Thursday, October 28, 2010

Of Trees And Taxpayer Dollars

I Think That I Shall Never See, A Murraygram That Hasn't Killed A Tree

Not exactly Joyce Kilmer here, but a Letter to the Editor that appeared in this week's Herald newspapers caught our attention.

The suggestion of an "opt out" for all of those Town of Hempstead mailings. Imagine that -- cost effective and environmentally sound e-mails in lieu of those mailbox stuffers, tree-killers, and tax-dollar wasters.

Could it happen? In a heartbeat. Will it? Not as long as Kate Murray, Supervisor, needs to get her smile, and her name, in our collective faces.
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Is Supervisor Kate Murray really an environmentalist? 

To the Editor:

If you live in the Town of Hempstead, you are familiar with the steady flow of mailings from Town Hall. So far this year, I have received 24 mailings from Town Hall (approximately one mailing every 11 days).

On Aug. 3, I spoke to Supervisor Kate Murray at a Town Hall meeting, and suggested to her that the town give residents the option to receive Town Hall news by email. At that meeting she indicated to me that that was a wonderful idea.

Despite the fact that I had given Murray a wonderful idea, nothing got done. I went back to Town Hall on Sept. 7 and 21, Oct. 5 and 19 to press the issue. Each time it came up, Murray ducked the question and refused to give residents the option of receiving Town Hall news by email.

I have estimated that the Town of Hempstead has used more than 5 million sheets of paper (about 600 trees were needed to produce this paper) and spent over $1.1 million this year to pay for the mailings to approximately 246,828 households in the Town of Hempstead.

Murray claims to be an environmentalist and a member of the Sierra Club. You would think she would be more conscientious about the unnecessary use of natural resources.

Contact Town Hall at (516) 489-6000 or on the web at to tell Supervisor Murray you want an option to receive Town Hall news by email.

Felix Procacci
Franklin Square
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We're sure that the folks at Kate Murray's HELPLINE would be happy to pass along the word. Can the Murraygrams. Send us an e-mail!
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"I'm The Lord, And I Approve This Message"

When Candidates Converse With The Almighty

"God is the reason I'm running." So said Christine "I'm not a witch" O'Donnell, GOP candidate for Senate in the State of Delaware.

Not only that, but, according to O'Donnell, in an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network, "God has called me to win." [She also admitted to not watching the news, an homage, perhaps, to Sarah Palin fumbling and failing to think of a single newspaper or magazine she had read.]

So, its not only the ballplayer, eyes toward the heavens, who looks to God for that crucial hit. [We suppose the Yankees simply didn't offer enough in prayer. Damn it!]

And we recall another politico of the not so distant past who, like O'Donnell, said that God had tapped him to run for office. Now who was that again? Oh yeah. George W. Bush. [What was God thinking?]

Since when did the Almighty become so political, let alone so partisan? And how is it that, on the whole, he only speaks to, calls upon, and offers the endorsement of far-right wing Republicans, who poo poo evolution, oppose masturbation, and can't find a separation between church and state in the Constitution -- not necessarily in that order.

Whatever happened to the days when God called upon folks like Noah, to build arks, and Moses, to deliver the Ten Commandments? No, today, the Almighty talks to nitwit politicians and psychopathic serial killers.

Add in the Sean Hannitys and the Glenn Becks, to whom God apparently speaks regularly, having decreed, "Go forth and masquerade as journalists," and you've given new meaning to the expression, "God works in mysterious ways."

One wonders why God has chosen to speak with and call upon the likes of a Christine O'Donnell, channeling His wisdom and energies through so empty a vessel. What with Nobel Prize winners and MENSA members, one would think a more appropriate medium -- and, surely, a more worthy cause -- would be in the offing.

Perhaps, given the Lord's involvement in recent campaigns, and the invocation of His name (as such may enure to the benefit of the candidate, religion clearly being the opiate of a certain segment of the electoral masses), we need to create yet another political party. Call it the, "My Rent Is Too God-Damn High" party.

Says O'Donnell (that's the new Chirstine, Senate hopeful, not the old Christine, Wiccan), "Please pray for the campaign; please pray for our staff; please pray specifically that the eyes of the voters be opened."

"Pray...that the eyes of the voters be opened." Amen to that!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Watch The Closing Doors

Can Mass Transit Save New York? [And What Will Save NY's Mass Transit?]

As we watch our roadways and bridges crumble before our eyes, and see fares and tolls soar (you want how much to cross the Verrazano Bridge?), thoughts on how New York can revive (more like resuscitate) mass transit, and how mass trasnsit could actually breathe new life into the Empire State's sagging economy.

If we're going to talk about sustainability (and these days, who doesn't?), we have to talk about that which cannot, in the long run, be sustained, at least not in an economic environment where the incubator is primed for growth.

High taxes, skyrocketing fares, outlandish tolls, and an infrastructure that makes getting from here to there next to impossible, will not sustain us. Nor will mismanagement and dysfunction, whether by the bungling chieftans at public authorities such as the MTA or in the seat of government in Albany, sustain anything more than the status quo -- a deep, dark hole into which is tossed a shovel, John Q. Public emphatically told, "keep digging!"

New directions, and a new way of thinking -- from inside the box and without (box sold separately) -- are imperatives, both in restructuring and rebuilding New York's system of mass transit, and in turning this once mighty engine of commerce into the powerhouse that catpults our State -- and its tax-strapped residents -- out of that hole and into a new era of prosperity.

A report (actually, several) from our friends at the Drum Major Institute:

How the Next Governor of New York Can Save Public Transit

With New York’s gubernatorial election less than two weeks away, a report jointly released earlier today by the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy and Transportation Alternatives urges the candidates for governor to commit to ending the MTA’s costly borrowing and to reinvesting in public transit in order to drive economic growth, create good jobs, boost the state's economic competitiveness, and save state taxpayers significant money.

The report reveals that the disinvestment and debt crippling the MTA are the result of failed decisions by state legislators and recent governors. Evidence and data are presented to show that the next governor must pursue several actions to safeguard public transit and put the MTA back on sound fiscal footing.

To read the report, go here. To read earlier reports on solving the MTA’s debt crisis and ensuring more sustainable sources of transit revenue, go here and here.
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Is Albany A Mess?

Did The Little Piggy Cry Wee, Wee, Wee All The Way Home?

From the camp of Patrick Nicolosi, Candidate for NYS Assembly:

There's no disputing that Albany is a mess. The question is who do we trust to fix it? The residents of the 21st Assembly District which includes West Hempstead,Franklin Square, Elmont, Floral Park, South Floral Park, Stewart Manor, North Valley Stream and parts Valley Stream, New Hyde Park, Malverne and Garden City have a choice between 2 candidates who have two completely different backgrounds.

The Republican machine has nominated someone to run for Assembly from their Town of Hempstead nepotism and patronage mill. This machine chose a candidate who does not own property in this district, nor has he paid a dime in property taxes, either. How can the 28 year old son of an influential Town of Hempstead political insider, who hasn't paid property taxes in his life, possibly identify with the voters of this district? How can he possibly understand or sympathize with the everyday struggles residents in this district go through year after year just to pay our bills and keep a roof over our family's heads? Strike 1.

