Levy’s Farmingville Remark Sparks Wrangle

Bart Jones, Newsday (New York City), June 28

Roman Catholic priests, Franciscan brothers, community activists and residents who joined Mexican day laborers in protesting their evictions from an overcrowded house in Farmingville said Monday they were offended by Suffolk Executive Steve Levy labeling them “a 1 percent lunatic fringe.”

Levy made the comment in response to a rally where 200 people—mainly undocumented Mexican immigrants—marched through Farmingville’s streets on Sunday to protest the June 20 eviction, which left at least 28 homeless. Authorities say the house was dangerously overcrowded.

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Levy said Monday that his comment was aimed only at a small number of activists who are supporting the day laborers, such as the Rev. Allan Ramirez of the Brookville Reformed Church and Patrick Young of the Long Island Immigrant Alliance. He said Ramirez and Young have themselves used incendiary rhetoric, saying Levy was involved in “ethnic cleansing” in Farmingville, has a “Napoleonic complex” and is considered “Public Enemy No. 1” by the Latino community.

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In response to a reporter’s request for comment Sunday, Levy said: “The 99 percent of the county that supports the closing of this hellhole need not worry. I will not back down to the 1 percent lunatic fringe.”

E-mail Steve Levy at [email protected].

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