News Flash

Legislative District 05

Posted on: April 16, 2024

Keeping Your Eye on the Ball - By Seth I. Koslow

Keeping Your Eye on the Ball

By Seth I. Koslow

As a youth baseball coach, one of the basic pieces of advice I give to my hitters is, “Keep your eye on the ball.” As your entire body engages in the load-up, the hip swivel, the swing, and the follow through, you cannot lose focus on the target. I adhere to this as a Nassau County Legislator, and it is advice I feel some of my colleagues could use.

I am new to elected office, so perhaps naively I believed that most public servants were immersed in the pursuit of significant, relevant policy solutions. That’s what we get elected to do, right? Our constituents want us to focus on solutions to real problems. Unfortunately, I am quickly discovering that the Blakeman administration and the Legislative Majority have lost sight of the ball and are swinging at pitches way out of the strike zone.

County Executive Blakeman’s inane militia move exemplifies this. In March, he began recruiting firearm-owning residents to serve as nonunion “special deputy sheriffs” to be mobilized during emergencies. It’s a solution in search of a problem, and the use of these untrained, inexperienced civilians is bound to undermine our world-class police department. My Minority Caucus colleagues and I, along with retired law enforcement officers, gun safety groups, civil rights organizations, and outraged residents, demanded the recission of this action at a rally on April 8.

Although Nassau is one of the safest big counties in America, we do face serious public safety issues, from rising antisemitic and Islamophobic hate crimes post-October 7 to a longstanding detective shortage. We need to focus on recruiting, retaining, and training capable law enforcement to tackle these issues – random gun-owners for hire certainly will not suffice.

Beyond public safety, our County faces a raft of urgent policy problems. Nassau University Medical Center – a lifeline for low-income and uninsured residents – is in dire financial straits. NUMC’s chairman, whom the Executive and Majority selected, refuses to accept reasonable conditions to secure state aid and save the hospital. The Executive is more focused on assigning blame to the state than getting NUMC’s finances in order.

Nassau residents are also still recovering from the twin crises of the COVID pandemic and the opioid epidemic. For the former, we received hundreds of millions of dollars from the Biden administration to help residents get by; for the latter, we received $92 million in settlements to support drug abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery services. The Executive and the Majority have decided to keep nearly 87 percent of the most recent infusion of federal COVID money in the County’s back pocket; similarly, they have distributed a paltry $1.25 million of the opioid settlement funding. My colleagues and I have advocated for the expedited delivery of these life-enhancing, life-saving resources, but to no avail. Again, they have lost sight of the ball.

So where does their focus lie? Other than the militia, the top priorities of the Executive and the Majority appear to be spending $10 million of the aforementioned COVID aid on 125th anniversary parties and pursuing doomed, expensive lawsuits against the State on political issues 

Our constituents have real problems, and we need to offer them real solutions. I will focus on doing just that: distributing County resources fairly and equitably, maintaining County services like our hospital, and ensuring safety and affordability.

Just like I tell my hitters, I will always keep my eye on the ball.

Seth I. Koslow, of Merrick, was elected in 2023 to represent the Fifth District of the Nassau County Legislature.


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