Thursday, November 05, 2009

Will Shift In Nassau County Legislature Be Perk Or Pan For Parks?

PARCnassau Is Hoping New Legislature Will "Do Us Proud"

Will Nassau County's parks fare better under a Republican Legislature than they have under the Dems? [Did the parks -- at least the ones deemed by the County to be "active" -- do so badly under the Democrats?]

And what of the issue of "privatizing" some of the County's parks, a matter which many find contentious, and not necessarily in the best interests of the public?

Our friend, and friend of the parks, Bruce Piel of PARCnassau, writes in with a few thoughts of his own, and looks forward, with anticipation, if not glee, to meeting and working with the new County Legislature.

A word to the wise, Bruce. Don't expect all that much beyond rhetoric and empty promises.

Those of us old enough to remember eight years ago, when then County Exec Tom Gulotta and a GOP-controlled Legislature held court over Nassau's parks, recall a park system in disrepair (even before anyone at the County Seat was crying poverty), and Commissioners who didn't even know which parks were under the County's jurisdiction.

Granted, our parks need improvement, if not basic maintenance, particularly so our "passive" (the County's word) community parks, many of which have been forgotten and neglected since the days of the Nassau County Board of Supervisors (also Republican, if memory serves us).

On the issue of privatization, many of you have e-mailed The Community Alliance (, notably on the heels of Bruce Piel's missives, with thoughts and concerns. Most were anonymous, which, therefore, precluded publication.

"Parks are parks," some say, nonchalantly. To most of us, however, parks and open green space, accessible to all, are what make Nassau County suburbia.

What's on your mind, with respect to our parks and other vestiges of community life, is important, to us, to your neighbors, and, on some level, we hope, our elected representatives.

We encourage you -- indeed, implore you -- to post comments on this blog (scroll down to the end of each post and click on "comments"), as well as to e-mail us with words of wisdom for publication (please include your full name and a daytime contact number for verification).

While we urge you to take ownership of your remarks by posting your names, we will, in the interest of protecting your identities from the goons who think the 4 A.M. phone call to your home is an appropriate response to legitimate criticism, withhold your name from publication upon request.

And now, without further ado, Bruce Piel of PARCnassau:

As of this writing there has been a major change in the county legislature and the race for the county executive is still in doubt. We feel a key ingredient in these results is the public's disenchantment with the privatization and misuse of the county park system. Are there other factors at work? Of course, but few issues strike with as much impact as open space, parks and preserves.

When all the dust has settled we hope to meet with all factions of county government to insure the park user (and financial supporter) will be getting a park system protected from developers, private for profit companies looking for tax free land and misguided public officials looking to turn our park system into a cash cow.

We are cognizant that the process to rebuild our park system will be slow due to the economic conditions facing all of us right now. That being said, all privatization proposals regardless of their current status must be stopped now, including The Coleman Camp/Roosevelt Preserve issue, The Dave Ferris/Chistopher Morely Pool issue, The Grant Park Ice rink issue, The Nickerson Beach "Sportsplex" issue, etc., etc.

After the "new" county government shakes itself out, we will be requesting meetings with the leaders in March, 2010. Our congrats to all the victors in the election. Please......Do us proud.

Bruce Piel
Park Advocacy & Recreation Council of Nassau (PARCnassau)
246 Twin Lane East
Wantagh, NY 11793
(516) 783-8378


  1. because the parks are being used more and more by "those people" that just gives the powers that be another excuse to make major cuts.

    go look at the way eisenhower was 10 or 15 years ago and go look at eisenhower today. suozzi's parks guy is an incompetant from nyc who couldnt find his ass with a roadmap and both hands. feh

  2. I think it's important not to be doctrinaire when it comes to privitization. There are horror stories out there of privitization initatives that have gone bad, but privitization is not necessarily a bad direction to take it if yields more efficiency. To the extent that public sector wage and benefit costs continue to outstrip economic growth, to say nothing of the ability of taxpayers to foot the bill, the case for outsourcing non-critical government functions gets more compelling. Doesn't mean it can work all the time; but doesn't mean it can't work. Meantime, the predominant issue for Nassau County has to be lowering cost and lowering taxes.

    As far as the "new" (and improved?) county legislature is concern, judging by the fact that one of the first things our new majority leader Mr. Schmitt did in line with the new regime was to give his staff some rather handsome raises, clearly they may have different priorities.