Labor Day Observations 2021

The labor movement has been a boon to the craftsmen and craftswomen in the western world. Let’s remind ourselves of the reasons why.
The standing of labor had its fits and starts and multiple setbacks, but the sense of what fairness is has a way of persevering.
The labor practices of the bad old days are quite stark. Child labor, particularly in coal mines were a scandal of epoch proportions. The coal mine companies liked using children in mines because they were small and could crawl into the narrow veins of coal, they were also fearless of the dangers, and they were utterly powerless. We otherwise think of the labor movement as a struggle to get fair wages and benefits and of course it is that. Of equal importance, it is the establishment of deserved respect for the working people of the countr
The only wealth that is ever created is with the brains in our heads and the skill of our hands. Other than that, there is no wealth. Wall street executives, corporate leaders, lawyers, and accountants are all able to demand good compensation and they all may very well be needed in our society, but they create no wealth.
On the other hand, that crew of workers that are finishing the work on your new house created a substantial amount of wealth. Are they fairly compensated? Perhaps, but what they get is what they are able to negotiate from the general contractor or by rules of the local union.
It is interesting that those people who spoke on the behalf of labor have for the most part have been laboring people themselves. But here is an intellectual sense of equitable treatment of our fellow citizens, and that is the motivation of people such as the Roosevelts. TR Roosevelt saw the trend to monopoly as a detriment of the common citizen. His efforts to curtail monopolies created competition which had the effect of making products less expensive and more available.
Franklin Roosevelt was the champion of the working class more directly. Were these men doing these things for their own political gain? Perhaps, but those are examples of political drives that are good for the country. I am more of the mind that personal values were the larger motivating factors for them.
FDR sought dignity for working people by having them create durable infrastructure such as the two draw bridges that were built in my childhood neighborhood on Jamaica Bay. They built very durable post office buildings as well as a number of other federal building projects. That is not all. Writers were employed to write plays and artists were asked to paint pictures depicting moments in American history in federally owned post offices. Young men were sent into the countryside to plant trees.
The point of these efforts was the recognition that there is dignity in work. We sometimes hear people speak about work as something to be avoided, it is not, it is something to be embraced, with the understanding that work should be properly compensated.
The closing point is there is dignity in work-all work. Enjoy your Labor Day.
Ernie Fazio

Labor Day Observations 2021

The labor movement has been a boon to the craftsmen and craftswomen in the western world. Let’s remind ourselves of the reasons why.

The standing of labor had its fits and starts and multiple setbacks, but the sense of what fairness is has a way of persevering.

The labor practices of the bad old days are quite stark. Child labor, particularly in coal mines were a scandal of epoch proportions. The coal mine companies liked using children in mines because they were small and could crawl into the narrow veins of coal, they were also fearless of the dangers, and they were utterly powerless. We otherwise think of the labor movement as a struggle to get fair wages and benefits and of course it is that. Of equal importance, it is the establishment of deserved respect for the working people of the country.

The only wealth that is ever created is with the brains in our heads and the skill of our hands. Other than that, there is no wealth. Wall street executives, corporate leaders, lawyers, and accountants are all able to demand good compensation and they all may very well be needed in our society, but they create no wealth.

On the other hand, that crew of workers that are finishing the work on your new house created a substantial amount of wealth. Are they fairly compensated? Perhaps, but what they get is what they are able to negotiate from the general contractor or by rules of the local union.

It is interesting that those people who spoke on the behalf of labor have for the most part have been laboring people themselves. But here is an intellectual sense of equitable treatment of our fellow citizens, and that is the motivation of people such as the Roosevelts. TR Roosevelt saw the trend to monopoly as a detriment of the common citizen. His efforts to curtail monopolies created competition which had the effect of making products less expensive and more available.

Franklin Roosevelt was the champion of the working class more directly. Were these men doing these things for their own political gain? Perhaps, but those are examples of political drives that are good for the country. I am more of the mind that personal values were the larger motivating factors for them.

FDR sought dignity for working people by having them create durable infrastructure such as the two draw bridges that were built in my childhood neighborhood on Jamaica Bay. They built very durable post office buildings as well as a number of other federal building projects. That is not all. Writers were employed to write plays and artists were asked to paint pictures depicting moments in American history in federally owned post offices. Young men were sent into the countryside to plant trees.

The point of these efforts was the recognition that there is dignity in work. We sometimes hear people speak about work as something to be avoided, it is not, it is something to be embraced, with the understanding that work should be properly compensated.

The closing point is there is dignity in work-all work. Enjoy your Labor Day.

