On April 2, two days before I was to be sworn in as your new mayor, I had the privilege of joining other elected officials, firefighters, EMS personnel, 9-11 families and friends at a ceremony at Reliance Firehouse. That day, the Patriot Flag was to be flown in honor of those lost on 9-11. The ceremonial arch, which we saw too often after the attacks of 9-11, where two fire apparatus, their ladders fully extended, suspend the flag between the two towers. However, the gale force winds that day proved too strong for the anchors and the now untethered flag floated softly to the ground. Immediately scores of those attending rushed to lift the flag from the ground. The relationship we shared to the flag changed. We were no longer dwarfed by the enormous flag towering high above us, but instead, we supported it. We held the flag, that tactile sense was now uniting us. As we held the flag facing each other, one was drawn to thoughts of each other’s experience and relationship of that day. The reverence and silence after each dignitary spoke was moving. That enormous flag was not the iconic vision it was intended to be that morning, but instead an intimate symbol of what it truly represents. That flag pulled us together as one that morning, united by the principles that identify us as Americans and the event that defines us as New Yorkers. As the NCPD helicopter flew low and slow over the solemnity, there was a collective mournful reflection over the loss of so many. But the strength we drew from each other, the dignity as we stood united, physically connected to each other by our flag, our freedoms and our country could not have been more appropriately expressed than they were on that gusty morning in Floral Park.
The Mineola schools are going through a major change, and change is usually difficult, and rarely easy. We are fortunate to have three board members with the vision to see the need to change the district schools, and the courage to do what is necessary, especially in the face of significant resistance, both on the part of the public, and even some board members.
A regular meeting of the Floral Park Board of Trustees was held on April 5, at 8 p.m. The meeting opened with a pledge to the flag. Present were Mayor Thomas J. Tweedy, Trustees James E. Rhatigan, Mary-Grace Tomecki, Dominick A. Longobardi, Kevin M. Fitzgerald, Village Administrator Patrick E. Farrell, Village Clerk Susan E. Walsh, Superintendent of Building Department and Superintendent of Public Works Stephen L. Siwinski and Police Lieutenant Michael Suppe.
It was one of those roundabout conversations where people were just sitting around sipping cocktails and talking about such novelties as, well, the weather for instance, when an evangelical acquaintance of mine abruptly asked if I believed in “Intelligent Design.” Well, I said, ‘if you’re talking about the U.S. Congress, the answer is no.’ This invited a few chuckles but, of course, I realized this question had nothing to do with Washington politics; nor was it intended to ascertain if I believed that an elegant, sentient mechanism is at work in creating life on Earth but was, in fact, nothing less than an inquiry into whether I believed in God.
It was an extravaganza of bloodshed; so potent and sweeping in its consequences; so deadly in the colliding of human forces that it has been thrust to the forefront of the historical stage as America’s grand opera. Yet so little is heard or said about the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War. Perhaps, this is because so much has been written that we have become numb to how our country had once so bloodily and tragically turned upon itself.
I owe a great deal of gratitude to the countless women who paved the way for women like me to contribute to society. Unfortunately, we recently lost one of these pioneers, former Congresswoman and Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, when she passed away of blood cancer this week. Geraldine opened the door for a generation of new leaders. She certainly was an inspiration – and ultimately mentor — to me as I sought my own path in public service years ago.
Preparing tax returns can be frustrating and confusing, but we can help. Hempstead Town’s VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program offers free tax assistance to senior citizens.
What a difference a year makes.
If you think back to the budget crisis of a year ago and the discussions today, there truly is a marked difference. In both, the state was grappling with a devastating fiscal crisis, but this year the commitment was made to reduce spending as opposed to the cycle of ever more taxes and spending that was the norm in Albany from both sides of the aisle for far too long.
It was one of the most haunting scenes in cinematic history: HAL 9000 is the latest in artificial intelligence; a sentient, on-board computer that functions as the brain of the spaceship Discovery. It understands human language, its nuances and ambiguities, and pleasantly converses with the crew by speaking in the softest, most dulcet tones.
Then Hal, the epitome of technological perfection, seriously malfunctions and Discovery’s two astronauts must disconnect its cognitive functions in order to protect the mission. Wary of HAL, they enter into a see-through soundproof pod to prevent the computer from overhearing their plan. The life force of HAL is represented by an enlarged, piercingly red eyeball. That eyeball now focuses menacingly on the pod. The camera shifts back and forth between the silently moving lips of the astronauts inside the pod and the iconic red eyeball of HAL. Suddenly, the viewers shockingly realize that HAL is reading the lips of the astronauts. HAL, fearing his own technological death embarks on a murderous rage against the crew.
Throughout the budget process this year we have remained true to our commitment – to address the over $10 billion deficit by cutting spending, not raising taxes. New York State does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. To get our economy moving and create new jobs, we need to get government off people’s and businesses backs – hence spending cuts, not new taxes.
We can’t tax our way out of this recession. Governor Cuomo gets it. I get it. Unfortunately, there are others who don’t.
As we head into the final lap of budget discussions in Albany, it is increasingly clear that special interest groups plan to defend their stranglehold on New York State’s purse strings by stepping up their propaganda. These groups are committed to maintaining the historical status quo and will fight, tooth and nail, to block the change we were elected to implement.
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