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Letter: Facts Over Opinions

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 opinions.

Steven Markowitz

 

News

A group of like-minded local residents banded together and saved more than 200 area trees from the chopping block — for now.

A state judge ordered Nassau County and the Department of Public Works to stop cutting down trees along South Oyster Bay Road, granting a temporary restraining order to a group of residents spearheading an effort to save the trees.

State Supreme Court Judge Antonio Brandveen scheduled a hearing on Thursday, Oct. 16 for the county to address complaints from residents, in particular a group called Operation STOMP (Save Trees Over More Pavement) founded by Hicksville native Tanya Lukasik.The Public Works department had planned to removed more than 200 30-foot trees in communities ranging from Plainview, Bethpage, Hicksville and Syosset.

For the past 16 years, Lucia Simon has walked from her home in Hicksville to her job at the Hicksville Public Library. She enjoys her job as a librarian and says that the staff has become like family to her. But for the past three years, Simon and 56 fellow co-workers have been frustrated at what she says is the library’s board refusal to negotiate a fair contract.  

“We have had no contract in three years. They refuse to bargain with us. Every time they come back to us it’s not fair,” says Simon.

However, the board of trustees disagree, saying that it has made a “fair offer.”


Sports

The Girls Varsity soccer team, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wore pink uniforms and pink socks in their game on Oct. 8 against MacArthur whom they defeated 1-0. The girls and boys soccer programs at Hicksville High School are selling pink ribbon car magnets with a soccer ball and HHS on it with the words “Kick Cancer” on the ribbon. All the money raised will go to the Sarah Grace Foundation, which is a local foundation trying to beat pediatric cancer. The players plan to raise $1,000 for this organization

— From Hicksville High School

Hicksville native progressing through Mets system

The Mets minor league system is enjoying a rare period of prosperity. For years, it was barren due to trading off high-ceiling players for major leaguers, or neglecting the draft in favor of the free agent market. Since General Manager Sandy Alderson took over, the organization has reversed course and put a much greater emphasis on player development. During his second-to-last season, however, former GM Omar Minaya took a chance and drafted a local catcher, Cam Maron, out of Hicksville High School in the 34th round.


Calendar

Board of Education Meeting

October 22

Oktoberfest

October 25-26

Pancake Breakfast

October 26



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com