The following was published in the 7/24/11 edition of Newsday, on Page A39. The online version can be seen here:
My name is Rich Murdocco, and I am writing concerning the July 16th editorial entitled “Better for LI to Grow Together”.
Newsday’s editorial calling for more calling upon policymakers and the private sector to think regionally should be commended. However, it is important for the future regional effort to not get caught up in the political or special interest milieu that weighed the LIRPC down. What once was a group detached from (and many times ran counter to) the political realities of the time, was turned into a group that is a shell of what it used to be, and is vulnerable to outsider interests and agendas.
Planners, and the plans that they produce must conform to the economic and, unfortunately, political realities of the time. This conformism must take place within the final plan’s implementation phase, and not during the crafting of the initial plan.
Regional planning, which is contingent upon the cooperation and financial support from both Counties, is essential for Long Island’s future growth. Long Island’s concerns are not confined to village, town or county lines. We, as Long Islanders, must realize that as flawed as the Regional Planning Council’s approach was, there must be an entity to conduct the very important work of regional planning on Long Island. The fact that, to quote Mr. Rick Brand’s 6/25 column “After 46 years, regional planning on Long Island is near death” is something that Long Islanders should be concerned about.
If the LIRPC does go under, we should press our elected officials for a new regional entity, separate from political and special interests, to continue the original mission of the Long Island Regional Planning Board. Too much is at stake to not think about Long Island’s “bigger picture”.