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  • Occupy Wall Street: What Just Happened?

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UPDATE: Governor Paterson Vetoes Edgewood Bill

Yesterday, Governor David Paterson (DEMOCRAT) vetoed bill S6728a/A9870a (the transfer of Pilgrim land to the Edgewood Preserve), thus caving in to special interests and ignoring a state law that says Pilgrim land no longer needed by the hospital must be incorporated into the Edgewood Preserve.

Among other things, the transfer of this land would have expanded the PROTECTED groundwater area in Western Suffolk, ensuring the sustainability of clean drinking water for Long Islanders.  Seems pretty important to us.

The bill passed the Senate 48-7 and the DEMOCRAT-controlled Assembly 143-0. We had the score wrong — it was even more astonishing than we had reported (100-0).  So, the Governor not only ignored the will of his own lawmakers, he ignored the will of the majority of Long Islanders, which is extremely disheartening.

There are some who lobbied the Governor to veto the bill.  We feel it is our responsibility, as elections approach, to inform you of those who pushed hard for a veto, who turned their backs on the will of the people, who killed the democratic process.  Sadly, it was DEMOCRATS.  As you go to the polls this year or as you try to decide who to donate money to, please keep this list handy.

1.  Congressman Jerrold Nadler – DEMOCRAT — represents the Upper West Side of Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn.  Lobbied hard for a veto.  Dangled federal funds for road improvements that he cannot promise, IF the intermodal is built at THIS site, even though smaller intermodals at more suitable sites make the most sense fiscally, environmentally and otherwise.

2.  Congressman Steve Israel – DEMOCRAT — represents Western Suffolk County, including Dix Hills, where he lives.  Although we sought his support, he remained “neutral”.  We interpret that as supporting a veto.  Steve Israel refused to meet with Friends of the Edgewood Preserve and tried to keep us out of a recent meeting with Congressman Nadler, the NYSDOT and others.  Denis Byrne, Friends president, attended anyway.  Steve Israel not only turned his back on his constituents, he turned his back on his own neighbors.  How sad that Steve Israel has not lived up to the recent honor bestowed on him: “Environmentalist of the Year”.

3.  County Executive Steve Levy — DEMOCRAT — supposedly represents all of Suffolk County but we have been saying for some time now that Steve Levy does not care about Western Suffolk County.  He lobbied hard for a veto of this bill, even though he often tried to make it appear as if he stood with other local fellow DEMOCRATS, who supported the bill.  We always knew he did not support the bill.  He finally showed his true colors.  He does not care about the environment (yet another politician who got an award for being an environmentalist) and he certainly does NOT CARE ABOUT BRENTWOOD.  I hope the Brentwood community is paying attention.

4.  Town of Islip — Supervisor Phil Nolan – DEMOCRAT —  remained silent throughout this entire effort and ignored letters sent to him by Friends of Edgewood.  We take that as support for a veto.  Town of Islip planner Gene Murphy lobbied for a veto.

5.  Environmental Defense Fund — based in Manhattan and Washington, D.C. They do not represent Long Islanders nor do they fully appreciate or understand the problems facing Western Suffolk County.  Please do not support this organization as they lobbied hard for a veto.

6.  New York League of Conservation Voters — based in Manhattan. They do not represent Long Islanders and are completely ignorant to local concerns.  They not only lobbied hard for a veto, they have published their policy agenda which urges support for the Brentwood site to be used not only for an intermodal but also for a garbage waste transfer station.  Please do not support this organization.

These are the individuals and groups that the Governor chose to listen to.  Too bad. Although tired and saddened by these developments, Friends of the Edgewood Preserve will persevere.

Your involvement in this grassroots effort is commendable.  You should be proud.  We are sorry that your voice was ignored by those who are supposed to represent you and us, but we intend to keep on “hollering”. Stay tuned.

There are those who did do the right thing and fought hard for passage of the bill:
Senator Owen Johnson, Senator John Flanagan, Senator Caesar Trunzo, Assemblyman Phil Ramos, Assemblyman Andrew Raia, Assemblyman Steven Englebright, Assemblyman James Conte.   ALL of the Senators and Assembly members who voted for the bill (a total of 191 NYS lawmakers), which includes ALL Long Island State Senators and Assembly members. If you have a moment, please thank these individuals for doing the right thing.(The seven Senators who voted against the bill represent Brooklyn, Queens, and upper Manhattan.)

Some local politicians who supported our efforts along the way and who stuck with us:  Legislator Steven Stern, Legislator Louis D’Amaro, Legislator Ricardo Montano, Town of Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone, Town of Huntington Councilwoman Susan Berland.

Finally, please support these organizations.  Their support (and many others) got us this far.
Natural Resources Defense Council
Citizens Campaign for the Environment
Pine Barrens Society
Sierra Club
Parks and Trails NY
Great South Bay Audubon Society
Seatuck Environmental Association
Volunteers for Wildlife
Friends of the Massapequa Preserve
American Littoral Society
Long Island Botanical Society
Concerned Long Island Mountain Bicyclists

To all those who attended rallies, sent letters, e-mails and made phone calls…..thank you.

Patricia Burkhart
Friends of the Edgewood Preserve
P.O. Box 162
Deer Park, NY  11729

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