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From The Desk Of Senator Jack Martins: April 10, 2014

Stopping The New York Exodus

I think it was sometime after our tenth snowstorm that some of the most die-hard New Yorkers I know said Florida wasn’t looking too bad.

Truth be told, when people leave the Empire State, it’s not in search of better weather, it’s mostly in search of a better life.

Did you know that from 2000 to 2010 New York lost more than 1.6 million residents to other states? They left because life here was just too expensive. That’s bad for our economy and worse for the families and friends impacted by separation.

Our friends and neighbors are not leaving their childhood homes, the communities they helped build, because they want to; they’re leaving because they need to.  That’s the unfortunate truth — New Yorkers have historically been chased away by high costs and taxes.

Like many of you, I grew up a tight-knit Long Island community and I’m now lucky enough to raise my own kids in that very same neighborhood. But it troubles me to think they might not be able to do the same. We have to find ways to make our communities affordable for young adults, our children, who want to stay, but can’t make ends meet.

As Chair of the Senate’s Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business Committee, I’m in a position to help shape policies that keep New Yorkers in New York. And as I also Chair the Senate’s Committee on Local Government, I’m in a great position to advance ideas that I know work — downtown revitalization, transit-oriented development, next generation and senior housing. As the former Mayor of Mineola for eight years, I had first-hand experience with these successful revitalization efforts that I know can be replicated throughout Long Island and our state.

I brought together community and business leaders and developed a comprehensive plan for our downtown that was built on consensus. It introduced “smart growth” concepts that converted a decaying industrial railroad corridor into a pedestrian-friendly downtown complete with housing and public amenities that improved the quality of life.

As a small business owner myself, I knew that we had to get government out of the way so the private sector could crank the engine and get jobs and new homes to follow. So we ended the borrow and spend policies that had our village on the edge of a precipice and focused on redeveloping our downtown. When builders saw the rebound, they naturally wanted in too. They started building more affordable housing and even agreed to fund park and streetscape improvements which further enhanced the desirability of our communities.

We came to embrace Ronald Reagan’s now-famous assessment that, sometimes, government is the problem and not the solution, especially on a local level.  Why would anyone invest in creating new jobs or offer affordable housing when they could barely pay their sky-high taxes?

Well New York is now ready for its own rebound and I’m happy to help pave the way. In the last four years we’ve lowered the income tax for middle-class New Yorkers, passed a long-overdue tax cap and delivered four consecutive, on- time, balanced budgets. We’ve provided increases in aid to schools and funding for infrastructure improvements. And, we did it all without raising a single tax or fee. We’ve even initiated START-UP New York, a groundbreaking initiative that transforms communities into tax-free sites for new and expanding businesses. Now, they can operate 100 percent tax-free for 10 years. That’s real commitment from a Governor and State Senate serious about stopping the New York exodus.

I know what worked for us in Mineola can work everywhere on Long Island but it won’t be easy. It's a tedious, step-by-step process that has to be tailored for each community, but it’s a process that I’m familiar with and that I know will work. I still can’t do anything about the long, harsh winters but hopefully, in a few years, that will be the only reason anyone leaves New York.

News

A group of like-minded local residents banded together and saved more than 200 area trees from the chopping block — for now.

A state judge ordered Nassau County and the Department of Public Works to stop cutting down trees along South Oyster Bay Road, granting a temporary restraining order to a group of residents spearheading an effort to save the trees.

State Supreme Court Judge Antonio Brandveen scheduled a hearing on Thursday, Oct. 16 for the county to address complaints from residents, in particular a group called Operation STOMP (Save Trees Over More Pavement) founded by Hicksville native Tanya Lukasik.The Public Works department had planned to removed more than 200 30-foot trees in communities ranging from Plainview, Bethpage, Hicksville and Syosset.

For the past 16 years, Lucia Simon has walked from her home in Hicksville to her job at the Hicksville Public Library. She enjoys her job as a librarian and says that the staff has become like family to her. But for the past three years, Simon and 56 fellow co-workers have been frustrated at what she says is the library’s board refusal to negotiate a fair contract.  

“We have had no contract in three years. They refuse to bargain with us. Every time they come back to us it’s not fair,” says Simon.

However, the board of trustees disagree, saying that it has made a “fair offer.”


Sports

The Girls Varsity soccer team, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wore pink uniforms and pink socks in their game on Oct. 8 against MacArthur whom they defeated 1-0. The girls and boys soccer programs at Hicksville High School are selling pink ribbon car magnets with a soccer ball and HHS on it with the words “Kick Cancer” on the ribbon. All the money raised will go to the Sarah Grace Foundation, which is a local foundation trying to beat pediatric cancer. The players plan to raise $1,000 for this organization

— From Hicksville High School

Hicksville native progressing through Mets system

The Mets minor league system is enjoying a rare period of prosperity. For years, it was barren due to trading off high-ceiling players for major leaguers, or neglecting the draft in favor of the free agent market. Since General Manager Sandy Alderson took over, the organization has reversed course and put a much greater emphasis on player development. During his second-to-last season, however, former GM Omar Minaya took a chance and drafted a local catcher, Cam Maron, out of Hicksville High School in the 34th round.


Calendar

Board of Education Meeting

October 22

Oktoberfest

October 25-26

Pancake Breakfast

October 26



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com