Nice work by John Owens on the “...Buttafuocoed” article (Anton Weekly, March 22). His take on what is needed to revitalize Long Island makes a great deal of sense. The problem, as I see it, is that we lack political leadership that has any sense of vision for this area. The politicians are too vested in partisan politics and patronage. They lack the intelligence, experience and commitment to develop any bold, creative solutions to Long Island’s challenges.
Having lived in Nassau for over 40 years and having worked in Suffolk for 20 years, it never ceases to amaze me how dysfunctional the governmental process is in both counties. It is a half-century history of one stupid decision after another; one missed opportunity after another. For this to happen in a state as great as New York, and in close proximity to a city as vibrant as NYC, is embarrassing and destructive.
The LIRR train was packed with happy young people, all dressed up for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. One guy was wearing a kilt, and everyone else seemed to be wearing bright green.
Lorraine and I were going to see the new show Kinky Boots: honestly, we had no idea what to expect. The show was still in previews, opening for reviews on April 4. The Al Hirschfield Theater on 45th Street quickly filled and seating was completely sold out for the performance.
Birds Fly, Images Remain
One recent March night in Florida, I lay awake at 3 a.m. watching images of birds and other wildlife dance in the darkness. They were of rare or uncommon recent sightings. Unable to forget them, I was writing an outline in my head of this article. Knowing I’d never remember it in the morning I got up to write while standing at the kitchen island in dim light. Part of the following is what I scrawled that night.
The Sea’s Toll
The day after a heavy rain, the beach has whitecaps that are out of a Winslow Homer painting. This isn’t the usual calm Gulf of Mexico. A dead loon is on the sand in calm finality. Did it exhaust itself struggling against that sea? Nearby is a lightning whelk egg case, something that rarely washes up here. Bone- colored, rather long and thick, it resembles a heavy snake. This once had contained the eggs, which spawned large numbers of lightning whelks common on Florida’s Gulf Coast. I carry it on a stick to show my wife the sea’s mystery, which is sometimes called a “mermaids necklace.” A woman apparently fascinated by it gets her camera and takes several pictures.
What would you, my reader, do if you lived in Jericho, Nassau County and you wished to meet and eat with a dear old friend on a Sunday afternoon; a friend who recently moved further out on the Island, in Suffolk County.
The answer is obvious: Select a spot in the heart of downtown Huntington and have your meeting there. My beautiful wife Lorraine and our friend Marilyn decided to meet at The Book Revue in downtown Huntington. I remember the bookstore because I read a few chapters from my book, Over 60 and Getting Younger there several years ago.
As a die-hard Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Mets baseball fan, I have always desired to go to spring training to see my teams perform in the Grapefruit League. Last week, at 78 years old, my wish came true.
With three other gentlemen, we flew to West Palm Beach Airport. Next we picked up a Toyota Avalon at Alamo Car Rental and proceeded toward Port St. Lucie to watch the 2013 Mets. On the way (Route 95 North), a black cloud filled with rain tried to get in our way, but it could not stop us. We had great hopes that our three-day stay would not be rained out. As it turned out, the Florida sun greeted us in Port St. Lucie. It was great to wear shorts and golf shirts under a sunny sky. We checked into the Main Stay Hotel ($75 a night).
Redistricting should be non-political and fair. Unfortunately, it never is. The way redistricting is done in most areas leads to distrust, aggravation and unfair results. Such is the case in Nassau County as we all struggled through the redistricting saga.
My strong suggestion on the day of the vote, which, by the way, received some support from Republicans, is to have redistricting occur by a non-political, good government committee, with the final approval being given to a Magistrate. The League of Women Voters comes to mind since they worked tirelessly in this process, only to be ignored once the lines were drawn.
The murder of Marcelo Lucero lingers as a scar on Long Island’s conscience.
Four and a half years after the savage hate crime, we still struggle to understand how those involved in the attack could act with such horrific violence. And at the same time we struggle to understand the climate of anger towards immigrants from which this savagery emerged, a rising tide of hatred that clearly helped buoy the attackers to action. The attack was clearly a particularly brutal eruption of a very big problem and in a very real way, the angry teenagers who killed Marcelo Lucero are rightly serving prison sentences for the act, but they didn’t act alone.
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.
When I was elected County Executive, in the midst of the worst economic downturn in decades, I knew I would need some creative ideas, call it a new way of thinking, to help people who had lost their jobs get back to work.
Recognizing that jobs are the key to a growing economy, I instituted job fairs to link the unemployed with businesses and corporations in need of workers. I also invested funds in job training and retraining centers with our local towns. In partnership with the County’s Industrial Development Agency, I offered incentives that helped create and retain more than 3,500 private sector jobs. My administration worked hand-in-hand with businesses and corporations to ensure they–and their employees—stayed in Nassau County.
We are winning a fight against higher taxes. In 2010, rather than fix the assessment system that creates your tax bill, County Executive Edward Mangano repealed what is known as the “County Guaranty.”
His move would push expenses onto other governments and schools, forcing them to cover for his mistakes when your property is wrongly assessed and you are due a refund. This would likely mean higher taxes for you.
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