Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics

1st C.D.: Altschuler 'firmly against' Foley sale

Congressional candidate Randy Altschuler has said that he’s “firmly against” the sale of the John J. Foley nursing home, calling it a “bad deal” for county taxpayers. But he sidestepped questions from Democratic lawmakers looking to corner him.

The Republican attended a public hearing Tuesday on the Yaphank nursing home sale. He had secured the Association of Municipal Employees' formal endorsement for his opposition to the sale.

After being peppered by the third Democrat, Altschuler said, “I look forward to beating [Rep.] Tim Bishop, but I did know I'd have to face the whole county legislature.”

Legis. DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) said “what I found lacking in your comments if what would you do to help the Foley nursing home.”

Altschuler replied that the 264-bed complex has recently run at far below capacity -- a reason it is losing money, he says. He urged that all beds be filled to increase revenue.

Legis. Kate Browning (WF-Shirley), who argues the Foley complex should remain in county control, asked whether Altschuler opposed privatizing he nursing home, as she does.

“I’m opposed to what’s being offered,” he answered, but he did not take on a stand the privatization issue.

Legis. Louis D’Amaro said the county this year will subsidize Foley by $14.1 million, a move that will cost taxpayers. “How is keeping Foley on the books protecting taxpayers?” he asked.

Altschuler said the nursing home had a buyer for $36 million last year and an offer this year for $23 million. “I’m not a rocket scientist, but with that dramatic drop I have to wonder what's going on,” Altschuler said.

Meanwhile, Bishop has put on his campaign website a letter from Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone criticizing Altschuler. Bellone calls Altschuler “a self proclaimed tea party conservative” who is trying to straddle the controversial issue.

“Altschuler tells tea party groups he wants to cut the size of their government and then tells public sector unions he opposes efforts to reduce the size of THEIR government. He claims to respect local government yet when his own self-interest is at stake, he inserts his opinion into a nonfederal issue.”

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