Thinking Out Loud About Last Night’s Town Board Meeting
The most disturbing thing about last nights Town Board meeting was not what was discussed, but what was not. Had it not been for Huntington Station resident Rich Hall, there would have been no mention of the murder of a Huntington resident that took place last week. There was no mention of the recent crime spree in Huntington Station, there was no mention of the fact that ShotSpotter did not do what it was promised to do.
Mark Cuthbertson was typically arrogant. He seems to be grandstanding lately to appear as a fiscal conservative. For those of us who pay attention, we can only speculate what this is about. Cuthbertson’s record of “spending to support his friends” would suggest anything but conservative habits. Interesting that he would choose “fiscal responsibility” when the funds apply to poor at risk youth. Cuthbertson was the lone “no” vote to restore funding to various youth services. Some of the agencies that were at risk to lose funding included; Family Service League, Tri-CYA and the Youth Bureau. These agencies perform monumental tasks on a shoe string budget. In addition to cutting vital programs for at risk youth, these cuts would mean local Huntingtonians would lose their jobs. Yes, we are in difficult financial times. One could argue that something has to go. Common sense would suggest that during these most difficult times, these programs are more vital than ever.
The important work these agencies do relieve some of the financial burden on the local School Districts. This is particularly important in districts like Huntington and South Huntington. The Town is responsible in so many ways for the disportionate number of at risk kids in these districts. Frankly, it is the least they could do.
Perhaps Cuthbertson could help with the financial burden on Huntington Tax payers and pay for his own cell phone bills like Mark Mayoka does. Perhaps Susan Berland can attend photo ops on her own dime by not requiring the tax payer to pick up the tab for her mileage bills.
As often is the case at Town Board meetings, Cuthbertson and Petrone reminded us of their disdain for the first amendment and a citizens right to speak at Town Hall. One example was when Daniel Karpen came to the podium and beat the dead horse about fishing at Hecksher Pond. Is it getting tiresome? Probably to most. Equally tiresome is Cuthbertson’s inappropriate body language and many other more serious problems that occur throughout our Town. Wouldn’t it be great if certain council-people were as disturbed by gangs in Huntington Station as they are by hearing the same tired topics? Petrone’s crude response to Mr. Karpen’s repetitive commentary was “did you get your jollies off for the night?”
Cuthbertson made it clear that he was not interested in hearing from the people and voted no to schedule a public hearing about regulating excessive Bamboo. He stated on the record that he will be voting no for regulating the nuisance. Gene Cook rationally reminded the emphatic Cuthbertson that this was merely a vote to schedule a public hearing and asked Cuthbertson didn’t he want to hear from the people? Cuthbertson’s no vote to scheduling a public hearing clearly answered Cooks question. Cuthbertson stated that Bamboo was mildly invasive and that his mind was made up. He went on to say that he was worried about too much Government involvement. We wonder if he has the same thought process when he votes yes over and over to have our Town acquire private properties or when he voted yes to pay Don Pius above market rate for his dilapidated homes.
The vote to hold the public hearing passed and will be scheduled at the March 13th board meeting. Hopefully Cuthbertson will keep an open mind. If he really believes that bamboo is “mildly invasive”, he may learn a great deal from residents who have endured it.
Another example of refusing to hear from the people was when Mr. Kelly attempted to speak about ethics problems during last November’s elections. Petrone stated that he was not interested in hearing from Mr. Kelly and would not allow the podium to be used as a political forum. Mr. Kelly had spoken on the subject at the last Town Board meeting and had never received any feedback on the matter. Mr. Petrone stated repeatedly that he would not listen and said that Mr. kelly was “not even a resident of Huntington”. There have been many individuals in the past that have spoken and were not residents of Huntington. This was particularly common during hearings for the downzoning of the Bonavita property to accommodate Avalon Bay. This didn’t seem to bother Mr. Petrone.