The mayor and city council of Glen Cove have invited nominations for the new charter review commission of at least nine members. The reported justification for a commission was not entirely clear, but after questioning him, Mayor Spinello has been insistent that the process can be seen through in good faith. My name has been put forward for nomination—so I thought I’d share some of my ideas before the process begins.
First, I would push to amend the charter to specifically limit the power of eminent domain on this principle: property should never again be confiscated from one private resident and handed to a developer or private resident. Second, our current policy of tax breaks (PILOTs), while designed to stimulate development, have been open only to the chosen few of central planners—and was singled out by the State Comptroller as having the worst job creation record in all of New York. I’d propose we seek reform through guiding principles in the charter to try to improve our record. Finally, I believe we must achieve a balance of power between the mayor and city council.
However, I would be disingenuous to omit the mention of one resident who I believe should be nominated to the commission. After 9/11, Robert Germino took an oath to defend our country and the Constitution as a commissioned officer of the United States Marines. Germino, an Iraq War veteran, went on to serve six years with an honorable record.
After his service, Germino entered the public arena as a candidate for the state assembly and the county legislature. To this day, he has been an unwavering thorn in the side of dishonest politicians and a champion of the classical liberal principles enshrined by our country’s founding. He has also written extensively on the charter and other city issues. However, Mr. Germino’s refusal to sacrifice his principles has come at a price. He’s been labeled “persona non grata” by a political class that accepts “quid pro quo” like Visa or MasterCard.
But if we can’t find it in ourselves to include this exemplary patriot, I ask readers if we are truly worthy to continue under the liberty defended by men and women like Robert Germino. Because a quote usually attributed to Thomas Jefferson reads, “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” I think we know the answer to my question is if we shun someone for following this advice too faithfully.