Friday, November 6, 2009

Life Is What Happens While You're Busy Making Other Plans

My last post received a somewhat defensive comment from the peeps at, which slightly disappoints me. It's disappointing because my critique was not directed at them but at those who are apparently too busy with their Karate-Prayer-Circles-In-Soccer-Fields to attend one of the many meetings by local civic groups when it comes to the subject of village incorporation.

(By the way, on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being "your alarm clock doesn't go off in the morning" and 10 being "worldwide flooding to kill all of humanity", exactly how angry will an anthropomorphic supernatural entity get if you skip a Monday night prayer meeting? My more religious readers might want to chime in on that one.)

I get that people are busy. Hell, I get busy quite often. I understand that people "work two jobs, have small children, monday night prayer circles, karate classes, networking meetings, are commuting from the city, going to night school, have swim practice, are in florida for the winter, spend time in the hospital etc. etc."

But you can't ask people to do more when they apparently can't. You can't claim people are too busy and then want those same people to start the "cleaning of yards; calling of cops; reporting of crimes; volunteering (at civics, schools, churches, chamber); coming up with their own clever ways of improving this community."

When are they going to do that? They're too busy flying a charter plane full of blind, homeless, lepers to Alaska to aid in the plight of the endangered caribou.

Look, as sympathetic as I may be, I can't buy the fact that out of the almost 2 years that the MBVEC has been working on incorporation (that would be about 24 Monday meetings) people could not have attended 1 meeting, or emailed the MBVEC. Or attended one of their many fundraisers and asked them questions then. Yes, there's still plenty of apathy going around. All you have to do is find the percentage of people from the Tri-hamlet that vote in elections that matter*. The low turn-out is evidence enough. And I disagree that "If a citizen needs to hear their question answered 107 times for it to sink in — so be it." There are people like that. And I've found out that if it hasn't sunk in at about the 5th time, there's really no point. People will believe or not want to believe certain things despite contrary evidence. Look at 9/11 Truthers and Birthers as an example!

I'm with Mrs. Getchell on the fact that the MBVEC website does not have much information. It's sorely lacking. But when you take into account that most of the people that attend the meetings, and are involved in all of this, were around during the Lincoln administration you get why there isn't much work being put into the site. They're not the types to peruse local sites in particular, or the internet as a whole. I'm sure we both lament the fact that there aren't more people visiting local sites.

I also think that if you find it your duty to post the questions your readers have you should find it your duty to ask them. I'm pretty sure Paul Breschard or anyone with the MBVEC would be available for a sit-down, email, or phone interview to address the questions if you present yourself as the voice of the hesitant or concerned. And I would hope the same is extended for any organization who opposes incorporation. Which brings me to

I've contacted Henry Terry, who's for the elimination of Patchogue Village, and asked him some questions. In particular for a list of what he claims are the "37 New York communities (that) have decided that an incorporated village is not an efficient form of government and have chosen to dissolve them." To me, 37 seems like an awfully large number and I suspect some of them dissolved because of annexation, and not merely dissatisfaction. And that 37 only represents about 6% of the villages ever created in NYS. That means that about 94% are pleased enough with what a village has done for them. I await an answer, though I won't be surprised to not get one. The whois registry states the site was created 2 years ago and it seems not much has been accomplished with the movement.

Look, if there were a stronger alternative that would be working to fix the ills of the community I would be all for it and against the village because there are opportunities for corruption. But as it stands, there just isn't anything. Asking if people can't just form community watch groups or hound their legislators presupposes that those things haven't been tried. They have. It's been, for the most part, ineffective.

*Check out the results of last Tuesday's elections. In Brookhaven District 6 consists of Mastic, Mastic Beach, Shirley (parts of), Smith Point, Moriches, Center Moriches, East Moriches, Eastport, Manorville, East Yaphank (parts of), Calverton, Ridge (parts of), Brookhaven Hamlet (parts of). Guess how many people voted? 12,000. There are probably about twice as many registered voters. Less than half showed up. The majority of those who voted were outside of the Tri-Hamlet. In Suffolk County District 3 there are approximately 43,000 registered voters. Guess how many voted? Slightly less than 10,000.


Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head when you said we are an apathetic community. That is why the elected officals pay us no mind. If the number of people who voted was large they would sit up and take notice but they know this community, by and large, could care less about anything other than what goes on in their own home. People need to wake up and start paying attention to what is going on in your community and then maybe things will change. If we demand change and they see the numbers are huge that are screaming for change, then change will come. Sit back and do nothing and we will always be ignored.

SPVEC said...

We also at the SPVEC find the same questions coming at each meeting. We hear the same comments as we work on the census "we never heard of this or when did this start?" We have had large signs up at William Floyd Pkwy and Montauk Hiwy and now Parkview and William Floyd with information about meeting dates. Our website, I cant speak for the MBVEC, is very informative and we ask if you have a question email us, we will be happy to answer it. We also offer block meetings for people who have trouble making a meeting, we will do a small meeting in your home with 5 or 6 of your neighbors. We are doing a village that is compatable to the MBVEC and support their efforts. They have done a good job, fought the fight and know they are ready to get this to a vote. If anyone wants info on a village try our website as well as the MBVEC's and maybe your questions will be answered. If you live in Mastic Beach and email the MBVEC I know Paul B. will be very happy to answer your questions. Our website is I welcome antihamptons with their questions as well as anyone else who has questions about the village. Our next meeting is Dec 7 at the library at 7 PM.

Tonytee said...

I do agree that apathy changes nothing, but you need to look at the history of this community, going back well over 40 years, to see and possibly understand to a degree why the long time residents of the Tri-Hamlet community are apathetic. This is not an excuse - just an explanation.

I hope for the sake of this community that incorporation is the answer - as you said Milton, this seems to be this areas last hope for any real change. But be prepared - if the votes are in favor, and no change is seen within an 18 month timeframe, dissolution will be next on the referendum. And if taxes are increased in any way whatsoever, the backlash will be severe.