Mineola, NY

The Truth is Out There – WAY Out There ! !

SATURDAY MORNING WAKE-UP CALL


“Six o’clock already? I was just in the middle of a dream!  I was kissing Valentino by a crystal blue Italian stream . . .”     Manic Monday (The Bangles)

At least I was.  Until somebody cranked up that jack hammer at 7:20 in the morning on Saturday, January 19, 2013.

Not that I’m complaining.

But I am.

I listened to this cacophony for an hour before I took my camera and went out in the cold to track down where the noise was coming from.  I didn’t have to go far because it was coming from behind the Brasa Rodizio restaurant located at 100 Herricks Road.  I began taking photos, and the supervisor of the crew came over.  When I asked why he started jack hammering so early on a Saturday morning he answered “This is a commercial property.”  Then I pointed out the residences just behind him and again asked why it was necessary to start SO early.  That’s when he indicated he wanted to get the work done before the restaurant opened.  I asked if he had a permit, and he said he did.  I asked to see it.  That’s when he said he didn’t have it on him, that the “owner” had it.  I don’t know if he meant the owner of the building, the owner of the restaurant, or the owner of S & J Landscaping and Construction which was the firm doing the work.  No matter.  Noise is noise.

You see, my house is 350 feet away from where these individuals were working.  And I heard it.  My neighbors who live behind me on Beebe Road heard it and their house is 500 feet away.  That means it was heard in the Richlee Court complex and, since it was a clear, cold, otherwise quiet morning, the sound probably reverberated as far as 13th Avenue on the south side of the LIRR tracks.  Of course, those folks are used to sleep disturbances considering how many years they had to put up with the noise pollution emitted from the Verizon building on that little strip of land that somehow belongs to the Village of Garden City.  That lawsuit has dragged on for 3 years now.  But I digress.

I returned home to research the Village of Mineola’s Code to see how our regulations address allowable construction times and construction-related noise.

They don’t.

I then began to consult the codes of all the villages along the Jericho Turnpike corridor from the Queens border to Westbury, as well as the codes of the Towns of  Hempstead and North Hempstead.  I also dug into the Rules of the City of New York.  Every municipality I looked at has a chapter in their code that is dedicated to Noise.  What’s more, every one addresses construction-related  noise and stipulates days and hours when construction may take place.

Mineola’s code, in contrast, has  NO CONSOLIDATED  regulations for noise.  Chapter 192Animals – addresses noisy animals in general (barking, whining dogs in particular), in Article II, §10.  Next, we jump to Chapter 230Business Licenses – where the Code stipulates that professional landscapers may not operate power or manual gardening equipment after 8 pm or before 8 am without written permission from the Board.  Finally, we come to Chapter 376Peace & Good Order.  Article II, §9 is titled Disturbing the Peace.  It’s very broad and generalized but was the only citation I could find that was in any way applicable for me to file a written complaint with the Building Department.  (Spoiler alert:  we also have a restriction against noise from vehicles and motorcycles.)

Let’s analyze the numbers.  Of the NINE municipal codes I researched, 3 out of the 6 villages, both Towns, and the City of New York DO NOT PERMIT CONSTRUCTION ON WEEKENDS.  If public safety is at risk, special permits must be obtained to do work on a Saturday or Sunday.  The other three villages do allow construction on Saturdays as well as weekdays as a matter of routine.  In New York City, an “after hours” permit to work on the weekends can be obtained without the pre-requisite of a public health/safety issue, but you’ll pay through the teeth.  And let’s face it, people don’t move to the city in search of peace and quiet, but if a contractor wants to disturb people on their weekends, that contractor had better be ready to ante-up.

As for construction hours, IN ALL CASES SAVE ONE, the earliest time construction may commence is 7 a.m. and that is during the week only.  The one exception is the Village of New Hyde Park which does permit construction to commence at 7 am on Saturdays as well.  (Pardon my editorializing VNHP, but REALLY???)  The other two villages that permit construction on Saturdays restrict the start time to 8 a.m. and stipulate an end time by 7 p.m.

