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Open Forum on Community Issues

January 23, 2015 @ 12:00 am EST


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Bob Bender of the RB Bender Group and Suffolk legislator Rob Trotta helped launch our LIMBA open forum meeting this morning. Our format was different from our usual presentation. Instead of having one featured speaker we had an open forum.


Bob Bender gave us food for thought about water in the region. “We are collecting large amounts of grease that is produced by the many restaurants. The restaurants pay for this disposal service and the collection companies add chemicals to break it down and send into our municipal sewer treatment plants.” This process is costly to the taxpayers and detrimental to the environment due to the chemicals that are added. Bender poses the question of why are we doing this when a more effective way of processing grease would to break it down into methane gas that gas could be used to produce electricity at the sewage disposal facility.


Bender went on to point out the environmental cost in dollars is substantial, but the closing of beaches and the dangers to our water supply has an impact on our quality of life.


Rob Trotta had a completely separate issue about the enormous cost of municipal governments caused by the pensions that have been negotiated. He pointed to the fact that due to a feature in the state law municipal workers get raises even when a new labor contract is not negotiated pay raises happen anyway. It called the Triborough Amendments. Beside the written inequities there is political fear that politicians don’t want to deal with. Elected officials would rather give the unions almost anything they want than antagonize them and lose an election.


Rob Forstrom has been an ally of the Maglev transportation system. Regarding that thought the geographical Long Island including Brooklyn and Queens has over 7 million people. With natural disasters such hurricane Sandy and terrorist attacks the likes of which would dwarf the one we have already seen, there are inadequate ways of either exiting the island or supplying the island. Forstrom suggested that the Cross harbor tunnel that Congressman Nadler spoke about at LIMBA could be completed and the more than adequate rail system that is underground in Brooklyn and Queens could be extended to the Long Island Expressway and turn at William Floyd Parkway and cross the Long Island Sound by bridge or tunnel.


This would be a massive undertaking but there are no technical reasons that it couldn’t be done. Ideally it would be serviced by Maglev because the operational costs are low and the technology is fast, safe, and clean.


We had no shortage of topics and we will do this again.


Ernie Fazio