Next, we discover he recently got a job in the Town attorney's office. How was he able to find a job in this economy anyway? While our children are out of work and struggling to find any job they can find, all he had to do was call his influential father, and magically a cushy job in the Town attorney's office was created for him. And we expect this candidate to bring home the bacon to this district? He's never had to bring anything home up until now except himself. What makes anyone think this job will be any different for him? Win, lose or draw in this election, the Republican candidate will have a secure job to go to the day after the election no matter what happens November 2nd. Strike 2.

Even worse, during the debates, he could not articulate one coherent or concrete thought of how he would address the real problems affecting this district, specifically property taxes and jobs. His responses were awkward, jumbled and full of political cliches we've heard a million times before. It's clear Republicans actually do view this Assembly seat as an entry level position, and this candidate would be going to Albany just to fill-out time. So in a couple of years if we make the mistake of sending him there, his influential father will find him someplace else better to work (we suspect somewhere in the friendly confines of the Town of Hempstead). Strike 3 and he's out.

Contrast this with Pat Nicolosi, whose paid his dues in life and has earned his community stripes over decades of participation and service to this diverse Assembly district. Pat has a unique universal appeal where he identifies with everyone from a blue collar worker who brings a lunch bucket to work, to a white collar executive who only eats on fine table cloth. Pat's stood with the residents of West Hempstead as they fought the Town of Hempstead at the Courtesy Hotel fiasco, stood by the residents of Elmont as they continue to fight for economic development in their community, and has stood by all residents of this district as he continues to demand efficiency in all levels of government, including our local special taxing districts.

Pat has also gained the reputation of being a strong fiscal watchdog over government spending and has consistently advocated for the creation of private-sector jobs and sustainable economic development in our district. In his first year as a Board Member of the Elmont Library, he was able to achieve a 0% tax increase, with a 0% spending increase, all while keeping existing programs and services at this great facility untouched.

Pat's record of independence is second to none. He has brought together Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives and Independents to work together on a host of issues facing this community no matter what their party affiliation or political background was. With so much at stake in this election, how can we trust this Assembly seat to anyone but Pat Nicolosi.
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The Community Alliance welcomes comment, rebuttal, or at least two-cents, from Pat Nicolosi's opponent in this election, Ed Ra.

Let's hear from all the candidates for public office. Write us at All submissions will be published for the consideration of the electorate.

Remember, folks. If we don't hear from them BEFORE the election, can we really expect results from them AFTER the election?
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Nassau County's Royal Flush?

Exec Looks To Imose Fee For Water On Exempt, High Volume Users

Imagine that. Taxing the local Fire District (turnabout is fair play, we suppose), for using water. Okay, they call it a fee, which, by any other name, is a tax.

Hmmm. Taxing the heretofore exempt, and imposing user fees on those who use run water down the drain as if it fell from the sky. What next? Taxing heretofore tax exempt entities -- like the church* -- for all the property they own in the county?

Wait a minute. Maybe that's not such a bad idea after all. . .

*The new fee, by the way, would not apply to religious organizations who own property in the county. Thank God. The holy water is safe!
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From the Long Island Herald:

Legislator: ‘Toilet tax’ could cost taxpayers

By Deirdre Krasula

When firefighters wash down their trucks after making on a run, they may have to pay a fee on that water. Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, a Republican from Bethpage, has proposed a water use fee in the county’s 2011 budget. At a news conference in front of the North Merrick firehouse on Friday, Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg said the fee is really a tax.

Standing with members of tax-exempt organizations, Denenberg, a Democrat from Merrick, explained how fire departments, school districts and libraries would be affected by what he called the “toilet tax.” The county ordinance states, “The county is hereby authorized to impose service charges upon exempt users and high water users for the use of services of sewage facilities maintained by the district.” The fee is intended to help pay for the county’s sewer facilities, but the county doesn’t use sewer meters, but rather water meters, Denenberg noted.

Based on water use, that could mean big bills for previously exempt organizations. Each facility would have to pay one cent for every gallon of water used. That would mean that the North Merrick Fire Department, which uses 700,000 gallons of water a year, would pay a $7,000 fee.

Denenberg said he was angered that the county executive would be willing to draw revenue from tax-exempt organizations like school districts and libraries. “The county’s idea for revenue is to force tax-exempt organizations … to pay a sewer fee,” he said. “Passing along taxes to other districts is not freezing taxes.”

Dr. James Tolle, executive director of the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents, noted that schools across the county use water primarily for field irrigation. Mary Jo O’Hagan, vice president of the Nassau Suffolk School Board Association, and a member of the Baldwin School Board, noted that such a fee would cost Baldwin School District $132,000 a year — the equivalent of two staff positions. Tolle added that Nassau County school districts could not afford the fee. If put in place, the fee would be “passed on to the taxpayer, or we would have to cut programs,” he said.

The fee, if passed, would take effect July 1, 2011. In the first six months it was in place, it could bring in $19 million in revenue and $38 million in the following full year.

At press time, Mangano’s office could not be reached for comment.

Comments about this story? or (516) 569-4000 ext. 234.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Time To "Energize" Our State Legislators

Urge your State Assemblyman to Support Higher Residential Energy Codes

From our good friends and neighbors at Long Island Neighborhood Network:

This year a bill was introduced to amend the State Energy Conservation Construction Code (S6912- Foley/A10288 Englebright) by setting a higher energy efficiency standard for new homes built in New York State, and requiring performance verification of all new homes by an independent Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rater. The amendment would have resulted in new homes that are more comfortable, save energy, save money, and reduce our carbon footprint.

The bill was modeled on ENERGY STAR Homes® codes that the Neighborhood Network proposed and successfully advocated for in ten of thirteen Long Island towns. These local building codes have resulted in significant energy savings, kept hundreds of thousands of dollars in the local economy, and created new green jobs.

The bill passed the Senate this year, but was not acted on in the Assembly. The Neighborhood Network is asking all our members and friends to contact their State Assembly Members and call on them to pledge their support for this bill in the next legislative session.

To find out more about the bill and how to contact your State Legislators visit the Neighborhood Network website at:
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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Clams On The Half-Baked Shell

Where's The Special Shellfish District When We Need One?

Last year, we reported on the Town of Hempstead's "pet" project to nurture Long Island's clam population using solar, wind, and, yes, the strength of the town's borrowing power. [READ, Inherit The Wind (And The Sun, Too).]

Well, the Town tells us that the environmentally-nurtured baby clams (they live better lives than most of us) are a-hatchin, and in record numbers.

And here you thought that Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray was only interested in clambakes and clamdestine, behind the scenes, political wheeling and dealing.

Wrong again, Crustacean breath!

Under the sea, and right here on the shores of the Great South Bay, the Town of Hempstead is growing clams in their state of the art "green" nursery (no, not the seaweed), with officials no doubt waiting by the clams' bedside, hoping to catch them at first shuck, registering each and every little hard-shelled denizen of the deep as a Republican.

