New York State Government

State and local officials rally outside the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles office in Port Jefferson Station on Tuesday, Aug. 22. From left, New York State Sen. Anthony Palumbo, state Assemblyman Ed Flood, Town of Brookhaven Deputy Supervisor Dan Panico, Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich and Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner. Photos by Raymond Janis

State and local officials are letting out a collective uproar over the planned closure of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Port Jefferson Station branch later this week.

The Port Jeff Station office serves most of northern Brookhaven and parts of Smithtown. The three nearest alternatives are DMV offices in Medford, Hauppauge or Riverhead.

With foot traffic constantly moving in and out of the DMV on Tuesday morning, Aug. 22, New York State legislators joined Brookhaven Town Board members for a press conference calling upon Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) to intervene.

Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine (R), who is running for Suffolk County executive against business leader Dave Calone (D), noted that while Suffolk is the fourth largest county by population in New York State, it tops the list in registered licensed drivers and registered vehicles.

“Closing this DMV office, which is used by so many people, is not the way to go,” he said.

New York State Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) highlighted the Town of Brookhaven’s considerable population, noting that the town has more residents than Miami, Florida.

“Could you imagine ignoring the residents of Miami when it comes to licensing drivers?” he asked. “Closing this DMV, unfortunately, is quite reckless, and I don’t think we’re really thinking about the citizens and the services they need.”

The state senator added that closing the Port Jefferson Station DMV would put greater strain on existing DMV locations in Suffolk County.

New York State Assemblyman Ed Flood (R-Port Jefferson) referred to the announced closure as a “disservice to the residents of this area.”

“It’s not in any way good government to close buildings or close facilities that are necessary,” the assemblyman said. “Right now, we have a need to expand our DMV operations instead of contract.”

Brookhaven Deputy Supervisor Dan Panico (R-Manorville), who is running for town supervisor against SUNY Old Westbury adjunct professor Lillian Clayman (D), attended Tuesday’s press event, condemning New York as “a state where people pay more and get less.”

“The overall theme and what we’re pointing out — what I’m pointing out — is that people on Long Island, specifically in Suffolk County and Brookhaven Town, are continually shortchanged by the State of New York,” he said.

Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook), whose 1st District includes the hamlets and villages across northwestern Brookhaven, echoed Panico’s sentiments. He referred to the conflict over limited state resources as a “suburban versus urban dynamic,” with suburban areas often neglected.

“The closure of this office is going to add at a minimum 40 minutes of round-trip driving for our residents who use it,” he indicated. “This is something that impacts all our residents.”

Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point), whose 2nd District encompasses the northeastern reaches of the township, said existing employees at the Port Jeff Station location do not wish to relocate.

She also suggested that the closure contradicts the spirit of Hochul’s environmental agenda.

“Our governor has a very lofty environmental initiative,” Bonner stated. “Putting people in cars for longer on our state roads — that are not well maintained — and emitting fossil fuels doesn’t go along with her environmental initiative.”

Officials encouraged residents to weigh in on the DMV closure through an online petition created by the town. Scan the QR code to fill out the survey.

The New York State Capitol building, located in Albany. Photo by formulanone from Wikimedia Commons

Limited liability companies, or LLCs, in New York state are staring down new public disclosure requirements.

The proposed LLC Transparency Act “aims to modernize disclosure laws for” LLCs. Along with public disclosure of beneficial owners, the bill would create a public database that includes the names of beneficial owners of NYS LLCs.

Under the “justification” section, the bill states, “anonymous corporate ownership has proliferated since the 1990s,” presenting “numerous problems.” Among these, the legislation cites tax evasion, money laundering, organized crime and drug trafficking, among other social ills, as byproducts of the existing voluntary disclosure scheme.

The bill passed in the state Assembly and Senate earlier this year, and is awaiting Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) signature. It would take effect one year after the governor signs it.

Several members of the Long Island delegation, including state Assemblyman Ed Flood (R-Port Jefferson) and Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio (R-Riverhead), voted down the measure. 

