Want Reform And Change? Do It Yourself

Legislator Laura Curran

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear,” wrote Mark Twain.

One of the critical questions those in the increasingly self-described “Resistance” movement must answer is this: Why did the grassroots Occupy Wall Street movement fail to achieve significant, practical, national, political influence compared to that of the Tea Party movement? One answer: The Tea Party rolled up sleeves and in many places took over the machinery and the mantle of an established political party.

The impressive rallies, marches and protests are for the most part not happening on Long Island. A lot of people chose Manhattan for their resistance. Some of this is due to the geography of Long Island sprawl and its lack of true civic centers.

In Colorado, Kentucky, Nebraska, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming, Sanders supporters have taken control over much of the state Democratic Party machinery. In fact, New York is the only “solid blue” state in which there are no serious plans to do this, and it’s reflected at the local level.

One “new” reform group, which advertised in these newspapers, says that it’s “loosely affiliated” with the Nassau Democratic organization, which is no longer affiliated with the concept of reform.

You’re in or you’re out. You’re for something new and different, or you’re mouthing the words and will likely come across as another poser. Remember all that talk about “authenticity” last year? Still goes.

Legislator Laura Curran is the county Democratic leadership’s recommended candidate for County Executive, but as a punishment for showing independent thought is not allowed to sit in their tightly controlled party caucus at the county legislature. Is this supposed to be some kind of triangulation?

Why hasn’t she told the party to take their designation and rotate on it? Let go.

Curran the person seems far more authentic than Curran the candidate, and that’s a problem. Her campaign website, for example, makes several safe, inoffensive suggestions. She’ll “analyze every expense line” in the county budget and evaluate value and costs. Do consultants say to talk like this?

The county is in chronic, structural deficit, which is actually a delayed tax increase, stretching for forever. We’ve closed police precincts. We’re kind of past this level of approaching the subject. You don’t need to have all the answers, but show that you’ll have the guts and the priorities to make hard, bold choices.

A recent study found that in the 2016 political cycle, campaigns wasted $245 million on TV ads shown to viewers in the wrong districts.

As of July 5, there are 124 days until the general election in November and a mere 69 days until the party primary election on Sept. 12. It needs to get better than this.

Why? Because she may very well win, and Nassau is out of time.

The most common question I have been asked by winning candidates is: “What do I do now?” I have always told them to go back to the campaign literature and do that.

This goes for all the candidates. And for you, too.

July 13 is the deadline for submitting designating petitions to run for neighborhood-level party representative (“county committee”). You can run a write-in campaign by submitting an “Opportunity to Ballot” petition by July 27.

You can run as an independent candidate for any office on the November ballot by submitting nominating petitions by Aug. 22.

All forms, requirements and instructions are online at www.elections.ny.gov.

Our local governments need to be rethought and re-imagined for this century. It doesn’t have to be up to them. It can be up to you.

Michael Miller has worked in state and local government. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher or Anton Media Group.

Michael A. Miller
Michael Miller (mmillercolumn@gmail.com) has worked in state and local government. He lives in New Hyde Park. The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the publisher or Anton Media Group.

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