On Jan. 19, Mayor Thomas Suozzi sponsored what turned out to be a Foxwood Navigation ferry service informational meeting rather than a debate on the boat's arrival to Glen Cove next month. Attorney and former Sea Cliff mayor and village board trustee Francis Deegan addressed the nearly capacity, (1,000 people), crowd at the Wunsch Arts Center and said he was to have moderated the debate between the City of Glen Cove, Fox Navigation, the recently-formed Alliance Against the Ferry and Sea Cliff's mayor and board of trustees. The Alliance and Sea Cliff government had declined Mayor Suozzi's multiple invitations, so their nameplates went without representation on the stage. Members of the Alliance, Sea Cliff Mayor Claudia Moyne and several of the village's trustees were indeed in the audience as were a number of Sea Cliff and Glen Head residents who signed in "against the ferry." The overwhelming majority in the audience was emphatically for the ferry service, making their feelings known frequently with applause. Mayor Suozzi said it was unfortunate the Alliance didn't want to participate in "this great opportunity to learn the facts and get the truth." While addressing the audience regarding the massive 6-year-old undertaking of his administration to cleanup and revitalize the long-neglected, pollution-riddled Glen Cove waterfront, Mayor Suozzi said the common enemy for Sea Cliff, Glen Cove, Glen Head and Roslyn Harbor was pollution, not the ferry. He said the revenues from the ferry operation out of Captain's Cove would help fund the $6 million cleanup of that property which, if left as is, has a detrimental affect on the health and quality of life of everyone along Hempstead Harbor's shores. "Without the ferry money we'd have to sell the property making for more dense development. What will happen if [the ferry opposition] gets what it wants? What will the next mayor of Glen Cove do? A Costco, industrial development or Home Depot down there?" Mayor Suozzi said the ferry operation was not something that Glen Cove sprang on everyone; it was the result of a long process of public meetings, environmental studies and a creative, responsible plan for the long term on the city's waterfront. "I would never do something detrimental to Glen Cove," said the mayor. The mayor said he would be willing to make concessions such as posting a policeman on the ferry terminal site to address DWI concerns and limiting the lighting on the parking lot. "Let's work together," said the mayor.
Members of the audience took the microphone to ask questions, and one Sea Cliff resident, intent on blowing an air horn into the microphone, was approached by Deputy Mayor Anselmo Graziosi and Sergeant Patrick Hall of the Glen Cove Police Department. The man was asked by the Sergeant to hand over the air horn "just to hold it." The speaker would not surrender the air horn and questioned if the Sergeant was ready to violate his First Amendment rights. Before the speaker sat down, he mentioned he wanted to speak to the potential of noise pollution to be generated by the ferry.
The Alliance Against the Ferry issued a statement to the press explaining why the group was not participating. The Alliance states, "The time for sincere debate and discussion was before the contract with Fox Navigation was signed. If [Mayor Suozzi] believes so strongly that every North Shore family will benefit from this ferry, we challenge him to let the families of the north shore peninsula vote on the ferry." The Alliance said a referendum could be held through the school districts and the group would help raise money to pay for it."