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Column: Writing on the Wall

Local politics: Choose wisely

East Rockaway village elections a hot topic


A man stood up at the East Rockaway village board meeting on Monday night and beseeched everyone on the board to put the political mudslinging on hold. “Can’t this wait?” he asked, addressing Deputy Mayor Richard Meagher and trustees Irene Villacci, Bruno Romano and Fran Lenahan. “Maybe we can set up a debate later on, closer to the elections in March.”

No one said a word, but they all understood what he was talking about. After an uncomfortable silence, they thanked him for his comments and he sat down.

Our current board is both physically and politically split as they sit on the dais: Meagher and Villacci on one side, and Romano and Lenahan on the other.

Maybe some of you are blissfully not privy to the accusations and sometimes mean spirited, pre-village election goings on. Most times, I think, it’s not coming from the candidate themselves, but from their passionate supporters who think they are doing a service to their leader-hopeful. But sometimes the opposite happens: they just look foolish and angry.

There are now two political parties in East Rockaway: The Pride Party and the newly-formed Freedom Party. You may have seen some letters to the editor in the Herald, which is a forum of sorts for their arguments.

Is any of this fighting and accusing unusual in the world of politics? Having just come off of reporting our mid-terms elections, and having been through other elections, including the village of Lynbrook a few years ago — the answer is no — this happens all the time. People who were once friends and who once were on the same side for a common cause now accuse each other of being disingenuous and self-serving.

Do I think they all want to make East Rockaway a better community? Yes, I do. Do I think some want to be mayor for more narcissistic reasons? Yup. Does that mean they wouldn’t make a good mayor? Not necessarily.

A word of advice: Don’t look for who gets in photo shoots the most, or who is the loudest; look for someone you trust, for someone who has the values that you want most in a local candidate. There are many issues in East Rockaway. Who would be best to address those issues and help make your everyday life a better one for you and your family?

I have to make the same choices that you do. Maybe that gentleman had a good idea — a debate. Not with “plants” in the audience, but a genuine, fair, issue-based debate. What do you say, ladies and gentlemen?

Comments about this story? MMalloy@liherald.com or (516) 569-4000 ext. 202 Visit www.LIHerald.com/Writing on the Wall