Nassau County Legislator Arnold Drucker (D-Plainview) hosted Thursday a town hall meeting in Old Westbury to share what he’s done during his short term and answer questions from voters.
Drucker, a lifelong resident of Plainview, was elected last November in a special election after the death of longtime Nassau Legislator Judith Jacobs.
Drucker said he is a good fit for Jacobs’ former seat since the two share a similar ideology about many local issues.
“You know, on a local level, most of the time it’s not really partisan politics; it’s about doing the right thing for people,” Drucker said. “You’re talking about quality of life issues, and those were the issues that were important to Judy. Equality for all kinds of people, privacy rights, health issues, safety, schools.”
Drucker said he has drafted multiple bills during his eight months in office, including Tobacco 21, a bill to raise the county smoking age to 21, another to change Nassau’s human rights law language to include “transgender,” as well as legislation to enhance the duties of the county’s police department to include all religious institutions as part of their daily patrols.
“Racial and religions intolerance and gender intolerance has no place in our society whatsoever. In any society, as far as I’m concerned,” Drucker said. “I want them to show up all the time. I want them to make it a part of their duties. I’m not asking them to spend more resources, just make it so they can allocate their responsibilities in a way that covers all these religious institutions all the time.”
Plainview resident Abby G. Burton asked Drucker simply, “What’s the difference between you and Lew Yevoli?”
Former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Yevoli, 78, announced in May his campaign to take on Drucker in the Democratic primary Sept. 12 after 20 years in retirement.
“I’m a Democrat with Democratic core values of justice, of fairness for everybody,” Drucker said. “I don’t think the Republicans share those values, and I don’t know what Lew Yevoli stands for, to be honest with you. Until he announced he was running for my seat, no one has heard from him.”
Despite holding a county seat, Drucker said he spends a significant amount of time coordinating with the towns of Oyster Bay and North Hempstead since District 16 overlaps into both, and many of the issues residents call about are town issues.
Plainview resident Jane Wilson said the roads in her village are deplorable with some streets not receiving work for decades.
“It’s like a third-world country,” Burton echoed.
Drucker said the roads near his home are in a similar state and, unfortunately, most of the affected roads were under the Town of Oyster Bay’s purview and could not be fixed by Nassau County.
“The Town of Oyster Bay, that’s been such a corrupt machine for so long, they don’t have money,” Drucker said. “They’re broke, and they’ve been spending money like drunken sailors for years, and they’ve been giving out patronage jobs to their friends and relatives for years and years and years. We should all be clamoring and rattling the cages there and get those people out of office.”
During the meeting, acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder joined Drucker to answer questions.
When asked if Nassau County police officers cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, Ryder didn’t mince words.
“We work with ICE in counterfeit goods; we work with ICE in money laundering cases,” Ryder said. “We do not work with ICE on immigration.”
Ryder said his officers do not run names through the system looking for warrants. If someone is arrested for a crime and a judicial warrant is found, the person will be held for that warrant. If the warrant is an administrative warrant, however, Nassau officers will give ICE 48 hours to pick up the resident before letting them out.
Ryder said he recently met with American Civil Liberties Union representatives about their concerns that ICE agents are targeting individuals for deportation with no prior criminal background.
“He is undocumented, but he has a family, he has kids here he’s raising. We look at it a little differently than they do,” Ryder said. “We do no raids with them, we do no sweeps with them, but if they go do a search on a location, we will go. We will not be knocking the door down, we will not be going inside. We’re there to protect everybody’s rights, including the people inside, not just the agents and their safety.”