It’s Election Time! [Don’t forget to vote this Tuesday!]

Badge - 2008 election

(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,

The Boardwalk:

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.

Transparency:

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Full residential participation with the boardwalk rebuild (this is true. it really happened! I picked wood and fancy light posts!).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

City Finances:

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).

A Vision:

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!!

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Disclaimer: This is a blog. You know, a web log; my freakin’ online diary (aka unofficial blog) of Long Beach (aka my personal opinions).

 

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comments

29 thoughts on “It’s Election Time! [Don’t forget to vote this Tuesday!]”

  1. Anthony, thank you for your insightful commentary of the successes of the past year. While we all recognize that some of our neighbors and businesses are still suffering, we need to acknowledge and build upon the progress made while under the current administration’s leadership.

    I’m optimistic about Long Beach’s future. We need to move in unison to define and realize our vision for the new, beautiful, vibrant city by the sea.

    Recent efforts have confirmed our ability to work together. Community meetings help prioritize projects. Dune plantings by scores of volunteers reveal our collective will and dedication. And we have an administration that listens, and acts with reason, empathy and professionalism.

    Continuity is critical. However, like Anthony, we need to remain united and supportive of whichever Council members are voted in. Either way,keep Jack. He’s a winner and a pro!

  2. Anthony, your comments were perfect (except you may want to delete the a-hole word in the future). You do a great job of keeping LB informed and energized: from lost cats, to boardwalk biking to today’s politics.

  3. So typical. This is just like New Orleans reelecting Nagin after Katrina. I don’t know how people can forget so easily. Anyone who was here in the weeks after Sandy should remember how utterly incompetent these guys were… Any group of morons can hire someone to build a boardwalk in a year for 44 million dollars. I want a government that can handle a crisis. They cannot. But, we have a boardwalk that’s supposedly free.

  4. These Democratic leaders (Who incidentally/Ironically ran on the “Rebuild the Boardwalk party platform in 2011 I believe), like you said, have done tremendous jobs with transparency, floating our finances past Republican depression, and for the most part, kept many organizations working 24/7 at rebuilding the infrastructure needed for comfortable tourists visits to our city.

    I have had issues with the council in the previous weeks:
    Farmers rely on their goods to be sold for things like Health Insurance payments, and their own bare minimum necessities. ) One Year ago, there were farmers who came to Long Beach and gave out tens of thousands of dollars worth of food when people had no food the week (Which you may not remember was helpless because of no gas. I was with these farmers at Waldbaums handing out food one year ago as well. For the Farmers Market, October is the toughest month around. Long Beach has the Irish Fest, followed by the Fall Festival which takes away two weeks from these individuals. How did the City decided to commemorate the first responders of Sandy on an October Saturday (Which happened to also be Arts in the Plaza’s final day of the year) and only told all of the vendors One Week before that we weren’t able to use the plaza. There was no alternative given by city individuals. and our farmers were left with no time to attempt to schedule an alternative location on such short notice. Keep in mind the Farmers Market pays to use the Plaza, and pays to insure it as well. (This isn’t related to the election, but I’m passionate about Anthony, and Everyone, so please bare with me for a few more seconds), the School’s Superintendent, David Weiss, was kind enough to let Both organizations use West School’s Playground for that Saturday.. It was nice until Roy Lester (At the most recent School Board Meeting) requested an audit for collecting funds from our farmers.) I asked Jack Schnirman if something could be done to let us share the plaza with their event, so it wouldn’t confuse our vendors customers, but I guess he was too busy because of campaigning or what have you, and nothing ever fruitioned.

    To Jack’s credit he did recover our city from literal calamity.

    Now on to our future potential calamities which must be addressed by elected representatives, Democratic, Republican, Green, Independent, etc. We have a Water Tower that is over 80 years old, and is need of replacement. Our water infrastructure is also that old, and in need of replacement. We have sewage treatment plants that are only contributing to the status quo of Reynold’s Channel unstable habitats from Bay Park Sewage Treatment’s, Atlantic Beach’s Sewage Treatment’s, and The Five Town’s Sewage Treatment’s Nitrogen production.