The Village of Mineola must establish regulations to deal with construction noise so both residents and contractors know what the ground rules are.  And residents need to know who to contact when a violation is being committed so a summons can be issued right away.  In my ideal world, construction wouldn’t be permitted on weekends.  It remains to be seen if the other VOM residents agree.  But I urge the Board members, who are all Village residents and taxpayers themselves, to give this matter the serious consideration it deserves.  Mineola is the County Seat of Nassau yet it entertains a hodge-podge of a code that doesn’t properly address one of the major causes of stress and pollution we as a society face.  N-O-I-S-E.  Escaping it is one of the main reasons people move to places like this.

For anyone who’s interested, I’m providing the spread-sheet I compiled that breaks down those portions of the codes of the Villages of Bellerose, Floral Park, New Hyde Park, Stewart Manor, Williston Park and Westbury, as well as the Towns of Hempstead and North Hempstead and the City of New York, that deal with noise.  (It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you’re sleep-deprived.)  Click here:  NOISE CODE COMPS

BTW – I did file a complaint with our Department of Buildings citing violation of Chapter 376, Article II, §9 for this auditory assault against my somnolence.  Las Vegas bookies post my odds of getting a response at slim to none.  I’m waiting for somebody to prove them wrong.

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February 17, 2013 Posted by | 7th S.D. New York State, Incorporated Village of Mineola, Mineola NY, Nassau County | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

JUSTICE FOR SAL


WHAT CONSTITUTES A SPEEDY TRIAL ???

The Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution states:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

There are truly criminal deeds like murder, robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and the like.  And if you commit one of these deeds and get arrested, you’ll spend time in jail until your trial – unless you make bail or post bond.  According to Article 30 of the NYS Criminal Procedure Law (Timeliness of Prosecutions and Speedy Trial), prosecution for Class A felonies, 1st degree rape, sexual assault etc can be commenced at any time.  So you can be sitting in the clink for a good long while awaiting trial if there’s a serious backlog and you’ve been denied bail or don’t have the money to pay it.

But what about trials for petty offenses and misdemeanors?   Say a Building Code Violation?  Well §30.10 of the CPL addresses those as well.  Prosecution for a petty offense must be commenced within one year of  “the commission thereof” while prosecution for a misdemeanor must be commenced within two years of  “the commission thereof.”  That gives a certain amount of flexibility to the variety of jurisdictions in New York State some of which are fairly small whereas others, like NYC are fairly large.

One might expect that in a Village such as Mineola having fewer than 20,000 residents (a number of whom are children and not likely to be involved in petty crimes and misdemeanors) it wouldn’t be that hard to obtain a speedy trial for something like an alleged parking violation, or for having illegal tenants living at your property, or for having a non-drivable car parked in your driveway.  Most people who receive summonses in this Village for parking or Building Code violations don’t fight them.  They pay them outright or go to conference to strike a plea deal.  So when we have an individual who answers his court summons and demands a trial for a Building Code violation, doesn’t it strike you as odd that FIVE MONTHS after the fact he still has not been given a court date?  In this dinky little village?  Well if you’ve lived in Mineola long enough, nothing should surprise you.  But yet it does.

Such is the situation for Sal Cataldo.  The man is over 80 years old, and is a Korean War veteran who is very active in veteran and community affairs.  He’s also a Village taxpayer, and a pistol to boot.  Mr. Cataldo was issued a Notice of Violation early in the year, went to the Village’s Justice Court and filed a plea of “Not Guilty” and requested that the matter go to trial.  And he’s waiting.  And waiting. . . . .  At least he’s not sitting in a jail cell.

Maybe the “Powers That Be” at 155 Washington Avenue figure if they can just stick it out, Sal will die first.  That doesn’t surprise me either.  I’ve lived in this Village long enough.

Are you on Facebook?  Join the group Justice For Sal and tell the Village Administration to get this show on the road!


				
                

August 4, 2011 Posted by | 7th S.D. New York State, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Law, Incorporated Village of Mineola, Mineola NY, Nassau County, NYCLU | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Slander, Libel, and Talking to the Hand


Well it’s been a while since my last posting as I’ve been a busy little bee, doing research and gathering information.  So I haven’t had the chance to address an insight that somebody shared via the “Comment” section of my last posting regarding the First Amendment.  This individual, going by the name of Herneola stated:

“You seem fairly sure you know the first amendment and all it’s protections.  Now go learn about slander and libel.  You’re guilty of both.”

