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This is a superb deal for county taxpayers. Instead of the old proposals, which would have required them to foot at least some of the bill, this agreement forces a private developer to take all of the financial risk. All taxpayers have to do is sit back and look forward to increased economic development in the region and a brand new, state-of-the-art entertainment facility that will be one of the finest in the nation.

Now we must hope that the redevelopment plan receives the bipartisan support it needs instead of being the subject of political bickering, which would only hold the project back and be detrimental to its success. But for right now, we should be thrilled that the county is on the rise, and this complex will bring visitors from all over the state and country, along with permanent jobs and increased tax revenue. I’m really looking forward to seeing the project through to fruition.

On the national level, last week Attorney General Eric Holder held a press conference of his own, announcing that the Justice Department would no longer pursue mandatory minimum sentences for certain low-level, nonviolent drug offenders.

“Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long,” Holder said, “and for no truly good law enforcement reason.”

As you know, I disagree with Holder on many issues. However, he’s right to pursue this change in the prosecution of drug offenders who are adults. If an offender doesn’t have a record of violence, he or she should be given a shot at a drug treatment program instead of prison for years.

Holder’s plan will scale back the prosecution of offenders with no ties to large-scale organizations or who have not committed acts of violence.

Since 1980, our prison population has grown by almost 800 percent, due in large part to the mandatory draconian sentences that come with drug violations. Federal prisons are operating at nearly 40 percent above capacity. The overcrowding creates an economic burden totaling approximately $80 billion.

Something has to change, and I hope that conservatives around the country will be open-minded to these changes.

Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column? ADAmato@liherald.com.


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So we should celebrate the Islanders being pushed from its home to the City?

Thanks to you, Mr. Mondello and Kate Murray, we could have had a project that was privately financed, with a brand new arena and KEPT the Islanders here and Murray under your tutiledge decided to knock it out!!

Thanks Al! Shame on you.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 | Report this

Dead on the money, gazaroog. Thanks to obvious political chicanery, we've lost our only major sports franchise. And we're supposed to stand up and cheer? Please, pass me the voting lever...

Thursday, August 22, 2013 | Report this

Sorry, D'Amato, but I don't see this as a win, win situation. There is a reason the Nassau Coliseum didn't make it. Because the price for tickets is too high for an average family to enjoy either a hockey game or a theatre event. Tag on parking, food and drink and you've gone into triple digits. In this economy, people don't have that type of discretional cash to throw around. I highly doubt that the developer did this out of sheer desire to regentrify a flailing, decrepit neighborhood and arena. If you believe they're getting nothing out of it (both developer and Mangano, you're living with rose colored glasses on. I've never heard of one politician who doesn't do something for their own enrichment, whether it be financial or electively speaking. Our team is gone, and you expect us to be thrilled that an over-priced arcade is coming to town. I don't think so. More traffic jams, no benefit. Sorry, if I seem shortsighted, but we've been burned by the powers that be more than once to know a albatross when we see one. Good luck to the developer. Maybe he knows something we don't.

And on another note, you mention Holder has reduced sentences for first time offenders or lesser sentences for possessin of marijuana - I have one question.....when is he [Holder] going to jail for his high crimes and misdemeanors?

Thursday, August 22, 2013 | Report this

Where was all of that bipartisan support for the last 10 years? Seems awfully convenient to ask for it now. And I'm sorry, but nothing is ever free, in the end, if this whole plan is successful, it Ratner& Co will end up making a ton more than the county and its tax payers. It'll be interesting to compare how taxes either increased or decreased over the next 10-15 years compared to what the taxes would have been with that "evil 400 million dollar" bond that would have gave true revenue sharing to the county, nevermind the Island's only pro sports team. Keep slapping mangano and murray on the back.

Thursday, August 22, 2013 | Report this

Congrats - Finally something got done. I some how doubt it wont cost us Nassau citizens any money, it always does. Like the infrastructure that needs to be modified? The traffic is bad now and unless better roads, exits and entrances are made it will be a disaster. How about improved mass transit? Opps. Hold onto your wallets for the bail out on the unexpected cost over runs they will ask for us to pay. Its the same song.

Sunday, August 25, 2013 | Report this
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