Mr. Madera, you raise an important point (see "Lessons from Brazil") about the $100,000 grant though your characterization is inconsistent with the facts as we at Elmont Online know them.
Early 2009 the library after designing, estimating and writing a grant for the Early Childhood Learning Room and a Young Adult Gaming Room filed for a grant with then State Senator Craig Johnson. The Library subsequently received a letter confirming that the Library would receive the grant, and appropriate paper work was filed with DASNY and confirmation was noted in a communiqué on September 14, 2009.
On or about December 2009 a second round of documents were requested and filed by the Library. Note also that the Elmont School District on a separate but parallel track had been promised a $100,000 grant and had, like the library, expended significant taxpayer dollars preparing plans (a necessary prerequisite) in pursuit of the politician’s $200,000 promise – one each to both entities.
Early 2011, shortly before Senator Johnson term ended the library and several other entities in Elmont were notified that the promised monies were no longer available.
Almost two years later at the February 2013 Library Board Meeting the board was informed that the $100,000 grant may be available – again. The board authorized exploration of a solar energy system and instructed staff to follow up.
Sources close to the library has informed Elmont Online that in March they received paperwork from DASNY that was based on the long expired and resolved 2009 proposal for the Early Childhood Learning Room and a Young Adult Gaming Room. The Library requested new grant materials based on the Board approved Solar Project.
Communication between the Library and DASNY indicate that DASNY was not sure if the 2009 grant title and description can change without going through another process. As of June 15, 2013 the library was still waiting clarification and response from DASNY. Interestingly, the Martins letter dated June14, 2013 to the Library Board (see here) was sent also to local press who published, we would suggest, and incomplete accounting of the facts and circumstances surrounding the matter.
Resident familiar with Martins’ propensity to punish local residents and organizations that question his positions are asking a number of questions:
- The library Board has been rewriting its theater use policy to make it fair to community residents and nongovernmental organizations. Martins’ has established a practice of abuse by booking the theater in ways that block other established community events from using it.
- Martins pal and local Republican bouncer, Joe Smith (due back in court on 7/22/2013) - Sandra Smith’s husband was suspended for attacking a library patron in the library – Is this related to Martins' tantrum, certainly the facts of the grant does not suggest neglect or incompetence on the library staff.
Martins was swept into office with great fanfare in part because he signed a petition to support independent redistricting – a promise he turned his back on in favor of racially gerrymandering the 9th and 7th senate districts (see the history of LI gerrymandering). In addition he voted yes to a modern day three-fifths compromise by supporting legislation that thwarts the democratic will of a community to support public school funding. That aside, the library is as important as the schools to the education of the community.
The Martins letter is a pretext. The letter was sent to the press and the board at nearly the same time. A closing fact, both the school district and the library were scheduled for grants ($2oo,000 in total). Is it Martins' representation that the School now has $200,000?