The Bill of Rights

So I went back and looked at my postings, and I’m not really sure what was slanderous or libelous about anything I’ve said.  But if I’ve missed something, I’d like to know what it is.  As a matter of fact I tried to contact this person using the e-mail address they provided when they submitted their comment, but it came back as a discontinued account.  In other words, Herneola created an e-mail account to submit his/her comment, and then deactivated it so he/she couldn’t be contacted.  And that’s fine.  Whatever.

Just so we’re clear, my goal is to get at the truth, which has been in EXCEEDINGLY short supply in this village for many years now.  If employees have not done right by the taxpayers of Mineola by abusing their positions within the administration, by lying, by deliberately misinterpreting laws and regulations, by not reviewing contracts, or by covering up the illegal actions of others; and if by my due diligence, which involves the investment of MY time and MY money, I can investigate and document these things and bring them out in the open, then where is the slander and where is the libel?  Where is the problem?

STOCKHOLM SYNDROME?

One problem lies with those who have engaged in abuse of power, lies, patronage, harassment, discrimination, cover-ups and other acts of malfeasance.  The other problem is with those who refuse to remove their rose-colored glasses to look at the cold, hard facts.  They’re akin to kidnap victims who bond with their captors – a well-recognized survival strategy known as Stockholm Syndrome.  Like a battered woman who keeps allowing her abuser back into her life, these people would rather live in denial than accept that their employees have abused their trust.  It’s much easier to shoot the messenger.

Then of course, there are those residents who have everything to gain by maintaining the status quo.

So Herneola et al,  if you’ve done your due diligence; if you’ve gone through files at Village Hall, and the County Clerk’s office and the District Court; if you’ve used the resources that are available to all of us through the Federal and State FOILS, the UCC, the UJC and the plethora of other laws that grant us access to public information; then please share your knowledge with me.  If I’m wrong then I must correct myself.  However, if YOU aren’t willing to put the same amount of time, effort and personal resources behind your comments as I’ve done over these past few years, then pardon me as I invite you, with the utmost respect, to “talk to the hand.”

But thanks for the comment.  You gave me something new to write about.

February 24, 2011 Posted by | 1st Amendment, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Law, Freedom of Speech, Mineola NY, Nassau County, NYCLU | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

MY SECRET SANTA


I came home from work the other night and like many of you, I checked my mail.  I was sorting through the usual stack of bills and pleas for donations when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a plain, white #10 envelope with the letters F. Y. I. scrawled in a very Christmassy shade of Flair Pen red.

“What could be inside?” I wondered.  My winning ticket to the Irish Sweepstakes?

No such luck.

But what I did receive was interesting to say the least, and I am happy to share it with you.  This is, after all, the “Season of Giving.”

View this document on Scribd

In the interest of clarifying some things you should know that the “Mineola Village Court” is properly known as “Justice Court” – although I’m sure there are plenty of people who will dispute how much justice is actually obtained there.  I wouldn’t know since I’ve never had to deal with them.  That’s one issue.  NEXT ! ! ! !

The clerical position in question had been vacant for ELEVEN months due to a retirement.  And the retirement was not sudden.  The Village had official notice of the employee’s plans weeks before she actually walked out the door for the last time.  As a matter of fact, the Village tried very hard to get this individual brought up on charges so they would have an excuse to fire her before she could retire and collect her full medical benefits.  Thankfully the union intervened and put the kabosh on that hatchet job.  But that’s a story for a later blog.

So what WAS the rush to fill this post?  Especially to hire someone, as Village attorney John Spellman indicated, “by December 8th?”

If you watched the broadcast of the November 17, 2010 Work Session and paid attention to what was said and how people interacted, well let’s just say it was quite the lesson in body language.  First, Village Clerk Joseph Scalero proposed that the position be posted as the Village is required to do.  This took Mayor Jack Martins (excuse me – SENATOR-ELECT Martins) by surprise.  “Post it??!!” he said.  But then Spellman stepped in with his very useful opinion that since the department was short-handed, the Mayor should be allowed to appoint someone once he’d had the chance to review the applications.  After a long, lingering exchange of looks between the mayor and the attorney, Martins called for a motion to approve Mr. Spellman’s suggestion.