In separate interviews with the two state legislators, they outlined their opposition.


Giglio stated that her objections to the bill were grounded in privacy concerns for the LLC proprietors.

“As an owner of an LLC, I don’t think that your home address should be public, that your private information should be public,” she said.

Addressing the concerns outlined within the legislation, Giglio added that the state government maintains records on the personal information of LLC owners.

She suggested that LLC violations could be monitored and handled by the NYS Department of State instead of the public.

“The state should be doing that digging and not necessarily individual people who can find out somebody’s home address and camp out outside because they don’t like something,” the assemblywoman said.


Flood suggested the LLC Transparency Act was redundant, given that the federal Corporate Transparency Act — which includes similar provisions as the state statute — is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

“As a small business owner, I know it’s just more paperwork to do,” he said. “It just seemed unnecessary. I understand the purpose of it, but it’s duplicative of what they already do on a federal level.”


The LLC Transparency Act carries a $250 fine for those who fail to register with NYS Department of State. Flood suggested that this penalty isn’t nearly enough to incentivize LLC owners who wish to remain anonymous to disclose their ownership status.

“The bill itself doesn’t have any teeth to it,” Flood said, noting it would likely lead to a collection of fines from responsible business owners rather than rooting out irresponsible LLCs. 

“It’s not going to do anything for its proposed purpose,” he added.

On top of the relatively painless fine for violators, Flood noted that the filing deadline is two years and 60 days after the bill takes effect. 

“You get two years and two months before the state even steps in to do anything,” he said, adding, “It looks like this bill was done as a feel-good legislation that actually has no effect, which is not uncommon for what we do in Albany.”

Rather than placing public disclosure requirements upon existing LLC proprietors, Giglio recommended that the state conducts more thorough investigations of newly formed LLCs.

“Before the LLC is formed, the initial investigation should occur,” she advised. “And if someone has a history of illicit activities, then the LLC shouldn’t be allowed to be formed.”

Giglio contended that recent state laws have created an increasingly hostile regulatory environment for small businesses. She rooted her opposition to the proposed LLC legislation as countering these trends.

“It seems like it’s getting harder and harder to do business in New York state,” she said. “Any complaint can be investigated, and it’s New York State’s job to make sure that businesses, corporations and LLCs are keeping up to their promises.”

Researchers are still trying to pinpoint the precise number of lobster pots, pictured above, abandoned on the Long Island Sound floor. Still active, these traps pose numerous ecological and environmental risks. Photo by Gerald England/Lobster Pots/CC BY-SA 2.0
By Aidan Johnson

Potentially over a million abandoned lobster pots and fishing gear lay on the Long Island Sound floor.

This gear has been left in the Sound for multiple decades, but its impact on marine life is still felt today. [See story, “Ghost fishing,” TBR News Media website, June 4].

While the pots may be old, some still function and can trap lobsters and other aquatic animals, often killing them due to no way to escape. 

Some of the lobster pots, partially made of plastic, are beginning to break down, polluting the water and compounding the environmental and ecological risks posed to marine life.

To stop this maritime mess, the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County is getting to work. CCE first got involved with ghost fishing after the issue was raised with them by their commercial fishing partners in 2010.

“They had let us know that after the lobster industry crashed in about 1999, they were encountering a lot of derelict lobster pots during their normal operations and that they knew where some of these were,” said Scott Curatolo-Wagemann, senior educator at CCE Suffolk in Riverhead.

“We were able to put together a grant proposal, working with the commercial fishing industry — they had knowledge of where these traps were — to work with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to work out a letter that would allow us to do this work,” he added.

‘Right now, we’ve been doing this all on the local fishermen’s knowledge.’ — Scott Curatolo-Wagemann

Since New York State law prohibits anybody except the owner of a lobster trap from removing it, CCE Suffolk pays fishermen a charter fee to remove the pots.

According to a statement updated in March by CCE Suffolk, 19,000 derelict traps have already been removed from the New York waters of the Long Island Sound, equaling an estimated weight of 950,000 pounds.

