Thursday, 27 June 2013 00:00
I read with great interest, and then with dismay, the letter to the editor from my friend Norman Gersman, attacking long time Great Neck resident Howard Weitzman who is a former mayor of Great Neck Estates and former county comptroller. It is important for readers to understand that Norman was one of George Maragos’ campaign operatives in 2009 and has held a series of county jobs ever since. Also, Norman refers so glowingly to the column by Mike Barry praising and defending Comptroller Maragos’ record … without indicating that Barry is a well-known and consistent supporter of Republican officials and candidates.
In the interest of full disclosure, I serve as president of the Great Neck Democratic Club and am actively involved in Howard Weitzman’s campaign to regain his position as county comptroller.
After reading Norman’s letter, and knowing his political leanings and employment history, I’m reminded of the adage that “you’re entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts.” In an effort to deflect attention from the horrendous state of the county’s finances, and a lack of any notable achievements by Comptroller Maragos, Norman has concocted fanciful and baseless claims about the state of the county at the end of the Suozzi administration in 2009 and places the blame on Howard Weitzman. Aside from the fact that comptrollers do not control the county’s spending or revenue collections (if you accepted Norman’s statements, then Comptroller George Maragos is responsible for the growing deficits the Mangano administration has created), the deficit that Mr. Maragos claims then-Comptroller Weitzman left is a figment of his imagination.
There were no deficits in the county’s 2009 financial statements signed off on by Comptroller Maragos. What does appear in the county’s 2009 audited financial statements is a budget surplus of $2.6 million. In addition, after 13 bond rating upgrades during his time in office, the county was given a stable rating outlook by the rating agencies when Howard Weitzman left office. Today, four years later, after multiple bond rating downgrades, the County has been assigned a negative outlook by the same rating agencies. Who are you going to believe, Maragos, his supporters in the media and on the county payroll, or the rating agencies? Facts count for a lot more than opinion.
Saturday, 30 November 2013 00:00
The recent adoption the Common Core Learning Standards, a rigorous series of teacher and student assessment testing, and the potential sharing of confidential student information with third parties have resulted in a radical change in the educational landscape in New York State—one that many parents have been concerned about.
To address these growing concerns, the Great Neck School District’s United Parent Teacher Council recently hosted a question and answer session at South High School with New York State Regent Roger Tilles, a Great Neck resident who has been outspoken with both his support of content the Common Core and his disapproval in how the new set of learning standards have been implemented.
Friday, 29 November 2013 00:00
At a meeting last week, after almost four hours of back and forth between Clover Drive residents, the attorney representing builder Frank Lalazarian’s controversial Old Mill II project and members of the Village of Great Neck’s Planning Board, there was very little progress, no vote taken and far more questions than answers.
The subdivision plan, a project under discussion for the last five years and recently approved by the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals, calls for 11 houses to be built in the area behind the Old Mill Apartments, with sole access from Clover Drive. Complicating the builder’s efforts to gain approval to start building is the fact that one of the lots is within the boundaries of Great Neck Estates and will require that village’s approval also. Additionally, Lalazarian’s project must gain the approval of several Nassau County agencies, including its department of public works, department of health and planning commission.
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 15:23
The Bears team before a recent game at the Andrew Stergiopoulos Ice Rink with Coach Dan Marsella.
Thursday, 28 November 2013 00:00
Great Neck’s Ayal Hod is the proud coach of Great Neck’s winning Top Gun sixth grade team in the Island Garden Fall League. Hod puts together the team every season, mixing local youngsters from Great Neck and children son Dillon’s AAU Jamaica Queens team. The league is very competitive and challenging and it teaches the children many valuable lessons: “how to be great teammates by sharing the ball, how to compete hard on every possession and what you put in is what you get out.”
Hod says that the main challenge is for every child to bring their individual talent to the team and collectively they have something special. an ex-player, he says that “basketball was very good to me, it helped pay my college education and it paid my-bills for many years to come via several basketball commercials ... basketball also opened many doors for me and it helped me tremendously in my business career.”
Hod enjoys sharing his basketball journey background with his son and his friends and having them learn lessons too.