tagged w/ Nassau County
By DAN MCCUE
(That's me!) For The Courthouse News Service
It isn't often that I read a serious legal story, sit back and chuckle to myself, but I found myself doing so twice in recent days - first as I read Courthouse News coverage of a gerrymandering case currently working its way through a federal court in New York, then a second time after hearing about the citizen redistricting of California.
"So this is what it comes to," I thought to myself with a slow, self-confirming nod. "Some things never change."
You see, as a young journalist plying my trade at a weekly newspaper, I had a front row seat for the original drawing of the legislative district lines that are now a point contention in a pair of lawsuits in Nassau County, a suburb of New York City.
It all started with federal lawsuit that few but political junkies paid much attention to; a group of minority voters sued Nassau County and its Board of Supervisors, claiming that the political system that had been in place since the county was formed in late 19th century effectively preventing them from voting for and having a reasonable expectation of being represented by the elected official of their choice.
At the time, the Board of Supervisors was comprised of six members representing the county's primary political subdivisions -the supervisors of the Towns of North Hempstead and Oyster Bay, the mayors of its two nominal cities, Glen Cove and Long Beach, and because it was so populous, the supervisor and deputy supervisor of the Town of Hempstead.
In due course, Judge Arthur D. Spatt found the Board of Supervisors unconstitutional on the grounds that its configuration and the weighted-voting system it employed to make decisions violated the principal of "One Person-One Vote" and significant portions of the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1964.
That fateful decision was only the beginning of an extraordinary - and eye-opening remediation process, one that began in the Fall of 1993 with the formation of the Nassau County Commission on Government Revision, and culminated a year later with voter approval of a referendum that established the current 19-member legislature and putting in place several significant governmental reforms.
It was about mid-way through this process, in March 1994, that I received a call from a neighbor whose home was diagonally adjacent to mine.
"We're issuing our report tomorrow night," Francis X. Moroney, executive director of the commission said. "You might find it interesting. Why don't you come down?"
The meeting was held in a conference room adjacent to a popular county golf course, and around a long conference table sat the commission that would rewrite the county's rules - the primary subject of the report - and create the legislative districts themselves.
Strangely, I thought, given the fact the group was about to issue "its" work product, tension remained in the room. Several of those at the table were attorneys, but beyond, it quickly became clear that they represented different "factions".
There were those, of course, to make sure the minority plaintiffs - all of them African-American - were done right by the process, there was at least one hardcore independent, and then there were clearly the Republicans and Democrats, who seemed to eye each other warily regardless of what was being said.
But it was the drawing of the legislative district map itself that was to prove the most fascinating aspect of all.
"The primary thing that had to be resolved was the constitutional requirement," Moroney told me after that first meeting.
Before they did anything else, the commissioners had looked at where the vast majority of African-Americans lived, which turned out to be the central corridor of the county. Then the commission began to consider several options - one for nearly every commissioner in the room and, it seemed for every political boss who was judiciously standing outside of it.
The early issue was whether proposed districts were instances of "packing" - putting too many people of one voting block in a single district - or "cracking" - in essence diluting the voting power of any one segment of the voting population in proposed districts.
"Eventually we decided 19 was the optimum number of districts," Moroney said.
The preliminary map created two minority-majority districts, areas where African-Americans and Hispanics made up the bulk of registered voters.
The next concern was keeping smaller communities, villages and unincorporated areas largely defined by school district lines, whole. In the end 52 of the county's 64 villages were wholly within one single district or another -- the exceptions where those, like my home village of Westbury, which needed to be divided in order to create the minority-majority districts.
In the case of Westbury, the line between districts 2 and 11 was literally the yellow line done the middle of the village's main street, Post Avenue.
But not everyone was happy.
Democratic County Chairman Stephen J. Sabbath insisted the map had been designed to perpetuate the Republican's longstanding domination of Nassau politics. At the time, Republicans enjoyed a 3-2 enrollment edge over the Democrats, and had been in power, with just two or three year's exception, for nearly a century.
"This map is a partisan blueprint for one-party control of county government for the foreseeable future," Sabbath said.
Moroney took offense, saying that statements like Sabbath's -statements that had gotten a lot of play in the local newspapers - where merely the statements of a leader "whose job it is to be political."
"Cut away the press releases and what you arrive at is a process that has taken place with political blinders on," he said.By DAN MCCUE
(That's me!) For The Courthouse News Service
It isn't... more
Peter King is a member of a Republican Party. Peter King belongs to Manhattan, and he was born there on April 5 1944. He is 66 year old now, and he will celebrate his 67th birthday on April 5 next month. His family has an Irish background, and his father was a police officer in New York City.Peter King is a member of a Republican Party. Peter King belongs to Manhattan, and he... more
Yep it's one of the strangest headlines I've seen in a while.....
