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A Sign of Our Times




Grand Jury Report critical of Smithtown town
nments supervision
of commercial
property demolition…

The Grand Jury Report is public record and available at the link below. It is 40 pages, but double spaced, and well worth the few minutes it takes to read it.

Please feel free to share your comments with us.

Click on link for Full Report






Sign of our Times

By Eric Sailor

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Senator Flanagan Recognizes Legislator Kennedy As 2018 Woman Of Distinction

Senator Flanagan Announces Suffolk County Legislator Kennedy As 2018 Woman Of Distinction

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (2nd Senate District) recently honored Suffolk County Legislator Leslie Kennedy of Nesconset as his 2018 Woman of Distinction.  To celebrate the event, Senator Flanagan welcomed Legislator Kennedy and her husband John, the Suffolk County Comptroller, to Albany to take part in a special Senate Women of Distinction ceremony.

Senator Flanagan recognized Legislator Kennedy for her selfless dedication to the community and her efforts on behalf of all the residents of Suffolk County.  A lifelong Long Islander who was born and raised in Commack, she has committed her life to making a difference for all she has served throughout her years in public service, in the healthcare field and in the private sector.

Leslie worked for over 13 years as a legislative aide in the Suffolk County Legislature before joining the body as a member in 2015.  A dedicated public servant, Legislator Kennedy is a constant presence throughout the Towns of Smithtown and Brookhaven by always working to protect the way of life of all of her constituents.  While in office, Legislator Kennedy has focused on protecting taxpayers, preserving the Long Island environment and ensuring the safety of students in her community.

To that end, Leslie is continuing her education at Suffolk County Community College’s Credential in Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counseling (CASAC) program in an effort to better serve the residents of Long Island.

Prior to her service in government, she attended nursing school at Suffolk County Community College and worked at Mather Hospital in a variety of capacities for over 30 years.  She has also worked in the private sector and at a rehabilitation facility working with individuals with substance abuse issues.

Legislator Kennedy and her husband John are the proud parents of John, Kristen, Brian and Gillian.

“Legislator Kennedy is a devoted public servant who is a great role model for all of the young women in our region.  She is a tireless advocate for her constituents who overcame her health crisis to continue her efforts to make life better for all who live in Suffolk County.  Her dedication, in partnership with her husband John, has truly made a difference and I am proud to have the opportunity to name her our 2018 Woman of Distinction,” stated Senator Flanagan.

“It is an immense privilege to be recognized by the New York State Senate as the 2018 Woman of Distinction for the work I have done in my community. I am humbled by the opportunity to hold this title and I intend to continue my work to better the lives of the people of Suffolk County,” said Legislator Kennedy.

The Senate’s Women of Distinction program was created in 1998 to honor New York women who exemplify personal excellence, or whose professional achievements or acts of courage, selflessness, integrity or perseverance serve as an example to all New York residents.


County Exec Bellone Swears In New Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart


Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today swore in Geraldine Hart as the 14th Police Commissioner of the Suffolk County Police Department.  Last night, the Suffolk County Legislature voted unanimously to confirm her appointment at their General Meeting in Hauppauge, making her the first woman to hold the position in the Police Department’s history.   Prior to assuming the role, Commissioner Hart served as the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Long Island Office as Senior Supervisory Resident Agent.


Southampton Progressive Caucus Invites Public To Two Candidate Debates

Southampton Progressive Caucus presents Two Candidate Debates

Democratic Congressional candidates Kate Browning, Elaine DiMasi, Perry Gershon, David Pechefsky and Vivian Viloria Fisher. Rebecca Dolber moderator.

The Southampton Progress Caucus will present two debates among the Democratic candidates for Congress on Saturday, May 5 and Saturday, May 19. The May 5 debate will be held at the Southampton Inn at 91 Hill Street, Southampton. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. and the debate runs from 2 to 4 p.m. The May 19 debate will be held at Chancellors Hall at Stony Brook Southampton, 239 Montauk Highway, Southampton. Prior to that debate there will be a grass-roots activists’ fair from 1:30 to 2 p.m. Debate will run from 2 to 4 p.m.

The debates will feature the five candidates running in the Democratic Congressional primary on June 26: Kate Browning, Elaine DiMasi, Perry Gershon, David Pechefsky and Vivian Viloria Fisher. The debates will cover a wide range of topics, domestic and international. They will be moderated by Rebecca Dolber, founder of East End Action Network, bio below.

The Southampton Progressive Caucus (SPC) is an alliance of grassroots activists and the Southampton Town Democratic Committee. It was formed in 2017 to advocate for social justice, advance progressive values and to elect progressive Democrats in Southampton Town, Suffolk County, New York State and New York’s 1st Congressional District. In the words of Andrea Klausner, one of the founders of the Southampton Progressive Caucus, “The stakes have never been higher to elect responsible, qualified individuals to represent us in Congress. These debates are an opportunity to get to know our wonderful candidates better so we can be fully informed voters.”

