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 Friday, 04 January 2013 00:00
With the calendar having turned to 2013, it is not too early to start thinking about the major national sporting events headed to the region later this year.
The Belmont Stakes, to be held on June 8 in Elmont, and the U.S. Open tennis championships in Flushing, Queens, which get underway in late August, are annual happenings. But the arrival in this area of the U.S. Women’s Open Championship (June 27-30) and Major League Baseball’s (MLB) All-Star game at the New York Mets’ Citi Field (July 16) are rare events.
The best women golfers in the world will be playing at the Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton in late June, marking the first time the U.S. Women’s Open will be held on Long Island. The Sebonack Golf Club, in its current iteration, opened in 2006 and the challenging course was co-designed by legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus and renowned golf architect Tom Doak. Several of Sebonack’s holes are situated alongside picturesque Peconic Bay, images which will draw thousands to the South Fork and be seen by an even broader audience on ESPN and NBC Sports, as well. Ticket information can be found online at 2013uswomensopen.com. An aside: Doak’s company, Renaissance Golf Design, was involved in the conversion of the former IBM golf course into The Village Club of Sands Point.
You have to go back to 1964 to find the last time the Mets’ home field served as the site of MLB’s All-Star game. And MLB chose Flushing 49 years ago as the locale for the mid-summer classic because the since-demolished Shea Stadium had just opened its doors. Baseball’s All-Star game was last held in New York in 2008 at the old Yankee Stadium and is preceded by days of special events. This year will be no different.
The MLB All-Star FanFest at Manhattan’s Javits Center will start on Friday, July 12, and it will welcome visitors through game day, Tuesday, July 16. Meanwhile, Citi Field will host on Monday, July 15, the annual Home Run Derby, too. The New York Mets’ website indicates, however, that few besides those who purchase at least a 40-game season ticket plan (the Mets play 81 home games) can have any expectation of gaining access to All-Star game festivities.
I’m writing about a July All-Star game, in part, because ones that were supposed to be held this month, such as the National Hockey League’s (NHL), were cancelled. Due to the lack of a new collective bargaining agreement between the NHL Players Association and the NHL, the 2012-2013 gathering of the NHL’s All-Stars, which was to have been held on January 27 in Columbus, Ohio, was scrapped, and the entire season is in danger of not happening.
For whatever reason, this message has not been conveyed to the webmaster at nassaucoliseum.com. The website’s January 2013 calendar made it appear last week as though a number of New York Islanders games were going to be played there this month. The Islanders’ website does no such thing, and they’re looking even further into the future than I am, inviting visitors to secure 2015-2016 season tickets for their first season at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
Mike Barry is vice president of media relations for an insurance industry trade group and has worked in government and journalism.