Written by James Bernstein Friday, 15 March 2013 00:00
The announcement last week by Northrop Grumman Corp. (Grumman to those of us who have been on this Island awhile) that it will transfer 850 jobs from its Bethpage facility to Florida and California should come as no shock.
The company, once Long Island’s largest and best-known employer, has been sending jobs South for more than two decades. At one point, the in the 1980s, the company employed 25,000 people on the Island, built the Navy’s premier fighter, the F-14 Tomcat, and, in the 1960s, built the Lunar Lander that took Apollo astronauts to the moon.
What is surprising, and disheartening, is the reaction of most Long Island officials, in both the public and private sector. And that reaction is, let’s not stir the pot. No questions asked as to why Long Island continues to lose high-tech, high-paying jobs. No questions about why it is so difficult to grow businesses here. No questions about why, even with high costs, California is able to grow and maintain a Silicon Valley and the Boston area is able to grow and maintain a high-tech corridor.
Instead, there is mumbling here, as there always is when good jobs leave, about the strides we are making to replace those jobs. So far, those strides, after 20 years and more of trying, have not made an awful lot of progress.
The Long Island Association, the region’s largest business and civic lobbying group, seems to be saying the loss of the 850 jobs is really no big deal. After all, the LIA says, the defense industry is now only a small part of the Island’s economy. True, but jobs in the industry tend to be among the highest-paying on the Island. And isn’t the LIA economist Pearl Kamer always saying that for each job lost at Northrop Grumman, two to three others are lost outside the company, which will now need fewer vendors? So that 850 could be a loss of as many as 3,000 jobs.
And what will the LIA say when some 800 homes on the Island go on the market as those who have lost their jobs leave the area? And what will the LIA say when this “small sector” disappears entirely, leaving the Island with fewer high-tech, high-paying jobs. What will the LIA say? In all probability, they will say, It’s no big deal!
So what has happened to this Island of ours? At one time, we had a booming defense industry. When it all began to disappear at the end of the Cold War in 1991, there was much yammering about software, medical and bio-technology and healthcare jobs cropping up. But all that seems to have cropped up are more places to shop in both Nassau and Suffolk and more plans to build more shopping malls. Of course, there are efforts to make things work. But the only image they conjure up, for me, is Sisyphus rolling that rock up the hill, only to have it roll back to the bottom again.
One of the problems is that we on Long Island have developed a bad rep across the country. We are perceived, as people who do nothing but complain, are unable to make any decisions about our future, and are unwilling to take chances. Most of our politicians have been of little use in the economic battles that take place between the states. We keep losing. The South and the West keep winning. We are known as the place where JWoww calls home. And she doesn’t spend much time here. While there is no easy solution, there is a way to make a good start: our politicians and business leaders need to admit that the loss of these jobs is indeed a “big deal” and to stop trying to paper over our losses with bland reassurances that, somehow, the best is yet to come.
That’s a sure recipe for a scenario where we keep losing jobs, and adding more shopping malls.
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Friday, 24 May 2013 00:00
New Hyde Park is still awaiting Superstorm Sandy FEMA reimbursements, Mayor Robert Lofaro revealed. The village operates on a budget of about $5.8 million.
Public works superintendent Tom Gannon and village clerk Cathryn Hillmann spent numerous hours on forms and expenses for storm reimbursement. Lofaro said the fund balance is tiny and that if, say $300,000 was spent, the fund needs to be replenished quickly.
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
The Village of New Hyde Park is finally accepting bids for Operation Main Street, according to trustee Donald Barbieri. The final piece of the project has been given the go-ahead by the state Department of Transportation, albeit after a tug-and-pull between the two entities.
Construction could begin in late June, early July. The board will open bids from contractors on June 6 to complete the project to upgrade the business district along Jericho Turnpike.
Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
Our Lady of Victory CYO volleyball’s eighth-grade girls team clinched its fourth-straight playoff appearance after taking two games from St. Raymond’s and sweeping St Martin’s. The girls were led by spiking duo of Jennifer Jandovitz (pictured) and Ann Roberts along with a great serving performance from Mary Weissler.
Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
The Dr. Barbaro Podiatry Padres took on Dominick’s Deli Braves on a sun-drenched Sunday afternoon. Hunter Dunn, Jake Gruosso, and Julian Dewitte laced three straight singles to start the home first for the well-oiled Dr. Barbaro Podiatry Padre machine. Solid hits were contributed by Thomas Vieni, Trevor Boshnack, and Ben Harnick. Michael O’Grady clobbered the second Padre double of 2013 into left center. In the field Stephen Coffey, Chris Erxelben, and Stephen Lopez provided amazing glove work.