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From the desk of Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton: August 23, 2012

Attention To Our Area

Crescent Beach

As I have said before, with 68 miles of Nassau County sewer system in Glen Cove, the two miles left off the system have now cost us one of our only beaches for four consecutive summers.

This May, and again during the summer, I contacted County Executive Mangano to see how we could work together and bring the Crescent Beach neighborhoods into the county system.

To have a couple of faulty cesspools deprive almost 30,000 residents of one of three beaches seems like a waste. Further, conservation professionals have informed me that letting the polluted stream sit there without any remediation allows harmful contamination into the ground. I am told this can potentially pose multiple negative effects to public health and the environment.

While my office has communicated my proposal to the county executive’s administration, there has been no reply. Thankfully, Congressman Steve Israel has responded very enthusiastically. He has met with me on the issue and helped set up a meeting with New York State’s Environmental Facilities Corporation recently, during which we made great strides in exploring potential funding for this project. Mayor Suozzi joined the meeting. I was confident after discussing the issue with experts that possibilities are out there. We just need to give this the right attention. I will not give up until this beautiful beach is opened to bathing and shellfishing.

West Shore Road

My office staff and I did an on-site review of West Shore Road again this week, joined by senior staff from my legislative caucus who have a long background both on the planning process for the county’s restoration project and on the needs of the affected communities.

First, I need to state that the condition of the road constitutes a crisis. Repair plans must proceed immediately.

The legislature’s presiding officer, Peter Schmitt, unfortunately, has effectively put a halt to repairs. He stated that he believes Nassau County needs to resolve certain legal questions before the legislature can approve contracts for the project to move forward. He later stated that West Shore Road should be closed if it is in dangerous condition.

As the end of August approaches, a full month has now gone by since the presiding officer voiced his issue and stalled repairs. My 18th LD office and the legal counsel for my legislative caucus have been unable to get information from Nassau County Attorney Ciampoli or the presiding officer on the status of any legal question. Neither has responded to ongoing requests for meetings and I fear that these repair plans are simply in limbo on their end. I have reached out to local village officials in the area to explain this and encourage them (and their residents) to contact Presiding Officer Schmitt if they are concerned.

I believe anyone who cares about our area knows it is not a good idea to close West Shore Road, as Presiding Officer Schmitt suggests, instead of urgently giving this issue our attention.

On a positive note, while I was reviewing the road last week, the main goal was to brainstorm on safety measures that could be taken for local cyclists. Some people are concerned that county plans to repair two miles of the road should keep bike safety in mind. I am glad there are some possible ways to do this. I have been researching this, meeting with cyclists and discussing the issue with various experts.