One member of the Democrats' caucus, Legis. Joshua Lafazan, broke ranks last Wednesday when he voted for a bill to open all Nassau parkland to residents.
Lafazan, who is unaffiliated but caucuses with Democrats, joined four Republicans in backing the bill during a Public Works and Parks Committee meeting. Two Democratic legislators, Arnold Drucker, of Plainview, and Siela Bynoe, of Westbury, abstained after calling the vote rushed and citing safety, environmental and cost issues.
Majority Republicans introduced the bill after a Newsday series in July showed that scores of acres of open-space parcels acquired by Nassau with $100 million from the county’s environmental bond acts of 2004 and 2006 were closed to the public.
County Executive Laura Curran, a Democrat, says the legislation is unnecessary and wants legislators to deal with the issue in next month’s capital plan.
Lafazan, 24, of Woodbury, said at the meeting, “I believe that taxpayers do deserve open access to the land they funded in the first place . . . ”
However, he added, “I definitely harbor reservations,” pointing to cost and safety issues. He urged the caucuses to iron out their differences.
Curran can veto the legislation, but a supermajority of 13 legislators can override it. Republicans hold an 11-8 majority in the chamber.
Karen Contino, a county spokeswoman, said, "It’s impossible to say what the county executive will do because the legislation lacks clarity, a plan and funding."