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From Orange County Minority Leader Anthony Marino
The interviews have all been held and, by the time you read this
article, the County Executive may already have announced his choice
to be the new Commissioner of Health for Orange County. The Interview
Committee, of which I was a member, recommended the names of two
finalists for the County Executive from which to choose. Both finalists
had excellent resumes and wishes to be pro-active in their approach
to health issues in Orange County. There are many areas of health
concerns that Orange County should be addressing and the new Commissioner,
whomever it is, appears to be willing to do just that. Issues such
as eating habits for our young people, children with special needs,
obesity, cancer screening for adults and proper recreation are only
some areas that we need to study further. I am hopeful that this
office will become very active in focusing attention on preventive
measures for proper health. The Democratic Caucus looks forward
to working with the new Commissioner in these areas.
The first and only open, public hearing on Indian Point our County’s
Evacuation Plan was held this Spring in Woodbury. The Democratic
Caucus take a great deal of credit for this as we pushed for over
one year to have such an open public meeting. We felt it was important
that the residents of Orange County have an opportunity to have
their questions and concerns addressed. After this meeting, I wrote
to the County Executive asking that he meet with the full Legislature
to discuss some concerns that were raised that evening. There are
still some unanswered questions pending regarding a public disaster.
For example, how do we deal with senior housing projects, day care
centers, latch-key children and “shut-ins”? Who will evacuate those
people? Who will notify their families of their evacuation and location?
These and other questions raised need to be addressed. We also should
drop the idea that Orange County will blockade roads from Rockland
County so anyone entering Orange County from Rockland will not be
prevented from doing so. There may be Orange County residents who
work outside of the County who will be rushing home to be with their
families. How can you stop them at the County line? That statement
made by a County official was poorly thought out and should not
be repeated at future presentations. I am waiting to hear from the
County Executive on my request.
The Democratic Caucus applauds the Legislature and the County Executive
for working out a plan to keep Crestview Lake open this summer for
our County residents’ use. It is a great family recreation center
that many County residents are finding accessible and very enjoyable.
Many thanks go to the great effort made by the “grass roots committee”
in New Windsor to circulate petitions and focus attention on the
lake. The attendance for the first two weeks has been record setting
and there were days when there was a “waiting line” of cars outside
the gate. I am hopeful that Orange County will be able to work out
a permanent plan to keep Crestview Lake open for our residents.
Family recreational sites such as this is what makes Orange County
a desirable county in which to live and we can not afford to lose
it. We will work closely with the County Executive on this issue.
There is an issue facing Orange County that we hesitate to address
because it is so controversial. It’s ugly and smelly. It’s Garbage!!!!
At the present time Orange County’s solution to our garbage is to
send it to Pennsylvania. If, in the future, Pennsylvania should
decide to stop out-of-state garbage, which is possible, our back-up
plan is to send it to two counties in upstate New York. We have
a contract with a carrier to do just that. We do not believe that
this is a solid permanent solution to our garbage problem. If we,
in Orange County, refused in the past and still refuse now to accept
out-of-county or even out-of-state garbage, why should we be so
complacent in thinking our plan for garbage is so good. The Democratic
Caucus believes that Orange County should resurrect its Solid Waste
Management Committee, which it disbanded a few years ago, to begin
studying a permanent solution to our problem. We can not wait until
a crisis occurs and then try and find a solution. We should begin
to plan now.
Orange County has now started to reapportion all twenty-one legislative
districts based on the 2000 census. It is the Chairman’s plan to
have completed and have ready for a vote in the Spring of 2004,
the new district lines. He has asked the Commissioner of Planning
to begin this work and has indicated that he would like to decrease
the number of municipalities that some Legislators represent and
also eliminate the possibility of placing two Legislators in the
same district thus forcing them into a primary. The Democratic Caucus
appreciates the good intentions and the fairness displayed by our
Chairman in address this very difficult issue. We know that probably
all Legislators will have changes made in their district lines due
to shifting population, but we ask only that addressing this issue,
it’s done in a fair manner. We do not want to see any Legislator
being “targeted” due to his/her voting record in the Legislature.
We insist that this be done. We are very hopeful that this will
be done in a much better manner than has been done previously. We
look forward to working with our Chairman on this issue to insure
that the residents of Orange County receive the representation to
which they are entitled.
Orange County Legislator