This article I wrote appeared on The Catholic Thing web site on June 29, 2016.
Archive for June 2016
This article I wrote appeared on the Newsmax.com web site on June 28, 2016.
This column I wrote appeared on June 23, 2016 in Long Island Now and in Blank Slate Media newspapers.
A commentary in three parts
Part One – On Temperament
The Macmillan Dictionary defines temperament as one’s basic character and one’s tendency to be happy or angry. In other words, one’s natural predisposition.
To be an effective member of Congress—be in a position to truly serve one’s constituents and their interests—one must have the natural predisposition to get along with the other 434 members of that body, particularly floor leaders and committee chairmen.
The first question Democratic voters must answer before they cast their primary vote for a 3rd Congressional candidate to represent them in the November election is: Does Jon Kaiman have the temperament, the natural predisposition to effectively represent them in Congress?
During Kaiman’s tenure as North Hempstead town supervisor, he managed to offend scores of constituents. On one occasion, he publicly berated a Catholic priest for referring to Jesus Christ at a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony. He made headlines when he purportedly got into an altercation at a Jets game and when he even managed, by playing with his cell phone, to aggravate music legend Art Garfunkel at a concert, (hardly a bridge over troubled waters!)
Kaiman has also had intemperate outbursts with North Hempstead town council members and with NIFA members when he chaired that State financial control board.
When a member of the NIFA board, I was on the receiving end of one of Kaiman’s vulgar intemperate outbursts. On December 31, 2013, I wrote him a letter that I released to Newsday concerning the incident. Here are the salient parts of the text of the letter:
I am sure you recall that on Saturday, October 19, 2013, in the conference room of the County Executive, I endured, within earshot of County and PBA officials and in front of NIFA staff, your vulgar and boisterous verbal tirade directed against me. Frankly, I found your foul-mouthed outburst unprofessional under any circumstance, let alone in a public building and in the presence of NIFA staff.
I have also learned from sources outside of NIFA about your crude order to NIFA general counsel at a December meeting with County and PBA officials that was disgraceful, violated the rules of civility and put NIFA at risk of being considered a hostile work environment.
To tell NIFA counsel to “shut the f*** up” as he was attempting to give advice cautioning you about conversing and negotiating in the presence of PBA lawyers who are handling litigation against NIFA is inexcusable and compounds the error of participating in that negotiation in the presence of opposing counsel.
Your fescennine verbal abuse, in my judgment, damaged the integrity of a State agency and diminished the reputation of a dedicated public servant who has devoted years to protecting NIFA and to giving sound legal advice to his board member clients.
You may have gotten away with coarse offensive temper tantrums when you were a North Hempstead township official but you are now not only a director of a State agency but an employee of the State’s Chief Executive, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and by the nature of those posts are expected to live up to a higher standard of civil behavior.
Advice the legendary Speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn, gave to freshmen congressmen in his day still holds today: “Get along to go along.” Based on his history, does Kaiman have the natural disposition to get along? That’s what Democrats must decide on Tuesday, June 28.
Part 2 – On Judgment
When Judi Bosworth was sworn in as North Hempstead’s Town Supervisor on January 5, 2014, little did she know she inherited a government chock full of political hacks from the Kaiman era.
- Gerard Terry, who was paid $74,000 a year to serve as North Hempstead’s special counsel for the board of zoning appeals, was charged on April 12 with one count of tax fraud. He allegedly had unpaid tax debts of $1.4 million. Judi Bosworth severed the Town’s relationship with Terry.
- Concetta Terry, wife of Gerard Terry, resigned on June 6, 2016 as North Hempstead Deputy Clerk after it was revealed she failed to disclose her husband’s debts in her financial disclosure forms.
- A North Hempstead secretary, Helen McCann, was charged on March 3, 2016, by the Nassau’s D.A. office of allegedly embezzling at least $98 thousand in fees paid in cash to the town’s Solid Waste Management Authority.
- On March 14, 2016, it was revealed in Newsday that Helen McCann’s brother, Thomas Tiernan, the North Hempstead Highway Superintendent, “collected more than $134 thousand in overtime in the past five years, making him the only Town Highway Department head on Long Island to be paid for working extra hours.” Newsday also reported that there were other Tiernan/McCann relatives on the township payroll.
What do all these people have in common? They worked for Jon Kaiman when he was North Hempstead Town Supervisor, and were also key figures in his political organization.
I now understand why Kaiman, in an interview with the Queens Tribune published in its May 12, 2016 edition, told the staff writer he is “not afraid to embrace the word ‘crisis.’” Because he is a poor judge of character, there has been a protracted crisis in the Town of North Hempstead’s government. And because of his lack of attention to—or complicity with—County officials, he left Nassau County in a heightened state of fiscal crisis compared to its condition when he began as NIFA chairman. Perhaps he isn’t afraid of crisis, because he is so prolific at creating or exacerbating crises.
Part 3 – On Hubris
Kaiman had the audacity to send out a flier to Democrats in the 3rd Congressional district comparing himself to President Franklin Roosevelt and President Lyndon Johnson.
President Roosevelt created Social Security which benefits about 60 million Americans today.
President Johnson created Medicare which benefits about 54 million people today.
And Kaiman believes he ranks with our 32nd and 36th presidents because he created an umbrella program in North Hempstead called Project Independence that offers informational and referral services “to meet the needs or solve the problems of our aging residents.”
Informational and referral services compared to the two largest social safety nets in our nation’s history.
What impertinence! For Kaiman to compare his self-proclaimed accomplishment to those of Roosevelt and Johnson is beyond credulity.
* * * * *
Jon Kaiman—intemperate, vulgar, poor judge of character and conceited. Is that the kind of person Democrats want to represent them in Congress?
This article I wrote appeared on the Newsmax.com web site on June 11, 2016.
This column I wrote appeared on June 9, 2016 in Long Island Now and in Blank Slate Media newspapers.