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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Nassau pitches plan for land bank to address blighted properties

An abandoned house in Levittown shown on Thursday,

An abandoned house in Levittown shown on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. Photo Credit: Newsday / Chuck Fadely

Nassau County may create its own so-called land bank that could help alleviate the problem of vacant, abandoned, foreclosed and tax-delinquent properties.

Suffolk and other counties already have land banks up and running.

County Executive Edward Mangano has his counsel working to develop legislation establishing the entity, for submission to the county legislature, Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin said.

Land banks fund projects to alleviate the scourge of deteriorating properties that may vary in type from one community to the next. They use part of the state's share from the national mortgage settlement, which state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman's office administers.

Schneiderman spokesman Damien LaVera said if Nassau creates a land bank, the AG's office "looks forward to working with it to identify ways to help families stay in their homes and revitalize communities devastated by the financial crisis."

CLASS CONSCIOUS: Acting Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas has sent fundraising letters to a list of Fordham University alumni, citing her graduation from its law school in 1991, and stating that she was inspired during her time there by its former Dean John D. Feerick and the school's "commitment to justice, public policy, and public service."

Singas, a Democrat, cites a "great start" to the campaign but concludes "we will not reach our goals without the Fordham University community firmly behind me." Republicans have yet to announce a candidate for the fall -- amid rumors and hints as to whether it might be Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray or Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto.

TALES OF TRANSPARENCY: Before the holiday weekend, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio went on the record informing the media and public that he and wife Chirlane McCray would leave Friday for Puerto Rico on a personal trip and return Tuesday. He said they would pay for the trip, and travel with police but no other city staff.

By contrast, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo released a statement late Thursday that he was "out of state" with no public events slated. Later his office shared that he was "on vacation with family in the Caribbean, returning Monday night." No other details -- except Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul would stay in New York. After a bit of prodding, spokesman Richard Azzopardi said Friday that the vacation, wherever it was, would be "paid out of pocket."


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