A View From The Ronkonkoma Trenches

RonkonkomaRonkonkoma resident and SCLP member Edward Solomon decided to make his voice heard in a public hearing put on by the Town of Brookhaven concerning the building of The Ronkonkoma Hub, as controversial project that is getting those residents ion the know quite angry. This is a ‘from the trenches’ report from him on what happened at that hearing. Enjoy, and be enlightened.

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Thursday, January 10th, 2014

Concerned Citizens Swarm Brookhaven Town Hall
Over the Ronkonkoma Hub

On the evening of January 9th, hundreds of Brookhaven and Islip residents laid siege to the Brookhaven Hall, many of which were wearing custom made T-shirts with the slogan “Say No to Eminent Domain.”

These citizens had convened in order to guard their most precious right, the foundation of American Liberty, the cornerstone of the Enlightenment that guided the minds of John Locke, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. This is the right of Man to enjoy the fruits of his own labor; to be secure in his person, house and effects against unreasonable search and seizure; nor to have any Governmental agency confiscate his property without just compensation.

When the Government fails to protect this right, it is dysfunctional, and void of purpose; however, when a Government not only fails to protect right, but becomes the Transgressor itself, it ceases to be a Government at all, as it is now a Tyranny, run by ravenous madmen, sending “hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.”

This is the story of the company North Fork Express, a prospering bus company that has been beleaguered by a multitude of local and state agencies, enforcing the most trivial and inane penalties and regulations. Their crime: Refusing to sell their business to the Tritec Corporation, the Saudi Arabian behemoth that was awarded the development contract by the Town of Brookhaven.

The owner of North Fork Express was the man who made the custom T-shirts, and many of his employees were present as well, each of them doomed to a future of unemployment if their boss sells out—even their boss is doomed, as he will not able to secure another plot to restart his business in any zone that would be either prosperous or desirable for such a business as his. Thus, a great entrepreneur in our community is being systemically destroyed by the reckless power of a Tyranny, for neither public purpose nor public use.

To add injury to insult, over $5,000,000 of tax payer subsidies are being allocated to fund this project for Tritec, some of that taxpayer money coming from North Fork Express itself, nor does this include other expenses that shall be incurred. Much of talk concerned “Affordable Housing”, which automatically implies that the local taxpayers will foot the bill of these tenants. The Sachem School district is expected to experience an increase of over 400 students and the Ronkonkoma Fire Station (located in Islip) will have to upgrade its equipment—at the expense of the local community donors!

Why will the Ronkonkoma Fire Station have to upgrade its equipment? Currently, they are not, nor ever have been prepared to respond to five story buildings, as no such buildings exist in the local region. Ronkonkoma has a been a suburban region for decades and only now, under the title of “Urban Renewal” has the Town of Brookhaven decided that being a suburb is not economically sufficient to meet the needs of Brookhaven and that Ronkonkoma in its current state constitutes a “blight.”

With great passion, many speakers in favor of the Ronkonkoma Hub expressed their deep sympathies and desires in order to benefit the thousands of imaginary people who “will live here,” while sharing negative and condescending attitudes about the real people who actual do live there. To these rhetorical artists, the residents of Ronkonkoma are inhuman, a blight and detriment to the Town of Brookhaven, and responsible for the hard economic times that they are experiencing.

This dehumanization of the residents seemed to be scripted; among the first fifteen speakers, only two were not in favor of the Ronkonkoma Hub, speaking timidly and softly. Yet, the others were extremely articulate and powerful public speakers, each of them using the same dehumanization tactics, the same talking points and phrases such as ‘walk-ability’, ‘blight’, ‘pedestrian friendly’, ‘brain drain’, ‘affordable housing’ and one of them went so far as to call it “the next Silicon Valley.”

If this weren’t insulting enough, after this echo chamber had finished their chorus, the Town of Brookhaven suddenly deemed that hundreds of the residents were a “fire hazard,” and removed them from the Hall, into the freezing cold, forcing the residents to go home. Although the right to redress your grievances triumphs over a pesky regulation, that matters not to the Tyranny of Brookhaven. One wonders why they even have a balcony surrounding the hall, if the saturation of that balcony automatically initiates a fire hazard.