The debates are free and open to all.  For more information, please contact Andrea Klausner at shprogressivecaucus@gmail.com.

Kate Browning served as a Suffolk County Legislator representing the 3rd district for 12 years. She was born and raised Belfast, Northern Ireland, and has lived with her husband and children in Shirley since 1989. Before taking office, Browning worked as a school bus driver for the William Floyd School District. Her husband and sons have served in the military and she “avidly supports our service members overseas and their families here at home.” In her words, Browning “has fought for Suffolk County’s working families, has successfully controlled spending and held the line on taxes, cracked down on illegal housing and made protecting our precious environment a focus.”

Elaine DiMasi spent 21 years as a federal contractor and project manager at Brookhaven National Lab, “delivering world leading solutions in energy, environment and health.” DiMasi says her blue-collar background and work ethic inspired her “to value, respect and protect the dignity of working women and men.”DiMasi believes in “a government that values two way communication and transparency, a government that cares for all its people equally, is responsive to them and their concerns, an American future that values equality for its people and that opens doors of opportunity for all.”

Vivian Viloria Fisher is a former teacher of English and Spanish for the Middle Country and Three Village School districts and Suffolk County Legislator from East Setauket. She was elected to the Suffolk County Legislature on January 19, 1999 in a special election. She went on to serve 13 years as a legislator and served as deputy presiding officer for six years. Her greatest areas of interest were social justice and environmental protection. After leaving the legislature, due to term limits, she served on a number of boards including the Suffolk County Food Policy Council, which she created, and Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic’s C3 and C4 boards.

Perry Gershon is a successful businessman making his first foray into politics because “he is disturbed by a Washington political class that cares more about themselves than the American people.” After founding a sports bars at the age of 23, Gershon spent more than 25 years in commercial real estate finance. He co-founded a firm during the Great Recession to offer alternatives to traditional lending sources, providing capital for real estate projects and preventing defaults and foreclosure. Over his career, Gershon has “earned a reputation for bringing about cooperation among diverse parties to achieve common goals, which has prepared him to reach across party lines in Congress.” Gershon oversaw Hurricane Sandy relief efforts for his synagogue as chair of its social action committee. He is also a marathon runner who has used the sport to raise money for numerous charitable causes. Gershon put down roots in Suffolk County more than 22 years ago. He and his family live on the South Fork.

David Pechefsky grew up in Patchogue was valedictorian at Patchogue-Medford High School in 1986. He earned his BA from Hunter College and a masters in international development at American University. As a longtime staffer for the New York City Council, Pechefsky worked on issues ranging from protecting children to lead poisoning to promoting green buildings to affordable housing. At the MTA and the Mayor’s Office of Appointments, he worked to ensure the city had the most qualified and capable people in leadership roles. Pechefsky has also worked to help build democracy abroad. As a consultant for the National Democratic Institute from 2010 to 2013, he helped establish a legislative budget office for the Congress of Liberia, managed a U.S. government funded program to strengthen the parliament of Somalia and worked with the prime minister of Iraq. Pechefsky lives in Port Jefferson and  is on leave from his position as a senior advisor with Generation Citizen, a nonprofit that trains college students to be “democracy coaches,” and provides civic education for middle and high school students. He led the initiative to obtain over $1 million in public funding for the organization.

Rebecca Dolber (moderator), who up in East Moriches, is the founder and organizer of the East End Action Network, a grassroots, Indivisible organization focused on voter outreach and education. She earned a B.A. in communications and film from Manhattanville College and continued her studies in screenwriting at the New York Film Academy. She spent her 20s living and working in New York City, coordinating various productions for Iron Films and NBC Universal. A year before her 30th birthday, she moved back to the district to build her own business, a wholesale jewelry and design firm, R.E.D., Rebecca’s studio. Her jewelry can be found in surf shops and yoga studios from Moriches to Montauk. Dolber currently resides in Center Moriches.


Legislator Kennedy Honors The Memory Of Nesconset Resident Michele Martin

March 20, 2017 – Legislator Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset) had the opportunity to honor an amazing woman who tragically lost her life to Leukemia. Michele Martin was a resident of Nesconset who was in the insurance industry. She owned and operated an Allstate Agency for the past fifteen years, but her true passion was helping people. Michele Martin had a heart for women who were the victims of domestic abuse, working with the Allstate Foundation to benefit women who were victims of domestic abuse. She designated her office as a Dress for Success drop off site to benefit women who need to get back on their feet. She won numerous awards from Allstate as well as women’s groups on Long Island for all the work she did to benefit women.