Glad to see that the clams are doing well -- thriving, in fact -- in Hempstead Town. Too bad the same can't be said for the town's homeowners and taxpayers, many of whom are seeing too little green, and just barely keeping their heads above water.

Aw, clam up, Town of Hempsteaders! Don't be so darn shellfish. The world may not be your oyster, but at least our baby mollusks are on the job, ready to keep Long Island's waters clean, and to adorn Kate's plate at next year's Festival By The Sea. [If only they could find a way to tax 'em. . .]
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From The Town of Hempstead:

Sun, Wind & Sea:

First Batch of Baby Clams Raised in Hempstead's Solar/Wind Powered Nursery Released Into Bay

Hempstead Town has been busy raising babies? baby clams, that is! At a press conference in Point Lookout, Supervisor Kate Murray and Councilwoman Angie Cullin unveiled the first full batch of "test tube" babies, millions of hard shell clams that were nurtured in a scientifically controlled environment powered by solar and wind energy. Staffers at the town's shellfish nursery prepared and released millions of the young mollusks into Hempstead Bay, an activity that is beneficial to the ecosystem and the local shellfish industry. Joining Murray and Cullin at the seaside ceremony were Town Clerk Mark Bonilla; Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin; Ed Thomas, Hempstead Shellfishermen's Association; and Mike Deering, LIPA's Vice President of Environmental Affairs.

Raising and cultivating "baby" clams is important to support the local shellfish industry, provide area recreation and, most importantly, keep waterways healthy with natural marine life that filters our bays. As filter feeders, hard shell clams are a critical species that maintain and potentially improve water quality.

"The Town of Hempstead has been really innovative in the development of this state-of-the-art shellfish nursery," announced Murray. "The clams that we release today will help keep our waterways cleaner as they filter our bay water. What's more, we're treading lightly on the planet, producing no carbon footprint to generate the power required to raise these clams."

The solar and wind powered shellfish nursery allows scientists to raise "seed" clams to deposit in local beds. Maintaining the hard shell clam population in our bays is closely linked to the ecological health of our local bodies of water. Utilizing a $180,000 contract from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and $60,000 in funding from LIPA, the new FLUPSY system is an entirely self-sustaining design. FLUPSY (Floating Upweller System) supports a shellfish grow-out process that provides a controlled environment that force-feeds nutrient rich water to infant shellfish, allowing them to grow more quickly with a higher survival rate. The clean energy technology and the innovative design of the shellfish nursery have eliminated energy costs at the facility, while increasing its ability to raise shellfish by 900%. The town's new FLUPSY is producing nine million hard clams in its first year of operations. Hempstead's old facility raised one million clams annually.

"LIPA is pleased to have worked with Supervisor Kate Murray and the Town of Hempstead to bring this important energy efficient and environmentally conscious project, which will help to replenish our shellfish population to fruition," said LIPA Vice President of Environmental Affairs Michael J. Deering. "The only way we can ever truly be successful in maximizing energy efficiency and advancing clean renewable technology is through partnerships like this one with committed community and government leaders."

NYSERDA's Senior Project Manager, Miriam Pye, said, "NYSERDA commends the Town of Hempstead for its initiative to find an innovative approach to enhancing economic development while improving the environment and reducing energy use. We are proud to provide support to such a worthy and successful project."

At the core of meeting the energy needs of the shellfish nursery are two sets of photovoltaic panels that produce 10 kilowatts of power. The solar energy system is complemented by a wind turbine that adds 2.4 kilowatts of power to meet the facility's energy needs. In total, the green energy systems are producing over 23 megawatts of power per year, preventing almost 28,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) from being released into the atmosphere (annually). From a financial perspective, the green energy technology is saving an estimated $5,800 in energy costs per year while the wind and solar systems are actually turning surplus green power back to LIPA's energy grid.

"Our town's shellfish nursery is energy efficient and environmentally responsible," noted Cullin. "Equally important, this facility demonstrates to the local scientific community and area residents that renewable energy has practical applications. Indeed, the range of clean energy opportunities is continuing to expand greatly."

"As local baymen we are very pleased to work with the Town of Hempstead to put seed clams in the bay," said Ed Thomas, Vice President of the Hempstead Shellfisherman's Association. "We have a great symbiotic relationship with the town. We work hand in hand with the same goals."

The efficacy of the town's shellfish nursery has been enhanced as a result of the dramatically increased level of output. The facility's production has escalated through collaboration with Nassau County, the Town of Islip and the Hempstead Shellfishermen's Association. All of these partners have contributed "seed" clams to the facility. In the case of Islip Town, Hempstead's shellfish operation receives seed clams from the Suffolk town in exchange for a return share of the mature clams to be deposited in south shore waters.

Hempstead Town is at the forefront of environmental responsibility and has spearheaded several initiatives including utilizing solar energy at three government buildings, employing wind energy at Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve, utilizing electric cars among various town departments and unveiling Long Island's first fleet of natural gas taxis. Additionally, the Conservation and Waterways Department hosts a self-relying "green" energy solar house, and has recently completed a fueling station that will provide pure hydrogen, blended hydrogen compressed natural gas, as well as pure natural gas for a variety of vehicles.

"Raising babies has never been so good for the environment," concluded Murray. "As we nurture baby clams to deposit in area bays, we are helping support an important maritime industry, keeping our waterways clean and demonstrating important practical applications for green energy. I want to thank NYSERDA, LIPA, the Hempstead Shellfishermen's Association and all of our partners for helping to build a cleaner planet for generations to come."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Good (Affordable Housing) Start

Six New Homes To Be Built By Town In Roosevelt

The Town of Hempstead has built approximately 200 single family homes under its Affordable Homes Program. 17 have been constructed, and sold by lottery, in the unincorporated area of Roosevelt, NY. 6 additional homes are slated to be built under the next phase of the program.

All good.

Better than good -- particularly in a region where the need for affordable housing is so great, and availability is virtually nil -- would be affordable apartment-style housing units (both rental and sale), to complement the resurgence of "Downtown."

The vital mix of commercial, residential and recreational space along -- and above -- "Main Street" would go a long way in relieving Long Island's housing crunch, as well as stemming the rip tide created by the perfect storm of high cost of living, few job opportunities, and little in the way of truly affordable housing, that is pulling our college grads and young workforce out of the area.

Kudos to the Town of Hempstead, for revitalizing Roosevelt's infrastructure and for thinking affordable on the housing front.

Now, the time has come for Hempstead Town officials to begin to think vertical, accepting the notion that density, particularly in "downtown" areas, is a necessary, and perhaps even beneficial means to a thriving, sustainable suburbia.
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From The Town of Hempstead:

Hempstead Town Begins Latest Phase of Affordable Homes

Continuing their quest to provide affordable housing opportunities to area residents, Supervisor Kate Murray and Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby recently commenced the latest phase of the Town's Affordable Homes program in Roosevelt. At a Town Board meeting on October 5th, six parcels of vacant land in Roosevelt were conveyed to Anray Custom Builders, Inc. for the construction of affordable, single-family homes.

