State and Local Officials Address Community Concerns at “Government Reports Breakfast”

It will be a full house as state and local officials address community concerns and provide an update on government activities at this year’s annual “Government Reports Breakfast,” sponsored by the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce, on Thursday, October 27 from 7:30 to 10 a.m. at the Crest Hollow Country Club, 8325 Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury.

Babylon Town Supervisor Steve Bellone and Suffolk County Treasurer Angie Carpenter, who are both running for Suffolk County Executive, will provide Opening Remarks at the event. Following the opening, each attendee will have an opportunity to enjoy an intimate roundtable discussion with local elected officials including:

• Kyle Strober, Long Island Director for United States Senator Charles E. Schumer

• Tracie Holmberg, Deputy Chief of Staff for United States Congressman Steve Israel

• Scott Maretta, Regional Director for New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo • New York State Senator Carl L. Marcellino

• New York State Senator John Flanagan

• New York State Assemblyman Andrew Raia

• New York State Assemblyman James Conte

• Suffolk County Legislator Steven Stern

• Suffolk County Legislator Jon Cooper

• Suffolk County Legislator Lou D’Amaro

• Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone

• Huntington Town Councilman Mark Cuthbertson

• Huntington Town Councilwoman Susan A. Berland

• Huntington Town Councilwoman Glenda Jackson

• Huntington Town Councilman Mark Mayoka

• Huntington Town Clerk Jo-Ann Raia

• Huntington Receiver of Taxes Ester Bivona

• Huntington Superintendent of Highways William Naughton

“Having the opportunity to interact one-on-one with elected officials at our Government Reports Breakfast is something extremely unique for our Chamber members,” said Robert Bontempi, Chamber Chairman. “This event gives our members the opportunity to discuss the issues that are affecting them face-to-face with a wide representation from local, state and national government. The Chamber remains dedicated to serving the needs of its members through flagship events like this.”

Seating is limited and is reserved for the first 150 individuals with tickets, which cost $45 for Huntington Chamber members and $60 for non-members. Tables will be reserved in advance and the local officials will each spend approximately 7 minutes at each table as they rotate from table to table to meet each patron in attendance.

Sponsors to date include Verizon, JVKelly Group, Inc., North Shore Financial Group, Blue Sea Construction, Digho Arts, Ten Haagen Financial Group, Nightingale PR, Community National Bank and Molloy College.

Media Sponsors are Village Tattler, Newsday, Village Connection, Huntington Times, Huntington Buzz, and Long Islander.

For more information or to reserve a seat, contact the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce at (631) 423-6100 or visit www.huntingtonchamber.com.

Two Scoreboards Dedicated in Memory of Louis J. Acompora

Louis J. Acompora

Louis Acompora, a Northport High School freshman, died on March 25, 2000, while playing his first high school lacrosse game. A goalie, Louis stopped what appeared to be a routine shot with his chest, but then collapsed and could not be revived. Louis parents’, John and Karen Acompora, came to realize his death could have been prevented if the school had owned a portable defibrillator. They started a grassroots campaign and founded the Louis J. Acompora Memorial Foundation to raise awareness among schools and other public institutions about the importance of owning Automated External Defibrillators (AED).

The foundation donated the two scoreboards to Veterans Park in Louis’ memory. Huntington Town Council Members Susan Berland, Glenda Jackson, and Mark Mayoka were joined by members of the Acompora family and representatives from the Northport Youth Football and Northport Lacrosse Leagues on October 4, 2011, to dedicate the two scoreboards in memory of Louis.

At the dedication ceremony for Louis J. Acompora at Veterans Park.

The Bullies’ Pulpit: Huntington’s Town Board

It’s a rainy summer day in Huntington.  Business travel has really beaten me up over the last few weeks so the constant showers provide a perfect excuse to stretch out on the couch and catch up on some much-needed loafing.

Nothing much on TV.  The Mets game doesn’t start until 4:10; the Yanks are rained out. So, I start to channel surf. I stumble upon Verizon’s channel 38, the public service station that’s been reserved for the Town of Huntington’s (TOH) community programs.

And suddenly . . . . . . . a circus in Town. For there, before my very eyes, is a political spectacle worthy of the performances usually reserved for actors in works by William Shakespeare or Tennessee Williams.  From the irrationality of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” to Absurdist-style theatrical conventions including mime, gibberish, heightened rhetoric, codified language and feigned civility, the re-broadcast events of the Town Board’s August 2nd meeting held my undivided attention for nearly 90 minutes. Admittedly, to someone who’s in Town every day, this is old news.  But to those of us who must be out of Town frequently, the spectacle was appalling!

