Balanced, Open Discussion

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A recent public event in Port Washington held by Reclaim New York was a real breath of fresh air at a time when people are divided politically. We all need to have an open, balanced, respectful discussion about the role of government in our lives and its cost to the taxpayer.
Unfortunately, some attendees sought to deliberately stifle the discussion. A letter in this paper recently even tried to label Reclaim using dangerously misleading political language. The organization simply encourages citizens to ask the question, “Are we getting what we’re paying for when it comes to New York’s government?” Shouldn’t every citizen be asking that?

In a state with high taxes, and rampant corruption, that debate is worth having.

Reclaim was even attacked by some for teaching residents about the state’s Freedom of Information Law. This law is a tool to ask public officials how local tax dollars are being spent.

It’s important for people to use transparency law to increase accountability in government. The fact that Reclaim used the law properly, to show how our tax dollars are spent, is leadership by example.

All communities, including ours, have challenges. It was a lack of debate and citizen interest that got us one of the most expensive governments in the country.

At a time when people are too frightened to speak up, and partisan politics overtake any real discussion among neighbors about what’s best for our future, Reclaim New York’s mission is necessary and welcomed.

—Laurann Pandelakis
Long Islanders for Educational Reform

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