While there are many more derelict traps, CCE Suffolk is still determining precisely how much longer these efforts will take.

“Right now, we’ve been doing this all on the local fishermen’s knowledge,” Curatolo-Wagemann said. “We are trying to expand it. We’ve applied for some funds to start using side-scan sonar to map out areas that may have high concentrations of traps so that we can kind of [make] a coordinated effort to remove traps,” adding that efforts are underway “to get an estimated amount that may still be out there.” 

State Assemblyman Fred Thiele (D-Sag Harbor) is working on drafting legislation allowing the state to remove the ghost gear after a designated period, but declined to comment for this updated story.

One of over a dozen derelict buildings that remain on the Lawrence Aviation Superfund site in Port Jefferson Station. File photo by Raymond Janis

UPDATE: The June 29 community availability session at the Port Jefferson Village Center for the Lawrence Aviation Industries Site is postponed. DEC will notify the public once a new community meeting date is scheduled.

To ensure careful and thorough cleanup efforts at the former Lawrence Aviation Industries Superfund Site in Port Jefferson Station, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation scheduled a community availability session at the Port Jefferson Village Center, 101 East Broadway, tonight, June 29, from 6-8:30 p.m. This event has been postponed to a later date.

Experts from NYSDEC, the state Department of Health, NYSDEC-contracted engineering and demolition firms, the Suffolk County Landbank Corporation and the Suffolk County Department of Health Services will be available for one-on-one interactions with community members. Multiple stations will be set up at the Village Center, with representatives available to discuss specific areas of interest. 

Participants can attend any time during the session.

The community availability session will present information about the planned demolition, cleanup activities and future use at the LAI Site. Handouts of the presentation materials will be made available during the session.

Eliminating possible exposure to site-related contamination in the local community will be a point of emphasis. The updates include the latest information regarding the planned demolition of derelict buildings and provide progress to address contaminated soils and groundwater on the property.

Pixabay photo
By Aidan Johnson

In the depths of the Long Island Sound, stationed among the crustaceans and fish, lie hundreds of thousands of lobster traps. 

These traps, a shadow of a once-vibrant lobster industry, have been abandoned for decades. Yet still active, they perpetuate a dangerous trend for marine life: ghost fishing.

Ghost fishing isn’t a supernatural phenomenon. It is a problem created by humans. It is the result of fishermen abandoning old but sometimes still functioning lobster pots and similar fishing gear in the Long Island Sound. While there are few lobsters left, those that remain can still be trapped, along with other sea life. With no way to escape, they end up dying a needless death.

The problems don’t end there, as Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) explained. “People are like, ‘It’s fine, no one sees it,’” she said. “But that’s not true because a lot of these lobster pots are starting to break down. They’re partly plastic, and the plastic is polluting the water.”

The solution, the county legislator insisted, is to remove the ghost gear as soon as possible. New York state law, however, prohibits the removal. 

“No person other than the licensee shall set out, tend, haul or unduly disturb, or take or remove lobsters from, a lobster pot or trap or other commercial gear, or damage, take, remove or possess such gear,” New York’s Environmental Conservation Law states.

While there have been efforts to remove the equipment, the near million derelict traps still there continue to take a toll on sea life. “My vision is to have a massive flotilla … go out to Long Island Sound, remove hundreds of thousands of lobster pots and ghost gear,” Anker said.

The problem gets worse with the realization that some of the fishermen aren’t around anymore, Anker added. “Maybe they’ve left the area, they’ve passed away, they’re no longer fishing in the area. There’s all kinds of reasons and it’s really a detriment to our local nautical community.”

To address these concerns, Anker is working with New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (D-Sag Harbor) to draft legislation that could allow the state to remove the ghost gear after a designated period of time.

Organizations such as the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County have joined the efforts to remove as many ghost traps as the law currently permits. “What happens is they pay the fishermen about $850 to charter their boat for the fishermen to go and then retrieve these pots,” Anker said.

