetings, after all. You can view them here: ustream.tv/channel/lbny.
- Full residential participation with the boardwalk rebuild (this is true. it really happened! I picked wood and fancy light posts!).
- Long Beach Response. It’s still new, but report those potholes or street outages! Hopefully Long Beach Response grows into something more, like reporting graffiti or something even more glamorous than that (Dog poop on my lawn, perchance?). Either case, I like it. Throw your complaint in an organized queue.
- Finances. I’m going to say that they did a decent job transparently mapping out future budgets (I’m a sucker for charts). Whether you like these budgets or not is not my point. The info is there for us to see and that is important. All of this can be found on the city’s main website: proposed and final budgets.
What about your Storm-damaged home?
If you’re post-Sandy home isn’t in the state it should be in, don’t blame our locals. I feel that they went above and beyond making sure Long Beach got back to normal as quickly as possible. The city doesn’t have the money and are not the ones who promised you any. You have to blame your insurance, FEMA, NY State-Rising or whoever else made those alleged-promises. Besides, based on what I’m reading, many of our locally elected officials are in the same boat as you are. I’m sure they’re equally as frustrated.
This is complex topic, but I’m just going to keep it simple. Do you remember the financial mess and Moody’s bond downgrade that was inherited when the Democrats took office in 2012? Moody’s recently declared Long Beach as having a stable outlook. That tells me City Manager Jack Schnirman must be doing something right when it comes to our city’s finances (source – seabythecity.com/?p=20122).
The current admin is open to new ideas, as evident with the food trucks, iFly trapeze, complete streets, comeback crews, resident-run ideas like beautification and other wacky events (I love it!). Heck, these guys even gave me the green light on painting all the ticket booths on the boardwalk before Sandy-claus came to town. I like visions. I am constantly blogging about visions all the time. For me, this is a no brainer. There is more to this city than just saying “I want to keep your taxes down.” Every politician says that, but what about their vision for Long Beach? I want a good one. I want this city to grow and be better than it already is.
I personally feel the current Democratic-led administration still has a lot to finish. While two years just isn’t enough to make a big dent, they did so much already. Even with dealing (and personally dealing) with one of the worst storms in Long Beach history. We have come such a long way to recovery. I realize not everybody is back in their homes, but do you remember the state this city was in exactly a year ago? Piles of garbage everywhere, massive displacement, a destroyed boardwalk, the beach was eroded and filthy, patrolling army trucks, mandatory curfews, most of the businesses were closed, no sewage, no electricity, no clean water, out-of-town vultures rummaging though all the garbage – it was crazy!!!! We might not be at 100% yet, but still, look at where we are now. And only one year later!
I really remember thinking right after that storm how Long Beach was done, kaput. Now, I feel the complete opposite. I am bullish on this city more than ever and I really think a lot has to do with who we have running it. Jack Schnirman needs to stay as our City Manager, the democrats have to finish what they started, so my votes are going to Scott Mandel, Eileen Goggin and Anthony Eramo.
In either case, whoever wins, I just hope this new initiaive of transparency continues: Keep the residents informed on all major projects, video tape those council meetings, listen and be open to community groups, have Long Beach Listens-type community meetings for each neighborhood where specific concerns are addressed and be transparent with the city finances. These are precedents that need to stay. Oh yeah and whoever wins, please keep Jack in office!!
Disclaimer: This is a blog. You know, a web log; my freakin’ online diary (aka unofficial blog) of Long Beach (aka my personal opinions).