The votes are in, and Sanitary District 2 will remain in operation. The final count was 4,597 to keep the district in place and 1,682 to dissolve it.
Following an extremely high turnout, reactions on both sides of the election were positive. The commissioners and supporters of the sanitary
district thanked those who voted in their favor, and even some of those behind the movement to
dissolve the district had a positive take on the
Sani2 supporters jubilant
History is written by the victors, and the story being told by Sani2 and its boosters is one of holding off a band of mercenary invaders.
In an email to his colleagues and members of the media, Sanitary Commissioner Jerry Brown called the referendum “unprecedented and historic,” and described the coalition that demanded the vote as “carpetbaggers that invaded our hometown.”
“The taxpayers of Baldwin, South Hempstead and Roosevelt voted to keep Sanitary District #2, and send these outsiders packing by a 4,597 to 1,682 vote; a 73 percent victory,” Brown wrote. He went on to voice the hope that “the District Attorney’s office will take a close look at these paid political operatives that perpetrated this fraud on the good people of [D]istrict 2.”
Messages celebrating the win also came from the Baldwin Chamber of Commerce and Nick LaMorte, president of the Long Island Region’s Civil Service Employees union. “The sustained efforts of paid political operatives from two special-interest groups to subject the residents of Sanitation District 2 to a barrage of lies and distortions were ultimately unsuccessful,” LaMorte said. “We were confident from the outset that voters would see through this charade.” LaMorte was joined by Local 882 President John Shepherd, Sanitation
District Unit 1 President John Laibach, Sanitation District Unit 2 President Chris Seaman and Recycling Unit President Russ Brower is issuing congratulations.
Among members of the Long Island Progressive Coalition and Residents for Efficient Special Districts, the outlook was positive as well — with equivocations. David Segal, communications coordinator for the LIPC, which backed RESD, said he felt that while his group’s referendum did not pass, it was not altogether unsuccessful.
“The thing we’re most excited about is that the vote
mobilized a higher number of people than you see in these kinds of elections,” Segal said. “Turnout was at least triple the mobilization you usually see, which means people are talking about these issues. That’s never a bad thing. The more people that take civic engagement seriously, the more excited we will be.”
Asked why he thought Sani2 had such a strong showing, Segal pointed to the district’s work after Hurricane Sandy. “The district’s performance after Sandy was great,” he said. “That’s to their credit.”
Segal went on to say that his side’s efforts would pay dividends in the future. “I think as a result of this effort, you might see people being more active in traditionally nonpolitical parts of Long Island,” he said. “This isn’t the end of efforts like this.”