Dr. Colin Goddard, CEO of OSI Pharmaceuticals, is taking his ball and going home. Well, not home exactly. He’s going to his new home in scenic Ardsley, NY, in Westchester County. Matt Crosson, head of the Long Island Association (LIA) said it was a “rational decision.” Bruce Stillman, CEO of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, ever the pragmatist, hopes to birth another biotech company that will stay closer to home. New York State Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) is just happy they stayed in New York.
Despite these ho-hum reactions, there is no shortage of Monday morning quarterbacks kicking the dirt and cursing our fate as a failed business development region and casting doubt on our ability to attract or retain companies. By now it should come as no surprise that Long Island has too many layers of government that contribute to our high cost of living and inordinate amount of red tape. The usual suspects from government, Newsday and the Long Island Regional Planning Board (LIRPB) have all chimed in, demanding that we do a better job in the future to speak with a single voice.
OSI’s planned and subsequently scrapped expansion to the Farmingdale State College campus required almost herculean coordination between SUNY, the New York State legislature and local government. But New York State Senators Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) and Charles Fuschillo (R-Merrick) weren’t about to allow SUNY to hand out a no-bid contract to a private company that employs highly paid, smart people.
Didn’t OSI know that such practice is a special prerogative reserved for elected officials to dole out contracts and jobs to people who carry petitions and steal the opposition’s political street signs? LaValle said he didn’t want to do anything “unethical” by allowing a process that wasn’t “transparent to stakeholders.” (That would be us, Long Island.) Perhaps we should be thankful he even had time to comment on this transition, since he was so busy aligning with a corrupt Democrat to overthrow the rules he and Dean Skelos worked so hard to create—resulting in a month-long standoff in Albany while us “stakeholders” paid them to jerk us around.
Yes, Albany is a mess and holds us back. Yes, there are too many layers of government on Long Island. And yes, it is extremely expensive to live here. However, before we give OSI a pass, let’s examine their behavior for a moment. Cold Spring Harbor Labs gave birth to OSI. For more than 20 years Goddard nursed on the teet of DNA discoverer Dr. James Watson until he was fully grown, all the while losing money. Now that they’re finally making a few dollars, they’re too good for LI. Goddard says that Long Island is a lousy incubator for the biotech industry. If 20-plus years isn’t enough, what then is his idea of an incubator? Maybe they have a drug for amnesia somewhere in the storeroom at OSI.
Goddard, in a Newsday op-ed, actually quoted Suffolk County’s “diminished access to the New York City talent pool.”
Oh no he didn’t!
I calculated the distance between the Empire State Building and OSI’s new home of Ardsely, NY, and compared it to the commute to Steve Levy’s office in Hauppauge. The difference is a deal-breaking 24 minutes, or 22.8 miles. There appears to be a threshold where only morons from Manhattan would consider attempting to drive the additional mileage. But let’s get to the heart of Goddard’s argument and call it what it is. Essentially Dr. Goddard thinks that if you already live in Suffolk, you’re stupid. So for all of you Suffolk County residents, feel free to give him a jingle at their (Suffolk) headquarters at 631-962-2000 and tell him how you feel about that.
Maybe you’ll have better luck getting him on the phone than we did.