At the May 20th debate of the Democratic candidates it seems that Jon (Pinnochio) Kaiman told a big one.
Readers who recall the giant debacle over diverting Great Neck’s sewage to Nassau County’s Cedar Creek treatment facility on the South Shore still might not remember the cast of heroes and villains.
The late mayors Deem and Samansky were the main heroes, fighting that environmentally catastrophic and fiscally insane diversion idea until it was finally defeated.
Although I am inclined to put Suozzi on the list of villains I really cannot do so on this issue because in his then-capacity as county executive he would have needed to weigh the budgetary benefits for the county.
But Jon Kaiman is another story entirely.
In his then-capacity as supervisor for the Town of North Hempstead he could not argue in favor of all the sewage tax dollars which would flow to county coffers.
Then what role did he play?
What dream of self-promotion goaded him on?
During the years’ long battle over diversion, Jon Kaiman angrily and continuously fought for — not against — diversion.
The first thing he did was to try to control the outcome by forming his own completely unorthodox, unofficial and powerless ad hoc committee of interested mayors. (I was not personally invited to serve on that committee but attended just the same at the request of then-mayor Richard Deem.)
For a period of years Mr. Kaiman fought like a tiger against the idea of consolidating Great Neck’s then-existing two old, outmoded sewage facilities on East Shore Road.
He hemmed and he hawed, he shouted and fumed, he insulted and procrastinated. He raged at the mere suggestion that diverting Great Neck’s sewage up Northern Boulevard, down Shelter Rock Road and across all of Long Island to Seaford/Wantaugh was anything but a wonderful idea.
On overheard phone calls to the state Department of Environmental Conservation Mr. Kaiman tried his best to convince that agency not to approve the consolidation bond but to demand diversion as the only way to “de-nitrify” Long Island Sound.
It was only when it became clear, largely because of the strong leadership of the late and lamented Mayor Samansky and other mayors, that diversion was going to be defeated — it was then and only then that Jon Kaiman gave up his fight for diversion and ungraciously supported the winning consolidation plan.
But now I hear that that same Jon Kaiman — the one who fought tooth and nail to enact the county’s diversion plan — now claims people should vote for him because he showed such good judgment in opposing (!) the diversion plan. To which I say: baloney. If this is any example of Mr. Kaiman’s “honesty” in government, I can only say: watch out what you wish for.