All Things Political: Major challenges await new Nassau County exec

All Things Political: Major challenges await new Nassau County exec

As part of the recent red wave sweeping the 2021 Long Island elections, Town of Hempstead Councilman Bruce Blakeman won his bid for Nassau county executive, defeating the incumbent, Laura Curran. While Blakeman’s campaign focused primarily on property assessment, low taxes and keeping Nassau crime-free, there are several other critical issues that need to be addressed. Here are some that should be on his radar:

Clean up Nassau’s Waterfront
• Every time it rains the waterways in and around Nassau County are inundated with sewage. Not only do the beaches become so polluted they can’t be used, the sewage is the cause of increasingly harmful algal blooms that have negative impacts on humans, marine and freshwater environments, and coastal economies. This problem gets worse every year and can no longer be ignored.

Going Green
• Every county building should be part of a Nassau-wide energy performance contract (EPC). Not only would a countywide EPC save taxpayers money on energy costs, it could become a model of energy efficiency for the rest of the state.
• The rooftops of every county building should have solar panels installed.
• The auto fleet of Nassau County, which includes the Police Department, should move to fully electric vehicles.

Fast Track Federal Rent Relief Funds
• Towns have been exceptionally slow dispensing Federal Rent Relief Funds. As county executive, Blakeman has an opportunity to show leadership and spearhead an initiative to help Nassau’s three towns fast track rent relief. The current process to help struggling residents is woefully inadequate.

Develop the HUB
• The Nassau County HUB, which includes the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, is a dead zone. The Coliseum became useless the day the new UBS Arena opened in Elmont. What eventually populates the site should be something that attracts Millennials to live, work and play there. RXR, the master developer, is scheduled to break ground in March 2022, with 500 apartment units and 800,000 square feet of office, biotech and experiential retail. It would be prudent for Blakeman to champion the development ASAP and work with the Town of Hempstead, which is in charge of zoning the HUB, to fast track all permitting.

Improve Nassau County Parks
• Eisenhower Park is actually larger than Central Park, but when was the last time you thought about it as a destination to spend the day with your family? Blakeman should bring in a master developer to create a comprehensive plan to improve this aging facility. A world class park would increase tourism and help local businesses thrive.

Fight COVID-19
• Blakeman has publicly stated he’s vaccinated, but believes vaccination is a personal choice. While that plays well politically to his conservative base, it ignores CDC guidelines, and the federal government mandate that all federal employees have to be vaccinated. Blakeman should comply with these guidelines and make it clear that all county employees need to be vaccinated.
• The Omicron variant will be here soon. Due to Covid fatigue, local hospitals are experiencing significant staff shortages. Masks and vaccines remain the best ways to protect ourselves, stop the spread, and support our healthcare heroes. If we don’t enforce these methods, we are destined to go back to our hospitals being overwhelmed.

Bruce Blakeman will be sworn in as Nassau County executive in just a few short weeks and will have a full plate for the next four years. After losing several earlier political campaigns, including runs for Congress and the U.S. Senate, he has a lot to prove. Our community is depending on him.

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