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May 19, 2010 9:48 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Levy says he will veto sex offender legislation

May 19, 2010 9:48 AM

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy has vowed to veto legislation approved by the County Legislature last week that terminates the housing voucher program for the county’s homeless sex offender population.

Mr. Levy has 15 days from Tuesday, May 11, the day the bill was approved by the County Legislature, to veto it. It was not immediately clear when the veto will be formalized, as officials in the County Executive’s office did not return multiple calls seeking comment.

The legislation aims to put an end to the voucher system, which gives homeless sex offenders $90 a day to find lodging and a meal on their own. It also gives the Department of Social Services 30 days to find another way of housing the offenders, which they are required to do by state law.

The offenders are currently housed in trailers located at the Suffolk County Jail in Riverside and off Old Country Road in Westhampton, in the same compound as the Suffolk County Police facility there.

The bill, which passed in a 14-4 vote, also calls for no more than six offenders to be placed in emergency shelters. Housing must be under 24-hour surveillance and spread throughout the county, with only one shelter in each legislative district or township. Both of the two existing trailers are located in Southampton Town.

Presiding Officer William Lindsay, who introduced the bill, will try to override the veto, he said. He needs 12 votes, or a super majority, to do so.

Mr. Levy, though not available for comment, wrote in a draft veto that he is rejecting the legislation because it would leave the Department of Social Services unable to meet its state obligation to house the homeless.

Finding shelter for the county’s homeless sex offender population is a difficult problem, Mr. Lindsay said. He said his legislation addresses that problem, and Mr. Levy is wrong to want to veto it.

“It’s fair and it’s equitable,” he said of his bill.

Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman of Montauk, who represents the 2nd District, which includes Southampton Town and hosts both trailers, said he wasn’t surprised by Mr. Levy plans to veto the legislation. He criticized the county executive for lacking leadership on this issue.

“Rather than blocking it, he should be working with us,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “Which he’s not.”

Mr. Schneiderman, who voted in favor of the bill, predicted that the legislature would override the veto.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Services spokesperson criticized the legislation, saying that the voucher system has been successful elsewhere.

“We oppose any plan that prohibits us from using the voucher system, which we will need if this speculative process does not succeed,” Roland Hampson wrote in an e-mail. “It will take a great deal of time to implement Legislator Lindsay’s plan, if it can be implemented at all.”

Gregory Blass, the commissioner of the Department of Social Services, also did not return calls seeking comment.

After failing to find a permanent site in western Suffolk County, where most of the offenders are from, Mr. Levy announced earlier this year that the trailers would be closed and the county would transition to a voucher system. That move has been delayed though because the County Legislature has not increased the Department of Social Services’ petty cash fund to pay for the vouchers.

The trailers have prompted protests from the East End residents since they were placed in 2007.

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Why are we helping sex offenders in any fashion?? Get them out of SH town!
By whocares (2), East Quogue on May 13, 10 6:54 PM
It looks like Steve Levy can forget about the Southampton town vote in any future elections.
By Turkey Bridge (1966), Quiogue on May 14, 10 5:48 AM
Be honest for a change, TB -- you decided to attack Levy when he changed his party affiliation earlier this year.
By Frank Wheeler (1824), Northampton on May 14, 10 1:27 PM
Oh, come on, Frank, Levy was never a true democrat anyway. He always has been and always will be a political opportunist willing to do and say anything to get elected and then do nothing when in office. Us true dems NEVER liked him.
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on May 14, 10 4:05 PM
But you always voted for him, didn't you, FCM?
By Frank Wheeler (1824), Northampton on May 17, 10 3:15 PM
Do your research, Mr. Wheeler. I don't believe you'll see Steve Levy even mentioned in any comment of mine before this one above, so this charge is even emptier than your usual unsupported material. Another way you've gotten the facts wrong is by trying to make this a partisan issue, when in fact there's near-universal support in Southampton for getting rid of the trailers. The May 4 opposition press conference at the Westhanmpton site was attended by Anna Throne-Holst, Jim Malone, Bridget Fleming, ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1966), Quiogue on May 17, 10 6:26 PM
Correction -- I have commented on Steve Levy's party switch, but contrary to what you say, Mr. Wheeler, it was no attack. Far from it, on March 25, 2010, at 12:02 pm, I concluded a wide-ranging (alright, rambling) post with the following: "Whether this means Steve Levy is the right Out to become Governor at this time is an open question, not least because there are a lot of additional factors at the level of State government. Time will tell."
By Turkey Bridge (1966), Quiogue on May 17, 10 7:00 PM
The issue is the trailers, not Steve Levy, TB! And I have one closer to me than the other is to you on Aspatuck Creek. I'm not thrilled about that, but they've got to go somewhere.

And I think it's WRONG that all of the County's sex offenders are housed in the Western part of Southampton Town.

But note that the trailers aren't the partisan issue, in your case, Levy is, and you have nicely supported my original charge, thank you!
By Frank Wheeler (1824), Northampton on May 18, 10 2:17 AM
It doesn't wash, Mr. W. First, you're dead wrong about who's more affected by the Westhampton trailer, but being dead wrong is business as usual for you.