Judge rules inmate 'bitten on penis by rodent' may sue
Mr Solomon and county officials disputed whether the culprit was a rat or mouse
A New York man who says a rat bit his penis during a jail stay may sue county officials, a judge has ruled.
Peter Solomon, who said he later had to endure a course of rabies jabs, says jailers knew the ward in which they placed him was infested with rodents.
He says the jail was negligent and mistreated him because he is black.
Lawyers for Nassau County sought to have the suit dismissed. Among other arguments, its experts said they saw no evidence of serious injury.
Rodent problem disputed
In February 2007, Mr Solomon, a Vietnam veteran who says he has been treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, was jailed in the Nassau County Correctional Center near New York City, pending trial on charges he had menaced his wife.
He was transferred to a medical observation unit amid worries he was mentally ill. He claims at night a rat "or similar rodent" emerged from a hole in his mattress and bit him on the penis and hand, drawing blood.
Mr Solomon, who is in his 50s, claimed the county was indifferent to his treatment and failed to protect him from the vermin, and sued for damages.
County officials said they were shielded from lawsuits because they had acted in an official capacity, they were unaware of substantial risks, and they disputed the notion that a rodent problem existed in the jail.
They also noted the wound did not require stitching and that his injuries were merely psychological.
"The parties dispute whether the rodent was a mouse or a rat, whether Solomon was bitten or scratched, and the nature and extent of his injuries," Judge Arthur Spatt wrote.
He ruled on Thursday the suit may proceed.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12187409Yep it's one of the strangest headlines I've seen in a while.....
2 years ago
Driver kicks 7-year-old out of taxi
By Marina Landis, CNN
October 13, 2010 6:11 p.m. EDT
* Police say cabbie Roy D. Sutherland, 66, left 7-year-old alone on a street corner
* The driver had asked the boy if he had money for the fare and got no answer
* Sutherland was arrested and is to be arraigned October 25
New York (CNN) -- A driver for the Valentine Cab Co. in Roosevelt, New York, was charged with endangering the welfare of a child after he kicked a young boy out of his cab Tuesday for not having any money, police said.
Nassau County Police detectives say a 7-year-old boy with special needs was put into a cab in Freeport, New York, by his grandmother and was supposed to be dropped off at his residence in the neighboring Long Island town of Roosevelt.
After picking up the child, the driver of the cab, 66-year-old Roy D. Sutherland, asked the boy if he had money for the fare. When the child was unable to provide any information, Sutherland told him to get out of the cab, police said.
Sutherland left the boy on a street corner in Freeport by himself and drove away, police said.
Sutherland was later arrested and issued an appearance ticket, police said. He's scheduled to be arraigned at the First District Court in Hempstead on October 25.
7-year-old boy kicked out of cab - WABC/TV
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
FREEPORT, NY (WABC) -- A cab driver is accused of dumping a 7-year-old boy onto the street because he didn't have any money.
He was making a routine trip from his Grandmother's home to his mother's house.
"I was just a little crazy at the moment, because I was like, what do you mean he didn't have fare, he's 7 years old," Joy Allen, Alex's mother said.
Joy Allen is still in a state of shock, she's so angry and upset.
Monday at around 5 p.m., a cab driver left her 7-year-old son Alex alone on a street corner in Freeport.
What's worse, is that Alex is a child with special needs and has difficulty communicating.
"He begged the cab driver not to put him out of the car, and he said that the cab driver told him, he doesn't have time for people who don't have money and to get out," Allen said.
"I said OK, and so I got out and stood by myself," Alex said.
Allen, who doesn't drive, had called the Express Valentine Taxi Company to take her son from her mother's home in Freeport to her house in Roosevelt.
When the cab driver realized the boy didn't have money, he kicked him out of the car.
"I called the cab company screaming, no forget everything, tell me where my son is before we resolve anything, where is my son, where is my son, and he couldn't get an answer out of the driver," Allen said.
Alex was alone and confused and crying for his grandmother who eventually found him.
"I was screaming for Grandma, and I keep saying, Grandma!" Alex said.
Eyewitness News went to the owner of the cab company who said it is company policy to turn away any passenger who doesn't pay the fare upfront.
Allen says a 7 year old child with a disability isn't just any passenger.
"I speak for a lot of people, I could never put a child out anywhere," Allen said.
The driver, Roy Sutherland, 66, will be arraigned on charges of endangering a child later this month.Driver kicks 7-year-old out of taxi
By Marina Landis, CNN
October 13, 2010 6:11... more
In response to recent reports about the growing number of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile virus infections occurring from mosquito bites, some municipalities in the North East have began conducting aerial and ground insecticide spraying on neighborhoods and farms. But not everyone is pleased with this, including several Mass. organic farmers whose properties could be destroyed by the endeavor.
A recent Taunton Daily Gazette article highlights the concerns of several families in the area that tend organic farms. They say that, not only will the spraying harm the integrity of their crops, it will have devastating, long-lasting effects on the natural environment in general.
Contrary to popular belief, there are natural ways to help keep mosquitos at bay, including maintaining a healthy population of dragonflies which are known to eat mosquitos and their larvae. And insecticide spraying not only kills mosquitos, but it likely kills every other insect as well, including dragonflies.
Residents are also concerned about how the spraying affects honeybee populations. Honeybees have been in decline throughout the U.S., probably due to excessive pesticide exposure. According to locals, every time their area is sprayed, many of these honeybees die. And since honeybees are necessary for crop pollination, an important part of agriculture is destroyed.
Ironically, area residents say that mosquitos are down this year, and they do not understand why officials are in a panic over the situation.
Opponents to the spraying are urging officials to think about the damage spraying causes in the long term and consider other alternatives. They say that the damage caused by aerial spraying far outweighs any purported benefits.
Read More: http://morichesdaily.com/2010/08/mass-residents-fight-aerial-insecticide-spraying/In response to recent reports about the growing number of Eastern equine encephalitis... more
At some point during the last decade or so you may have been in some traffic and spotted Bob holding his sign “Newsday Appoints Gaffney Dictator” over the LIE during rush hour traffic. I recently caught up with Bob and was curious as to why he holds the sign, and more importantly what it all means!At some point during the last decade or so you may have been in some traffic and... more
A Wantagh nun is out of jail Thursday on her own recognizance after she got drunk at church, drove while intoxicated and hit a tree, police and prosecutors said.
Children playing outside were nearly mowed down by her out-of-control car on Tuesday evening, witnesses said Thursday.
Sister Lauren M. Hanley, 68, had a bottle of liquor in the car and a blood-alcohol level of 0.18 when she was arrested following the accident after she left work at St. Frances de Chantal Church in Wantagh, according to the Nassau County district attorney's office.A Wantagh nun is out of jail Thursday on her own recognizance after she got drunk at... more
Authorities say heavy thunderstorms and hail have downed trees and utility poles and caused flooding.Authorities say heavy thunderstorms and hail have downed trees and utility poles and... more
Wal-Mart will establish a fund for victims and implement improved safety measures as part of a deal with New York prosecutors to avoid criminal charges stemming from the death of a worker trampled by post-Thanksgiving bargain-hunters last year.Wal-Mart will establish a fund for victims and implement improved safety measures as... more
Falling behind in the polls, Republican candidate John McCain hopes to shake up the presidential race in his final debate with Democrat Barack Obama, who will be looking to close the deal with voters unhappy with the country's direction.Falling behind in the polls, Republican candidate John McCain hopes to shake up the... more
Photographs from Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY on Monday, October 13, 2008 and Tuesday, October 14, 2008. Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Illinois) will face off at 9:00pm on Wednesday, October 15, 2008. This is the first time a Presidential debate will be hosted at the school in Long Island's Nassau County.Photographs from Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY on Monday, October 13, 2008 and... more
An increase in the number of West Nile Virus cases this summer has officials in one New York community studying whether the spike could be linked to the rise in mortgage foreclosures.An increase in the number of West Nile Virus cases this summer has officials in one... more
Kathleen Reilly wore badge No. 1.
Nassau County's first female police officer, Reilly quickly made an impression on her fellow cops even as she faced resistance when she joined the previously all-male force in February 1966. She won over her colleagues, Reilly's family said, with a compelling combination of talent and charm.
"There were [about] 2,700 men on the police department who didn't want her there," said Reilly's younger brother, Terry Reilly, of Vallejo, Calif. "Within six months, she had 2,700 older brothers. They loved her."
The year after she joined the force, Reilly, 28, became Nassau's first female detective. The future looked bright.
But on Christmas 1967, Reilly died while trying to help a motorist on the Meadowbrook Parkway. She was the first female police officer in New York State to die in the line of duty.
At her funeral, then Police Commissioner Francis Looney talked about Reilly's legacy, said her sister, Eileen Myers.
"She did more for the Nassau County Police Department than the Nassau County Police Department ever did for her," Looney said, according to Myers.
After a three-month campaign by the Nassau Police Benevolent Association, Reilly's story was resurrected earlier this month when Gov. David A. Paterson announced that the Merrick Road bridge over the Meadowbrook Parkway in Freeport will be named after her. Paterson called Reilly "a true heroine."
---more at link---Kathleen Reilly wore badge No. 1.
Nassau County's first female police officer,... more