I am writing to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to everyone who helped make this year’s soldier collection drive a great success. While I am saddened by the fact that such a drive is necessary, I believe it is critical that we do our part to boost the morale of our soldiers. This program serves as an important reminder that the daily sacrifices made by our uniformed service personnel are not taken for granted.
On behalf of the South Farmingdale Water District, I felt it was important to issue a clarification and response to recent reports about dramatic differences in water costs in adjacent communities.
South Farmingdale Water District is a public utility, run by local commissioners. The district runs a fiscally sound operation and is held accountable to the community it serves. Because it is a local government, non-profit entity, there is no profit motive. Rates are set by actual operational expenses.
It is troubling to imagine that Long Islanders could lose some of the most family-friendly park venues in this state and that a patriotic event, like the Jones Beach July 4th fireworks celebration, could be discontinued. This, while Governor Paterson proposes denying Long Island school districts, public colleges, health facilities and hospitals their fair share of the state budget. These and many other fiscal problems are a result of wasteful and unnecessary state spending, which is not the fault of the Parks Department. In fact, our parks and recreational facilities are proven economic engines, generating more financial benefit to our communities than they cost the state.
Our new County Executive Ed Mangano appointed former Judge Carnell Foskey as the new parks commissioner but is still keeping the old parks commissioner as deputy commissioner and they will each earn the same $130,625 a year salary.
The show must go on! There is talk that the Jones Beach 4th of July fireworks show will be canceled due to budget cuts.
I fear that people will take matters into their own, untrained, sometimes drunk hands! The hospital ERs are already overcrowded on that day and night. With thousands more thinking they can put on their own show, the ERs will not be able to handle this.
Has anyone ever wondered why Nassau County Legislators have never received a pay increase? There was one legislator that had always stood in the way. He balked his own party twice. He was punished for this but Dave Mejias believed that it wasn’t right to increase his own salary when so many families in Nassau County were suffering. That was then. Now we have a county legislator who, after being on the job for only a few days, blindly supported the party bosses and voted for pay increases. We assume that he knows the dire state of our economy, yet Joe Belesi’s first act in office was to line the pockets of his fellow Republicans. Have buyer’s remorse? You bet. Joe Belesi is going to end up costing us.
Thomas J. Lavan
Albany is playing games again, and it looks like those of us who enjoy our State Parks might be the losers!
The governor’s 2010-2011 budget calls for a 20 percent cut in the amount allotted for state parks. What that means is that programs are going to be cut, and many state parks – including Heckscher, Valley Stream, Hempstead Lake and others here on Long Island – may be closed, and dramatic cuts in hours and available services will be made at Connetquot and even at Jones Beach and Bethpage. Both the environmental programs and recreational programs such as the State Parks Summer Run Series and State Parks Winter Run Series are apparently on the chopping block.
Compounding the problem is that none of the bureaucrats in the governor’s office seem to be willing to give the public any firm official word as to what is planned.
Over the past two years, the state parks system has lost more than 850 permanent and seasonal staff and equipment, maintenance and other operational areas have suffered equivalently. Whatever “fat” was in the operating budget has long since disappeared, and what’s being discussed now will seriously impact the heart and soul of our parks.
The state is leaving aside the direct and immediate interest of Long Island runners and walkers in preserving and maintaining our beleaguered state parks system. I understand that more than $400 million in economic activity and nearly 4,000 jobs in the private sector are tied into the state parks programs on Long Island alone and our state parks generate $5 for the local economy for every $1 invested in them. In short, making drastic cuts in the state parks budget is bad economics as well as bad politics.
It is very important that each one of us contact our representatives in the New York State Senate and New York State Assembly. Regardless of what the governor has proposed, no cuts can be made unless these legislators agree.
If you care about state parks on Long Island, if you care about environmental and recreational programs, please contact your state assembly member and your state senator, and let them know in very strong terms that the proposed cuts to state parks are not acceptable and that your vote in November will be determined by their vote on the proposed cut to the state parks budget. Tell them that no state budget is acceptable that will result in parks being closed or the state parks environmental or recreational programs being eliminated. The squeaky wheel very much gets the grease and it’s up to all of us to become one very big and very squeaky wheel!
If you don’t know who your state assembly member or state senator is and if you don’t know how to contact them, just go to assembly.state.ny.us/mem/ and nysenate.gov to find out. Time is short and the situation has never been this dire.
See you on the roads, the trails, the track, and (maybe) at the state parks!
Mike Polansky, President,
Greater Long Island Running Club
Dear friends and neighbors,
I wanted to update all our Farmingdale train commuters on some new issues we face now that we have competition and choice when choosing a cab ride. Most recently we had more cabs at the train station than we had riders. People who wanted to drop off or pick up passengers in front of the station were not able to do so because of the cab congestion.
New York State Senator Kemp Hannon joined Republican Leader Dean G. Skelos and other members of the Senate Republican Conference to announce a major new jobs initiative designed to improve New York’s business climate, reduce taxes and create thousands of new jobs for workers across the state.
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