Saturday, June 27, 2009

A suggestion ...

"State law currently does not allow counties to abolish governments. The new law allows a county executive and county legislature to create a master plan, subject to a referendum, that could merge or dissolve local governments."

"The most dysfunctional city on the planet is going to tell us how to streamline government?" Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley said of the bill signed into law Thursday by Gov. David A. Paterson. "What drives the tax bill on Long Island is the cost of education. That's what the state should be focusing on."

A suggestion.

Nassau and Suffolk are already in the process of doing a master plan for Long Island through the Long Island Regional Planning Council. My understanding, through discussions with those involved in the process, is that it will be collaborative, comprehensive, thorough and perhaps even dynamic.

Do we really need another master plan for one particular purpose?

Can't we yet see that most things we do on Long Island are interrelated?

Can't we yet base our decisions on a rational, deliberative approach such as (but not exclusively obviously) we suggest in the "One Long Island" series of concepts?

The truth is that no one has the information we need in a format that is usable for the intended purposes on Long Island or in New York State.

Until we make that a priority, we will continually be subject to "chasing our own tail" stuck in a cycle of stagnation.

One Long Island creates an "open system" for collaborative development.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New York State Dynamic Constitutional Convention: Part One

The has been quite a bit of discussion lately about a New York State Constitutional Convention.

This has been motivated primarily by the "breakdown" in Albany and the impact it has had on New York citizens.

I would respectfully submit for consideration the concept of a "dynamic" constitutional convention based, in part, upon the preceding 300 posts (One Long Island/Long Island Constitutional Convention).


Because as history has repeatedly demonstrated, a "static" approach to major issues in inherently limited by its lack of flexibility and lack of "normalized" information and analysis.

More in Part Two.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Plug n' Play ...

Here is yet another good idea and worthwhile program to benefit those citizens with Alzheimer’s.

Here's the question. What similar types of programs are currently available and how are they run? What programs currently exist not directly on point but similar (Amber Alert etc) that might be used as a model?

We've previously opined on the need for a flexible "common language" for Long Island (and indeed New York State and maybe the federal government as well). Without this "common language" there is minimal coordination and much wasted effort.

If, for example, the Alzheimer's program (legislation) described above could be "plugged in" to an existing technical framework, it would be much easier to establish connections with "complimentary" programs and legislation.

One Long Island offers, among other concepts, ideas on how to create this "framework" for the rapid and collaborative implementation of public policy.

A "unified theory"of sorts for public policy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Funny ... sad ...

Funny bit from The Daily Show on Long Island as the 51st state.

Funny, but illustrative of the way we are currently viewed.

"One Long Island" is a way to change this perception.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Yes we have no bananas ...

“I think we’re seeing a meltdown,” said Edward I. Koch, the former New York mayor. He added, “I believe it’s not only disgraceful, but it makes New York look like a banana republic.”

The natural tendency in times of crisis is to look for a strong "leader" to solve our problems.

I believe that the problems New York is experiencing are systemic and that they essentially require a reworking of how we govern ourselves.

The One Long Island series of ideas are an attempt to create an "environment" where ideas can be discussed and analyzed on a level playing field apart from the "political game" utilizing "normalized data. "

The problems we have are too large for "games."

Elected officials are certainly in the middle of all this, but so too are the many organizations and advocacy groups that have been created over the years in reaction to the "game." Certainly this "game within a game" will need to be reformed as well.

One Long Island attempts to return the large policy decisions of the day back into the hands of the general public.

This trust in the "collective will" has met with suspicion in the past. But in the past we have not had the technical tools at our disposal to engage in the type of collaborative meta-planning as we do today.

What will require "meta-leadership" is the will, strength and vision to give the public the tools we need to govern ourselves.

This is not difficult to do from a technical point of view, but it will require sacrifice by those who currently hold power and those who earn a living interacting with those in power.

Friday, June 5, 2009

LI Business News Editorial ...

Editorial: In the dark

by the Editors
Published: June 5, 2009
, ,

In case you missed it, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo – yes, we’re also wondering why the governor wasn’t at the command – is pushing a bill that could lead to eliminating or consolidating local governments.

The N.Y. Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act, Cuomo’s baby, would make it easier for voters to erase special taxing districts, including entire governments.

And, understandably, the proposed bill received a resounding endorsement from business leaders and elected officials in county and state governments.

The argument: The extra taxing jurisdictions are placing an unnecessary burden on Long Island taxpayers, many of whom are already choked by the cost of living here.

Of course taxes on Long Island are extreme and, yes, the layers of government make it difficult to figure out which government entity is supposed to clear which street during a snowstorm.

This bill, which has bipartisan support, would help streamline government responsibilities.

But would it really lead to lower taxes? For many Islanders, school district charges make up more than 80 percent of their property tax bill.

Also, if we’re going to consider the removal of government layers, who is to say that the model used in smaller villages such as Patchogue and Babylon isn’t more productive than the town model, where garbage is often not picked up along highways?

Be careful what you wish for, lawmakers, the voters might be best served by eliminating you.

But generally speaking, Cuomo is right about what has crippled the New York economy. The state, and Long Island in particular, can’t survive without consolidation of some sort.

New York has 10,000 layers of government imposing taxes and fees.

That includes water, sewer and lighting districts.

Lighting districts? If something isn’t done soon, there won’t be any lights left to turn on.

My response:

You have identified a key point. Currently there is no adequate method of assessing the quality of services and the cost of similar services. In fact as Mr. Cuomo has said, he is not even 100% sure how many taxing jurisdictions there are.

That is unacceptable. How can you know how to solve a problem unless you have identified the problem in detail and explored all viable options?

This not the fault of Mr. Cuomo who I’m sure is doing the best he can within the existing structure, but it is a problem that needs to be addressed so that the public can feel reasonably secure that the changes being considered are viable and well thought out and that all informed opinions are heard (most importantly the public) on a level playing field.

This is because, in part, we have data and methods of analysis that are disjointed and not “normalized” on Long Island and New York generally. Also the information is generally if not always presented in a “static format” rather than a “dynamic format” making it difficult to compare and analyze the different options and to react to sudden changes in the “decision making environment.”

Consolidation is one method for change. “Dynamic collaboration” is another (explained here with some proposals on how to construct this new “dynamic environment.”