"These homes are an integral part of our efforts to make the future of the Roosevelt community even brighter," Murray said. "From first-time homeowners grappling with the cost of purchasing a house to mature residents challenged by the cost of living, Hempstead Town's Affordable Homes Program is helping people to stay in our community."

The six recently conveyed sites comprise Phase 12 of the Town's Affordable Homes program. Hempstead Town has built over 200 affordable homes, including many in the Roosevelt community. Since 2008, 17 affordable homes in Roosevelt have been sold. Construction is scheduled to begin on the Phase 12 homes in early November, with a lottery to follow shortly thereafter to determine the recipients of each of the six homes.

"With the rising cost of living on Long Island, it is imperative that we help to make the dream of homeownership a reality for our community's residents," Councilwoman Goosby said.

Although the homes are affordably priced at $160,000, they are built to a very high standard and feature abundant amenities. The homes will include 1,500 square feet of living space with kitchens, dining rooms, 1 ? baths, three bedrooms and a garage.

"These are beautiful homes of a very high quality," Murray stated. "With a great new home that's also affordable, more families will be able to grow up in Roosevelt and enrich our community," Goosby added.

Owners in the Affordable Homes Program only realize a portion of the profits that they would normally reap if they resell their house within the first ten years. This mechanism is designed to combat profiteering and promote community pride.

The affordable homes are one of many town-led efforts to revitalize the Roosevelt community. Earlier this year, the Town conveyed a property in Roosevelt to Habitat for Humanity for one dollar to create an additional affordable home in the community. The town also arranged for the Nassau Health Care Corporation to bring much-needed medical services and jobs to Roosevelt at 380 Nassau Road after Murray and Goosby turned the vacant site into a beautiful office building that will greatly contribute to Roosevelt's commercial growth.

Additionally, Hempstead Town provided funding for a day care center at the Roosevelt American Legion Post and added a village green with a clock tower, trees, shrubbery and decorative benches to the corner of the Western Beef shopping center. With assistance from the town, a new financial institution, Bethpage Federal Credit Union, now serves Roosevelt residents.

"Aligned with our vision for an even better Roosevelt community, the affordable homes are a welcome addition to the town," Murray concluded. "Not only do they help families to realize the American dream, but they also foster a sense of pride that enriches the local community."

Friday, October 08, 2010

Is NYSHIP Sinking?

Assembly Candidate John Brooks Blasts The New York State Health Insurance Program (NYSHIP) 14.5% Proposed Rate Increase

Seaford, NY - John Brooks, Assembly Candidate and former member of NYSHIP's Participating Agency Advisory Council, blasted NYSHIP for its projected 14.5% rate increase for the 2011 policy year. Over the last two years, the former Director of Risk Management for Nassau County chaired a work group that successfully challenged the planned rate increases of the NYSHIP, and was able to get reductions in the planned rate increases, which saved taxpayers more than $350 Million dollars for the combined policy years of 2009 and 2010.

"Over the past few years we pointed out to NYSHIP they had a long history of requesting rate increases that were in excess of what was needed and most of the increase was declared a dividend at the end of the policy year, This year the plan is currently projecting a loss of $34 Million on a premium plan base of $5.9 Billion Dollars. As part of the discussion over the last two years NYSHIP has established a special retro reserve that has significantly more in the reserve than the projected $34 Million short fall. This loss is not only fully funded in the retro reserve but a significant amount of the reserve will be returned to the dividend pool at the end of the policy year.” Brooks said.

“The projected rate increase of 14.5% would translate into a premium increase of more than $850 Million. How can anyone say NYSHIP lost $34 Million this year so next year they need an additional $850 Million in premium. Seems like now that those of us who worked on monitoring this program in the past are not in the picture its back to the old ways of doing things," Brooks said.

“The NYSHIP program provides health insurance for state employees as well as many town, village and county employees as well as most of the school district employees in the state. New York State government as well as many local governments and school districts are facing very difficult economic times. The tax burden that has been placed on the residents and businesses of this state is already far too heavy. One of the key problems in government today is the fact that some of those in a position of leadership don't seem to understand that the people of this state cannot take anymore. The taxpayers principally pay for the cost of the NYSHIP health insurance program. In this years state budget we have already seen a cut of $81.3 Million in state aid for education to the school districts of Long Island. I would estimate that this NYSHIP rate increase would add at a minimum between $60 - 80 Million Dollars in addition expense that would be paid by the taxpayers. It's time for everyone in Albany to WAKE UP! If the folks in NYSHIP thought I was a fighter over the last three years they have no idea what is coming when I get elected to the Assembly," Brooks concluded.

John Brooks is the Democratic Candidate for the 19th Assembly District. The District includes Seaford, Wantagh, Bellmore, Merrick, and parts of Freeport, Baldwin, Levittown, East Meadow, North Merrick and North Bellmore. John Brooks a past Chief and active member of the Seaford Fire Department, the Seaford Historical Society, a former member of the Seaford Board of Education, a veteran of the U.S Army, and was the First Director of Risk Management for Nassau County. He resides in Seaford and has one son.

To learn more about John Brooks, email the campaign at
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The publication of this material is for informational purposes only, and should not be considered as either a verification of content or an endorsement of the candidate.

Folks, this is the opportunity for ALL candidates to post their positions and get what amounts to free press. The election is but weeks away. You snooze. We all lose!

Send press releases and position papers for publication to The Community Alliance at

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Town Offers Flu Shots To Seniors

Town Announces Registration For Senior Seasonal Flu Immunization Program 

From The Town of Hempstead:

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray has announced that registration for the annual Senior Citizen Seasonal Flu Immunization Program is now under way. The town, in cooperation with Nassau University Medical Center and South Nassau Communities Hospital, will be offering seasonal flu vaccinations for senior residents age 60 or older at several town locations.

"I encourage senior residents to take advantage of this important program, as according to the Centers for Disease Control, senior citizens are at greater risk of experiencing serious complications from influenza, " stated Supervisor Kate Murray. "The flu vaccination could decrease the risk of catching the seasonal flu or may lessen its severity."

The registration process has begun and interested seniors are requested to register in person at their local senior center at least ten days in advance. Flu vaccines are provided with no out-of-pocket cost to the seniors. The administrating hospital will bill insurance companies; however, there will be no co-payments for those receiving flu shots.

Immunizations will be conducted from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. as follows:

Wednesday, November 3- Merrick Senior Center, 2550 Clubhouse Road, Merrick, 868-4777

Monday, November 8-Wantagh Senior Center, 1150 Seamans Neck Road, Wantagh, 785-8505

Tuesday, November 9-, Green Acres Senior Center, 400 Flower Road, Valley Stream, 872-8810

Wednesday, November 10-, Franklin Square Senior Center, 1182 Martha Place, Franklin Square, 328-3010

Friday, November 12- Uniondale-Merrick Senior Center, 750 Jerusalem Avenue, Uniondale, 538-5050

Monday, November 15- Levittown Senior Center, 555 N. Newbridge Rd., Levittown, 433-5454

Wednesday, December 1- Bellmore Senior Center, 2000 Bellmore Ave, Bellmore, 221-9696

"Hempstead Town is able to bring this valuable immunization program to area seniors through our partnerships with Nassau University Medical Center and South Nassau Communities Hospital," concluded Murray. "As the health and well-being of our seniors is a top concern to us here in the Town of Hempstead, I encourage senior residents to make this vaccine part of their healthy lifestyle."