    Our North Shore must either be protected by both larger bulkheads, and storm gates that close off the inlets, or Both. Our system of health response happens to be ok. I know there is emotional discourse about not having a hospital on our barrier island, but the site where it once was is prone for future calamity, so either conceptualize moving the hospital all together to say..the Sunrise Medical Center on Park Ave (in the middle of town), or being comfortable with the Emergency facility that’s being brought to LB by South Nassau, and the Medical Clinic in the west end soon. If you’re looking at the Medical Center as a jobs machine, than stop scratching your heads, because that hospital was so far in debt it was nearly bankrupt. The Long Beach City Council commissioned the Long Beach Boardwalk to employ only local unionized residents to construct our boardwalk. I believe that is understated. What is also understated is that all the political campaign flyers are wasting paper, and contributing to Global Warming which was a factor in Sandy’s Flooding. These issues are important to residents.

    Speaking of residents, how about residents on fixed incomes. Those who can not afford to do much else except get by on social security check to check. They lost their homes, not all of their families are able to support them. If they decide to move, do they sell their devalued home/property and leave the city/county/state with very little, or do they risk staying here and wait for NY Rising to treat them fairly? I know that Anthony pointed out this as not an election issue, but maybe it is just an elected issue in Civic Association elections. We must have pressure to Cuomo to make sure NY Rising is doing what it is supposed to do.

    Lastly integrally sustainable concepts are always a nice note to end on, so here’s a link to my concept for a Bio-Dynamic Region( http://sandyproposals.blogspot.com/2013/10/building-resilient-region.html). Please go out and vote tomorrow.

  5. Remember when residents were told, after Sandy, that they shouldn’t be in Long Beach putting their destroyed belongings out on the curb? Remember the daily threats that the garbage would not be picked up, and that everyone should get dumpsters? If it weren’t for the state police patrolling LB, looting would have been rampant. And all the sanitation crews that picked up debris – were out of state contractors. The City still has a water and sewer system being held together by a portable pump running 24×7 on Pacific and Park. As you say B, people forget too soon. Dangling a food truck in front of them, and they think everything is just fine. The Dems will win – this gambit to close west school and deny ease of voting to residents there, will work for them.

  6. The Republican jerks want Jack gone so they can replace him and his team with a bunch of hacks. Damian ran because he didn’t like food trucks. Mike ran because he wants a bowling alley. Jana ran because Moriarty convinced her to. That moron Hommell is even SUING Jack. Give me a break! Mandel and Tepper had my vote locked up months ago. Anthony and Eileen both stopped at my door and I was truly impressed with them. It’s Dems down the line for me this year for me, a registered Republican.

  7. Property values stink… democrats aren’t going to help this and they aren’t going to help the middle class. So, he’s right. My taxes are going up again I’m sure. My stomach turns when I think about these politicians and Tepper and what they’ve been doing over the last year.

  8. Why does everybody disregard the independent candidates? Very few in this country are fans of partisan politics. It is the plague. Don’t miss the bigger picture.

    And it doesn’t require a report-a-pothole program to notice the massive sinkhole on Park Ave not far from City Hall which all of the people who you wish to re-elect drive through each and every day.

  9. It’s a dysfunctional city in very many ways, eg., why does the East Loop bus still go past The now closed hospital with pre Sandy frequency? Nobody is there, nobody gets on and nobody gets off. Same reason the bus schedule is not co ordinated with the LIRR during the day causing people to miss connections , endure long waits or take a taxi. Nobody gives a damn, that’s why.

  10. Hey Beach Guy, I know we’re all entitled to our opinions, but calling Long Beach “dysfunctional” is pretty extreme. We can all agree that there are things that need improvement, but key services are functioning. So, let’s agree that change is needed and then, as a community, help prioritize the changes needed and work together to realize the changes.