In other words, as opposed to posting the position so that ANYBODY on Nassau County’s Civil Service list could apply for consideration;  and as opposed to letting the applicants interview with Valerie Passarella who has supervised the department for 10+ years so she could find a good fit;  and as opposed to letting her make a recommendation to the FULL Board and letting the FULL Board approve or deny it, Spellman proposed that Jack Martins be allowed to make the call all by his lonesome – what with time being of the essence and all.  And of course the other Trustees (who still haven’t figured out that when John Spellman makes a recommendation they should do the exact opposite) voted to give Jack this authority.

Mind you – this vote took place between 6:45 and 7 pm on the evening of Wednesday, November 17th.  The new employee was set to start on Monday, November 22ndThat means between the hours of 8:30 am on November 18th and 5 pm on November 19th, Mayor Martins was able to accept and review applications for this Civil Service position and hire somebody. Somebody who’s very good at answering phones.  Somebody who worked the phones for his NYS senate campaign.

AH!  The dawn breaks!

So how many interviews WERE conducted?  How many applications were even submitted?  Was this job ever posted on the bulletin board at the office of the Nassau County Civil Service in Hempstead?

The position vacated in January was a competitive post requiring the candidate to have passed and obtained reachable status on the civil service exam.  Has this new employee taken and passed her test?  Or did the position get changed to non-competitive or exempt?  After all, a municipality is only entitled to a limited number of non-competitive or exempt positions.

Now, an exempt position was done away with back in the fall when the Board – again following the lead of the Martins/Spellman cabal – voted to eliminate the title of “Secretary to the Board of Zoning Appeals.”  This was the patronage position created for and handed to Karen Calabro back in 2002.  She didn’t have to pass a Civil Service exam.   She got to engage in a romantic relationship with her supervisor without penalty.  She got to avoid paying taxes for years on improvements she and her ex-husband made to their home on Beebe Road – including an un-permitted half-bath on the first floor.  She got away with being insubordinate to customers even when written complaints were filed against her.

That should answer the question as to why the Justice Court position wasn’t offered to the “recently laid off employee.”

The only reason her position was eliminated in September was because she ran her mouth off to the Deputy Village Clerk who then filed a complaint with the Mayor who in turn devised a story about doing away with the job in order to save the Village money.

Good work Jack!  Now we can use those savings to defend the lawsuit Ms. Calabro has reportedly filed against us for the loss of her position.   She has most definitely filed a grievance and a PERB against VOM through the employees’ union.

So the good folks of the Village had the pleasure of paying Ms. Calabro salary, providing her with medical coverage and funding her pension for 10 years while she didn’t pay the proper property taxes to either the Village OR the county for her entire tenure as an employee.  Now she gets to collect unemployment for at least 99 weeks – which the Village pays for by its contributions to the Unemployment Insurance Fund.  AND she hopes to collect big bucks for the elimination of her position or have her position reinstated with back-pay.

All thanks to the managerial expertise of our soon-to-be former Mayor and his fellow Trustees.

A Merry Christmas indeed.

Will you take one lump of coal, or two in your stocking?

December 11, 2010 Posted by | 7th S.D. New York State, Incorporated Village of Mineola, Jack Martins, Mineola NY, Nassau County | Leave a comment

MORE OF THE SAME OLD, SAME OLD ARROGANCE


I don’t know why I was surprised that Jack Martins would jump to declare himself winner of the 7th S.D. race with less than a full percentage point lead (.51% to be exact).  But he did, and I was.  I’m much less surprised by the genuflecting and hosanna ringing that his fan club has been engaged in – also presumptively.

Much to his credit, Senator Johnson has kept mum.  I’ve seen enough tight election races to know that the usual tactic is for the underdog to get defensive and start talking about how “The opera ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.”  But we’re hearing none of that.  At least not from Johnson himself.