According to a CCE statement made in March, 19,000 traps have been recovered from the Long Island Sound under this initiative. The traps are then recycled or returned to their owners, and burnable debris from them is converted into renewable energy.

Cooperation of the fishermen has helped the process. “These are local fishermen, and they want to do more,” Anker said. “They’re out there trying to make a living doing what they can.” 

She added, “We have one of the largest seafood industries in the country and we have to keep our water clean.”

Anker is also working on a separate $2 million project funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that is focused on cleaning up the Sound and removing marine debris.

While there still may be many lengths to go before the Long Island Sound is free from ghost gear, with the help of lawmakers, organizations, and fishermen, the Sound floor could soon be friendly to all sea life, Anker hopes.

File photo

A cloud of mystery hangs over Stony Brook University and Suffolk County municipalities as Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) contemplates whether to house asylum seekers at state university campuses.

Spectrum News NY1 reported last week the governor was exploring housing asylum seekers entering the state across three SUNY campuses, including SBU. The governor’s office has yet to clarify its plans as of press time.

New York State Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio (R-Riverhead) said she has been in contact with the governor’s office. According to Giglio’s contact there, Marissa Espinoza, the proposal to house asylum seekers at SBU “is not happening.”

New York State Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio, left, and Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine. File photos by Raymond Janis

“I’m hoping that that’s not the plan because we really need those dorms for students,” Giglio said. “The taxpayers just can’t afford to take care of more people. We can barely afford to take care of our veterans and homeless.”

In the face of uncertainty and preparing for the prospect of new migrants, Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) also expressed apprehensions about the proposed plans.

Though acknowledging the town does not have jurisdiction over state property, the Brookhaven supervisor referred to potential movements of asylum seekers into SBU as “probably a mistake.”

“I’m concerned about the impact on the school district,” Romaine told TBR News Media in an exclusive interview. “Twenty to 30 years ago, you had single men coming up here and sending money back home. Now, they’re coming up as a family.”

He added, “I’m concerned about the impact that would have on the Three Village school district which, to my understanding, is laying off teachers this school year.”

Ivan Larios, manager of organizing and strategy for the Long Island branch of the New York Immigration Coalition, has been among a vocal group of immigration proponents advocating that Suffolk County welcomes asylum seekers. [See story, “Republican lawmakers, immigration advocates clash over asylum seekers,” May 25, TBR News Media.]

In a phone interview, he outlined the reasons for considering asylum requests, appealing to policymakers on humanitarian grounds.

“People are coming here because they’re running away from persecution, political unrest and violence,” he said. “Immigrants are already a part of our community, and they make Long Island richer and better.”

Giglio contended that Suffolk County is ill-prepared for the challenges of providing services to asylum seekers.

“We have people that are living in the woods in encampments across the street from our parks,” the assemblywoman said. “Our hospitals are not ready for it, the need for services that we can’t provide. We can barely take care of the homeless people we have now.”

Romaine, who is running for Suffolk County executive in November’s election, when asked whether the county is prepared for an influx of new migrants, said “no.”

“I sympathize with asylum seekers,” Romaine said, “But I am concerned about migrants coming to this country without adequate preparation, and I don’t believe we have adequate preparation.”

“We believe elected officials should be working in finding solutions instead of saying, ‘No, we can’t take more people.’”

— Ivan Larios

Larios suggested arguments advanced against asylum seekers can be deceptive. He maintained that asylum seekers are not diverting public resources and attention from already-vulnerable communities across the state. 

“There are rumors that asylum seekers have displaced veterans or homeless people in other localities around the state, but these are lies,” the immigration advocate said. “These are lies that have been perpetrated to create division.”

But, he added, “There are issues taking place with, for example, housing, but … we believe elected officials should be working in finding solutions instead of saying, ‘No, we can’t take more people.’”