Affordable Housing, Opportunities & Obstacles – Peter J. Elkowitz, Jr., President & CEO, Long Island Housing Partnership

Mr. Elkowitz has been with the Long Island Housing Partnership since 1989. Mr. Elkowitz is responsible for the overall operation of Long Island Housing Partnership and its Affiliates. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Policy Analysis and Public Management. In June 2002, Mr. Elkowitz completed the Senior Executives Program in State and Local Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He also received the Harry Weiner Distinguished Alumni Award in 1995 and the Governor’s award for Excellence in Housing in 1994. He is a member of the 2007 Class of The Energeia Partnership – The Academy for Regional Stewardship at Molloy College. Currently, he serves on the board of New York Housing Conference, Inc. Mr. Elkowitz served as Chair to the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York Affordable Housing Advisory Council and was a former member of the Long Island Regional Planning Council. Mr. Elkowitz now serves on the Board for The National Community Land Trust Network dba Grounded Solutions Network and on the Board of Empire Justice Center. Mr. Elkowitz was honored as top CFO and 2016 was honored as top CEO by the Long Island Business News.

Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta

On Friday 13th we had as our guest speaker Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta. Mr. Trotta was quite direct in his opinions of the local government.


He was critical of the way we are paying dearly for our police department in the county. He does not approve policeman earning $200k or $250k per year. He does not approve of the payout practices of the police department at retirement that can be in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars in a lump sum in addition to a generous pension.


Of course the payouts are legal because they are in the union contracts and the contracts are approved by the legislating body of which he is a member.
Here is Trotta’s bone of contention. If the unions are allowed to donate to the campaign war chests of the legislators, how can we be sure that they, the legislators, are acting in the public interest?
Trotta’s approach is that if any funds are provided to a legislator, than that legislator must recuse himself on votes on pay increases. The bill to enforce such a rule has been consistently rejected
Despite these criticisms he was otherwise complimentary of the police in terms of competence.

Another issue that he addressed was the ¼% tax on the sewer district that has been paid off, but still collected to pay for other things. For this a few other things he referred to County Executive Bellone as corrupt.
One of those things were the scandal involving District attorney Spota, who, by the way, was sentenced to 5 years in prison last week. Bellone, according to Mr. Trotta, was in cahoots with the principals of that scandal, Thomas Spota, and Christopher McPartland, who conspired to protect James Burke, who was earlier sentenced to 4 years in prison for beating a prisoner.


Trotta did not dodge and weave, he answered the questions according to his knowledge and perceptions.

Policy Roundtable (John D. Cameron, Jr. & Dr Martin Cantor)

An open discussion about LIMBA’s key concerns, with some local policy makers available to field questions. Please feel free to join us armed with your questions about Long Island’s future in education, energy, environment, government, housing, infrastructure, and transportation. Our local leaders will include John D. Cameron, Jr., Chairman of the Long Island Regional Planning Council, and Martin Cantor, Economist from the Long Island Center for Socio-Economic Policy.

The Northeast Rail Initiative

Bob Yaro is President of the North Atlantic Rail Alliance, Inc., which is advancing plans for a proposed high-speed and high performance rail network serving the 7-state New England – Downstate New York region, including Long Island.

Bob is Professor of Practice Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught from 2012 to 2020. Before coming to Penn he taught at Harvard and the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. He is also President Emeritus of Regional Plan Association in New York, which he led for 25 years until 2014. He is also Chairman of the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, RI.

July 4th Message 2021

The topic is “Fly Over Country”. Think about that for a moment. What does that phrase mean? We are the United States of America, but there is a major portion of the country that we dismiss as fly-over. That term began to bother me lately. I wondered how I would feel if I lived in a small, but beautiful town where people worked, worshiped, and planned together.

Well, the truth is, I did have a relationship like that in a small village in Vermont near the Canadian border. I owned a 300-acre tree farm and in terms of northern Vermont 45 years ago that was not considered a big holding, but I was important, at least I thought I was.

 The people I came to know in the village included the village lawyer, the other farmers, the shop keepers, the constable, the forest ranger, and they all thought they were important too. They were important. They had purpose and dignity.

I do not believe that those of us who have been born in, or who have migrated to, the financially richer sections oh the country’s coasts are snobs, but I do believe we have too little understanding of our brothers and sisters in the heartland. That fact may not have as big affect on them that I am presuming, but it may have a negative effect on those who do not live in America’s heartland.

Perhaps it is the rest of us who are missing out on the rich pockets of local color and culture that contribute to America’s greatness. My close friend Robert moved to a small town in Tennessee when he retired. Bob was an architect and a musician. After he had been living there a few years I asked him if there was enough to keep him busy and interested. He told me that so many people in his area played music that he could not have made a better decision.

