Thursday, November 02, 2017

Nassau County Executive election, "Cleaning Up Corruption"

It's time for Nassau County, New York to select a new county executive.  The chronically corrupt county, or Long Island as Suffolk County apparently has similar issues, will say goodbye to current executive Ed Mangano whose trial for accepting bribes for county contracts gets underway in January.  Republican Mangano has never been trusted but he has been a success for his party and their friends.  Patronage is a New York birthright for the pols.

When we first moved to Nassau County in 1986, it was an eye opener to see that we received mail every month from the county executive's office that was purportedly a public service.  It was, in fact, promotional material for the then Republican county executive.  The four page glossy color newsletter has his picture on every page at least once.  It was an obvious political advertisement paid for by taxpayer dollars.  Even when buying our house we found out about the system, as to get the sale approved we had to pay an "expediter" what was a presumably off the books fee to get out of date records corrected at the court house.  Other interactions with the county government over the years have led us to interact with clearly lazy or incompetent people who were employed with great benefits and often showed up at their jobs sporadically.

What was interesting at that time is that a Republican political machine was not familiar.  Places like Chicago and New York came to mind as Democratic machine cities.  Then Long Island produced Al D'Amato and the experience of Nassau County demonstrated that machines were not limited to Democrats.

All that is a precursor to next week's election for county executive.  With his possible Republican predecessor Mangano being chased out and an ally, the Nassau County state senator and former state senate majority leader Dean Skelos being convicted(just recently out of jail on a technicality) of corruption, a full time politician named Jack Martins is the Republican running for county executive.  Full page color fliers come in the mail every day --- "JACK MARTINS, Cleaning Up Corruption".   His Democratic opponent has of course pointed out the corruption cases of Republicans Mangano and Skelos but, in a Trump-like move, Martins is promoting rooting out corruption as his main issue.  The Democrat candidate, Laura Curran, talks much more specifically about county management issues and practices that make corruption more likely --- overtime everywhere for everything, nepotism, and fees attached to all services.  

It is preposterous that Martins can look people in the face and run on this lie, but he is.  He has been running for various offices for almost twenty years and is a fixture of the Republican system, smiling with his perfect family.  


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