For further information please call the Department of Senior Enrichment at (516) 485-8100.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Dude, Where's My Affordable Housing?

Tell Me, Where Do The Children Stay?

From the untimely demise of Avalon Bay in Huntington, to the inordinate delay in building so-called transit-oriented rentals in places like West Hempstead, the dearth of housing opportunities for Generation Next (let alone, Generation Text) is, how can we say this nicely, forcing college grads and our young workforce off Long Island. At best, the lack of affordable (a relative term, given that $1900 a month for a one-bedroom apartment in western Nassau, adjacent to an LIRR station sans weekend service, is not our idea of "affordable") housing, for purchase or rental, is forcing our children to move back with mom and dad, or to seek uneasy (and potentially unsafe) refuge in illegal basement apartments.

Recent developments (or should we say, the lack thereof) highlight the dilemma. [READ Below.]

Blame it on generation after generation of NIMBYism, the detractors of density and development, the shortsighted myopia of Zoning Boards and Town Boards, the mismanagement of the MTA, or the general inertia that seems to run through the lifeblood of Long Islanders when it comes to getting just about anything accomplished, the future of Long Island -- our children -- is moving out and moving on.

Affordable housing is not a cure-all for the plethora of conditions that ail and debilitate our Long Island. It would, however, be a great shot in the arm!
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From The Long Island Press:

Huntington Town Board Sinks AvalonBay Proposal
By Spencer Rumsey

The Huntington Town Board rejected a rezoning proposal Tuesday night in a 3-2 vote that would have created a “transit-oriented district” to allow a developer, AvalonBay Communities, to build 490 apartment units on 26 acres in Huntington Station.

Avalon Glen Cove North in Glen Cove. The Avalon Bay company wanted to build a similar development in Hungtington Station rejected the zoning needed to move the project forward Tuesday, Sept. 20.

The decision came after months of increasingly heated wrangling as opposition grew to the proposed apartment complex, and the issue became caught up in local town politics. The developer had promised to set aside at least 20 percent of the rentals for affordable housing and provide the Huntington school district with up to $1.5 million in mitigation costs to make up for an anticipated influx of new students. The item on the agenda drew hundreds of people.

Outside Town Hall protesters chanted that AvalonBay, a nationwide builder of high-end developments, was unfair to local builders by using contractors and workers from Connecticut and elsewhere. Inside Town Hall, the corridors were jammed, and voices were loud.

Opponents seemed to outnumber supporters, judging from the proliferation of their printed red-and-white signs proclaiming “Stop AvalonBay and Downsizing Huntington,” their white-washed Burger King crowns stamped with the phrase “Say no to AvalonBay,” and the many blue and red Conservative Society of America T-shirts.

The Town Board room itself was filled to capacity. The local fire marshall wouldn’t even allow AvalonBay’s attorney from the law firm Farrell Fritz to view the proceeding.

Noting the intense atmosphere, Supervisor Frank Petrone said, “Your passion speaks loud and clear.” He added, “This town could be better for all the energy this has produced.”

Councilwoman Glenda Jackson, a Democrat, noted that she’d been “appalled” at some of the “vicious comments” from opponents to the project, which she said were “over the top.”

She said that as a single parent who’d grown up in the town and had lived in Huntington Station, the project would go far in addressing the housing and economic needs of her community. But many of the opponents didn’t agree.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Petrone said before the vote was cast, “you’ve shown leadership; don’t show dividedness.”

Under the terms of the rezoning proposal, the law needed a super majority to pass.

When Democratic Councilman Mark Cuthbertson followed Republican Councilman Mark Mayoka in opposing the measure, the crowd knew the law was toast.

Democratic Councilwoman Susan Berland, who’s made no secret of her political ambitions (such as for the supervisor job, some say), had previously announced her opposition to the zoning’s high density allowance (18 units per acre).

Cuthbertson cited the school board’s rejection of the Avalon project (after voting in favor of it last year), and said that “without their good faith” he couldn’t go forward.

In the end, two Democrats and one Republican defeated the measure, and only Supervisor Petrone and Councilwoman Jackson, both Democrats, were in favor.

After the vote, Berland told the Press that she still held out hope that AvalonBay would come back to the town with a proposal for much lower density, such as 14.5 units per acre. The site now allows for 109 single-family homes.

AvalonBay had said that without the higher density zoning it wouldn’t develop in Huntington.

Supporters of the project were disappointed, to say the least, but they were not surprised because the town board had been backpedaling for months.

“Their job is to lead,” said Lisa Tyson, executive director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition. “They reacted.”
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From The New York Times:

Transit Cuts Bring Uncertainty

It was partly the Port Washington line of the Long Island Rail Road, with its direct, quick and frequent runs into Manhattan, that persuaded Scott McCabe, 28, a financial analyst working in Midtown Manhattan, to move to Port Washington from Hoboken, N.J.

Last June, he spent more than $500,000 on a four-bedroom split-level from which he could walk the mile to the station. “It’s a fantastic commute for me in terms of what our options were in the suburbs,” Mr. McCabe said.

But when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority cut off-peak service in half on the line last month, enacting schedule changes as part of budget-related cuts in Long Island Rail Road service approved in March, Mr. McCabe was concerned. Though he commutes during rush hour and was not affected, the reduction in nonpeak service to once an hour after 9 a.m. might have “put a little bit of a damper” on his decision to move, had he known it was being planned.

After all, homes in North Shore towns like Great Neck, Manhasset and Plandome along the Port Washington line carry a 15 to 30 percent premium over homes farther east and south, served by train lines that typically require a change in Jamaica, Queens.

Karen Morrison, an associate broker and manager of Accents on Real Estate in Port Washington, who is also president of the Port Washington/Manhasset Real Estate Board, described the rail line as “one of the key components to our town.”

“It’s a perfect setting if you like a small-town feeling with a 35-minute commute into Manhattan,” Ms. Morrison added. Traditionally, buyers “will pay more for less to be in these communities.”

That may change because of the transit cutbacks — which decrease midday service by 14 trains on weekdays and cut 32 trains over the weekend. Along with service cuts made elsewhere on the Island in May, the schedule alterations are part of the transportation authority’s effort to close a $900 million budget gap.

Ms. Morrison said she could well imagine a prospective buyer’s thinking, “If I am not getting that same service I was expecting, maybe I could find something less expensive in another area.”

But Susan Higgins, director of sales and an associate broker at Prudential Douglas Elliman in Manhasset, disagreed. Since the cuts are on off-peak trains, she asserted, “it’s an inconvenience for some people and they may have to alter their schedules around it.” But she said, “The draw to these communities will remain the same.”