    Excessive negativity and excessive optimism are dysfunctional. Let’s be real and help improve Long Beach by supporting the new administration and recognizing the strengths as well as the areas needing improvement.

  11. I don’t disagree with what you are saying regarding working for improvements and change. But in the past this has rarely worked and things never change resulting in apathy on the part of the citizenry. Crumbling streets, extremely high paid police, bloated work force, people not entitled to overtime getting it nevertheless, golden parachutes, virtually non existent traffic enforcement, discombobulated traffic flow system( or lack thereof) resulting
    in speeding cars trying to beat the next red, or ten minutes to go from one end of the city to the other, a seriously flawed beach pass money collection system , a full year to get vegetation on the manmade sand piles at the beach in order to turn them into dunes, lack of proper snow fencing,( thank God for a benign hurricane season) disbandment of the Street Crimes Unit resulting in shootings in the vicinity of police HQ, and on and on. If you disagree with any of the above let me know which ones. If you do agree with any one in particular why don’t you make it a project to get improvement and let me know how you do? Pick one that should be relatively easy to accomplish in an ordinary place.
    Best of luck. I truly hope you meet with success in order to make LB a better place.

  12. Beach Guy, thanks for your response. You did a good job of listing problems. Now let’s talk about solutions.

    You mentioned the lack of Dune Grass. The past two weekends several hundred volunteers planted Dune Grass on the East and West end beaches. I was there, as was the City Manager. That was a success. Were you there?

    You mentioned traffic problems. The City Administration supports the NYS “Complete Streets” program which responds to many of the traffic issues you mentioned. (Look it up on the Web.) And, funding requests have been initiated to pay for this. Help support this.

    And, here’s an offer. Are you willing to work with me on one (or more) projects? I am a member of the West End Beautification Association. We get things done. Work with me and I’ll show you that we can succeed on beautification. One example, we worked with the newly appointed Sanitation Inspector to enforce regulations. Other examples, we have received Grants from LB and private groups to help build a greenway, get Long Beach banners and clean up parking areas

    The reason I’m optimistic is that I’ve done this work before. FYI, I worked for the Mayor of New York, establishing 450 prioritized service goals (efficiency and effectiveness), and helped materially improve service in many areas.

    If you (and any naysayers who continually complain of problems) want to take me up on my challenge, let’s get together this Thursday night in the Library before the NYS Community Reconstruction Program meeting. I’m sure we can both learn from each other. My phone number is 917-312-1219 if you want to discuss.

  13. It’s easy for me to carp and criticize and then do nothing , the reason being that I spend the majority of my time in SE Asia where I am now. My house in West End was bruised by Sandy and I decided to forego the torture of reconstruction by selling “as is” and buying a co op on Shore Rd.

    FYI . I was active in West
    End Neighbors Civic Assn but found it
    Little more than a chat group without any clout. There was also a lot of divisiveness causing split offs.
    Re the grass planting, beautification efforts and booth painting I laud those who voluteer for these jobs but question why the concepts, initiatives and the work have to come from citizens and not from the paid city officials and employees. The citizens should be adjuncts not prime movers. Why did it take almost a year to get the grass installed?

    I’m only in LB 3 or 4 months a year now but still care enough for the City To put in my two cents.
    I won’t be back until June but perhaps we can get together then after i do my taxes, catch up etc.
    I applaud your idealism and hope you don’t get ground down by the “system” like many of us have. Have a great winter and good hunting.

  14. Then why are home prices in Lido and Atlantic Beach and Point Lookout, actually up? The property tax situation in LB is going to get worse now, far worse, after this election. There is no stopping it now. I wonder how many posters here lived in LB during the 70s, the same dynamics are in play here now.

  15. Hey Beachguy, sorry you had such Sandy losses. When you return in June contact me at 80 Oregon and we’ll try to conquer an LB problem together. I think you may be surprised to see that community success is possible.

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