RVC Mayor Attends Mayors Conference in DC

Mayor Fran Murray details his week in the country's capital.

Written by Rockville Centre Mayor Francis X. Murray

Mayor Murray traveled to Washington, D.C. last week to attend events and activities sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM). He also attended a special Martin Luther King, Jr. Day event and visited several local Congress members. This is his report.

Monday, Jan. 16

I had the privilege of being invited to attend the Let Freedom Ring celebration to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. My wife Barbara and I were invited by Georgetown University President John J. DeGioa.

This year the John Thompson, Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award was presented to Professor Clarence B. Jones, scholar-in-residence at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University, whom I had met and talked with in Rockville Centre earlier this month.

Professor Jones spoke eloquently about his many memories of working with Dr. King. His talk was followed by a musical performance with Bobby McFerrin, Jr. and the Let Freedom Ring choir.

The highlight of the night was the attendance of President Obama and his wife followed by a private reception.

Tuesday, Jan. 17

I attended a pre-conference session with mayors and small business leaders to discuss best practices and strategies for developing the workforce of tomorrow. Later we discussed public / private partnerships of the kind that I have been working on over the past few months in Rockville Centre.

That afternoon I went to Sen. Schumer’s office in the Hart Senate Building and met with staffers Brant Kerr and Eric Morrissette for an hour. We are seeking funding through the Main Street Program and I explained our need for a “streetscape” grant. There are also federal grants that could bring solar-powered street lighting to Maple Avenue and other parts of the village.

I am also looking to secure a Department of Homeland Security grant to build an emergency management facility in Rockville Centre that might service a number of communities in our area. Such a facility could be built in conjunction with the planned reorganization and renovation of the Village’s firehouses.

Later in the day I met with a California engineering firm called ABM about lowering the costs of Village operations through comprehensive energy auditing and equipment evaluation as well as designing and implementing  “green” operations.

Wednesday, Jan. 18

After attending a special USCM orientation for first-time mayors, I met with Congressman Peter King, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, alone in his office for over an hour. He asked many pertinent questions about Rockville Centre and our future plans. I urged him to support a federal grant for an emergency management office that might be located in a renovated firehouse at 103 Maple Avenue.

Later that day, I attended a session on energy chaired by Miguel Pulido, mayor of Santa Ana, Calif. One of the panelists, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, said that cutting U.S. oil imports by 15 percent would nearly eliminate our dependence on Middle East oil. He advocated the use of biofuels to replace oil imports.

In the afternoon I had an appointment with Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy. I was greeted by her legislative assistant Georgette Sierra who led me in to the congresswoman’s private office. The three of us sat at a table and discussed grant opportunities for Rockville Centre, including surveillance cameras for our water towers and electric plant, as well as securing our water wells.

At 4 p.m. I joined 200 mayors who were bussed over to the White House to meet the President. Upon arrival we went through three security checks, a bomb-sniffing dog and a metal detector. It was my first time inside this magnificent home.

We enjoyed receptions in the West Room, the Red Room, the Blue Room (where the White House Christmas Tree is decorated every year), and then the famous East Room, the largest in the White House.

President Obama addressed us for about half an hour on various issues, including keeping jobs in the U.S.A. “Let’s ‘in-source’ not out-source jobs,” he said.

I spoke with him for about 10 seconds. He said, “Looking good, mayor! How’s Rockville Centre? And Happy New Year.”

Visiting Washington, D.C. as your mayor was a great experience. As a delegate from a very local level of government, I had the opportunity to lobby and learn from those at the highest levels of elective office. I hope I will be able to report soon that my meetings helped bring home some federal grant dollars to Rockville Centre.

