The numbers aren't cheery, as Marty Cantor charts the departure of Long Island's solid-paycheck jobs:
Thirty-four thousand in manufacturing, 31,000 in construction, 54,000 in finance and real estate -- poof! -- gone, gone, gone the past 12 years. It's not that overall employment has fallen so sharply. It's that the well-paid jobs are being replaced by low-paying ones.
"The jobs we've been losing are the ones that might keep a talented young person here," Cantor says.
A CPA-economist who has worked in government, business and academia, Cantor spouts off these days from the independence of his one-man think tank, the Long Island Center for Socio-Economic Policy. He's pretty good with numbers, always has been.
For every defense-engineering position replaced by a fast-food gig, he says, another young Long Islander bolts for Boston or Brooklyn, Charlotte or Chicago. And then there's the other LI quandary: Where are our young workers supposed to live if they stay? Most bright 25-year-olds don't see themselves in a split-level ranch.
The other night, Cantor and his numbers turned up for a community meeting at the Residence Inn in Plainview with real estate developer Don Monti, who has big plans for youth-friendly complexes in Hempstead Village and Huntington Station. Plans like these have been getting the cold shoulder from Long Island politicians for years.
"We gotta keep young people here," Cantor said. "They have the talent and the technical skills for changing work requirements. If they're not here, the jobs won't be. And they won't stay if they have nowhere to live."
When it comes to America's founding suburb, the choice may actually be: Change or die?
"We led the country in creating the suburbs," Cantor said. "Now the country is leading us into a redefinition of what suburbia should be, and we are sitting around just watching. Actually, we're not even watching. If we were watching, we might be learning some things along the way."
WHY MOVE AWAY?
1. My childhood bedroom's still available.
2. Cul de sacs are cool.
3. Money and benefits are way overrated.
4. The city's too crowded, Miami's too hot and where's Minneapolis, anyway?
5. Maybe when the folks die, they'll leave me the house.
ASKED AND UNANSWERED: Did Adam Haber just play the Italian card on fellow Democrat Tom Suozzi? Why does Haber's latest attack ad feature a tableful of spaghetti-slurping hacks beneath a Cinzano sign? Can you imagine the uproar if Suozzi ran an attack ad stereotyping Haber's family background? . . . So this is Lindsay's way of showing us the hometown love? Asking to finish her rehab at Seafield on the East End? . . . Crabs are great, but the free-crabs line at the new Joe's Crab Shack on Route 58 was 21 hours long? . . . How many S&G puns does this one deserve? Troubled waters at Art Garfunkel's Great Neck Arts Center concert? The sound of Supervisor Jon Kaiman's cellphone not silent enough for Art? . . . Can't you sympathize with fed-up neighbors on Christian Avenue in Stony Brook and still wonder: Where are 20 evicted college kids supposed to live now? . . . Now that Chris Christie finally got bored slamming "Jersey Shore," who's surprised Steve Israel took aim at Bravo's tacky "Princesses: Long Island"? How many of the reality show's viewers could explain what a "true shonda" is? . . . 5/17, Amtrak train derails in Connecticut. 6/17, LIRR train derails just out of Penn Station. Wanna take a train ride on 7/17? . . . Oh, and did you hear that the LIRR's Maintenance of Equipment Department just won a gold award for safety from the American Public Transportation Association? Congrats, all.
THE NEWS IN SONG: I have to face the music, by and by: "Great Suburban Showdown," Billy Joel, tinyurl.com/subshow
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