Meanwhile, County Executive Steve Bellone (D) issued an emergency order, May 26, regarding the continuing asylum-seeker crisis. In a press release he said, “Today, I issued an emergency order as New York City continues to grapple with a shortage of available housing options for families and individuals fleeing desperate circumstances and legally seeking asylum. We remain supportive of Governor Hochul’s coordinated and humane approach to addressing this crisis and this emergency order serves to protect the local communities from bearing any costs associated with the potential arrival of asylum seekers.”

The emergency order repeats the county’s calls “for a coordinated approach in which New York State will serve as the lead agency, working to identify potential federal and state sites to temporarily house asylum seekers,” the release added.

Immigration advocates during a May 23 press conference at the William H. Rogers Legislature Building in Hauppauge. Photo by Raymond Janis

A nationwide debate over immigration, coupled with the end of Title 42, is sending shockwaves through Suffolk County.

Title 42, a COVID-19 pandemic-era federal immigration policy that expired earlier this month, enabled U.S. Border Control agents to swiftly expel asylum seekers on public health grounds. The end of the procedure has led to a spike in new migrants entering the country, with many directed toward New York City and, possibly, Long Island.

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has identified three SUNY campuses, including Stony Brook University, for migrant housing, Spectrum News NY1 reported on Tuesday.

NYC received more than 900 migrants daily over several days, Mayor Eric Adams (D) told CBS News “Face the Nation,” Sunday, May 21. It is an influx, the mayor suggested, that has overburdened the city’s budget and facilities. Adams called upon Hochul and counties throughout the state to assist his city, referring to the requested relief as a statewide “decompression strategy.”

“New York City is the economic engine of the state and the country,” he said. “We believe the entire state should participate in a decompression strategy, and it’s unfortunate that there have been some lawmakers and counties that are not carrying on their role of ensuring that this is a decompression strategy throughout the state.”

Tensions swelled on the same Sunday morning during a press conference at the William H. Rogers Legislature Building where immigration advocates clashed with Republican lawmakers.

Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffrey, at podium, with Republican officials during a press conference at the William H. Rogers Legislature Building on Sunday, May 21. Photo by Raymond Janis

Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst), standing alongside U.S. Congressman Nick LaLota (R-NY1) and Republicans from across levels of government, criticized the city’s policies, affirming that Suffolk County is not open to new asylum seekers.

“New York City made a conscious decision to call itself a sanctuary city. Suffolk County did not,” McCaffrey said.

U.S. Congressman Nick LaLota during the May 21 press conference. Photo by Raymond Janis

He added, “The residents of Suffolk County have already dealt with the financial costs of the pandemic and the historic inflation because of the failed policies of the state and federal government. We cannot stand by and allow the residents of Suffolk County to further burden the failed policies of the Biden, Hochul and Adams [Democratic] administrations in dealing with this crisis.”

McCaffrey stated the federal government’s vetting process is inadequate, so “we do not know who’s being sent into this county,” noting the potential strain upon law enforcement is still undetermined.

He described the expected cost of food, shelter and related medical and school expenses as “daunting,” saying that financial assistance from the federal and state governments would be “a mere drop in the bucket compared to what it would actually cost” to accommodate these requests.

“We cannot allow the federal [government] and state to pass on these costs to the residents of Suffolk County,” McCaffrey added.

LaLota criticized New York City’s sanctuary city designation, tying the influx of asylum seekers to unresolved issues at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We here in Suffolk County are 2,000 miles from the southern border, but we are to become a border county because of the Biden administration’s failed border policies and the sanctuary city policies of New York City,” the congressman said.

Protesters storm a press conference at the William H. Rogers Legislature Building in Hauppauge on Sunday, May 21. Photo by Raymond Janis

Throughout the Sunday morning press conference, the speakers heard steady chants from the gallery opposing their efforts. “No hate. No fear. Immigrants are welcome here,” the protesters cried in unison.

Two days later, at the same county complex in Hauppauge, the immigration advocates held their own press conference Tuesday morning.

