The recent political chatter about “Obamacare” before the Supreme Court of the United States got a great deal of media attention. President Obama added fuel to the fire when he declared, “Ultimately, I am confident the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”
For someone who was a law professor those words were absurd. Even if a bill passed unanimously in the house and senate, it could still be overturned – if the law was in violation of the Constitution.
Giving up is not “reform.” County Executive Ed Mangano’s proposal to transfer property assessment from the county to the towns might possibly speed up assessment decisions by replacing one large and overwhelmed bureaucracy with several somewhat smaller ones. It will likely recreate problems that were major motivations in creating our highly centralized county government 75 years ago.
The 1938 county charter merged the town Boards of Assessors and the County Board of Equalization, ending three decades of complaints, lawsuits and hard feelings about the lack of specific, uniform levels of property assessments between the towns. In a tax system screaming out for simplification, clarification and a sense of certainty, spinning off assessments to the towns will reintroduce “equalization” as an annual issue. Tens of thousands of residents are still trying to figure out why their assessment went down but their tax bill still went up. The division of taxes heading up the tax food chain in an equitable manner is the most complex subject in local government, and it’s all going to make people very sad, particularly in villages and school districts that are split between townships.
Manhattan District Attorney (D.A.) Robert Morgenthau was facing a spirited Democratic primary challenge from a former judge in 2005, but his opponent had trouble finding anything substantively negative to say about Morgenthau.
The reason I know this: a city-based tabloid newspaper reporter called me weeks before the election, asking whether it was legal to have a Manhattan driver’s license while at the same time registering and insuring a car in Dutchess County, where auto insurance premiums are much lower. The answer: yes, so long as the insured vehicle is primarily garaged in Dutchess County. I was the director of public affairs for the New York State Insurance Department at the time and knew immediately the question pertained to Morgenthau because he met those criteria.
Written by Mike Barry Wednesday, 26 December 2012 09:31
Hours after the New York Islanders announced in October that they’d be moving to Brooklyn in 2015, the New York Knicks played a pre-season basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets at the Nassau Coliseum.
The Islanders wasted little time capitalizing on the big news, with Islanders personnel handing out fliers that night to just about everyone who walked through the Coliseum’s doors, urging them to consider the purchase of 2015-2016 Islanders season ticket plans at their new home, Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. I remember this vividly because I was at the Knicks-Nets game that evening with our two older sons and reminded them that there once was a time when both the Islanders and the Nets played at the Nassau Coliseum. They knew this already, and politely declined to remind me that I was instrumental in them becoming fans of the Nets, Islanders, Mets, and Jets.
We’ve discussed in this space previously how, as the Barry boys have grown older, they’ve come to realize that losing seasons are not a sometime thing, they are with rare exception an all-the-time thing, for the Islanders, Mets, and Jets. Nonetheless, they seem to enjoy rooting for perennial underdogs, and wondering what kind of benevolent god would allow these franchises to suffer such cruel fates, attitudes I like to think will help them prepare for whatever challenges lie ahead.
The Brooklyn Nets are a team Long Islanders can rally around, and not only because of the Nets’ Nassau roots. Barclays Center is a brief walk from the LIRR’s Atlantic Terminal Station, which itself is a short trip from the LIRR’s Jamaica station. Those on the LIRR’s Port Washington branch need take only a 20-minute subway ride from Penn Station to get to a Nets home game.
I have been tracking the Nets on TV during the early part of the National Basketball Association’s current season, and hope to get to the Barclays Center later this month, even though the lowly Charlotte Bobcats and Cleveland Cavaliers are coming to town during the Christmas-New Year’s Day holiday week.
The Nets are playing exciting, winning basketball, and have an eclectic mix of All-Stars (Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez), top-notch role players (Gerald Wallace, Jerry Stackhouse, and Andray Blatche), and talented misfits (Reggie Evans, Kris Humphries). Humphries is perhaps best known for his brief marriage to Kim Kardashian but his questionable off-court decision making skills are not readily apparent in his on-court play.
It’ll take years for the Nets to build a solid fan base in New York after spending the previous 30-plus years in New Jersey, and breaking through on Long Island will be an even taller order because comparatively few people in either Nassau or Suffolk realize how easy it is to get to Barclays Center via the LIRR. Yet everyone knows Madison Square Garden (MSG), the Knicks’ home court, sits next to Penn Station.
The Nets have, for the Barry household, offered a nice diversion when we might otherwise be watching the New York Islanders, who haven’t played a game this season because of the National Hockey League’s labor dispute and will soon become another former Nassau team.