Newsday is a terrific newspaper. In my role as Hempstead Village Historian, I find that my research is made easier because past historians have preserved countless Newsday clippings. The faithful detail with which Newsday reports on our village is awe-inspiring.
But I don't agree with everything that the Newsday editors say about our village. In rebuttal to a Newsday editorial that approved the addition of many apartment units as part of our village revitalization, I wrote the following (and have recieved many compliments on it):
Hempstead villagers who resist adding hundreds of apartment units into the revitalization effort are not short-sightedly opposing change. Rather, we resist a repeat of the past.
Waves of “revitalization” since 1960 have overburdened Hempstead with apartment buildings. Meanwhile, ugly real estate tactics of the mid-twentieth century tricked white Hempstead villagers into selling their homes for low prices while steering nonwhites to buy the same homes for market or above. The village became majority minority, sharply reducing its political power within Nassau County.
Saying “No” became difficult to impossible when the county converted one Hempstead building after another to low-income housing, granted permission for yet another liquor establishment, or placed another non-tax-paying social service organization in our boundaries. Past developers also created neighborhoods of closely-spaced houses built on small lots. Result: population density twice that of most surrounding municipalities and three times Garden City’s, concentrated poverty, increased crime, and a disproportionate number of needy children in badly overcrowded schools.
Moderate-income and higher-income rental units are needed everywhere. Including some in our revitalization could work, but only if wealthier municipalities assume their fair burden of the less fortunate, giving Hempstead breathing space to foster its own scholars and businesses.