Nassau exec candidate Haber unveils environmental platform

Democratic Nassau County executive candidate Adam Haber rolled

Democratic Nassau County executive candidate Adam Haber rolled out his environmental platform Friday, including refurbishing county parkland and protecting public space from privatization. (Aug. 23, 2013) (Credit: Danielle Finkelstein )

Democratic Nassau County executive candidate Adam Haber rolled out his environmental platform Friday, including refurbishing county parkland and protecting public space from privatization.

Haber, who will take on former County Executive Thomas Suozzi in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary, said Nassau parks have been neglected for more than a decade.

"Sadly, many of our parks in Nassau are in desperate need of repairs and upkeep," Haber said at a news conference at The Park at East Hills, a 50-acre village park that features a 12,000-square-foot pool, a water park for children and six tennis courts.

Haber also criticized Suozzi for transferring nine county parks to the Town of North Hempstead in 2007. Suozzi said at the time that the town could provide better care for the space, while saving the county millions. The deal also called for the town to take ownership of 12 county roads.

Suozzi, who was named the New York League of Conservation Voters' 2008 Environmentalist of the Year, declined to comment.

Haber also took aim at Suozzi's successor, Republican Edward Mangano, who Haber said privatized Nassau parkland, including twin ice skating rinks under construction at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow and a tennis club being built at Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn.

"These public-private partnerships have seriously damaged our parks and have put an economic barrier to using these spaces," Haber said.

Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin said the deals "brought world-class facilities to our parks at zero cost to taxpayers."

Bruce Piel, chairman of the Park Advocacy & Recreation Council of Nassau, a coalition of advocacy groups that has endorsed Haber, said that between Suozzi and Mangano "annual employees in the parks system have declined to a few hundred and the parks look it."

Haber Friday also backed the GOP plan to completely and immediately fund more than $700 million in repairs to the county sewage system.

Legislative Democrats last month blocked most of the borrowing, arguing it was unwise to approve all the funding at once. The legislature agreed to fund nearly $260 million in repairs, primarily for equipment at Bay Park sewage treatment plant.

Haber's other proposals include setting energy performance levels for Nassau building contracts and purchasing environmentally friendly county cars.

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