I often get curious looks when I tell people that Long Island could be the next Silicon Valley or San Diego. Believe it or not, we’re not so far off.
Like Silicon Valley and San Diego, Long Island is ripe with innovation. We have world-class research centers like Brookhaven National Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the Feinstein Institute at North Shore LIJ. We also have successful research universities in Stony Brook University, Hofstra University and Farmingdale to name a few. These institutions are having an impact.
As the newly released Long Island Index report shows, our science and engineering sectors are growing. Long Island has already created nearly 46,000 technology jobs. From 2000-2010, federal funding for research and development increased 50 percent. Over the past three years, Long Island churned out over 2,000 patents – a record for our region. Last year, Long Island was second only to Silicon Valley in the number of small business grants.
(Editor’s note: This letter is in response to “Denenberg Asks AG to Investigate Privatization of Sewage Plants,” that appeared in the Thursday, Jan. 14, edition of The Roslyn News. This is the second of two letters from Claudia Borecky. The first letter appeared in last week’s edition.)
County Executive Mangano is proposing to sell or lease three of the County’s sewage treatment plants (STP), Cedar Creek, Bay Park and Glen Cove, to fill the county’s budget gap. He stated in a Long Island Press article, “In this case, we have the ability to protect the taxpayer, increase efficiencies and protect the environment.”
In last week’s letter, I discussed how Nassau County will lose its ability to protect the taxpayer and sale of our STPs will mean a huge increase in our sewage tax bill. Research has also shown that the quality of service often declines when operated by a private system. Although faith in the private sector to outperform government agencies is ingrained in the American psyche, facts disproving that belief are steadily mounting. Private companies seek to maximize profits, often by cutting corners to reduce costs. This can greatly impair service quality and maintenance. Over 60 percent of governments that brought functions back in-house reported this as their primary motivation.
In the five-year period from 2005 to 2009 there was a dramatic increase in emergency room visits related to nonalcoholic energy drinks, according to a report issued on November 22, 2011 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Just about half of those emergency room visits were made by 18- to 25-year-olds who were found to be using alcohol, illicit drugs or pharmaceuticals.
What are energy drinks? They are highly-caffeinated flavored beverages for sale in cans and bottles in grocery stores and vending machines. Children, adolescents and young adults - half of the energy-drink market - are the primary targets of energy-drink marketing.
One popular energy drink – Red Bull – bills its beverage as “developed for people who want to have a clear and focused mind, perform physically, are dynamic and performance-oriented.”
This November, Legis. Carrié Solages (D-Elmont) became Nassau County’s first Haitian American elected official after a hard-fought victory over the Third Legislative District incumbent John Ciotti. Raised on Long Island by Haitian parents, Solages overcame the struggles of a second-generation immigrant to serve as a prosecutor in the Bronx and the head of the Nassau County Commission on Human Rights before running for the legislature.
Long Island Wins recently caught up with Solages to ask about his background, the economy, and racism he encountered during his campaign:
LIW: The area you represent is one of the most diverse on Long Island, with immigrants from around the world. Did your campaign encourage immigrant communities to vote?
Governor Cuomo and school boards certainly agree on one thing: The future of our state depends on our public schools.
In focusing on results and efficiency, Mr. Cuomo has taken a page from the school board agenda.
Since the fiscal crisis began, school boards have proposed school district efficiencies and innovations through our “Be the Change for Kids” campaign.
While it is true that the issues related to hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” are not simple we should not be influenced by much of the misinformation that has been disseminated and we should base our decisions on the facts and develop a regulatory regime which can assure safety and environmental sensitivity.
It is ironic that natural gas development, which can reduce carbon emissions by a third compared to oil and a half compared to coal, is caught in an emotional debate over environmental impacts. As businessman and publisher Mortimer Zuckerman pointed out in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, using data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency, this abundant new gas source has reduced our oil imports from 60 percent in 2005 to 47 percent today. Recent events in the Middle East should reinforce the need for a U.S. energy policy based on domestic natural gas.
This was a big year for Long Island’s economy. Just how big—remains to be seen.
The year started with great news, when the creation of Accelerate Long Island was announced last February. This coalition of leading Long Island research and economic entities represents the kind of smart thinking and bold action Long Island needs. Linking cutting edge science with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists has been the key to success for high-flying regions from San Diego to Silicon Valley. On Long Island such a collaborative effort has the potential to spawn a high-tech, bio-tech cluster that could transform our region’s economy.
As representatives of many voices in the breast cancer community on Long Island, our coalition urges Governor Cuomo to ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in New York State since 25 percent of chemicals used in the fracking process have been demonstrated to cause cancer or mutations. Hydrofracking companies use products containing 13 different known and suspected carcinogens. Two of those carcinogens, benzene and ethylene oxide are linked with breast cancer as cited recently by a report released by the Institute of Medicine.
Moreover, 37 percent of chemicals in fracking fluids are endocrine disruptors which alter hormonal signaling and in doing so can place cells on the pathway to tumor formation. Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals has been implicated in cancers of the breast, prostate, pituitary, testicle, and ovary.
Recent Op-Ed pieces in prominent newspapers have suggested that with proper regulatory oversight, hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” can be accomplished safely in New York, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and bringing much needed economic benefits to hard-hit areas of the state. If the issue was that simple, and if the statements were true, surely everyone would be in favor.
But the facts don’t support these statements, and the issue is not as simple as the TV ads would have citizens believe. Fracking is an inherently dangerous and destructive extreme form of energy extraction that brings with it a myriad of serious environmental and economic problems. Now that we have the opportunity to see how fracking has actually impacted citizens in Pennsylvania and other states, we can more easily distinguish fact from fantasy and make smarter choices for New York.
A few weeks ago, in an attempt to fight off a cold, I ordered a bowl of chicken soup at a local lunch counter. One of the counter boys who is in his late teens asked me if I heard that the United States was just declared a war-zone by the U.S. Senate. I said, “What are you talking about?”
He filled me in. But what he told me didn’t fully compute. What he said, in a nutshell, was that the U.S. Senate passed a bill that would empower the U.S. Military to arrest American citizens and detain them anywhere in the world without being charged or without a trial. I didn’t want to be dismissive. I questioned myself, “Why didn’t I hear about this in the mainstream media?”
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