Federal Prosecutor Wants to go to Albany: Todd Kaminsky Speaks

Todd Kaminsky, Ellen Weisenberg, Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, District Attorney and Congressional Candidate Kathleen Rice, and Long Beach Judicial Candidate Scott Nigro at the Todd Kaminsky Campaign office.

Todd Kaminsky, Ellen Weisenberg, Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, District Attorney and Congressional Candidate Kathleen Rice, and Long Beach Judicial Candidate Scott Nigro at the Todd Kaminsky Campaign office.

 

With the retirement of our Assemblyman leaving a vacant seat in our district,  I sat down with State Assembly candidate,  Todd Kaminsky at The Point Ale House, to find out what his campaign is about.

 

How is the campaign going so far?

 

“I think it’s going really well. I think people are excited about having a young person with energy and a professional background … getting involved in politics. I’m trying to meet as many people as I can and let them know what I’m about, hear with they have to say and then hopefully … work together.”

 

You are endorsed by retiring Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg.

“Harvey’s endorsement has been extremely helpful. I’m knocking on doors in Oceanside I’m knocking on doors in Island Park. Sandy is still on a lot of people’s minds. We are bordered on all sides by water, so Sandy is still front and center.  I tell them about the work I did in Long Beach after Sandy (helping homeowners navigate the government agencies with help on their Sandy claims) and it resonates. The campaign is going well. Our run up to November will be canvassing, door knocking, and phone calls to get everybody motivated”

 

What has your background been to this point?

“I was a prosecutor for 10 years. First, as the domestic violence prosecutor in the Queens DA office, and then as a federal prosecutor with the US attorney’s office.  The last job I had, for six years, was amazing.  I used to literally, every day, say ‘good morning your honor I’m Todd Kaminsky on behalf of United States’  I’ve prosecuted a lot of pretty bad criminals including a NY Senator. I became one of the Department Chiefs of the corruption unit.  I believe I have a good reputation not only with my own office but with the law-enforcement agencies that I’ve worked with, defense attorneys, the judges. Your word means something as a prosecutor and I’ve always stuck to my word.”

 

How do you think that will help you in this position if elected?

“I spent a lot of time looking at files of a lot of bad people in Albany so I have a keen sense of what’s going on up there and I think sending someone like me with that background will be very helpful.   Being a prosecutor teaches you to fight. We have an adversarial system. You have to prove (your case) to 12 people; you have to let a judge know how important it is; convince someone at a law-enforcement agency to arrest them and then fight.  I fought against the toughest and most highly compensated defense attorneys. Like the Pedro Espada trial-it lasted 2 months and my summation was six hours. That’s the type of person we need for our district. We need a person who fights, someone to go to Albany and get our infrastructure money. We need to get our roads paved. We need to get our public school needs (filled), we need to get a hospital now.  All those things require tenacity and fighting. You have to be focused, and you have to be the hard worker this job is going to require.”

 

Is there anything that can be done at the state level to help the situation with the hospital?

“Yes there is. There is no doubt we are in a bureaucratic morass. There is no reason we should not have a 911 receiving emergency room. Right now, we have an urgent care facility that with a few tweaks, could receive ambulances. South Nassau (Community Hospital) wants to do it.  They’re losing money in the (small number of) doctor visits to the urgent care center. Unfortunately the really bad injuries are what pay the bills.  They want to do it, the state is holding it up. I want to be in the department of health everyday, pushing to get a substantial medical center where the hospital was.  You should be able to be treated. There’s no reason why there shouldn’t be a hospital there again.”

 

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On legislation that passed but has not been enacted :

“There is a whole raft of legislation involving insurance companies having to respond to storm victims that has been languishing,  that we need to push forward. There’s no reason why people have to wait so long to get certain visits, have to be wrangling with their insurance companies. There is a lot of legislation generally…and initiatives I’d like to get involved in.”

 

With the power split being so close in Albany, and who knows who will actually work within each party anyway,  are there issues that you can work across the aisle on?

“I think that it’s New York City versus Long Island. The city wants some of our amazing ground water from the Lloyd aquifer. That’s something where I’m sure I can partner with Republicans … Because we have a common interest and you have to do that. I pride myself on being a progressive and fairly moderate person.  When I knock on doors of Republicans and Independents, they might say “oh- a democrat”. I say Yeah- a democrat who put people in jail for ten years. Judge me on my record and what I’ve done. I’ll definitely be working with Republicans. I want to be a fairly progressive democrat and if you don’t reach across the aisle you’re making a mistake.”

 

Is there any driving issue for you?

“878 [road north of Atlantic Beach Bridge] and it’s terrible condition is a huge issue . Id love … to move that project forward. Getting people back into their homes after Sandy. I’m sure my office will be dealing with constituents’ cases with NY Rising every day.