However, after these strong arm tactics had been used, the voices of the community itself were heard, as the Town Board could find no acceptable reason to dismiss those within the hall itself. Among these was a seventy year old man, who purchased his home decades ago within the current eminent domain zone and worked and labored his entire life to improve and landscape his property to his own satisfaction.

This man zealously defended his right to his own home, especially when the Town is using the Kelo vs New London interpretation of the Fifth Amendment to transfer the ownership of his home to a private corporation. All of his life’s work, all the sweat that came off his brow, all the pride and joy of his land shall vanish instantly, at the whim of some overpaid and well-funded bureaucrats and councilmen.

Another woman, by the first name Mary, asked why so many speakers were signed up in advance and why the public was dismissed shortly after these speakers were heard. The chairman, Ed Romaine, asked her “Tell me, what is the purpose of a public hearing?” To this Mary replied “For the Public to be heard.” The hall erupted in thunderous applause and cheering, regardless of the hundreds of citizens who were already forced to remove themselves from the Public Hearing.

Mary went on to describe the already ongoing Urban Renewal Projects in Brookhaven, remarking that these apartments (also being built by Tritec) were made of “stick construction, lacking both concrete and steel.” She also noted the incessant use of the term “Affordable Housing” and then clarified that these apartments shall charge over $2,000 for two bedrooms and will be located immediately adjacent to one of the most busy train stations in New York.

Another resident went on to ask “Suppose one of these two thousand residents has a birthday party, where are they going to park? I already have problems with cars blocking my driveway.” A related remark by another resident asked “When the Double Track Project finally connects to the Ronkonkoma Hub, where will additional parking space be made?” Which also begs the question, found in Appendix H of the Ronkonkoma Hub Master Plans, when Hawkins Avenue is expanded to either three or four lanes, will they expand it west, removing the homes, or east, removing the car repair centers?

Undoubtedly this is a Government run by wild, mad and dangerous thugs, a declaration made by the final speaker, Edward Solomon, asking the Board, “Since when have our Public Servants become Public Masters? And to fathom that you have the audacity to label our community and residents as Blight? Your Souls are Blight, This Board is Blight, and this Project is a Blight. Say no to Eminent Domain!”

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An interesting experience, indeed.

As former Presidential (and later Congressional) Candidate for thew Libertarian Party Michael Badnarik said in his brilliant ‘Constitution Class’ (view here), “All rights come from property. Nothing could be closer to the truth. ‘A man’s home is his castle’ is not some phrase to throw out there to sound fun & humorous, it was meant as a type of liberation from the rule of King George and any other tyrant that may come after him. The home of a man is the epitome of a man as it shows that he is free for if even the King wished to cross his front lawn, his majesty must first ask permission of the man to do so. That is freedom and that is the power of property.

The fact that a group of elected officials wish to take property away from those who own it to then give it to a corporation–or any entity for that matter–which will do nothing with it that will truly benefit the population (not that even them taking it to benefit the population would necessarily make it right) is disturbing in the least, tyrannical in the worst. It was one of the reasons that The American Revolution began that We The People were fed up with the King’s men violating the property of the citizenry with their odious ‘Orders of Merit’, allowing them to violate the homes of all they wish with (literally) the stroke of a pen. A man’s home is more then his castle–it is his home. The place his wife cares for his children & their children feel safe. It is a violation of the highest order for a man, or a king, or a government or anyone to just step into a man’s home or on his property and say “This isn’t yours anymore, we’re taking it…and there isn’t a damned thing you can do about it!”

Without your property, you are a slave for a slave owns none. Are you a slave or are you a free man or woman? The taking of what’s yours for the good of others is no good for you–it never has been. Throughout the annals of history those who had power wielded it to take from those who had no power to stop them, and the State was more often then not that one with the power. It only understands force as it has never created a thing, only taken from those who have.

The State can be stopped though and that is only by you, The People. This ‘Hub’ is not right. This ‘Urban Development’ is only another lie by the State, taking what it want’s for its goals and its reasons and making you think it’s for your good. It never will be, for it never has been.

Stand up now or cry about it later. You have been warned.

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