July 31, 2011

Attention Nassau Voters: Long Island Needs a Facelift

If someone asked me what this process was like, I wouldn't even know where to start. When you're a die-hard Islander fan who is a Suffolk County resident, words cannot describe how helpless you feel at times.

It's very painful to sit on the sidelines and not know what you are about to witness. It's even tougher when you have many friends who live in Nassau County, all of who are in their young 20's. You get responses like "voting is irrational" or so much complacency it drives you mad. One thing I'll never understand is how someone in West Hempstead can have such a blah attitude about what the surrounding area they live in looks like.

Nothing will be as bad, however, as what the area will look like with a "no" victory on Monday. A no victory means there is no building up of an area on an island that should have a sports and entertainment destination given what activities go on around here. Instead, all a no vote does is still increase taxes and put up more Starbucks, Targets, WalMarts and -gasp!- low income housing.

It's really disturbing to me to see how short sighted some folks have been in the entire process. I'm 23 years old, and graduated from SUNY Stony Brook in 2009. Since then I've heard so much about how "I'm the future" and that "Long Island needs to look after" kids like me.

That's great and I would fully agree. One problem: I don't see it. Not one bit.

There is absolutely no reason why it should take me 16 months to find work. There is no reason why I should graduate with 5,000 other students, with 17% of those having jobs on walk day. None.

I can't begin to tell you the amount of people I've had conversations with - folks entering retirement age - where I tell them what I'm being trained for at work and the programs they have me in and they think its the greatest thing ever. "Long Island needs more people like that" is usually a response I get.

But then don't try to ask them for something that helps your future. Good lord, don't do that.

A common complaint is that people "don't want to see their taxes go up." A fair complaint, sure. But a simple look at the track record of politics on LI and you'll see a trend (hint: they always go up). And what exactly have they gone up for? If you're having trouble answering that, don't feel bad (more money for snow removal for blizzards that don't happen!).

We live in a nation where states set aside money for the study of cow flatulence. Yet here, we can't get people to open their eyes about the area they live in and understand the situation. Private financing to revitalize the area around Nassau has come and gone. We had the chance to do that for a number of years, and no one had the guts to call Kate Murray and her cronies out for stalling on that. Now, we offer the only solution left. It's unfortunate we've come to this, yes. But it's all that's out there. A guys patience can only go on for so long, and I can't believe Charles Wang has given Long Island this long of a chance to wake up, but that's a story for a different day.

I know I'm probably preaching to the choir at this point. But if you were on the fence or a "no" voter who happened to stumble across this entry, know this. There are many people out there my age who are depending on you to help make this happen. Contrary to popular belief, there are many of us who want to stay here and spend our money here. But we're never given that chance.

Some of you may not think you can change the world, and are at an age where it may not seem fitting for you to pay more in taxes. But what about those who have young kids? What about your grandchildren? I can guarantee you that some of you who vote "no" will end up being the same ones complaining when your son or daughter is forced to move because of how high taxes soared when that low-income housing complex (complete with many inhabitants living on welfare) went up in Uniondale.

I have lived on Long Island my whole life, and going to Islanders games is a family affair. It brought my family closer together. My mom and dad lost track of the sport and because of me, they're back into it. If we had the chance, we'd be voting yes. But we don't have that option.

Nassau County, you have that chance to do it for us. You may not know me from a hole in a wall, but my story is on par with many others. Before you pull that lever for your vote I need you to think: Who do I know that's out of a job? Who do I risk losing that I don't want to lose? Who in my life has dreams and desires that won't come true here if I say no?

I like to think of myself as living an ultimate dream and desire. A kid always wishes he could talk to the players he idolized growing up. Thanks to the Islanders, I had that chance this past season and will continue to do so as long as voters let me. I'm not alone in this and I can see it from the various other people out there who have gone out to try and make a difference.

There are a lot of us who you'll be making a decision for. Let's keep those with high aspirations here. Let them make a difference on this Island they grew up on.



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