“For far too long, Suffolk Republicans have denied Long Island families — particularly those seeking asylum — the freedom to thrive,” said Elmer Flores, advisory board member of the Long Island Immigration Clinic. “People seeking asylum are individuals, children and families that deserve to live in peace and live free from danger, which is why exercising their human and legal right to seek safety in the U.S. should be protected.”

Minerva Perez, executive director at OLA [Organización Latino Americana] of Eastern Long Island, during a May 23 press conference in Hauppauge. Photo by Raymond Janis
Minerva Perez, executive director at OLA [Organización Latino Americana] of Eastern Long Island, suggested the vetting process for asylum seekers is adequate, noting the possible regional economic benefits of expanding the workforce.

“Asylum seekers can work — they are given work permits,” Perez said. “If anyone’s noticed, there’s also a labor shortage in Suffolk County. Do the math.”

Ivan Larios, manager of organizing and strategy for the Long Island branch of the New York Immigration Coalition, appealed for the acceptance of new asylum requests on humanitarian grounds, noting the harsh conditions from which many are fleeing.

“Immigrants are already a part of our community and make Long Island richer and better because of their economic, social and cultural contributions,” he said. “People seeking asylum are individuals, children and families fleeing danger and persecution in exercising their human right, a legal right to seek safety in the United States.”

Despite these appeals, the county Legislature introduced a procedural motion on May 23 to appoint a special counsel “to pursue any and all legal options available to protect the unfunded location of any asylum seekers in Suffolk County,” McCaffrey said. 

A vote on the motion is expected during the Legislature’s June 6 meeting.

The new state program will use photo enforcement technologies to monitor speeding in work-zones. Following a 30-day grace period, violators will receive a fine by mail. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

New York State has introduced its Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement program. 

The system clocks vehicles traveling above the speed limit in specified work zones. A registered owner of a vehicle will be ticketed by mail if the posted work-zone speed limit is exceeded by more than 10 miles per hour, according to the legislation signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) in September, 2021.

The law states that the “owner of a vehicle shall be liable for a penalty” when that “vehicle was traveling at a speed of more than 10 miles per hour above the posted speed limit in effect within such highway construction or maintenance work area, and such violation is evidenced by information obtained from a photo speed violation monitoring system.”

The website indicates that this new program will be “located in construction or maintenance zones on New York State controlled access highways and parkways.” It also indicates that signs leading up to the enforcement areas will make it clear that a driver is entering one.

In a phone interview, Stephen Canzoneri, a spokesman for Region 10 of the state Department of Transportation, said that there will be “two signs posted in advance of the camera.” He added that these cameras are “only being placed in active work zones where there are boots on the ground.”

During the first 30 days of the program —which began Monday, April 17, according to Canzoneri — New York State will issue warnings by mail instead of actual fines. After this initial warning period, drivers violating the posted work-zone speed limits in the enforcement areas will receive a $50 fine by mail.

For a second violation, a violator will receive $75 fine, so long as this violation is within an 18-month period of the first violation. Any third or subsequent violations will result in a $100 fine if, once again, these are within 18 months of the first violation.

The website also states that “there will be 30 work-zone speed units … that will be moved around to work zones throughout the state.” To see an up-to-date listing of where the speed cameras are currently being utilized, go to and scroll down to “Locations” on the left-hand side. The cameras are “being placed on the limited access highways, such as the Long Island Expressway, Northern State Parkway, a portion of Sunrise [Highway] in central Suffolk,” Canzoneri said.

The website clarifies that drivers will not receive points on their licenses for violations in these zones and that these penalties are strictly “civil in nature, with no criminal implications.”

In 2021, there were 378 “work-zone intrusions” and that more than 50 of these intrusions resulted in injury for either a highway worker or a vehicle occupant. “A work-zone intrusion is defined as an incident where a motor vehicle has entered a portion of the roadway that is closed due to construction or maintenance activity,” the website states.

“We are seeing an increase in work-zone intrusions throughout the Island,” Canzoneri said. “More people are back on the roads after the COVID shutdowns. And traffic patterns are returning to what they were. And unfortunately, it means that there’s more danger for our workers on the road.”