Frank February 02, 2012 at 06:49 PM
So glad you had a lovely experience in D.C. Now how about getting back to work? You got 3 major properties on the chopping block, crime, and a school system trying to cope with the 2% tax cap. Leadership is in order Mayor. BTW, if you bothered to read Patch on a weekly basis, you could've saved thousands by not going to D.C. Your own constituents have been discussing the very topics you mentioned above for over a year. Everything from crime, energy, environment, etc. how about listening to local residents for a change instead of "currying favor" with washington insiders! if you haven't noticed, washington has an 84% disapproval rating and for good reason.
john moore February 02, 2012 at 07:23 PM
He went to D.C. for 2 days of his term. If one grant comes through after talking to key people, isn't that worth 2 days? Lighten up Francis
Frank February 02, 2012 at 07:39 PM
You should take a page from Hempstead Mayor Wayne Hall's playbook. he's a "peoples" mayor. He's turning things around; building businesses, re-zoning problem areas, improving the local economy, fighting crime, etc. hey, he even convinced the Meyer family to move their Mercedes Benz service operations from Lakeview to Hempstead, right from under our noses. Kudos to Mayor Hall.
Frank February 02, 2012 at 07:52 PM
@ john moore. Washington graft isn't going to fix anything in our village. And waiting for a government handout in this economic crisis is stupid and suicidal. Glad to see you're so laid back on spending village money on a "politication" with an empty return on investment by Murray. You must be a crony. i guess you've been lighting them up so often, it's hard to come down on anybody.
Keepingitreal February 02, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Um, when did Lakeview become a part of RVC?!? I would actually be upset with the Mayor if he wasted time on Lakeview rather than dealing with the Village of Rockville Centre's issues... and I think I speak for many on here by suggesting that Frank move to Hempstead seeing how he finds it to be such an oasis of business growth, safety and beauty!
Frank February 02, 2012 at 09:26 PM
@ Keepingitreal. how clueless can you be? STOOP! how's that foot taste? Lakeview Auto Sales And Service, Inc. 468 Lakeview Avenue Rockville Centre (516) 766-6900
Frank February 02, 2012 at 09:34 PM
@ keepingitreal: http://g.co/maps/rekvn
Frank February 02, 2012 at 09:36 PM
@ keepingitreal. That's tax money RVC not going to get back anytime soon. As for hempstead, I am referring to Mayor Wayne Hall's work on getting the village back on track. God, you should change your handle to keepingitdumb.
Keepingitreal February 02, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Frank - I hate to break it to you - that's not in the incorporated village of rockville centre.
Frank February 02, 2012 at 09:55 PM
@ keepingitreal. if you had any idea about what happened, Lakeview mb wanted to expand its service operation across princeton street. RVC wanted over $8 million to OK the zone expansion over princeton street and re-route the sewers. Mayor Hall got wind of the issues on the zone expansion and came in and convinced the meyer family to invest in hempstead instead. Mayor Hall made a deal to clean up several blocks around the brand new facility, flooded the area with cops, and Lakeview MB picked up the tab for giving everyone in the neighborhood new sidewalks, siding, and fences. All done at a fraction of what RVC wanted to decommission one measly street. So Hempstead gets brand new tax revenue and RVC is left with a huge, idle property. to top that off, we got the twin still sitting vacant and waldbaums closing... Not good for RVC anyway you slice it. Lobbying D.C. is not going to fix any of our problems. Unless there's oil under RVC.
Keepingitreal February 02, 2012 at 10:13 PM
It's not in the Rockville Centre School District... the only remote connection that building has to RVC is that it is serviced by the Rockville Centre Post Office and is under the RVC zip code... if you have issues with it going to Hempstead take it up with the Town of Hempstead and the Malverne School District because they are the only two taxing authorities who would stand to lose any tax revenue.
Frank February 02, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Patrick February 02, 2012 at 10:46 PM
I'd volunteer my time to help Frank move.
Frank February 02, 2012 at 10:56 PM
You can ask Lakeview MB yourself as to why they state that the village of RVC wanted over 8 million to rezone. they said RVC owns the poles and sewers for that street(s). number is on the link. as for school district, that is correct, Malverne loses $70k to hempstead village.
Keepingitreal February 02, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Frank, I don't know what to tell you but that address that you keep posting is in Lakeview and is not in the Incorporated Village of Rockville Centre... it has no zoning authority whatsoever regarding any part of Lakeview! You've been given (and have been spreading) incorrect information.
opinion-ated February 03, 2012 at 12:58 AM
what does all this non sensical chatter have to do with the above article???
opinion-ated February 03, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Yes the Village of Hempstead is making progress and Its good to see. But, @ Frank Don't be a hypocrite. Do you think Maybe the Hempstead Village it is doing all you say its doing with a "Government handout"?? ... ...and yet it doesnt seem so stupid and suicidal . Get real
opinion-ated February 03, 2012 at 01:10 AM
oh and Frank your approval rating according to the people here is 1% a lot less than Washington's.
Johnny February 03, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Lakeview does'nt have a Post Office so they use Rockville Centre's Post Office that's why every house and business in Lakeview the address says RVC, Lakeview has nothing to do with the Village of RVC.
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