Friday, August 20, 2010

PARCnassau Enters Blogosphere

Glad To See PARCnassau Still Pounding Away At County's Neglect Of Our Parks

Yes, our friends at PARCnassau, a Nassau County (Long Island) park advocacy group, is now blogging. Visit (and bookmark) the blog at

Kudos to Bruce Piel, PARCnassau Chairman, not only for his foray into blogdom, but moreover, on keeping the heat on county government to protect and preserve the people's parks.

Here's the latest post from PARCnassau. One question, though. If privatizing public parks is bad, what's the gripe with banishing private baseball leagues, or at least charging private leagues more for park permits? Keep the parks public, right? We get the distinction, Bruce. Just thought we'd ask...

Nassau Parks become the playground bully

On June 21st, PARCnassau sent out an update titled Play Ball 2011 (see PARCnassau Blog ) citing our concerns that the Nassau County Department of Park & Recreation was embarking on a "progrom" to drive private ball leagues from county parks. Subsequent events are showing that is exactly what is happening.

First the county refused to allow private leagues to register for ball fields for their fall schedules, snowflake leagues this year and spring and summer leagues in 2011. Without knowing whether or not they have fields prevents the private leagues from registering players, effectively shutting them down. Two excuses were being given. First, that the county didn't know which fields they needed for their own (new) leagues and secondly they were rehabilitating the fields.Both excuses do not hold water. First they should only hold a number of fields that they could reasonable use in this start up program and secondly they are only rehab-ing 3 fields at Eisenhower leaving more than enough fields county wide to accomodate the private leagues.

Further, the Parks department is unilaterally raising the permit fees by 50% to 66% per hour for the private leagues. This is being done without legislative approval as required by law. The "scam" is they are calling the permitting of private leagues part of a "pilot program" and not subject to legislative approval.This is not true and shows a decided lack of respect for our county legislature. Meanwhile the new fees can destroy the private leagues and must be reversed.

Two of the larger private leagues were "lured" into joining the county program by hiring the league presidents as highly paid directors working for Parks. One such individual surrendered his teams that played on county fields but kept those that used Town of Oyster Bay fields. Best of all worlds?

Another wrinkle is any player who signs up for the county run leagues must pay 20% of the sign up fees to the county treasurer and 80% of the fees to Friends of Nassau County Recreation. Sound like a slush fund for Parks? We think so. This Friends group was founded in 1982 by civic minded individuals to raise money through donations from private companies and individuals to fund recreation programs that the county could not afford. It fell into disuse in the '90s and the parks department took it "in house". Monies collected by Friends of Nassau County Recreation are not subject to legislative or other government oversight. This is unacceptable! We believe that all money paid to the county should go to the County Treasurer for full accountability.

Private leagues and their players are livid and justifiably so. They are now speaking out against this unfair and unjustified dispossession from county ball fields.

Stay tuned, more to come.

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

Everybody Wants To Get Into The Act

Hurricane Recovery Act Proposed By Candidate for NYS Assembly

If only New York had a "How Are We Going To Pay For It Act!"  Perhaps former NYC Mayor Ed Koch could enlist a few of his newly-converted "reformers" (SEE to come up with some novel ideas.

Meanwhile, it looks like more of the same in terms of promises of deductions, tax breaks, and the old political sleight of hand.

This one, we're afraid, while sounding nice on paper (everyone wants a tax deduction, right?) is little more than whistling in the wind. The big problem here, in looking to provide a "funding source" to cover windstorm deductibles, is that New York State has no availavble source of funds. Okay. There is one such source. YOU! Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer...

Long Island Faces Major Economic Concerns with Hurricane Deductibles
Assembly Candidate John Brooks proposes the ‘Hurricane Recovery Act’

Seaford, NY - Assembly Candidate John Brooks is calling for state action to help address the economic impact the Hurricane and Windstorm Deductibles that have been placed on homeowner’s insurance policies on Long Island.

The Hurricane/windstorm deductibles were first introduced a number of years ago as a means of reducing some of the loss exposures insurance companies would face in the event a major storm would make landfall in the region. When first introduced the deductibles were generally 2% of the dwelling coverage amount. In recent years, while no storms have made there way to our region, the insurance industry has taken steps to increase the amount of the deductible and in some cases expand when the deductible will be applied. Today on average the deductible is 5% of the dwelling coverage amount, which for a home insured for $500,000 would translate into a $25,000 deductible.

“When we take into consideration the wide spread damage the Long Island would face should a major storm make land fall in our area and consider the fact that in many cases the damage to these homes will fall below the deductible amount meaning the homeowner will have no coverage, we are looking at a major economic problem for the region,” said Brooks. “This problem will be even more significant for Long Island seniors who may be on a fixed incomes and are not generally in a position to come up with $20,000 or more in cash at the drop of a hat.”

Brooks is proposing the passage of the “Hurricane Recovery Act” which will provide a funding source to cover the windstorm deductible amount and recovery companies that would respond to the damaged homes and take steps to protect the homes from any further damage.

· The Hurricane Recovery Act would seek financial institutions that will to commit to providing the needed funding to cover the amount of the Hurricane or Windstorm deductible or the amount of damage that was not covered do to the deductible in the form an emergency home equity loan. In this way the homeowner’s policy has effectively eliminated the windstorm or hurricane deductible.

· The Plan would also include the use of emergency response companies that would go to the damaged location and take immediate steps to mitigate the current damages and protect the home from any additional damage.

“It is very possible the participation in such a program would result in a discount on the individual’s homeowner’s policy because the program would serve to reduce and control loss expense for the insurance company." Brooks added, “The key with the Hurricane Recovery Act is the immediate availability of these funds to have the repairs made timely and before additional damage would be done. We have been very fortunate in recent years that we have not had to deal with a major hurricane or coastal storm. Experts have indicated that it is only a matter of time before we are faced with a storm. This is as only the first step in addressing the issue of hurricanes and insurance availability, when I get to Albany I will work with the insurance industry and other experts to take needed steps to improve the overall availability of insurance here on Long Island.” 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 is a member of Seaford Fire Department and the Seaford Historical Society a former member of the Seaford Board of Education and was the First Director of Risk Management for Nassau County. He resides in Seaford and is the father to one son.