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October 24, 2009

Time to get involved in local Town Politics

I've often been tempted to get involved and active in local politics.  One of the things that has always made me wonder is why there are no assigned areas that town council folks are responsible for.  When the opportunity to push for council districts in Huntington arose, I signed on, especially because it was easy to do with Facebook.  The organizers are social network savvy.  I've also thought  that Huntington itself was a pretty progressive town, and I am generally happy with the way that the town is run, but I think that some things aren't great, and they might get better through increasing accountability with districting.

The petitions were organized, signatures collected, and I fully expected the issue to be put to a vote.  I didn't really expect that the Town Board would object, but I guess I shouldn't have been surprised.  I believe it is time to change the status quo and introduce districting.  I've quoted Mark X. Cronin's letter about what is happening with the petitions now that they've been submitted. Please read the below, and if you're in Huntington, and you care about fair representation, support the push for districts.  Join our group on Facebook.

Same Old Politics Try to Deny the People the Right to Vote

Late this afternoon, Michael Kearns of Northport filed objections to the petition with the sole intent to deny the citizens of Huntington to right to vote on this issue. We do not know Mr. Kearns except to know that he is acting as a front for the Town Board. How do we know that the Town Board is behind this insider political ploy? 

• To file an objection, a person would need to see a copy of the petitions. While anyone could request a copy from the Town Clerk, Mr. Kearns has not requested a copy of the petitions, so he must have had another source for a copy of the petitions. The only people with copies of the petitions are the Town Board members and the Town Attorney (the Town Attorney’s office has four copies of the petitions). The Town Board must have provided the information to file the General Objections.

• The general objections must be followed by specific objections; preparing specific objections would require having a copy of the petitions. Mr. Kearns did not request a copy of the petitions. Again, the only people with copies of the petition are the Town Board members and the Town Attorney so they must provide the information to Mr. Kearns. 

We believe these facts demonstrate that the Town Board is now trying to stop a vote on the issue. We had asked the Town Board to put the issue of Council Districts on the ballot. Had they done so, the issue could have been on the ballot this November. They refused to do so. Now the Town Board is working to block the rights of the voters to have this issue placed on the ballot through the petition process.

We want to know:

• Why is the Town Board hiding behind Mr. Kearns? 

• Who is working with Mr. Kearns to block the right of the people to decide?

• Who provided the petitions to Mr. Kearns so he could file an objection? 

• Was an attorney working for the Town or doing business with the Town involved in preparing these objections?

We support Town Council Districts because they lead to better representation, more accountability and more openness in government. In their action to block the petitions, the Town Board is proving our point. They are denying the voters the opportunity to decide on representation. They are denying accountability by working through Mr. Kearns instead of filing the petition in their own name. And they are opposing openness in Town government. Shame on them!


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