Schoolyards, playing fields, gymnasiums, vacant lots, street corners, makeshift clubhouses and stoops were but a few of the special places of my boyhood. These were the platforms upon which the richest of memories, sweet and sour, were built. In later years, it has been the countless hours of my work with groups of boys at North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center that have been most evocative of those special places and times. The associated images and scenarios provide me, at each memorable stop, with a visceral reminder of my earliest struggles to belong, to feel special and to be valued.
I can vividly recall the year-long struggle, at age 10, in trying to scale the grammar school roof; a rite of passage. There was the repeated disappointment in falling short and the intermittent beat of humiliating taunts by the older boys. However, what sticks with me even more is the image of dangling arms from above - my friends reaching out for my outstretched hand - a majestically simple gesture that captured the mutuality upon which our time together would be permanently rooted.
On August 1, Nassau County residents have an opportunity to create over 3,000 new permanent jobs, over 1,500 construction jobs and generate $400 million in tax relief for homeowners. How? It’s simple. Residents can vote in a special election, at their normal polling locations, whether they wish to receive these economic benefits that accompany the creation of a sports-entertainment destination center at the site of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The plan authorizes the County to move forward with building a new sports-entertainment arena, baseball stadium and other improvements to the area.
Islanders to stay right here! That will happen. Senator Jack Martins told me because he believes that the public will vote “yes” on Aug. 1. In spite of the tough economic times he predicts a “yes” vote because the people realize that the Islanders are the only major league team we have in Nassau County. Jack said a new Coliseum will mean hundreds of new jobs and a profit for Nassau of $403 million. County Executive Ed Mangano told me the same thing. Atlanta is losing their hockey team to Winnipeg. Let’s keep our Isles here.
(This letter was sent to County Executive Edward Mangano and the County Legislature.)
The League of Women Voters of Nassau County strongly objects to the August 1 scheduling of a Nassau County referendum on the proposal to permit the county to borrow up to an additional $400 million for a proposed “Nassau County Hub Area Development” construction project, which would include a new Nassau Coliseum and minor league ballpark. Our reasons include the following:
The cost of doing this as a special election, projected to be approximately $2 million, is not necessary and would come at a time when Nassau County is already experiencing serious financial difficulties. Though the cost would be picked up if the vote is “Yes,” if it is “No,” the voters would have to bear this unnecessary burden. This risk can easily be avoided by scheduling the vote on the same day and on the same ballots as those for the general election in the fall. Most bond issue votes have been done that way in the past.
Marriage has been on everyone’s mind these days as same sex marriage was approved by NY State. The measure was strongly opposed by the Roman Catholic Church, Evangelists and Orthodox Jews. For years gay groups have fought for what they term “marriage equality.” Many of our friends were involved on both sides of this bitter issue.
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New York City cop Jerry DeStefano of Columbus Parkway, his wife Kerry and sons Christopher and Mathew enjoyed dinner at Eleanor Rigby’s.
Taxes have been the key issue on Long Island for as long I can remember. Whether you were attending a school board meeting, shopping for a new home, or even speaking with neighbors in a local deli, the subject would invariably turn to our skyrocketing taxes. Usually, it was accompanied by much hand wringing and a chorus of resignation that “things would never change.”
Well, here’s some good news. Things just changed.
Sometimes, writing a weekly column about state government is more challenging than others. There are complex issues not easily addressed in so few words yet are of vital importance to my constituents. This is unquestionably one of those subjects.
This past week, together with Governor Cuomo and the Assembly, the NY State Senate passed an historical and long-overdue tax cap. While New Yorkers will finally get the tax-relief we deserve, some very real problems have come along with it. Most pressing among these are public employee pensions.
First, some brief background. Back in 1987, the Suffolk County Comprehensive Plan revealed disturbing levels of contamination in Long Island’s aquifers—the sole source of all our drinking water. The findings served as a catalyst for countywide efforts to protect these precious supplies.
It’s been said that, “democracy is noisy.” The debate surrounding the Cross Street lease certainly proved that to be true. While it motivated people to take a positive interest in their local government, it also, at times, took a patently unconstructive tone.
For many here in Williston Park, most disturbing was the insinuation that our concerns were motivated by anti-Semitism. This is simply not true. Go to any village meeting and you’ll witness good people who routinely and firmly question anything, even very small matters, which might disturb the quality of life.
This week I write to you about a subject that touches the lives of just about everyone in some way: autism. Perhaps you know a child who suffers from it and the family who struggles with it. Maybe you don’t know anyone personally but admire the local family you see about town who determinedly shares a special love with their autistic child. Or, perhaps it is your child and your family. If so, you already know that one in every 110 children is diagnosed to be within the autism spectrum and while there is debate over diagnostic criteria, we know that more and more of our children are locked in this invisible prison.
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