As resolution after resolution was introduced by various Board (bored?) members, routine traffic regulations, parade permits, and code changes found their way to approval. But when issues of local government finance, the running of Town government, and the awarding of a contract to a vendor with ties to a Town Board member arose, the business-as-mundane atmosphere turned into a scene reminiscent of a junior high school playground replete with taunters, bullies, by-standers, and a hallway monitor.

To wit, the recorded “exchange” between Councilman Mark Mayoka who challenged Supervisor Frank Petrone’s assessment of an independent auditor’s comments about Town Board finances, to the “discussions” between Mayoka, Petrone, and Councilman Mark Cuthbertson concerning several ancillary issues, were a study in crass bullying.  On the one side, Petrone and Cuthbertson repeatedly ganged up on Mayoka like teenage thugs in a back alley rumble. Gesturing vividly, repeatedly interrupting and attempting to belittle Mayoka’s observations, Petrone and Cuthbertson acted like their (and ONLY their) opinions held validity. They repeatedly stepped on Mayoka’s comments and interrupted his thoughts. And, as all of this was going on, Councilwomen Susan Berland and Glenda Jackson sat submissively on the sidelines; obviously following their political marching orders while simultaneously failing to represent the interests of those whom they are sworn to serve.

To be fair, some of Mayoka’s complaints were petty and unsubstantiated.  He asserted, for example, that there was no contingency plan should the Town lose its share of the State’s annual mortgage tax revenue. At the same time, he responded to Cuthbertson’s and Petrone’s taunts with his own series of interruptions, placing himself in the same political cauldron as his antagonists.

In viewing the August 2nd Town Board proceedings, I am reminded of Teddy Roosevelt’s description of what he called a bully pulpit.  To him, “bully” meant “protagonist” and he saw the U.S. presidency as a place that allowed him to politely speak out on matters of great national importance. Roosevelt famously used the word bully as an adjective meaning “superb” or “wonderful.” “Bully for you” became an expression with the same meaning as “Good for you” and took on very positive tones.

Some members of the current Huntington Town Board use their “bully” pulpit in an entirely inappropriate way. As evidenced by the video from the August 2nd meeting, they try to demean those with contrasting opinions and “bully” (as in schoolyard hooligan) them into submission.

Regardless of whose opinion is right or whose political position will prevail, the Town Board desperately needs to reintroduce civility to its proceedings. Acting like a bunch of spoiled brats does nothing to further the image of our community nor does it achieve our mutual objective to provide a safe, comfortable, secure and stable environment in which to raise our families.

What do you think?

Editor’s note:  Justin Thompson is VT’s investigative reporter and rarely writes op-ed pieces.

Crime Escalates in Other Areas of Huntington Township

A recent shooting occurred outside Christopher's on Wall Street in Huntington.

These days, crime is escalating and not just in Huntington Station. The symptoms appear to be high-density housing, illegal properties, and  neglect by Public Safety. The Suffolk County Police Department is trying to combat crime, but they need assistance from Town Hall and the community. If everyone does not band together, crime will continue to escalate in the Town of Huntington and lawlessness will continue and get worse.  It is up to the citizens of Huntington to declare to all officials, that they have had enough. Citizens must tell the government that they want it to stop.

It starts with high-density housing, as stated in many studies and reports nationwide. Take a look at the Thompson report of 2005 http://villagetattler.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Crime-Citzenship-Illegal-Housing-in-HS.pdf  (now being updated), which shows a direct correlation to crime activity and high-density and illegal housing.

Areas in which the Town of Huntington has allowed the most high-density and illegal housing have the most criminal arrests. Every day we have serious victims fall to these criminals, and these criminals are allowed to reside in the areas that have illegal housing. Public Safety must step up and stop talking about acting and start to join the community.  Every day, people who need help contact Village Tattler about drug dealings and illegal housing and they are fed up. Town hall is not helping the Huntington Station residents who have the most crime and illegal housing in their areas.

There are many stabbings and other violence going on all around Huntington township and not all of it makes it in the papers.  Go down to Huntington Hospital and observe on any night and you will hear and see it for yourself. Or ask a firefighter or police officer whom you know about the violence in Huntington.

A man was shot on West 10th street in Huntington Station on Thursday, July 14, 2011 . The following photo was taken on Saturday at 12:30pm in the same location of the Thursday shooting.

Police on West 10th Street in Huntington Station on Saturday, July 16, 2011.

Another shooting occurred very early Sunday morning outside Christopher’s  on Wall Street in Huntington Village. Police reported that the incident did not appear to be random.

We have a a retired Police Inspector who has told the public that he has done many things to correct the problems he faced while on the job. The  first thing the community has  suggested is that Public Safety is not a 9 to 5 Monday through Friday job, but it’s time to work the weekends, too. We must  find a way to stop illegal and high-density housing. Our town board, Petrone, Cuthbertson, Jackson, and Berland, are NIMBY’s (not-in-my-backyard) and they allow the problems to worsen.