On this wonderful celebration of the founding of the United States may I suggest that you plan a trip to rural Maine, or maybe Wyoming, Idaho, Georgia, or any other state. You will find charm in these less populated places and the greatest charm of all is how much they rely on themselves and each other.

Years ago, the Chevrolet division had a song that was sung by Dinah Shore, “See the USA in your Chevrolet, America is asking you to call”. Take her up on her offer, it is a great country.
Have joyous July 4th celebration
Ernie Fazio

Ransomware: How to Protect Your Business From This New Cyber Threat

Warren Axelrod

C. Warren Axelrod is Research Director for Financial Services for the US Cyber Consequences Unit. Previously, he was the Business Information Security Officer and Chief Privacy Officer for U.S. Trust. He was a founding member of the FS/ISAC in 1999 and represented financial services’ cybersecurity interests in the National Information Center in Washington, DC during Y2K. He testified before the U.S. Congress on cybersecurity in 2001.

Warren was honored with the prestigious Information Security Executive Luminary Leadership Award in 2007, and received Computerworld Premier 100 and Best in Class awards in 2003. He won the 2009 ISACA Michael P. Cangemi Best Article Award for an article on security metrics.
Warren’s more recent books include Engineering Safe and Secure Software Systems (2012), Outsourcing Information Security (2004), and Enterprise Information Security and Privacy (2009), published by Artech House.

He earned a Ph.D. in managerial economics from Cornell University, as well as a B.Sc. in electrical engineering and an M.A. in economics and statistics, both with honors, from Glasgow University. He is certified as a CISSP and CISM, and is a member of IEEE, ACM, (ISC)2, and ISACA.

Frank Imburgio

As president of Desktop Solutions, Frank is responsible for overseeing the strategic direction of all major projects. He also designs many of the database architectures that drive our more complex applications. Frank is an IEEE Certified Software Engineering Master with over 30 years experience in SQL, PHP, Javascript, Ajax, HTML/CSS, Unix, Data Analysis, C++, Linux, Microsoft platforms, E-Commerce Deployment, Project Management, System Architecture and Cloud Engineering.

Before founding Desktop Solutions in 1996, he was Senior Database Administrator for Long Island Savings Bank and Assistant Vice President at Dean Witter Financial Services, where he was responsible for designing, developing and supporting custom software. Frank’s wide array of programming knowledge is also invaluable in legacy integration projects.

Rick Harnish

Learn more at https://www.hsrail.org/
High-speed rail strikes at the core of today’s biggest challenges with our environment, the economy and fragmented communities. The High Speed Rail Alliance is working to bring the game-changing power of fast, frequent and affordable trains to North America. We believe that high-speed trains, integrated with expanding transit networks, will revitalize cities, towns and regions by making visits to family, friends and business partners easier, more productive and more affordable, while dramatically reducing carbon emissions in the process.

Rick Harnish co-founded the High Speed Rail Alliance in 1993 with a passion for revitalizing the region he grew up in, lives in, and loves. The Alliance builds the political will for systemic change by advocating for integrated rail and transit networks connected by 200+ mph high-speed lines. By connecting cities, towns and airports, the high-speed trains will dramatically expand economic opportunities and slash carbon emissions.

A native of the Chicago area, Harnish has been MHSRA’s executive director since 2001. His perspective on trains and transportation policy has appeared in Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Politico, Governing, the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine, Crain’s Chicago and many other publications, in addition to various NPR programs. He has achieved notable successes and progress in MHSRA’s three focus areas: advocacy, education, and research.

Harnish’s work is informed by his strong commitment to researching and learning from global best practices. He has ridden high-speed trains—often in the context of leading small groups—in Belgium, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, and Turkey, and he draws on a global network of colleagues with expertise in trains and transportation policy.

Memorial Day Message 2021

I must admit that Memorial Day was not a day of deep appreciation for the fallen military that served this country, at least not for me. It was instead a celebration of the unofficial beginning of summer. I feel no guilt for my youthful approach to this once solemn holiday, but as I have grown older, I have a deeper appreciation of the many people who have served.
I do regret deeply that not all those wars were in preservation of our country, but be that as it may, those who served were patriots of a great nation.
This Memorial Day let us not judge the past too harshly as we look around and see the harbingers of spring. The birds and green growth remind us that the world we live in is constantly renewing itself even as it is evolving. Some of what we see is not pleasing to us, but we have the power to change what we see and fear. Just as the earth is fertile and supportive of new life, our minds are fertile with new ideas which in turn guide us through the times of doubt. Let this metaphor of renewal be a comfort to all of us who want to make this world we live in, a better place.
Now that we can safely hug our children, our spouse, our grandchildren and all the other important people in our lives let us do that. Enjoy this day and celebrate.


Ernie Fazio