Nassau County's First Precinct has been caught in the political crossfire for too long. The time has come to end six years of sniping over a new location for the dilapidated police station house on Merrick Road.
Former County Executive Tom Suozzi tried in 2004 to move the precinct to Roosevelt, as a cornerstone of its revitalization. He abandoned that plan after an aggressive fight from Hempstead Town Republicans and Legis. Joseph Scannell, a fellow Democrat, who wanted it kept in his hometown of Baldwin. Ever since, the precinct and even its commanding officers have been embroiled in the relocation controversy and the contentious fight for control of this swing seat in the legislature.
In Scannell's tough but successful race last fall, he and Suozzi came up with a troublesome deal to relocate the precinct in a neglected strip mall near Baldwin High School. In this no-bid contract, the county pays demolition and construction costs, as well as rent and real estate taxes. After Democrats lost control of the legislature and the county executive seat, they pushed through approval of the lease, which gives the precinct back to the landlord after 30 years, over the objection of incoming County Executive Edward Mangano.
Now Mangano, who says the lease is too expensive, has filed a legal challenge because environmental and traffic studies weren't done. He's right to try to stop this deal, despite the politics involved. But the precinct still needs a new home. hN