Press Release from the Greater Huntington Civic Group
In June, the Greater Huntington Civic Group declared war on local government, specifically the members of the Town Council. Our words were hyperbolic. Rather than a call to armed insurrection, it was an expression of frustration at the state of the beloved town in which we live.
The closure of one of our schools, and the surge in violent crime that made that necessary or even possible, fed that frustration. The explosion of illegal, sub-standard housing, benefitting neither the people of the Town nor the tenants themselves, but only lining the pockets of absentee landlords and their friends in government, fed that frustration. And when one of our retired special-education teachers was accosted at a Town Hall meeting in a physical show of force not commensurate with any perceived infraction, we lashed out. This Town Council believes in settling questions without debating them. This Town Council believes a divided community is a tool to be used for political gain. This Town Council is all for preserving our history, and our open space, up to the point that some developer presents a scheme and a check.
The Council members berate the citizens who speak out at meetings to disagree with them. They berate the school districts that dare wonder what Town actions might mean for the future. They even berate one of their own, because he belongs to a political minority. All of this done very publicly, and to great effect in silencing the next who would speak up.When we lashed out, did the Town address our concerns or respect our voice? No. Instead, the Town Council has used our words to paint the Group and its membership as uncivil, dishonest, and even racist. All in an attempt to stop the Group’s activities; to thwart our effort to bring transparency, accountability, and honest, open debate back to a Town government that desperately needs it. It is an effort to consider issues on their merits for the benefit of all of our citizens, rather than the short-term gain of a very few. It is an effort to bring back a vision that looks long into the future, and not just to the next fiscal year.
The Greater Huntington Civic Group has continued that effort, buoyed by its members and friends who believe more in the message than its messenger. That core message hasn’t changed: We want our children to grow up in safe environment, educated in the best way possible. We want our streets to be safe again to walk on, safe enough for our children to play on. We want an end to gang violence and the need for anticrime tools like ShotSpotter.
We have no hidden agenda. We are not beholden to any special interests. Whatever power and money we have comes directly from the good people of this township. We only wish we lived in a Town where the government could say the same.
Greater Huntington Civic Group