While studies have not been done on the Island, Christopher Jones, the vice president for research of the Manhattan-based Regional Plan Association, said a study released in July looked at the effects of transit service improvements on property values in New Jersey. By inference, “it gives you an indication of how important transit service is to property values.” Over time, reduced service on both the railroad and Long Island Bus “will make communities a less desirable place to live, and that will translate into lower property values,” Mr. Jones said. Though peak-hour reductions would have a bigger impact, he added, “it doesn’t mean there is no impact when it is weekend and evening time. It is one of the amenities.”

Jan Wells, the associate director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the M.T.A., a public watchdog group, said there was “always a direct connection between transportation services and real estate values.”

She said she was hoping the service cuts would be temporary, but “in the meantime anybody looking for property where transportation is important, they will look at service.”

Budget cuts have also affected service to the railroad’s Long Beach, Montauk, Ronkonkoma, Greenport and West Hempstead branches, as well as trains to the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn. The cuts are estimated to save about $950,000 this year and $3.8 million annually starting in 2011, according to a statement from the authority.

Since some trains to Huntington and Ronkonkoma now have extra stops to accommodate those who rode trains that have been eliminated, commutes have become longer and trains are more crowded. And as Maureen Michaels, the chairwoman of the Long Island Rail Road Commuters Council, noted, “Commuters make choices about where they are going to live based on the frequency and scheduling of trains,” and the most recent cuts “are not sitting well with commuters.”

In West Hempstead, Maria Rigopoulos, vice president of Mill Creek Residential Trust, expects construction to start this fall on the Alexan@West Hempstead, a 150-unit transit-oriented development that Mill Creek is to put up next to the West Hempstead rail station. But the Alexan will not have quite as much transit as some potential residents might like. Weekend service to the West Hempstead stop also suffered a blow.

“It’s not ideal,” Ms. Rigopoulos said, “but the weekday commuters are more important to our development.” And since the apartments are not yet built, she said, tenants won’t be missing something they once had.

Besides, demand for rentals is strong. Rosalie Norton, the president of the West Hempstead Community Support Association, which fought vigorously to get the apartment complex approved on the site of the derelict Courtesy Hotel, said that market-rate rentals were scarce in the area and that the Alexan “fills a desperate need.”

Rates at the Alexan will range from $1,900 a month, for a one-bedroom, to $2,700 for a three-bedroom. In her view the lack of weekend train service will simply mean getting to “Valley Stream or Rockville Centre or Garden City to use one of those lines.”
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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

There's Money In Them Thar Parks!

Report Concludes That LI Parks Boost Local Economy

And here you thought that all we do is pay, pay, pay for parks and recreation on Long Island. Property taxes. Fees. And did we mention, fees? ;-)

Well, according to the folks at the Trust for Public Land, green (as in parks and recreational space) is the new gold.

Our parks, waterways, open spaces, often enjoyed (and paid for) by residents and out-of-towners alike, raise revenues, generate health benefits, and increase the values of residential properties.

In other words, Long Islanders are reaping the benefits of County and Town parks, green spaces, and preserves.

Are our parks and open spaces up to par? Are we getting the bang we deserve for the bucks we pay? Do the profits and loses add up?

A matter of debate.

One thing for sure, though. Beyond the dollars and cents, preserving, maintaining, and, yes, creating parks, preserves and open space is good thing for Long Islanders. Indeed, trees, grass, and park land are the very stuff that define suburbia.

Let's keep it green!
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Long Island Open Space, Parks Provide Economic Payback

Contact: Tim Ahern, 415-710-9095

Patchogue, New York: The Trust for Public Land (TPL) released their report, "The Economic Benefits and Fiscal Impacts of Parks and Open Space in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, New York. TPL, a national conservation organization found that parks and open space provide a $2.74 billion annual economic boon to local governments and taxpayers on Long Island. The report details how conservation of parks and open space generates income and increases property values, even as it reduces the costs associated with new government services, if the land were developed.

"Long Islanders have always appreciated their parks and preserves for their aesthetic, recreational and health benefits," said John McNally, Rauch Foundation. "Now, they can appreciate the economic benefits and cost savings represented by the land they love," he added.

The report says Long Islanders are willing to pay $1.48 billion annually to recreate in public parks, with non-residents spending $615 million in the local economy, producing $27.3 million in sales tax. 611,000 Long Islanders engage in physical activities in parks that generate measurable health benefits of $164 million a year. Proximity to parks and open space increases the value of residential properties (an aggregate one time increase of $5.8 billion). Increased tax revenues generate $58.2 million annually.

"There's an ancillary benefit to the conservation of open space and parks," said Jessica Sargeant of TPL. The annual cost of new residential development in Nassau and Suffolk is $33,000 per acre, while the cost of open space and parks in the two counties is just $3,750 per acre, more than eight times less costly than development. So, Long Islanders get "twice the economic benefit" from open space and parks, relative to more residential development."

The report was commissioned by the Long Island Community Foundation and the Rauch Foundation and was released at a 12:30 p.m. news conference, held at the Fire Island Visitors Center and Watch Hill Terminal in Patchogue. The Keynote Speaker was New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and dozens of Long Island leaders were on hand to await the findings. "The report highlights the broad base of support for open space conservation and the many benefits that open space provides. An earlier study by my office made similar findings. The Long Island Pine Barrens Protection Act is clear evidence that with sound planning, we do not have to choose between economic growth and protection of natural areas. In order to preserve our communities, we all must continue to foster smart growth and the conservation of open space", said Comptroller DiNapoli.

The report called attention to the thriving agriculture industry on Long Island, worth $288 million annually. This includes visits to wineries and to pick strawberries in the spring, pumpkins in the fall and shop for Christmas trees in the winter.

In addition, protecting the source of underground drinking water reduces the cost of water up to ten-fold and parks and open spaces capture precipitation or slow its run-off, reducing storm water management costs by $23.9 million annually. Trees and shrubs also remove air pollutants, reducing pollution control costs by $18.9 million a year.

Copies of the report can be downloaded at

About Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization dedicated to preserving land for people to enjoy as parks, open spaces and gardens. TPL was founded in 1972 and relies upon the support of individuals, foundations and corporations.

About Long Island Community Foundation
The Long Island Community Foundation (LICF) is a 31-year-old operating division of the New York Community Trust. The mission of the Long Island Community Foundation is to enhance the well being of the people and communities of Long Island. The Foundation does this by identifying current and future community needs, strengthening the capacity of the Island's not-for-profit sector to respond to community needs, and encouraging philanthropy and building a permanent endowment to address these needs. Visit LICF at

About the Rauch Foundation
The Rauch Foundation is a Long Island-based family foundation that supports innovative and effective programs designed to: Give disadvantaged children a better start in life; Improve the natural environment in Long Island and Maryland; and Build management skills and develop leadership in the nonprofit sector. The Foundation is also the convener and publisher of the Long Island Index. The Index provides data about the Long Island region in order to promote informed public debate and sound policy making. For more information, visit
Please save paper. Think before you print. © 2010 The Trust for Public Land.
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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Caught Stealing Signs

[And The Playoffs Have Yet To Begin!]

