column – Fighting for You

From the Desk of Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, Nassau County18th LD

Fighting Irresponsible Planning

A few weeks ago I wrote to my constituents to explain why I voted the way I did on the police precinct closures. This week, in order to close precincts, all of us in the Legislature approved an incentive plan that will encourage officers to retire.

The triple good news is:

1) This helps avoid layoffs. Layoffs hurt the entire local economy;

2) My colleagues and I in the Democratic caucus were able to negotiate a far lower level of borrowing for the incentives – almost half what County Executive Mangano and Presiding officer Schmitt were willing to undertake on your behalf;

3) My caucus secured several crucial agreements, in writing, to keep Mangano and Schmitt from wrecking public safety. We negotiated to have two detectives for the 6th Precinct. They were proposing zero. We also pushed for, and won, additional management. Finally, and most importantly, we fought very hard to keep the number of patrols on the street intact. Mangano and Schmitt repeatedly said that they would not jeopardize the number of patrols, but that simply was false. Until yesterday, based on the precinct plan they passed – that I had to vote against – they were freed to lower them from 177 to about 100. But, thankfully at Monday’s hearing, I and fellow Democrat legislators were able to demand that the numbers remain in place.

I have felt that my role as a legislator is to vote responsibly on your behalf. This is true for money and for safety.

This entire proposal did not start with proper planning to protect public safety so I could not stand behind it. There were too many dangerous loose ends. Thankfully, this week we were at least able to minimize the havoc that Mangano and Schmitt’s reckless plans could have created.

In terms of the finances, we all want to save money. No one wants to raise taxes. However, it is disturbing to me how willing Mangano and Schmitt are to take on huge amounts of debt in your name. Thankfully, this week we were able to reduce their bond from $50 million down to $26.5 million. That is a serious savings to taxpayers. I believe my job is to fight for good government – controlling spending. It is amazing to me that Mangano and Schmitt claim to be controlling spending, when what they really want is to go right on spending borrowed money. It is your money either way.

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