Recently, Governor Andrew Cuomo, while speaking here on Long Island, dismissed the concerns of our residents and business owners and those of our neighbors in New Hyde Park and Garden City regarding his proposed Third Track Project as N.I.M B.Y.(Not In My Back Yard) saying: “The politicians who pander to NIMBY, their day is over. Because if you want to pander to a vocal minority, you better hope there’s no vocalization from the majority, otherwise you’re going to have a problem.”
I would like to believe that the Governor meant simply that he wasn’t going to let people who oppose a proposal for no reason other than N.I.M.B.Y. to stop progress. If that is the case, he would be correct.
However, if his statement reflects that he feels our community and our neighbors are just being obstructionists, he would be very mistaken. Floral Park and our neighbors aren’t questioning the Third Track project, or any project for that matter, for the sole reason of N.I.M.B.Y. In fact, we have not opposed the project.
What we have done is a systematic review of the information available in the proposed Third Track Project. We have formulated questions and issues to discuss with the Governor and his representatives in order to understand the project itself. For example, these questions and issues include but are not limited to: the need and justification for the project; the operational aspects of the construction; operational and future uses of the project; traffic concerns; cost justifications; environmental impacts; impacts to our schools, residences and businesses; impacts on our way of life; and a host of other concerns.
It is true that the Governor has made available capable and responsive staff and resources to address our concerns where they can. This is a key point- – they have addressed our concerns “where they can”. Because the Governor apparently insists on proceeding with this project as a “design/build” project, in which the details of the design of the project will not be developed until after the contract for construction is awarded, there is very limited information at this stage as to the details of the project. This lack of information has compelled the Village and its partners to take steps by hiring professional engineering and legal firms to advise us and assist our efforts in order to properly vet the project. We have gone to this time and expense so that we do not provide frivolous information, which waste everyone’s time.
We have experienced and seen the assistance of our local representatives, Town Supervisor Anthony Santino, Legislators Vincent Muscarella and Richard Nicollelo, Councilman Ed Ambrosino and, of course, our New York State Senator Elaine Phillips. None of these elected representatives have automatically condemned or reflexively opposed the project. Rather, they have issued statements and letters and have committed funds in order to assist us in our efforts to gain access to the necessary information, plans and details which will enable us to make informed decisions and discuss relevant issues affecting our great home, Floral Park and its surrounding neighbors.
Our actions are not that of N.I.M.B.Y. They are out of calculated and well thought out discussion and concern for a $2 Billion dollar government expense that could, if not kept in check, destroy the very fabric of our community.
As a result of all of these efforts, continued and improved communications have occurred. The governor’s staff and LIRR president Patrick Nowakowski and his staff have offered frank and open discussions in an effort to address the issues and concerns at hand. Input and issues are being discussed in a mature and professional manner so that we may come to resolutions. This is not to say that the Village has condoned or approved this project in any way. We will work, as we always do, tirelessly, to ensure that our Village and our way of life are protected, secured and, even improved, where and how we can. In regard to the Third Track Project, we still have a long way to go should this project ever be amenable to the Village. The vigilance and determination of Floral Park and its neighbors should never be construed as N.I.M.B.Y. Listening, open and frank discussions and respecting the opinions and concerns around you are the only way to move forward, with or without this Third Track Project.
I say to you, Governor Andrew Cuomo, you will have to forgive us for caring about our home and community and you should consider the above as you promote your ideas. While we may not always agree, and, in fact, may oppose each other on issues, the oath of office we took was to serve everyone we represent – – and that begins with respect.