In politics, as in all of life, actions have consequences. If Steve Levy acts to keep the trailers here, as he seems to be doing, there will be consequences in the form of a negative Southampton vote.

That's not a "partisan issue", that's how democracy works, and that's all I said in the first instance: "It looks like Steve ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1966), Quiogue on May 18, 10 1:44 PM
So, most of the sex offenders are from Western Suffolk and yet we have to house them. We are not your garbage can Steve Levy! Keep your TRASH where it came from. We DON'T want it and we definately DON'T need it. The formation of Peconic County would keep this crap out. They (Western Suffolk) would have to take care of them.
By lifesaver (118), speonk on May 14, 10 7:50 AM
So by simply raping women one can earn 2700 dollars per month? I have heard that in nyc and westchester word of this is spreading and homeless pedophiles and rapists from far and wide are headed for our shores.
By tuckahoetrip (46), Water Mill on May 14, 10 10:12 AM
You just made that up -- but your point is taken.
By Frank Wheeler (1824), Northampton on May 14, 10 1:25 PM
Steve Levy's brain is an inanimate object. Once he is focused on something like his ego and ambition nothing can affect or change him. Concern for the East End vote and voters was long ago considered a total waste of his time and efforts by his handlers. He really couldn't be more dismissive or care less about us and boy-oh-boy does this veto prove it!
By EastEndHomie (27), Southampton on May 14, 10 2:51 PM
DUMP LEVY!
DUMP BISHOP!
DUMP THIELE!
DUMP LAVALLE!
REPEAT TEN TIMES AND SAY OOOOOHHHHHHHHMMMM!
By uncleronk (136), southold on May 14, 10 3:09 PM
I really love this DUMP theme.It's the best comment of all that I read.
By Shout ot loud (20), Southampton on May 20, 10 10:38 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By tuckahoetrip (46), Water Mill on May 14, 10 4:31 PM
If steve levy is paying sexual predators a salary does that make him a pimp?
By tuckahoetrip (46), Water Mill on May 14, 10 4:32 PM
Do your basic research.
Regarding sex offender laws, research has proven over and over again that the public is more at risk from friends and family than from convicted sex offenders. Current laws are so out of control that sex offender registries are filled with citizens who are not, and have never been, a threat to society.

In fact, 80 to 90 percent of sex crimes against children are committed by a relative or acquaintance who has some prior relationship with the child and access ...more
By yellowroselady (1), Southampton on May 14, 10 9:47 PM
Do you have a child, yellowroselady?
By whocares (2), East Quogue on May 15, 10 6:55 AM
Sounds like you may be one of these offenders. Did Suffolk County pay for your computer access, too?
By Spelling Cop (22), Southampton on May 17, 10 5:52 AM
Spare me! Then you go round them all up and start a childrens daycare center with them.
By tuckahoetrip (46), Water Mill on May 15, 10 6:14 AM
Oh, and pay them 36k per year. Basic research hahahaha you go quote that basic researc of yours to a victim of sexual assault. But perhaps you are like whoopie and to qualify as seriou it needs to be rape rape and not just plain old rape
By tuckahoetrip (46), Water Mill on May 15, 10 6:17 AM
For $90 pr day, any of these deviates can get a year round rental ON DUNE ROAD. What the hell are we thinking here?
By quogue (12), southampton on May 17, 10 10:34 AM
$90 a day for being a homeless rapist, thats like 2 times minimum wage. For...being...a...homeless...rapist...

Suffolk County Legislature passed this 14-4? WOW. I have a better place for homeless sex offenders, its called JAIL. Why even bother to vote when you put people in office that think s%^t like this even comes close to making sense.

/boggle
By cochise316 (58), southampton on May 17, 10 9:43 PM
I agree, our politicians are now REWARDING these scumbags with more money annually than a blue collar worker makes (after taxes) I am left feeling as though this government is actively spitting on those of us who try our best to do the right thing, and those who committ horrible crimes, such as sex offenders, are given a free ride. This is simply disgusting. My apartment costs less than half of the equivalent of $90 a day, and I have to work for it, but I guess that I'm just a sucker.
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on May 21, 10 2:07 AM
As per Mr Spector...YOU SHOULD GO Mr Levy... regardless of what you do... YOU are NO democrat or even REPUBLICAN flip flop with the wind to get elected is should be punishable VOTE HIM OUT! avid INDEPENDENT
By radioeuropa (8), east hampton on May 20, 10 10:58 AM
One law after another.What everyone should realize is it's the State that requires the County to provide shelter.Politicans keep enacting law after law putting more of a squezzzzze where any Homeless sex offender can reside.I agree put em on plum island, but until the State comes in and says every district has to provide for their own regardless of all the local laws, the Town and County are gonna just go back and forth with nothing getting accomplished.
By Shout ot loud (20), Southampton on May 20, 10 11:19 PM
I have a question. Does anyone know the answer?
I thought convicted sex offenders had to be registered, so that you could look up online which of these guys lived in your neighborhood and you could actually access their picture.
1. If any of these guys are "homeless" perhaps they are "homeless" in that they do not care to give their address so that they can't be located online.
2. I agree that $90 a day is more than the guy would make at a minimum wage job, so why bother to work.
3. ...more
By gilmart (1), Southamton on Jan 1, 11 3:21 PM