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Mike BarryEye on the Island

By Mike Barry

NY’s House Clout

Friday, 31 December 2010 00:00

New York State’s population grew to 19.37 million in 2010 from 18.97 million in 2000, an increase of 2.1 percent, the U.S. Census Bureau announced last week. That number might make you wonder why the state’s Congressional delegation will then shrink to 27 from 29 U.S. House of Representatives’ Members in 2012.

The reason: New York is losing two U.S. House seats in the next federal election cycle because the Empire State’s population growth was anemic compared to western and southern U.S. states. The nation’s cumulative head count (308.7 million) grew by nearly 10 percent between 2000 and 2010. There are 435 U.S. House Members, and representation is allocated based on where people live. With more Americans moving to places like Texas (+4 seats) and Florida (+2 seats) over the past 10 years, while Ohio (-2 seats) and Michigan (-1 seat) saw their populations stagnate, the Congressional landscape must change, too.


Family Tradition

Friday, 24 December 2010 00:00

The Barry family’s Christmas gathering has a religious component, an exchange of gifts, and an annual discussion built around this rhetorical question: what kind of benevolent God allowed us to become Mets, Jets and Islanders fans?

The younger generation, such as our three sons, aged 6 to 14, are starting to get a sense of the heartache which awaits them. Indeed, they can name with little prodding the underperforming free agents and disappointing draft picks who remain on the active rosters for all three teams.


Long Island in 2035

Friday, 17 December 2010 00:00

The creation of a deepwater port in eastern Suffolk County was the most intriguing proposal to emerge from the Long Island Regional Planning Council‘s (LIRPC) just-released Sustainable Strategies for Long Island 2035 report.

The LIRPC‘s 119-page document explored many ways the Island’s economy could get a boost but correctly highlighted how agriculture is one of Suffolk’s largest industries. There are about 550 farms in Suffolk operating on approximately 34,000 acres, and they cumulatively generate hundreds of millions of dollars in annual sales, according to the report. Yet a deepwater port on Long Island Sound would improve dramatically the marketability of Suffolk’s agricultural products off-Island while also paving the way for imports to Suffolk, the LIRPC rightfully points out.


The Costly Commute

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 00:00

The Long Island Rail Road’s (LIRR) upcoming fare hikes have been well-chronicled but will nonetheless be noticed as a monthly ticket into New York City rises next month to $223 from $204 in western Nassau (zone 4) and to $254 from $232 in eastern Nassau (zone 7).

Less media coverage, however, has been given to Congress’ inability as of this writing to renew for 2011 a provision in 2009’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that eased a LIRR commuter’s financial burden while encouraging drivers to take mass transit. The measure in question increased, to $230 from $120 per month, the maximum amount of money a commuter can set aside for their mass transit costs using pre-tax dollars. The $230 is withheld by a commuter’s employer and must be spent on commuter rail, subway and bus transportation, eligible van pools, or commuter-related parking.


All Good Things

Friday, 03 December 2010 00:00

Former New Hyde Park resident Kathie McCormack married Robert Durst in the early 1970s and she disappeared without a trace in 1982, a turn of events at the center of All Good Things, a compelling motion picture which opens in New York City on Friday, Dec. 3.


Credit Card Cons

Friday, 26 November 2010 00:00

I was pulled off my bank branch’s line recently, and had one of the bank’s customer sales representatives say they would take care of me. That’s great, I thought, I can withstand a brief sales pitch, deposit these two checks and be on my way.


Senate’s Composition

Friday, 19 November 2010 00:00

The outcome of 59 of New York’s 62 state Senate contests were known definitively on Election Day, and the final results in the three unresolved races have extraordinary consequences for state government over the next two years.


Swapping Stories

Friday, 12 November 2010 00:00

The book publishing business is changing dramatically but one constant remains: the industry needs writers who can produce stories readers are willing to pay for.


MTA Makes It E-Z

Friday, 05 November 2010 00:00

Lost in the media coverage of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) latest bridge and tunnel fare increases was the triumphant tone the MTA has adopted when extracting more money from the public.


Campaign Nears End

Friday, 29 October 2010 00:00

The state attorney general (AG) holds a commanding lead in the gubernatorial polls, a Democrat appears poised to succeed the departing AG, and Alan Hevesi’s conduct while in office dominates the state comptroller’s race.


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Mike Barry, a corporate communications consultant, has worked in government and journalism. Email: