Kate Murray, Hempstead Town Supervisor, extended an extraordinary show of support for the anti “Casino-at-Belmont-Park” movement last week. In response to an e-mail I had sent her about the issue, she replied in a letter on Dec. 29 that was far beyond anything I expected.
I am one of the organizers in Floral Park to stop a gambling facility at Belmont. Ms. Murray drew a line in the sand on our side. She wrote, “I remain poised to confront prospective casino plans that would impact Floral Park with the same determination and protective nature that surrounded my opposition to the [MTA] proposal for a third LIRR train track.” I was floored.
Her letter momentarily caused me to think of Barry Fitzgerald’s famous line in The Quiet Man: “Impetuous! Homeric!”
She went on to state: “I have repeatedly stated that any development proposals for Belmont must have the support of the communities that are in Belmont’s shadow. Neighbors in Bellerose, Floral Park, Stewart Manor, Garden City, South Floral Park, Franklin Square and Elmont will all live with the consequences of decisions made by county officials on this matter…I will stand with Floral Park officials and homeowners as I have in the past.”
By way of background, all that I had asked of Ms. Murray was for a meeting to express our concerns about the casino. I explained that we were horrified that a casino at Belmont would flood our area with millions of additional vehicles that it couldn’t possibly handle without imposing enormous burdens on nearby communities like FP. Reconstruction of the Cross Island Parkway and Hempstead and Jericho Tnpks. alone could cost taxpayers billions, not to mention the cost of eminent domain seizures of residential homes to build massive ramps off the CIP to speed traffic into Belmont.
My message to Ms. Murray was blunt: A casino at Belmont would pose a monumental environmental disaster for western Nassau and eastern Queens. It would lower nearby property values, increase crime, harm school systems, choke traffic and encourage residents to flee to safer communities. Happily, Kate Murray responded to our pleas with courageous leadership. To say the least, she has inspired us to continue our fight against our enormously rich, powerful and crafty opponents.
The sad side of this coin is the many politicians that Floral Park has helped to elect that are in favor of imposing such a catastrophe on our community. Why is it that Kate Murray stands alone among them on the side of their shared constituents? It makes you wonder, have the political proponents of the casino – Reps. Carolyn McCarthy and Peter King, Senators Dean Skelos and Jack Martins, County Executive Ed Mangano and undoubtedly Joe Mondello, the GOP party leader – ever given a thought to the ugly downsides of their project. The facts are screaming at them and they aren’t listening.
A warning: We are going to make them listen to us. We will make them relearn their duty to the good communities they have promised to protect. We will flood them with protests in writing, phone calls and demonstrations on their doorsteps. We will work to persuade other Nassau communities to march with us and we will cause the media to expose their duplicities and betrayals. If need be we will vote them out of office.
We’ve got important friends in higher places and one of them is Kate Murray.