Same old story. Same sad, pathetic, juvenile, ooooooold story.

Stealing the lawn signs and placards of the opposition.

When will they ever learn? When will we???
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McCarthy Opponent Becker’s Thugs Steal 30 Lawn Signs from Dem Club Booths at Bellmore Street Fair

Becker campaign worker attempts to disrupt successful Dem campaigning efforts a failure as Becker is confronted on Bellmore street in front of hundreds of fair goers.

Democrats Demand a Public Apology

As reported by Robert Young, President, Bellmore-Merrick Democratic Club

It was a bright and sunny day as Democratic and Progressive activists operated a thirty foot display at the Bellmore Street Fair promoting candidates, politics and our local elected officials. Volunteers from Merrick, Bellmore, Oceanside, Baldwin, Levittown, and East Meadow distributed thousands of pieces of literature for our local candidates and promoted a common agenda. Even Chuck Schumer, Tom DiNapoli, and Eric Schneiderman campaigned at this event which draws over 100,000 people a year.

Then at about 3:00 PM, two unknown individuals approach the Bellmore- Merrick Dem Club and Yes We Can tables and walk off with two armfuls each of Carolyn McCarty lawn signs. This was witnessed by at least 10 people . It happened so fast that the booth volunteers failed to realize what was going on because they never suspected that people would actually be stealing lawn signs from a well staffed table in front of a huge crowd of fair goers. Within seconds, Dan Checkla (Mid-Nassau), Ellis Simon (Oceanside) and Bob Young (Bellmore-Merrick) gave chase and captured one of the thieves. After being quickly questioned and
relieved of the stolen merchandise, the Dem activists released him. Not knowing who he was, the plan was that this individual would go to the “bigger fish” .And so he did….. Right to Becker.

Reunited with his fellow gangsters and under the protection of his boss, this individual felt it was over and he was safe. At that point Bob Young confronted Becker and his people. Becker was informed about what happened and immediately challenged the Dem activist. Mr. Young went on to publicly embarrass McCarthy’s opponent, who is also a Nassau County Legislator in front of a large crowd of people. Immediately there after, a complaint was lodged with the President of the Bellmore Chamber of Commerce, who then took the activist to the Nassau County Police Booth to file a complaint. After some officers tried to minimize the complaint, Mr. Young asked if they would rather have the Congresswomen call the precinct directly. The complaint was then quickly taken.

While we are familiar with similar events in the past, it is quite shocking that an elected official running for the United States Congress would allow and possibly encourage this behavior from his supporters. The Bellmore-Merrick Democratic Club publicly calls on Mr. Becker to publicly apologize for his campaign worker’s illegal activities and assure the voters of his district that he will discipline those involved and remove them from his campaign. While Mr. Becker yelled about free speech on Bedford Ave when asked by Bellmore Street Fair organizers to not carry posters on sticks (a public safety issue), we find it ironic that his campaign workers would deny the right of free speech to others.

Please contact the Becker Campaign and demand a public apology:

Becker for Congress Headquarters 173 Earle Avenue Lynbrook, NY 11563 HQ Phone Number: 516-698-8890

Campaign Manager: Hilary Becker

Press Secretary: Tim Homa

Volunteer Information & General Inquiry: Beth Sutton 916-949-5978

Mailing Address: Becker for Congress P.O. Box 535 Merrick, NY 11566-0535

Campaign Voicemail: 516-887-8050

Email Addresses General Inquiries:

Press Inquiries:
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Enemies of the People

The "How'm I Doing" Kid Is Making A List -- Or Two

And here you thought that only tricky Dick Nixon kept an Enemies List.

No sir. Former NYC Mayor and perennial gadfly, Ed Koch, has an Enemies List -- and a Heroes List, as well.

The Lists are all based on who signed -- and who did not sign -- Ed's "pledge" at NY Uprising, a grassroots (and whoever may be smoking it) campaign to "target the enemies of reform."

Yes, it may be difficult to tell the heroes from the enemies -- and based solely on the signing of a pledge to "reform" Albany. [Who absconded with the pen filled with disappearing ink? Pedro Espada?] After all, yesterday's "heroes" are today's legislators. And where has that left us here in New York?

According to Ed, Long Island has its share of heroes, and more than a few Long Island enemies.

Interestingly, Gubernatorial candidates Andrew Cuomo and Carl Paladino both make the Koch Heroes List, as do the respective major party candidates for Attorney General and State Comptroller.

My, my. How does one decide between heroes? And if politics makes strange bedfellows, what do pledges, heroes' lists, and enemies' lists make? Good press, we suppose. . .

Maybe it's not so much about "enemies" when it comes to cleaning up Albany, but rather, as former United States Senator Alphonse D'Amato once alluded to vis-a-vis cleaning out Hempstead Town hall, "enemas." [As in, "It would take an enema to clean that place out!"]

And to think, Mr. D'Amato didn't need either a pledge or a list to figure that one out!
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"I am not politically correct, and I don't want to be." GOP Gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino

Why include the word "politically" in that statement, Carl? ;~)
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Brooks Floats

Assembly Candidate Hopes To Stem The Tide In Albany

Well, the election season is officially upon us, with just one month to go before the big day.

Every seat in the New York State Legislature is up for grabs, including that of the 19th Assembly District, now occupied by veteran Assemblymember David McDonough.

Here's a press release from Democratic candidate John Brooks, who is hoping to wrench the 19th AD from the hands of the GOP.

An upstream battle for Brooks? Perhaps.

We welcome ALL candidates for public office, regardless of party affiliation, to submit releases and statements on policy positions -- as well as rebuttals to that which is posted -- for publication on The Community Alliance blog.

We Report. YOU Decide! [Gee. That has a familiar ring to it. Hmmm...]

Write us at Follow us at

Above all, on Tuesday, November 2nd, VOTE! And may the best candidates win. . .
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John Brooks - Assembly Candidate for the 19th AD Proposes Real Solutions

Brooks states some of his campaign issues

Seaford, NY - John Brooks is a New York State Assembly Candidate who is campaigning day and night to represent the people of the 19th Assembly District. Brooks helped Nassau County save millions of dollars when he chaired a health insurance task force. Candidate Brooks, recently announced some of his campaigns core issues.

“I am seeking to become an Assembly Member who will represent the people and not a special interest or a political party,” said Brooks. “I am a candidate with real solutions, and a suburban resident who has had enough with high taxes. When elected I will fight to make Albany work for the people,” said Brooks.

Fix the dysfunction in Albany:

It is no secret that our State Capitol is a mess. I am not going to point fingers at a person, but rather the entire system. Together, we can fix Albany! I propose, creating term limits for all State Senators, Assembly Members, and state officials. We need to cap state spending; this year’s increase of 7% is unacceptable. I propose opening the state budget process to allow more transparency and oversight. I propose ending all unfounded state mandates. I propose increased transparency on the giving and distribution of member items.

