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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Developing regional disaster centers

Work crews pump out flooded office buildings at

Work crews pump out flooded office buildings at Water Street in Lower Manhattan in the wake of superstorm Sandy. (Nov. 2, 2012) Credit: John Roca

Coming to a location near you: a politically unsexy but potentially vital state storage center from which emergency equipment could be quickly mobilized -- hopefully in time for the next Long Island disaster.

The state's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services reports that it is developing, in partnership with the Port Authority, a so-called Disaster Logistics Center near Kennedy Airport that would serve Nassau, Suffolk and New York City.

"The site will include the capability to airlift equipment and supplies to storm-damaged locations," said division spokesman Peter Cutler. The basic idea is to stockpile such items as generators, pumps, potable water devices and rescue vehicles.

"We are also finalizing our site selection for a mid-Island location," Cutler added. "Both sites are expected to be built out within the next several weeks."

Three state stockpiling centers now exist, in the North Country, central New York and western New York. Another is planned for the Hudson Valley.

WHO DEALS?: Where casinos may go if they're legalized by state referendum is a multibillion-dollar question. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wants an independent commission to site three casinos, all upstate, while legislators have their own agendas.

While the Albany discussion goes on, a group called New Yorkers for Local Approval of Casinos has been signing up businesses, elected officials and individuals to support what it calls the necessity of communities deciding for themselves whether to host casinos. The group began with backing from the Oneida Nation, which owns the Turning Stone casino on tribal land outside Syracuse.

"Local approval is the only effective protection neighborhoods will have in these huge development projects," said Michael Tobman, a political consultant and one-time Nassau legislative official who's coordinating the drive. Nassau and Suffolk signers include 69 businesses, five county legislators and several individuals.

NEW FACE: Roslyn businessman Adam Haber has shown little or no deference to fellow Democrat Thomas Suozzi since the former Nassau executive jumped in as a rival for that job. "I think Nassau County Democrats are ready for a change," Haber declared Friday -- noting, for one thing, that neither Suozzi nor his GOP successor, Edward Mangano, proved able to keep the Islanders hockey team from moving. How long might Suozzi and his allied county chairman Jay Jacobs go without a retort?

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