Written by James Bernstein, Jbernstein@antonnews.com 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, in the 1980s, the company employed 25,000 people on the Island, built the Navy’ 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 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 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.
Doing so is a sure recipe for a scenario where we keep losing jobs, and adding more shopping malls.
Saturday, 15 June 2013 00:00
A vehicle accident left a motorcyclist and his passenger dead following an accident on the New York State Thruway. The fatal motorcycle accident occurred at 1:10 a.m. on Sunday, June 2 near Exit 16 in Woodbury, the Associated Press reported.
According to officials, a Suzuki motorcycle operated by Rafaelito DeJesus, 23, of Valley Stream was headed north on the Thruway when he was hit by another vehicle.
Friday, 14 June 2013 00:00
The New York State Senate today passed a bill to protect young and inexperienced drivers by helping to remove distractions that could lead to accidents. The legislation. sponsored by Senator Carl Marcellin (R, Syosset), prohibits the use of cell phones—including hands-free devices—by drivers who hold learner’s permits.
“Young and inexperienced drivers, holding only a learner’s permit, are behind the wheel for one purpose—to learn how to safely operate a vehicle. These drivers need their full attention on the road and for the task of becoming a responsible driver,” said Senator Marcellino. “Even the best teenage drivers don’t have the judgment that comes with experience. Until a new driver has some skill and experience, the use of cell phones while driving should be banned.”
Thursday, 06 June 2013 00:00
This spring, in anticipation of fielding their strongest Varsity Baseball squad since the program began eight years ago, Portledge decided to change leagues from IPPSAL (Independent Private and Parochial Schools Athletic League) to the Private School Athletic Association and Athletic Conference of Independent Schools (PSAA/ACIS Alliance), in hopes of finding stronger and more consistent competition. As a newcomer to the Alliance League, which consists of independent school teams from all over the metropolitan area, the Panthers were placed in the 10-team 2nd Division.
It didn’t take long for Portledge to demonstrate the rapidly developing quality of their baseball program, as the Panthers hammered their way to a regular season mark of 9 wins and 1 loss. Moving on to the league playoffs, Portledge quickly dispatched their quarter and semi-final foes before heading to the championship game against Bay Ridge Prep on May 21 at MCU (Municipal Credit Union) Park in Brooklyn.
Thursday, 06 June 2013 00:00
The weather was blustery but hearts were warm at the SYAC Pony League All-Star Game, held at H.B. Thompson Middle School last month.
Thirty specially selected girls who play in the Pony League (grades 2-3) of SYAC Girls Softball put on a fine show for the bundled-up fans. They provided a barrage of hitting, combined with great fielding that ended rallies, sometimes by double plays. Eight dads who volunteer as coaches in the SYAC softball program, assisted the players.