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Bob McMillanAn Opinion

By Bob McMillan
Presidents v. The Supreme Court

The recent political chatter about “Obamacare” before the Supreme Court of the United States got a great deal of media attention.  President Obama added fuel to the fire when he declared, “Ultimately, I am confident the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”

For someone who was a law professor those words were absurd.  Even if a bill passed unanimously in the house and senate, it could still be overturned – if the law was in violation of the Constitution.


Michael Miller

Viewpoint

By Michael Miller
1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing

Nelson Rockefeller’s nomination for Governor in 1958 was partly an upstate revolt against the continued domination of party affairs by the Nassau Republican organization. Rockefeller was a man who always had bigger fish to fry, and throughout his almost 15 years as governor, he often went out of his way not to step on the toes of the touchy Nassau GOP. That’s why Nassau is the only large New York county without a state office building. Respect the turf.

Just before taking office, Rockefeller announced that State Senator William Hults would be Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, but not until the end of the 1959 legislative session, so that Glen Cove, North Hempstead, Oyster Bay and a sliver of Hempstead wouldn’t lose their Senate representation until 1960.


Mike BarryEye on the Island

By Mike Barry
The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’

The Nassau County district attorney’s (DA) office makes a cameo appearance in Empty Mansions, an incredible book about Huguette Clark (1906-2011), the Manhattan-raised heiress whose generosity and eccentricities were legendary.

Now that Ryan Murphy, a creator of television’s “Glee,” has optioned Empty Mansions’ film rights, I imagine a scrum of top actresses are vying to play Clark.


Sustainable LI: Getting Good Things Done

Farmingdale-based Sustainable Long Island is hosting its eighth annual Sustainability Conference on Friday, April 4, at Carlyle on the Green, at Bethpage State Park.

The event will run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and traditionally draws hundreds of people from all walks of life: government, business and not-for-profits. This year’s theme is “Accomplishing More Together.” Tickets are $75 per person, which includes the cost of lunch.

Since its founding in 1998, Sustainable Long Island has facilitated downtown revitalization efforts across Nassau and Suffolk counties, advised elected officials at all levels, and linked tens of millions of dollars in investment with communities in need.

Superstorm Sandy was a catalyst in many ways for breaking through the silos that previously separated government and non-governmental entities which also serve the general public, according to Amy Engel, executive director of Sustainable Long Island for the past two and one-half years.

“We saw a lot of those barriers come down because of Sandy, and we don’t want them to go back up,” Engel said.

When asked for an example, she pointed to financial institutions like Citibank and Bethpage Federal Credit Union. Both developed relationships with the city of Long Beach in Sandy’s aftermath.

“They continued their investment in the city to help small businesses get back on their feet and rebuild the customer base,” Engel added.

On the April 4 agenda, Engel pointed to the Morning Plenary session, to be held between 9 and 10:30 a.m., as one featuring panelists who can claim significant accomplishments. Russell Albanese, chairman of the Albanese Organization, has been a driving force behind the construction of Wyandanch Rising, a transit-oriented residential development in Suffolk; David Altschuler, coordinator, Long Island Civic Engagement Table, helped register more than 4,000 voters; Gemma de Leon, secretary-treasurer, Local 1102, a Westbury-based union representing retail, wholesale and department store workers, has secured protections for 1102’s members, and county Legislator DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) is the first African-American presiding officer in the Suffolk County Legislature’s history.

“They see a need, and they address it,” Engel said, referring to the Morning Plenary’s panelists.

An Economic Growth and Development Workshop (10:30 a.m.-noon) will discuss how businesses have successfully navigated hurdles for development or expansion, as Andrea Lohneiss, the state Empire State Development Corporation’s (ESDC) Long Island Regional Director, moderates a panel discussion that will include Amy Newman, director, administration group, Canon USA, which has its national headquarters in Melville.

The conference’s luncheon keynote speaker is Jon Kaiman, a special advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo for Long Island Storm Recovery. The former North Hempstead town supervisor joined the Cuomo administration in 2013, and is also the chairman of the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority (NIFA).

Before the conference concludes, Sustainable Long Island will bestow on its founder and now-retired board member, Amy Hagedorn of Port Washington, a special Lifetime Achievement Award.

Earlier in her career, Hagedorn, an educator and the widow of Horace Hagedorn, the founder of Miracle-Gro plant food, launched the pre-K programs at St. Aloysius School in Great Neck and in the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park public schools. Mr. and Mrs. Hagedorn shared 10 children, 29 grandchildren and, at last count, five great-grandchildren.

For more information on the conference, visit www.sustainableli.org, call 516-873-0230, or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .