By Hugh O’Brien
We’re caught in that annual lull between the Memorial Day hordes and the summer crush, when a lot of people, having sated their wintertime pangs to visit the place again, return to minding mundane mainland minutiae before turning their attention back to the weekend island trek. So we have time to recap some more bits and pieces and take a peek ahead at events peering over the imminent horizon before, like Columbus, we sail over the edge.
It seems to have escaped notice amid the competing hubbub, but we held our municipal election May 24, in which the trio of unopposed candidates proved so popular that they roused 52 concerned citizens to wend their way to the temporary polling place at the firehouse to cast some votes. Setting aside assorted blanks and write-ins, it ended up being a 39-38-38 vote of confidence for the on-ballot incumbents. Not even one absentee ballot was cast or asked for, surely a first, and yes, I called you Shirley. This bids fair to be the lowest turnout recorded in a village election since that cold day in November 1917, when the first hardy Saltairians pioneered the perilous voyage across the sea-serpent-laden waters of the Great South Bay to thumb their nose at the Kaiser by exercising the franchise our doughboys were fighting to preserve for all white Protestant males over 21, no mean feat considering that back then our founding fathers had taken such pains to make sure the place was restricted that nobody lived here. Election officials had detected a plot by our enemies in Kismet to influence the outcome of the race but fortunately they were able to counter this shameless scheme by stuffing the ballot boxes with enough legitimate fake votes to overcome any outside interference, allowing the victors to proudly coin the phrase, “No collusion!” even as they mull a report. Anyway, Trustees Nat Oppenheimer and I really do thank you for your support (expressed on paper or by a clap on the back), a sentiment surely joined in by the reelected Mr. Justice Frank Markus, who is still without official digs for trying the summer’s contingent of lawbreakers, and we all know how trying Frank can be.
Which allows us a brilliant segue onto a subject we alluded to last time, namely, where are the post office and courtroom to be located this year? With their former Section 8 housing allocation now eviscerated along with the rest of the old Village Hall, and their prospective new locale in the rebuilt 14 Bay Prom still a year off, they’re being banished elsewhere – but where else? Well, the P.O.’s site is set, in an excavated closet at the teetering current 14 Bay, wedged behind Public Safety in a location that’s actually almost exactly where it once stood, 40 years ago, and near where it will stand again 52 weeks from now. It’s been kind of a, shall we say, challenge getting the place cleaned out and, well, just plain clean, and if you’re one of the anti-vaxxer crowd I suggest you avoid the place and have someone rational pick up your mail, but at least the P.O. has a home, in the sense that victims of the Depression had a Hooverville, and that’s more than one can say about the centerpiece of our judiciary, Ye Olde Courtroom and Pillory.
The rub here is that state law requires that all courtrooms have multiple doors. There’s no such multi-portal office in the new Village Hall, so for this year we’re going to have to improvise, something we’re really good at in Saltaire. Judge Markus, who has often been a target of this page but seldom of the squirming masses over whom he pronounces many sentences while pronouncing many sentences, has offered to have a rope ladder installed from a window in the new second-floor conference room in the Hall as both a legal and literal way out (this is true). But somehow the prospect of seeing His Honor dangling from a rope ladder twisting, like the unfortunates who each week people his courtroom, in the wind, attempting to land steadily on his feet atop a sloping roof while the next escapees are stepping on his head … hey, know what, that would be something to see. Good thinking, Frank. Now if I only knew a trustee who could introduce the appropriate legislation to give him just enough rope e…. Oh, duh, obviously. Nat?
Anyway, here’s a few pending civic notes too add spice to your vacation. Twice-weekly garbage collection begins the week of June 10 (brush and junk Thursdays only). The seldom-mentioned post office starts operations Thursday, June 20, coincident with weekly junk mail pickup. The annual SCA members’ meeting is set for 11 a.m., Saturday, June 22, in the Village Hall, which we trust will be up and running along with the mice who set up shop inside during the winter. (Kidding! Kidding!)
There’s more to come, but there’ll be plenty of time for that next issue, and besides, with fewer of you around to read this during our annual lull (see paragraph one), we wouldn’t want to be responsible for you missing anything. But it’s going to be a busy summer ahead as we hurtle toward the close of the 2010s. Ah, for the palmy days of Y2K. Zap!
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