Fire District Election Shuts Out Neighborhood?
Last December 2008 I went to the firehouse on Newbridge Road in East Meadow and discovered that I am not in the East Meadow, New York fire district. This year on December 8th I went to vote in the Westbury Water-Fire District election at the Maple Avenue firehouse opposite my post office in Westbury. There I was told that my Salisbury neighborhood doesn't get to vote for fire commissioners.
Incumbent commissioner Vincent Abbatiello was reelected unopposed to another three-year term by 127 votes. This is less than the number of volunteer firefighters in the department www.westburyfd.com. Several thousand people live in the district.
It seems that because my Salisbury (also known as South Westbury) neighborhood is in the Town of Hempstead while the rest of the district is in the Town of North Hempstead that the Town of Hempstead portion doesn't get to vote. However, I have not yet confirmed this let alone the rationale.
This is mystifying. The fire district is separate from our volunteer fire companies and one need not be a firefighter to be a commissioner. Municipal fire departments with paid firefighters do not have elected fire commissioners in New York.
Fire district elections are not even required to have more than one polling place. Do we have a case of taxation without representation? Fire district commissioners on Long Island, New York are run by cliques of volunteer firefighters, but all property owners are taxed by them.
Lately, there has been much talk of consoldiation. There is another alternative to the special district racket--- privatization. This applies to fire too. The Reason Foundation studied this question http://reason.org/news/show/fire-protection-privatization. Business such as Rural Metro www.ruralmetro.com and the Danish firm Falck have offered fire protection services for years.
Let's consider privatization of fire services in New York. - 30-
About the author: Richard Cooper is an international trade executive with a manufacturing firm on Long Island, New York, USA. He is active in the Libertarian Party www.lp.org on eminent domain and other issues. He was chair of the Libertarian Party of New York http://.ny.lp.org
Do we have a case of taxation without representation? -30-
Tags: Long Island Politics , Salisbury , Fire District Elections , Westbury , East Meadow , Fire
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