Today, I voted for the Public Integrity Act of 2011, which seeks to implement across-the-board ethics reform. This legislation contains some positive changes, but lacks follow through on many of its promises. For instance, a provision that would strip public employees convicted of felonies of their pensions not only exempts teachers, but also allows for other exceptions. For example, those showing that the forfeiture of their pension would create financial hardship may be exempt altogether from the punishment. The legislation also gives the power to district attorneys to choose whether they should pursue forfeiture, immensely weakening this portion of the legislation, which I believe should be automatically enacted on all officials convicted of felonies related to their office. The flawed pension forfeiture provision is only one example from a bill that lays the foundation for positive change, but fails to follow through on the details.
As all of you know, for personal family reasons I have decided not to seek re-election as your county legislator. My daughter transferred to a high school which specializes in dramatic arts to pursue her studies in theatre. For the last eight years my family made sacrifices to support my decision to serve in government. Now it is my turn to place my daughter’s educational needs first. I want to focus fully on helping her achieve her future goals.
It has to be mentioned that it really seems worth the wait now that the entrance to Glen Cove is wrapping up. You’ll read about a ribbon cutting at the lovely Cedar Creek bar and grill inside this edition. The owner, Rich Cutler, recently asked us if we were in the area much and the honest answer was, we’ve been avoiding that part of town because of the traffic and construction. But now, not only is the congestion and work basically finished, it really looks good. Sometimes, we all secretly watch something in progress and think boy I hope you’re going somewhere with this. In this case, they really were. The whole important corridor definitely seems more inviting and appealing. It speaks well of the city you are entering.
Assemblyman Michael A. Montesano (R,I,C-Glen Head) welcomes the Assembly Majority’s new found eagerness to address a property tax cap. Speaker Sheldon Silver has introduced a property tax cap measure that would implement a 2 percent cap on property tax increases. Montesano and his colleagues in the Minority Conference have long been proponents of property tax cap legislation and have consistently advocated on behalf of taxpayers for relief.
A fire occurred at our neighbor’s house last Saturday.
First of all, thankfully, no one was injured. Of course all the difficulties that accompany the burn and smoke damage have to be dealt with by our neighbors for months to come.
I am humbled by the overwhelming support I received from the North Shore community on May 17. I thank you for having the confidence in me to re-elect me to another term as board of education trustee. I appreciate the opportunity to continue my efforts to advocate for our students and our community educationally, fiscally and legislatively.
I want to thank everyone that came out in support of my candidacy, the budget and the turf field. I want to particularly thank those teachers that quietly supported my candidacy and who shared my desire for the implementation of “Best Practices” - an environment of academic freedom in the classroom and consistency in our educational priorities and programs.
Running as a reform candidate is never easy. But going along to get along is worse. I believe that election campaigns are good for the community and we have accomplished much. I believe in the value of the dialogue that has taken place. As a result of the election campaign, the board finally disclosed that Dr. Melnick entertained a lucrative job offer from another school district, but agreed to stay for a modest raise. We also received acknowledgement that we have stressed test preparation and questions too much, having ignored it for years. Balance is the new mantra, at least for the foreseeable future. None of this would have been disclosed without an election.
The current Glen Cove City administration recently announced the latest “new” revision of the Waterfront development plan. The plan, calling for over 800 residential units, was conceived and promoted by the current administration and its predecessor during a “bubble” real estate market. Of course we all remember those were the times that appeared to “guarantee” that the real estate market would increase in value forever. It seemed axiomatic that any investment in residential real estate could only increase the wealth of the investors, the buyers and by virtue of expanding tax receipts, the community invested in. This was seen as the best way to put the “gold” back into the “Gold Coast.”
At a recent Glen Cove City Council meeting, discussion once again turned to the mayor and council’s refusal to replace board and agency members whose service has exceeded the city’s 2-term limit. I contend, and submit to your readers, that replacing these “holdovers” from a pool of other qualified residents would not only serve the spirit and letter of our city charter, but also be more representative, putting our city in the hands of even more people with a stake in its future. Perhaps even more importantly, it would instill greater faith in the work of these bodies by eliminating any possibility that these holdovers could be influenced in their decisions by the mayor and council. Permit me to demonstrate.
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