Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 06 September 2013 00:00
Both the county parks and the state of the environment were on Adam Haber’s mind last Friday as he traveled to the Park at East Hills to issue statements on both subjects.
Haber, a Mineola business owner, is running for Nassau County executive in an election set for Tuesday, Sept. 10. A Democrat, Haber was picking up the endorsement of Bruce Piel, chairman of the Park Advocacy & Recreation Council of Nassau County (PARCnassau).
Piel used the occasion to praise Haber’s “new vision” for the park system, while criticizing both former Nassau County executive Thomas Suozzi (Haber’s opponent in the primary) and the current county executive, Edward Mangano, for their park system privatization policies. According to Piel, PARCnassau is a coalition of 150 park advocacy and user groups with a combined membership over 250,000 county residents.
“Let’s give Adam Haber a chance to do right by parks and park users,” Piel said. “PARCnassau urges all registered Democrats to vote for Adam Haber in the primary and all voters to vote for him in the general election. It’s time to return Nassau County Parks to the people that paid to acquire, develop and maintain those public facilities and take them back to their former glory.”
Haber used The Park at East Hills as a backdrop to dramaticize his experience and his vision for how village parks should be run.
“East Hills Park ... is where I sunk my teeth into the work of creating a government structure and overseeing a government construction budget,” he said. “This 50-acre park was built due to a creative land swap deal by Village of East Hills Mayor Michael R. Koblenz and is a place where our families, friends and neighbors and gather to enjoy nature, cool off in the pool or grab a game of basketball.”
Haber was on the oversight committee that created The Park at East Hills, which he added, was created on budget and on time. “Parks should be public, period,” he concluded.
The candidate also endorsed the idea of global climate change and its possible consequences, namely disasters similar to Hurricane Sandy
“When Sandy hit All Hands Volunteers, a charity I brought to Long Island, got to work cleaning up and getting people back on their feet,” he said. “It was clear to me, the families impacted by the storm, and to scientists, that man-made climate change played a part in the storm’s severity. This has to change and we have to do more to help our planet.”
Toward that end, Haber zeroed in the long-term problems at sewage treatment plants in Nassau, especially the one at Bay Park, on the south side. Haber also touched on transparency in government, which has been a theme of his campaign.
“We’ve already seen politicians throw around numbers about how much it would cost to repair the plant -- $700 million, $900 million, $1 billion. We need to know how much it is going to cost and we need to do it right the first time,” he said. “The strategy of holding critical services hostage for leverage must stop. Last time it was social services and kids’ lives. Now it is sewage treatment and the environment.” He added that the bond issue would be complimented by “full federal funding” for any cleanup.
“We must pass an environment to the next generation that is better than the one handed to us,” Haber concluded, bringing together the two themes of his press conference. “Our public parks must be preserved. Our natural spaces must be protected. Our water supply must be clean and secure. Our treatment plants must run efficiently. We must tackle the reality of climate change, and together we can.”