Fight the MTA TAX & LI Bus Cuts:

The MTA tax is a job’s killer, and the LI bus cuts hurt all Long Islanders. We can no longer allow the MTA to abuse Long Islanders. I am in support of reforming and/or eliminating the current MTA. When elected to the Assembly, I will fight to repeal the MTA tax. When elected I will work towards developing a state master transportation plan.

Protect Suburbia:

Long Island is my home, and has been my families’ home for centuries. My lineage (Verity and Southard) dates back to the early 1600’s. I understand suburbia, and the needs of the suburban family. As a Democrat, I would be apart of the majority in the State Assembly, and therefore would caucus with other Democrats in conference. This would allow me to bring attention to suburban needs. As a Long Islander, I will work with members from other suburban regions regardless of political affiliation and form a suburban committee. This committee would work towards solving problems and creating solutions for the suburban family and individual. In addition I will propose and pass legislation to address the broken assessment problem.

Create jobs with a solar panel school program:

Long Island needs jobs. To many talented people have left Long Island for greener pastures. We can stop the exodus, but only if there is work on Long Island. Solar technology is a solution. I am proposing we install solar roofs on all of the schools here on Long Island. We have a company that has developed a new solar panel that can serve as the roof of a school. If we can get a green light on this program they will establish their world headquarters right here on Long Island and hire 150 employees to manufacture these panels. This program will allow our school buildings to produce most of the electric they need to run the building, reducing energy costs, which will reduce your taxes. Additional jobs will be created for people to install these new roofs. Its time we start to get smart with the way taxpayer’s money is spent. This program will create jobs, reduce costs and reduce taxes. Because these new panels will be produced in large volume they will be produce for less and make home solar panel more affordable as well.

“We have seen New York go from the Empire State to the Vampire State as Albany sucks every penny, nickel and dime from our pockets by a tax or a fee. Albany has to learn to live within its means and those who go to Albany need to represent your needs not those of a political party or a special interest group.”

“New York is the greatest state in the union, and its best days are ahead of us and not behind.” “I want to represent the 19th Assembly District, and I am asking every registered voter for their vote.” “I am not concerned with party, only people,” Brooks concluded.

John Brooks* is the Democratic Candidate for the 19th Assembly District. The District includes Seaford, Wantagh, Bellmore, Merrick, and parts of Freeport, Baldwin, Levittown, East Meadow, North Merrick and North Bellmore. John Brooks a past Chief and active member of the Seaford Fire Department, the Seaford Historical Society, a former member of the Seaford Board of Education, a veteran of the U.S Army, and was the First Director of Risk Management for Nassau County. He resides in Seaford and has one son.

To learn more about John Brooks, email the campaign at
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*John Brooks was also the 11th Governor of Massachusetts, 1816-1823. Talk about longevity! ;~)
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The publication of this material is for informational purposes only, and should not be considered as either a verification of content or an endorsement of the candidate.


Saturday, October 02, 2010

The Best of Long Island

The Community Alliance Garners Best of Long Island Nomination

Finally. Recognition. It was only a matter of time. 1/2 LOL

The Community Alliance, Long Island's premier quality of life watchdog group (or was that Pit Bull? Hush Puppy?) has been nominated for Best Long Island Based Website in the coveted Long Island Press Best of Long Island contest.

Voting for the best of the best is underway at Find Best Long Island Based Website under Shopping and Services. [Don't ask. That's where we ended up. Buy one. Pay for six.]

Vote early and vote often (you actually can vote often -- once every day), and be sure to vote for The Community Alliance blog!

Thanks for reading, and thank you for your support.
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Friday, October 01, 2010

Where's The Tax Revolt?

From Tea Party To Tax Revolt, Labels Rarely Impact Bottom Line

With many elected officials and candidates for office running as "reformers", its refreshing to see that the Tax Revolt Party, started right here in Nassau County, is garnering its share of candidates to run under its banner.

Ah, tax revolt. Much better than simply dumping tea into Hempstead Harbor. Cutting expenses. Slashing government spending. Passing along those savings to John Q. Public by way of lower taxes.

So, just where is this tax revolt?

Ed Mangano, County Executive, presumably by reason of the misguided votes counted on the Tax Revolt line, is chief cook and bottle washer in Nassau, as well as at the Tax Revolt Party. And we support him in his revolutionary zeal (if one could call simply mouthing the words "tax revolt" as zeal). But seriously, Ed, where is the tax revolt?

County taxes account for roughly 18% of the total property tax bill. The balance (and a hefty one it is) -- Town and Special District (the Town by any other name) taxes: 20%; Library Taxes: 5%; School taxes (are you sitting down?): 57%. [Your mileage, not to mention tax rates, may vary.]

Where's the tax revolt?

Even if Mr. Mangano holds the line on County property taxes [and by the way, keeping the status quo is not, by any definition, a revolt], neither he nor the Tax Revolt Party he leads has one iota of control over Town taxes (or, apparently, anything else that goes on in the Town, at least Hempstead Town), and certainly, no control over the still skyrocketing School District taxes.

Where are the Tax Revolt candidates for School Board?

Even assuming, arguendo, that the Tax Revolt candidates (Republicans all, not that it matters much) are sent to Albany -- or returned, being that the Tax Revolt candidates from Long Island include incumbents and insiders -- what will change?

Ed Koch's Heroes of Reform include elected officials who have held office for a generation or more. Who doesn't want to be a hero, after all? And everyone, even the fixtures of Albany, claims to be a reformer these days.

The State Senate has demonstrated that, whether Democrats or GOPers hold the reins, nothing happens. Power plays. Coups. Gaveling in and gaveling out. The only productivity, if you could call it that, being the invocation.

The Assembly, marching lock-step under Sheldon Silver (neither hero of reform nor tax revolutionary be he), is held hostage by the whims of a single member, elected only by the voters of one Manhattan Assembly District?

Where's the reform? Where's the tax revolt?

Elect every so-called reformer and every Sarah Palin-loving Tea Party activist/Tax Revolt Party-endorsed candidate, and, dollars to donuts (and, friends, that's what donuts will cost), come the next election, the bottom line on your property tax bill will have gone nowhere -- but up.

We don't much like labels here at The Community Alliance. Indeed, we despise the labeling of anyone as "too liberal", "too conservative," or "too anything." It's a non-starter. The incumbents have their records to run on, most of which run counter to the labels they covet and seek cover under. The challengers, well, they make promises, but do any of us hold them to it?  As for the labels? We repeat, where's the reform? And where the heck is the tax revolt?

The November election is but a month and a few days away. Throw the bums out? Put the reformers in (even those whom we could count among the bums we would so readily throw out)? Out with the old, in with the new? Or was that in with the old?

Maybe the indifferent and the apathetic -- the folks we blame for that which we can't (or won't) hold Albany or Washington accountable  -- have the right idea when they fail to show at the polls. After all, take a look at the candidates being offered up for our consideration. Then ask, what have any of them really changed (underwear aside)?

Where's the reform? Where is the Tea Party? And where in the name of all the tea in Boston harbor, and the certainty of death and taxes, other than on lawn signs and placards plastered across fences that cordon off abandoned brownfields, is the tax revolt?