Apart from all the benevolent work she has done, her family was the most important thing in her life, she was dedicated to her husband and her four children. She lost her life this past January, but not before collecting over seven thousand dollars for the Leukemia Foundation. She was an accomplished woman and Legislator Kennedy presented her family with a proclamation in honor of this amazing women.

“Michele was truly one of a kind,” said Legislator Leslie Kennedy “She has done so much to benefit women, and she will be greatly missed. She will be remembered for all the great things she had accomplished and for all the lives she had touched when she was with us.”


NYS Police Announce Statewide Crackdown On Distracted Driving

New York State Police and local law enforcement will participate in a statewide crackdown on distracted driving as part of April’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The enforcement effort, called Operation Hang Up, will include increased patrols and checkpoints targeting drivers using electronic devices while behind the wheel. This year’s enforcement detail will run from April 12 through April 16.
Preliminary data indicates a more than 1,100 percent increase in tickets for texting while driving in New York State from 2011 to 2017, including a 20 percent increase from 2016 to 2017.  While hands-free technology in vehicles has resulted in a steady decline in the number of tickets issued for cell phone use, the increased use of smartphones has caused texting tickets to rise every year since 2011.
Troopers will be using both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) vehicles as part of the operation in order to more easily identify motorists who are using handheld devices while driving. CITE vehicles allow the Trooper to better observe distracted driving violations.  These vehicles blend in with every day traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.


MS-13 Gang Member Found Guilty In Gang Recruitment Attempt




(HAUPPAUGE, N.Y.) – Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini today announced the trial conviction of an MS-13 gang member who used the threat of violence to attempt to recruit new members for the gang.

“The victims did not join; they did the right thing,” District Attorney Sini said. “That’s why it’s critical that the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office is here to protect the victims of not only gang violence, but also of gang intimidation.”

Juan Lopez, 32, of Huntington Station, was convicted by a jury of Attempted Coercion in the First Degree, an E felony.

On April 16, 2017, at approximately 1 p.m., Lopez and several other MS-13 gang members approached two young men at Manor Field Park in Huntington Station in an attempt to recruit them to join MS-13. The incident occurred five days after the murder of four young men near a park in Central Islip by alleged MS-13 gang members.

“When the boys resisted, this defendant stated to them in unequivocal terms, ‘this is how you end up dead in the park,’” District Attorney Sini said. “My message to Mr. Lopez is: That’s how you end up in jail in Suffolk County.”

Lopez was arrested by the Suffolk County Police Department on April 17, 2017.

The case was prosecuted by the Enhanced Prosecution Bureau’s Gang Unit. The Gang Unit was launched in January 2018 by District Attorney Sini to focus exclusively on investigating and prosecuting crimes committed by gang members, such as members of MS-13.

“We are going to bring the fight against MS-13 to a whole new level, and that includes utilizing our penal law in innovative ways,” District Attorney Sini said. “That includes putting an enormous amount of pressure on known MS-13 gang members.”

Lopez faces a maximum sentence of one and one-third to four years of incarceration. He will be sentenced by State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho at a later date.



Healthy Suffolk: Free Program Helps Participants to Reduce Risk of Diabetes

Healthy Suffolk: Free Program Helps Participants to Reduce Risk of Diabetes

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Department of Health Services Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken invite residents who are at risk for developing type-2 diabetes to participate, free of charge, in the county- administered National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). The program supports moderate behavior changes and has proven to reduce risk in those who are at risk for type 2 diabetes.

DPP is based on a research study led by the National Institutes of Health. The study showed that with intensive counseling and motivational support, participants were able to make behavioral changes, reducing their risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes by 58 percent. Lifestyle changes worked particularly well for participants aged 60 and older, reducing their risk by 71 percent.

“We seek to reverse in Suffolk County the nationwide trend toward increased rates of diabetes. This program addresses the behaviors that contribute to diabetes, a disease that exacts enormous costs to the individual, the family and the community,” said Executive Bellone.

“Diabetes puts people at risk for many serious health conditions,” said Dr. Tomarken. “The good news is that moderate changes in lifestyle can result in significant health benefits,” said Dr. Tomarken. 

The Diabetes Prevention Program is led by a trained lifestyle coach. It meets one hour per week for 16 weeks, then monthly for the remainder of one year. 



Dates:  April 25, May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 June 6, 13, 20, 27, July 11, 18, 25,  August 1, 8,15, 2018
Time: 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Suffolk County Department of Health Services
725 Veteran’s Memorial Highway, Bldg.C-016
Hauppauge NY 11788
Contact: Debora 631-853-2928

For more information visit our website at www.suffolkcountyny.gov/health located under Healthy Living, or Call the Office of Health Education at 853-3162.