In a phone interview, Jaime Franchi, Long Island Contractors’ Association director of communications and government relations, said, “Anything that is a deterrent that makes people pause while they’re driving in a zone where our highway workers are vulnerable is something that we would absolutely advocate for.”

Franchi added that LICA has been advocating for highway safety for many years, particularly on winding stretches of the Southern State Parkway. “They deserve to get home to their families,” Franchi said about highway workers.

Canzoneri agreed. “We want everybody to go home at the end of the day to be with their families,” he said.

The website indicates that this five-year program is a joint effort by the state Department of Transportation and the state Thruway Authority.

Photo from Panico's Facebook page
By Dan Panico

The false narrative by our governor, Kathy Hochul (D), continues with this nonsensical, heavy-handed housing plan that threatens to override long-established law and the will of the people who live in local communities. It’s a false narrative because the notion that local municipalities aren’t approving housing is patently false; it’s the lack of sewer infrastructure coupled with the practical aspects of a developer’s land and construction costs that make the practical application of the idea extremely difficult, not obstinance derived from local municipalities. Let’s discuss some examples.

Across the Town of Brookhaven in Port Jefferson Station, North Bellport, East Patchogue and Mastic Beach, there are four quick examples of pending proposals where mixed-use redevelopment is desired by the community and embraced by the town, and three are in proximity to a train station. Each development would offer new restaurant and retail options, as well as brand new housing options for young and old and everyone in between. The municipal opposition portrayed by the governor simply does not exist here; it is a false narrative. 

However, with the exception of East Patchogue, where the Town of Brookhaven in a very forward-thinking manner buried dry sewer lines to connect to the nearby Village of Patchogue sewer district years ago, the biggest hurdles in the other three project examples remain the lack of readily available sewer capacity. While we are working with Suffolk County on each other project, the costs associated with the sewer infrastructure necessary for such development and redevelopment render the projects unbuildable without some sort of government sewer funding. That is where the governor should invest her time and the state’s funding by helping Suffolk expand sewer infrastructure so local municipalities can continue to work on community-based redevelopment.

To continue to threaten local municipalities with state rubber-stamp approvals demonstrates a glaring lack of awareness of the realities of the situation or the logistical realities of what real development actually entails. Moreover, in most areas on Long Island a developer could not realistically build these state-envisioned housing projects because of the high cost of land, divided into so many small parcels with single-family homes and businesses, combined with costly construction requirements, parking requirements and sewer infrastructure costs that would never make the project financially viable, let alone affordable. This fact is being overlooked as the governor portends opposition to projects that have not come forward and proposals that simply do not exist. In fact, it’s the exact opposite approach in Brookhaven, as we are leading the way by amending our codes and seeking out and working with developers.

The governor would be better off stopping the political charade and giving funding to Suffolk County from the federal infrastructure bill and the recently passed NYS Clean Water Bond Act so that local municipalities can do the work of redeveloping our downtowns. It’s compromise and cooperation that make things happen, not threats and political theater.

Dan Panico (R) is the Town of Brookhaven deputy supervisor and councilman for the 6th District, which includes Mastic, Moriches, Eastport, Manorville and Calverton. He is currently running for Brookhaven Town supervisor.

Pictured above, New York State Sen. Dean Murray (R-East Patchogue), left of poster, and state Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio (R-Riverhead), right of poster, along with Republican state legislators. Photo by New York State Senate Photography

This past week in Albany, New York State Sen. Dean Murray (R-Patchogue) and state Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio (R-Riverhead) joined with Republican colleagues from the state Senate and Assembly at a press conference calling for the crackdown on improper and deceptive packaging practices for edible products with THC infusions. 

The lawmakers said there has been a dramatic increase in cases of children mistaking these products for regular candies and snack foods, with dangerous and sometimes deadly results. 

Murray and Giglio have introduced legislation that would target this practice, mandating that THC-infused edibles on the market are marked and packaged plainly and increasing penalties for violators.