But the chest thumping in the Martins camp began as soon as all the precincts had reported in – despite the fact that there was only a difference of 415 votes.  Jack is behaving as if a 415 vote lead – perhaps even a win – is a mandate.  In the meantime, if you were watching the election results on Channel 12, you might have been as stymied as I was to see no vote tallies being reported for the 7th S.D. even after 9 pm when results from the other precincts were coming in at a fairly steady rate.  Well apparently there were glitches – and plenty of them.  Nobody knows how many emergency ballots didn’t get properly scanned and are sitting in the machines waiting to be counted.  Then there are more than 700 affidavit ballots and nearly 3400 absentee ballots to be tallied.  So, as we are seeing in Suffolk County’s 1st Congressional District, there is plenty of room for uncertainty and perhaps even a little touch of humility.

But don’t look for it from Jack.  In his mind, he’s got this all sewn up.  As to the likelihood that the Democratic party may take legal action to demand a recount down the road, Martins opined  “I have yet to hear from my counterpart, but everything I’m hearing seems to be steered through the Democrat party, the New York City-dominated Democrat partyMaybe that’s how they do things in New York City, but they should allow the process to play itself out in the suburbs and not interfere.”

Say WHAT ? ? ?

WHO’S interfering?

What “THINGS” is Jack talking about?  Does he mean ensuring that EVERY vote is accurately counted?  Is that something only the big city slickers care about?  Are we country bumpkins in the hinterlands of Nassau County too stupid or ignorant to figure out the “democratic” electoral process for ourselves?  Does he really think we’re under some form of Citified Democrat Mind Control?

Please!

Because you can bet your bottom dollar that if the shoe was on the other foot, Martins would be itching to get those uncounted votes tabulated, and the Republican machine on Long Island would pull out all the stops to get that 7th Senate District seat.  That’s what political parties do on behalf of their members.  Whether it’s a senate seat in New York, a town alderman somewhere in Tennesee, or President of the United States, close races get scrutinized and there are no real winners until all the ballots are officially tallied by the local Board of Elections.  So getting all arrogant and puffing out your chest to declare how “the communities have spoken” – especially when you have such a miniscule lead – is premature and ungracious.

And another thing:  what’s with the condescending attitude towards New York City?  Most of the people who live in, vote in and pay astronomical property taxes in the 7th S.D. earn their livings in Manhattan.  God knows, you can’t earn a decent living in Nassau.

So, “Possibly Senator-Elect” Martins, when it comes to our neighbor just over the County line, as when it comes to extremely tight elections OR for that matter, when it comes to LIFE IN GENERAL, it would behoove you to check your obnoxiousness at the door.  Because if you are indeed going to serve as state senator, you will have to recognize that you are no longer the guy in charge and that you must be able to play well with others.

Even if those others are fellow Republicans.

Because nobody likes an arrogant toad.

November 7, 2010 Posted by | 7th S.D. New York State, Incorporated Village of Mineola, Jack Martins, Mineola NY, Nassau County | 1 Comment

YOU SPIN ME RIGHT ‘ROUND BABY, RIGHT ‘ROUND . . .


Anybody who knows me well can tell you it’s the rare instance that renders me speechless.  And what usually does it is when I witness something so outrageous it is beyond the pale – some outlandish act of stupidity or brazen, out-and-out lying.  And I’ve seen a great deal of that in Mineola under the current administration.   Jack Martins has lied through his teeth to the taxpayers of Mineola who have paid his salary for lo these many years.  And he’s been trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the rest of our neighbors in the Town of North Hempstead and those sections of Hempstead Town that are in the 7th S.D.  The latest instance can be found in his most recent email, posted on his senate campaign website.

Martins and the other “Trustees” have never had a good word to say about Newsday in all the years I have been attending meetings or watching them on Channel 18.  This week Newsday published its endorsements for the upcoming elections.  Mayor Martins received praise as being an “effective” mayor among other things – which he selectively chose to cut and paste into his e-mail 30.  What he selectively chose to cut and NOT PASTE was the final sentence of the editorial.  Specifically:  NEWSDAY endorses CRAIG JOHNSON.

OOPS ! ! !