Making sure that we have our infrastructure funding (so if)  another storm comes we have protection.  Our school funding goes down every year and our taxes are extremely high because of it and kids are getting shortchanged. The school boards have to keep cutting year after year so these cuts….pit community members against each other.” Like with East school this year.

In all this campaigning is there anything that surprised you?

“I didn’t expect I’m learning something new every day and I certainly …didn’t expect that at this point in the game I would have to be trying to handle the problems people have now. People are desperate and need help now.  (I’ve taken) a call from a contractor that  is not getting paid by his boss. I got a call from someone whose insurance company is not getting back to them.  Im trying to work while campaigning, … ill make the calls for anybody.  Other avenues of relief are over burdened.  I didn’t really expect to have to do that, but I’m happy to do it if I can.”

 

Any other issues that don’t get the attention they should?

“I’m a corruption prosecutor. That’s what I did until (5) months ago.  People are just so tired of politics.  I would’ve thought there would be more “federal prosecutor wants to go to Albany? where can I sign up?”
People want their streets paved, they want their hospital and they want their schools and I appreciate that.  I think the more we throw out the guys who have their hands in other people’s pockets or other peoples hands in their pockets … the better Albany we will have, and the better off we will be.

I am proud to wholeheartedly support the women’s equality agenda which calls for greater protection for domestic violence victims, equal pay for equal work, greater protection of the right to choose; among other important initiatives.”

 

 

What are your thoughts on the Environment, Fracking and Climate Change?

“Harvey leaving is a big deal to a lot of environmentalists. He was…(for) protecting the water, protecting the beaches, so I want to fill that void. The city (NYC) wants to come … to drill into our water.  We could have saltwater intrusion issues.

Nobody has proven to me that fracking is safe.  Until someone is able to prove that, overwhelmingly, I have grave doubts.  I am going to do whatever I can to prevent it from happening. With respect to helping people protect the beaches, that’s who we are.  The community is what makes Long Beach and it’s also hard to think of Long Beach, Point Lookout and Lido without the beach, and that’s what we have to protect first and foremost.  To anybody standing in the way of helping us keep our sand and our beaches the way they are, I am going to be fighting left and right. I don’t want people to think I’m going to come in and start reordering the government, but I do believe that an Assemblyman who is willing to get in the face of the bureaucracy and push it along will matter, and that’s what I intend to do.

The world is getting warmer if we don’t do anything we’re in trouble. It’s late and we need to get our act together. There are very small changes our communities could put together on a local level that will reduce our carbon footprint and make the world a little better. I’m all for doing everything from the smallest things to the big policy things.  Making incentives for greener energy; my friend has a solar panel company and I’d like to help companies like his grow, and wind energy.  All the alternatives are important.  The days of us passing the buck on to the next generation have to stop.

We need real leadership and I’ll… do everything I can.”

 

 
Election Day is this coming Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Point Lookout voting is at Bishop Molloy Rec Center.

Thursday 10/30/14 is Point Lookout Civic Association’s “Meet the Candidates” night at Bishop Malloy Rec Center at 8:00 PM.

 

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Residents Rally for a New Hospital

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With the last hints of summer in the air on a sunny Sunday in the City of Long Beach, over 400 rallied at Kennedy Plaza to demand officials bring  a hospital back to Long Beach.

On Sunday October 26, 2014, Beach to Bay Central Council of Civic Associations brought together over a dozen local leaders who advocated for a new hospital.

Long Beach Medical Center was lost to Sandy. Since, a inexplicable bureaucratic nightmare has ensued, and ensured that Long Beach still remains without a hospital.

Dennis Ryan, Ph.D., current Long Beach School Board Trustee, pictured above, spoke of stewardship of the community. He said “It is important to pass on the community that we’ve received to the next generation”.

Rabbi Bennett Hermann, Temple Emanu-El said
“I’m amazed why we need these (“Long Beach Needs A Hospital”) signs. It was a bureaucratic and political” decision to close it.

Even though it is 2 years later and $170 million is in play for its return, that money was given with seemingly no real assurances of what will be rebuilt.

Beach to Bay’s Barbara Bernardino said “Millions of Sandy and FEMA dollars have been used. What do we have to show for all that?”

Concerns are running high that there is no requirement of South Nassau Communities Hospital to spend any of the money in Long Beach if they so choose. This seems to be true.

Eileen Libutti said “SNCH must use the allocated FEMA funds in Long Beach to open a hospital.”

Long Beach City Councilwoman Fran Adelson said “we need that money to be spent in Long Beach. If the bridge goes up, we all know how devastating that could be”

Councilwoman Eileen Goggin said “Now the sale is complete, SNCH must provide Long Beach with a full service hospital… And spend any and all funds here in Long Beach and nowhere else.”

