Suozzi on The FAN
This morning, Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi was on Boomer Esiason's radio show discussing the Lighthouse Project (listen here). I am not an active listener of the FAN, but if Boomer conducts his show in the same way he conducted this interview, I may have to become one. Boomer came off as informed on the subject, asking important, thought-provoking questions that showed both his level of preparedness and his interest in seeing this project completed as a concerned resident of Nassau County.
The County Executive echoed Charles Wang's call for certainty by the next hockey season, though he also seemed to loosen the definition of "certainty." I was told by sources within the Lighthouse that "certainty" meant "approval of the re-zoning application," but Mr. Suozzi seems to have left that door slightly ajar:
"We want to find out after all this time whether the Town of Hempstead is going to approve it or not." - Tom Suozzi (Source: Interview)
Could this mean that assurances of approval will be enough? Stay tuned...
I was glad to hear Mr. Suozzi mention the need for and benefit of the environmental review procedures. This process is state law, and it has been the largest consumer of time so far in the Lighthouse process. All supporters need to understand there is nothing the Town or County can do to circumvent state law, they can merely follow through on promises to fast-track the necessary steps.
Mr. Suozzi revealed he had meetings with the Lighthouse today to set a schedule for approvals running through the end of the year, and he touched briefly on Kate Murray as well. While refusing to criticize her directly, the County Executive sounded frustrated that Kate Murray has been so unwilling to directly discuss the Project with him, saying that she "does not discuss individual projects." This leads directly into our next component...
Kate Murray Responds
In a piece just posted on Newsday's web site (available here), Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray continued her baffling reticence on all things Lighthouse.
If Tom Suozzi's statements are accurate, Kate Murray's reluctance to speak with him about the Lighthouse is alarming. She supposedly does not speak about individual projects, but Mr. Suozzi is not a developer, and this is not my neighbor's new pool or the County Legislature's new chambers. This is the biggest building project since Levittown, and executing it requires commitments and communication from all involved parties.
Tom Suozzi mentioned in his WFAN interview that he invited Kate Murray to today's scheduling meeting with the Lighthouse, and the Supervisor was not willing to show up. Ms. Murray responded to this statement, and proved she will almost certainly not be in attendance at the meeting next Thursday. She told Newsday that she believed the ongoing review processes presented a conflict of interest, using this legal analogy:
"It would be like the judge in a criminal trial having lunch with the prosecutor and not inviting the defense attorney," she said, adding that her staff and the developers' staff have met repeatedly. (From the Newsday story linked above)
This quote may be the most confusing that has come from the Town of Hempstead so far. The meeting is not a time to say Yea or Nay to the Lighthouse; it is a public information session that is billed as a chance for voters to become informed and ask questions of politicians. The trial analogy especially confuses me, since the following parties are confirmed for the meeting:
- Nassau County Officials
- Lighthouse Principals
Supervisor, as I posted below, it is time for you to own your silence and face the voters who elected you. Statements like these are causing your Lighthouse problems, and they could very well be jeopardizing your political career. Stop selling this ridiculous meme, because nobody is buying it.
(Blogger's Note: I remain optimistic this project will be built when all is said and done, but that did not guarantee smooth sailing)
As promised, I followed up with the Nassau County Republican Party today. I called and spoke to a very nice woman, telling her I was interested in learning the Party's official position on the Lighthouse Project. I left a message for an official who could speak on the issue to call me back, and I will report details when I receive them. However, she did suggest I call Kate Murray's office and said, on the topic of an official position, "I don't know if we have one." If that ends up being the case, it is the most intriguing answer of them all.
I will pass along the official response from the Republican Party when I receive it.
Reminder: GO TO MEETING
I hate to sound like a broken record on this subject, but these recent events underscore the importance of voters attending the public information session next Thursday (3/26) at 7PM at the Long Island Marriott. The elected officials must see the true fervor and passion that the Lighthouse engenders from those who care deeply about the future of our Island.
I am also asking readers to begin a friendly campaign. Please, if you can, click on the link to the left entitled "Town of Hempstead Contact Page." Give the Town of Hempstead a call, identify yourself, and say in a clear but non-threatening way that you believe Kate Murray should appear before voters and share her thoughts on the Lighthouse Project.
Please, if you come, do not wear Islanders gear of any kind, because it is not in our best interests to further a negative stereotype. We need to make clear that this is for Long Islanders, not the Islanders.
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