Nor did Jack bother to correct Newsday’s blatant error regarding his position on term limits.   The editorial stated:

“Martins believes in term limits and says he will limit himself to two terms as Mineola mayor, meaning he’ll leave next year.”

A)   If anybody bothered to check their facts, they would know that Jack Martins has been mayor of Mineola since 2003.  Our Board members are up for election every two years.  It’s now 2010 and the next mayoral election in Mineola is in 2011.  So let’s do the math shall we?  2011 – 2003 = 8.

Now let’s really push the envelope and try some division.  8 years ÷ 2 years per term = 4 terms.  Based on the arithmatic and by applying logic and deductive reasoning, I come to the conclusion – which happens to be borne out by the facts – that Jack Martins has been Mayor for FOUR TERMS !!!

B)   The only thing more irresponsible than Newsday’s failure to check the facts is the exploitation of this faux pas by the politician in question.  Jack actually incorporated this completely inaccurate statement into his e-mail, citing it as “one of the greatest compliments of public service.”  In the meantime, the “About Jack” page of his website states unequivocally, in black and white, that Martins was elected mayor of Mineola in 2003.  So much for his belief in term limits.

Talk about spin ! ! !

So – to whomever out there might be reading this – think carefully about the vote you cast on November 2nd.  Those of us in Mineola are screwed either way.  If Martins wins, he’s going to represent us in Albany – and it will be more of the same old, same old because he’s as phony as a $3 bill.  If he loses – we in Mineola will STILL be screwed because he’ll still be our mayor.  But at least the rest of you won’t have to put up with his stuff and nonsense.

Spin, baby! Spin!

October 23, 2010 Posted by | 7th S.D. New York State, Incorporated Village of Mineola, Jack Martins, Mineola NY, Nassau County, Political | Leave a comment

GRIM FAIRYTALES


Mayor Jack Martins, Republican candidate for New York’s 7th Senatorial District seat, promised to hold a “TRUTH Conference” on Friday, October 8th in front of his Democratic opponent’s headquarters on Herricks Road.  The purpose was to call out Craig Johnson for lies the incumbent is supposedly spreading about Martins.  (If you’re looking for a good giggle, visit martinsforsenate.com, then click under News and look for the October 7th “Message from Jack.”  In case you’re wondering why I don’t just post the link, it’s because the link doesn’t work.

Martins has accused Johnson and his “Albany spin doctors” of “misinforming constituents.”  That’s really rich, coming from someone who has blatantly lied to his own VOM constituents on a variety of occasions – and on TV.  For instance, the mayor lied (on TV) when I questioned him concerning complaints he’d received about the relationship that existed (and continues to exist) between Building Superintendent Dan Whalen and now former Secretary to the BZA, Karen Calabro.  The mayor denied at first that he ever received complaints about the inappropriateness of their relationship.   (Whalen was Calabro’s boss as well as love interest).  At a later meeting (also broadcast on TV) Martins backpedaled and claimed that nobody had ever filed an “OFFICIAL” complaint with him.  Whatever that means.

Ah, lawyers!

The latest fairy-tale emanating from Jack’s mouth is that of the elimination of Karen Calabro’s position.  At the September 22nd Work Session, the VOM “Trustees” (an oxymoron if ever there was one), voted unanimously to eliminate the post of Secretary to the Board of Zoning Appeals, citing cost-effectiveness as their reason.

Poppycock!

Calabro’s position was not eliminated to save the Village money.  Nor was it eliminated due to complaints that had been brought to the mayor’s attention against her both verbally and in writing over the years.  It wasn’t even eliminated after the Trustees received proof that Ms. Calabro had defrauded the Village and Nassau County by not paying taxes on her home improvements for more than a decade.

It happened because – according to reliable sources – Ms. Calabro, feeling invincible as usual because of her “favored nation” status, was insubordinate to one of her superiors, specifically the Deputy Village Clerk.   Well, the Village Clerk then got involved.  Before you know it, Mr. Whalen – ever Ms. Calabro’s Knight-In-Shining-Armor – injected himself into the situation.  During the ensuing kerfuffle, Whalen (who seems to think he’s still working in a bar) verbally abused Deputy Village Clerk Cora Kelly.  Mrs. Kelly then filed a complaint.  The next day, Friday, September 17th, Calabro was suspended for one day WITH pay.  That’s right – SUSPENDED ONE DAY WITH PAY.  That’s one of  the luxuries of being an exempt AND unionized employee.