Lido and Point Lookout Fire Commissioner Chas Thompson highlighted the dangers posed for residents when his ambulance travels the extra time all the way to Northern Oceanside. That round trip for their department has become nearly 2 hours of unavailability if a second call comes in.
“We need the burden off our first responders to get the proper care we need”

“These first responders have to have the tools to be successful” said Mark Tannenbaum Long Beach Chamber of Commerce. “Our elected officials must work with our city council to bring that hospital back”

Over 400 gathered at Kennedy Plaza

Over 400 gathered at Kennedy Plaza

Real Estate Agent Joe Sinnona spoke of the rumored plan for new luxury rentals and why that is not necessarily good for real estate: “Rentals and condos have people in them…who need hospitals. Governor Cuomo -open our hospital.”

Deborah Bernardino Arden
“It could be any one of us. Ambulances do not fly. What happens when the bridge is up?”

Barbara Bernardino summed up the sentiment of many residents: “if South Nassau cannot open a hospital here, return the money and move on.
It is only fair. The state has been a big part of the problem it’s time for them to be part of the solution”.

Kerry DiStefano of the PTA sums it up best: “We call on our elected officials to push through the red tape”.

Hospital Rally Today

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Today, 10/26/14 at 2pm,

Residents are urged to join neighbors at Long Beach City Hall / Kennedy Plaza, wear red, bring signs and make sure the $170 million in FEMA funds is used to give our community back a full service hospital with 24/7 emergency room.

 

See you there!

Hospital or Urgent Care or?

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This coming Sunday, October 26, 2014 there will be a Rally in front of Long Beach City Hall to call for a full service Hospital with 24 hour emergency room.

When: Sunday October 26, 2014 2pm
Where: Kennedy Plaza, Long Beach
Bring: Signs and wear red clothes

I just received this letter

We have just read in the October 16th Long Beach Herald about the latest developments regarding South Nausau Community Hospital’s plans for Long Beach Medical Center.

We find it difficult to believe that they intend to devote all the FEMA designated funds of [$170,000,000.00] for the restoration of Long Beach Medical facility. With this amount of money, should it not be possible to re-open a full fledged hospital in Long Beach of which the Urgent Care Center could be a part?

A hospital is badly needed in a city surrounded by water with a number of nursing homes, an aging population, and a population that grows substantially during the summer months.

– Jacob and Ruth Lebowitz

Firefighter Suzanne Wiener Honored

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From Town of Hempstead

Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and members of the Town Board honored local volunteer first responders at Hempstead Town Hall’s Nathan L. H. Bennett Pavilion during the 2014 Firematic Awards Ceremony. Thirty-one individuals were honored with a Town of Hempstead Firematic Award for their courage and service to their communities and dedication to protecting neighbors.

“It’s important for us to recognize the volunteers who put their lives on the line for us each and every day,” Murray said. “These are our heroes, and I join with neighbors to thank them for protecting us and our lives and property.”

Some of this year’s recipients were honored for heroic rescues and courageous deeds, while others were saluted for decades of services to their departments and their communities. One of the honorees celebrated played a pivotal role in safeguarding lives and property in the wake of a dramatic oil tanker crash and explosion that occurred along Sunrise Highway in Bellmore this past December. A group of honorees incorporated teamwork into two dramatic rescues that saved the lives of two residents.

The following individuals were awarded the Town’s Firematic Medal for their distinguished service as members of the volunteer fire service community:

Bellmore Fire Department
1st Assistant Chief Daniel Holl

East Rockaway Fire Department
Members of the East Rockaway Rescue Squad:

Assistant Chief Gene M. Torborg
Ex-Captain Gary Stehr
2nd Lieutenant Juan Rodriguez
Firefighter/EMT Dominic Orlando
Ex-Captain Anthony O’Brien
Firefighter James McGlone
Ex-Captain Martin Lesser
Captain Kristen Sgro
Firemedic Brittney Geller
Firefighter Michael Leal
Firefighter Philip J. Smith Jr.
Firefighter Robert Weiss
Ex-Chief Joe Mihalich Jr.
Ex-Captain Robert Bristol
Firemedic Danielle Metzger
Firefighter John McKee
Firefighter Larry Ulip

Levittown Fire Department
Ex-Captain George Habermehl
Firefighter Thomas Filiberto

Lynbrook Fire Department

Captain Janice Germain
Firefighter Anthony LaBarca
Firefighter Christopher Boll

Mineola Fire Department
Lieutenant Kevin Nicoll

Point Lookout-Lido Fire Department
Firefighter Suzanne Wiener

Rockville Centre Fire Department
Firefighter Joseph R. Milone, Jr.

Wantagh Fire Department
Ex-Captain Thomas Brandon
Ex-Captain John Licata
Ex-Chief John Loeber
Firefighter/EMT Marcela Loeber
Ex-Captain Robert MacKay