Acting Police Commissioner Cameron Announces Drop In Crime

Suffolk County Police Acting Commissioner Stuart Cameron is highlighting the department’s first quarter statistics that show significant decreases in violent crime and drug overdose deaths with a double-digit reduction in overtime costs. 

Violent crime, which includes homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, dropped 18.9 % for the first three months of 2018 compared to the same timeframe in 2017. Shooting incidents saw one of the most dramatic decreases of all statistics with nine people injured or killed by gunfire in 2018 versus 17 in 2017, a 47% reduction. Property crimes including burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft are also down by 10.3%.

Statistics on our roadways also showed positive results at the start of the year as officers wrote 8.7% more traffic summonses as of March 24 with a 25% decrease in fatal motor vehicle crashes and an 11.1 % reduction in motor vehicle crashes resulting in injuries. These results reflect the department’s increased focus on traffic enforcement, the incorporation of an effective intelligence-driven model to traffic enforcement and the department’s new Alarm Management Program, which has freed up patrol time to allow for increased enforcement.  

Tackling the narcotics epidemic is a top priority for the department and the department has allocated a number of resources to tackle the issue. This includes increases in the department’s representation on the DEA Task Force, the size of the Narcotics Section and the involvement of precinct-level detectives in narcotics work while also partnering with the Nassau County Police Department in a task force to combat overdoses. 

In the first quarter of 2018, there was a 24.6 % increase in narcotics-related search warrants over the same time frame last year. During those searches, detectives arrested 155 people and seized 43 guns. Drug seizures increased dramatically with 871 grams of heroin seized (189% more YTD), and 3,732 grams of Cocaine seized (724% more YTD). Overall, the number of drug overdoses dropped 42% with 80% fewer people dying from heroin overdoses.

“The statistics in the first quarter of 2018 show impressive results which are reflective of the hard work done by the men and women of this department,” Acting Commissioner Stuart Cameron said. “The drop in crime occurred with a 17% cost reduction in overtime during the first quarter.”



Zeldin Announces Reform Party Endorsement

Suffolk County Reform Party Endorses Congressman Lee Zeldin for Re-Election  

Zeldin Now Holds Support of Republican, Conservative, Independence and Reform Parties

SHIRLEY, NY - The Suffolk County Reform Party has endorsed Congressman Lee Zeldin for re-election in New York’s First Congressional District. 

“The Suffolk County Reform Party stands on the principle of holding government more accountable to the taxpayers and placing the interests of the district over partisan politics. Congressman Lee Zeldin has demonstrated time and again that he fights for the best interests of his district, even if it means breaking with party leadership,” stated Suffolk County Reform Party Chairman Brian Kelly.

“I am honored to, once again, receive the support of the Reform Party and thank Chairman Brian Kelly for his great support.  I have always and will continue to fight hard for the residents of the First Congressional District to protect America’s security at home and abroad, help grow our economy and create more good paying jobs, support our veterans and first responders, improve the quality of education, repair our nation’s infrastructure, improve healthcare in America, and safeguard our environment,” said Congressman Lee Zeldin.

This is the fourth political party to endorse Congressman Zeldin in 2018 who already this year earned the endorsement of the Republican, Conservative, and Independence Parties.


Assemblyman Fitzpatrick Calls For More Affordable State Budget


Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick (R,C,I,Ref-Smithtown) joined Reclaim New York in calling to remove numerous tax increases which were included in budget proposals put forth by the governor and Assembly Democrats and to pass reforms to other spending and budget processes. Reclaim New York is a non-partisan organization calling attention to matters concerning affordability, transparency, and education in state and local government.

“New York has one of the worst business climates in the country and some of the most burdensome taxes imposed on families. This must change in order for our communities to thrive and grow,” said Fitzpatrick, who is a member of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. “Over the years our state budgets have become bloated taking into little account the impact on the residents of the state. These taxes must be reduced and spending needs to be cut now.”

The tax burdens and hostile business climate have driven residents and businesses out in droves. Roughly 1 million New Yorkers have abandoned the state since 2010.

Fitzpatrick sponsors many budget reform and tax relief bills. He sponsors legislation to impose stricter spending caps in the state budget (A.5942), reform lump-sum spending in the budget to instill more accountability (A.5657A), and provide unfunded mandate relief through a moratorium (A.5628) and reform (A.1680). He crafted his own legislation, the New York State Property Taxpayer Protection Act (A.9900), which addresses growing tax burdens through unfunded mandate relief on local government and schools. Additionally, he supports other business-friendly legislation, including small business tax reforms (A.5609, A5423) and the repeal of the job-killing corporate franchise tax (A.6758).