There are some interesting items to ponder in this whole little scenario.  Such as why the mayor waited until this particular incident occurred to take action.  He’s gotten complaints about Whalen and Calabro for years from village taxpayers and employees.  The situation has been addressed at public meetings broadcast on Cablevision Channel 18 as well as in writing.  Yet somebody has had both their backs for the longest time.  They were the Teflon® couple.

Until September 16, 2010.  That’s when they both ran their mouths off to the DVC and that’s when Mayor Martins, after “investigating” (i.e. questioning both Calabro and Whalen independently) decided he had to cut his losses.

So he hatched the perfect plan:  eliminate Calabro’s position.  It is after all, an exempt post that exists at the pleasure of the Board, and the person who fills the job also does so at the pleasure of the Board.  (The pleasure of VOM’s taxpayers apparently doesn’t count for much.)

But how to do it and save face at the same time?  Jack didn’t want to look foolish by admitting that Calabro was finally being fired for insubordination.  That would only prove that folks were right all along.  Then the light bulb came on!  That’s when he came up with the old “eliminating this position will save money for the Village” scheme.

So that’s what he – and the “Trustees” – put out there at the September 22nd work session.  But when I questioned him at the Public Hearing later that same night, Martins would have none of it.  As a Village resident and taxpayer I wanted to know if their action had anything to do with the complaint I’d filed that Ms. Calabro hadn’t paid the proper taxes on her home improvements for the entire time she was accepting salary and benefits as a VOM employee and resident.  But Jack held firm:  he had stated the reason at the Work Session and he would entertain no further questions from me on the matter.  (Sounds like a violation of my civil rights quite frankly – considering it’s a public meeting, I’m a Village taxpayer, I filled out the necessary form and I limited my topic to a matter of concern to the Village of Mineola.  But that’s fodder for another posting.)

You’ve heard that “Life is a Highway?”  Well in the Village of Mineola, life is a creepy fairy tale like something out of the Brothers Grimm.  And in the “World of Make-Believe” that exists in Jack Martins’ mind, facts are entirely optional and “truthiness” is only required of certain people, like his senate opponent.  It’s not required of him, or of certain Village employees.   So bear that in mind the next time Mayor Martins collars you at the Mineola train station to tell you how HE’S the one who’s going to bring integrity back to Albany.  Or the next time you see one of his ads on TV.

Or, you can just bury your head in the Tales of Mother Goose.

October 10, 2010 Posted by | 7th S.D. New York, 7th S.D. New York State, Incorporated Village of Mineola, Jack Martins, Local New York, Nassau County, Political | Leave a comment

What It’s All About, Alfie


It’s all about getting the real story out there – the truth about what’s been going on in Mineola for the past several years.  It’s about letting Mayor Jack Martins and his trustees know that the taxpayers who keep this Village running are smarter than they think.  And while it is indeed true that they can fool some of the people some of the time, there is no way they can fool all the people all the time.

My name is Jeanne Falabella and I’ve lived in Mineola since September 2001.  I’m not trying to make a name for myself and I have no interest in running for political office.  But I also have no interest in allowing myself to be taken for a fool.  Not for the taxes I pay.  I work TOO HARD for my money.  So when I catch our mayor and our village attorney playing games with the facts, I will call them on it.  And when I find out that certain of our employees are ripping the taxpayers off, I’ll call attention to that too.  And perhaps not as diplomatically as some people might like.

We live in an amazing time when we not only have the ability to get the word out via televised meetings, but through the internet where the tax-payers can see public documentation and judge for themselves.  Jack Martins can shut people down on TV, but he can’t shut down the information superhighway.

So that’s what it’s all about.  Getting the truth out, plain and simple.  We deserve no less.

September 29, 2010 Posted by | 7th S.D. New York, Civil Liberties, Incorporated Village of Mineola, Jack Martins, Local New York, Nassau County, Political | , , , | Leave a comment