Thursday, 24 July 2014 09:23
Lawyers and Judges are bound by the Codes of Professional Responsibility and Judicial Conduct to avoid even the appearances of impropriety. While this rule is loosely applied to judges who seek campaign contributions from the lawyers who appear before them, it appears that the rules do not apply at all to elected officials even where they are attorneys.
In 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States decided the Citizens United case allowing for unlimited campaign contributions from unions and corporations under the guise of the First Amendment. The so-called originalists in the Supreme Court Majority found that the Framers of the Bill of Rights in 1791 intended to allow for unfettered campaign contributions. So it was that in the last Presidential campaign the two major candidates raised and spent over one billion dollars. I am sure that Benjamin Franklin and George Washington knew that electoral politics would come to this.
At every level of government the viability of candidates is determined by how much they can raise in campaign funds rather than their records or stands with respect to issues of the day. The prizes for victories result in what Andrew Jackson described in his famous statement of: “To the victor go the spoils.”
In Nassau as elsewhere, the victors’ spoils go to campaign contributors. So it is that the objectivity that should apply to governmental decisions is tainted by appearances of impropriety by those who contribute to political campaigns. They contribute not small amounts but vast sums of money – thousands and in the case of statewide and national campaigns, millions either individually or by “bundling.”
So it is that cases are settled rather than juries deciding them; family members are hired and placed into high paying positions in government, for which they are sometimes qualified and often not; lobbyists are paid to do the job that elected officials should do; unions are given favorable contracts and contractors are rewarded with multi-million dollar deals with cost overruns apparent from the “get go.” Ambassadorships and nominations for all offices have price tags on them. If you are interested in those positions you know and you are told what you must do- stay under the radar and give and give, again and again. Buy and sell tickets to political fundraisers.
Of course it was not that long ago that Nassau was the originator of the one percent scheme wherein government employees were required to kick back one percent of their salaries to a major political party whose boss was indicted and convicted for receiving insurance commissions from municipalities for no work.
Harry Truman once remarked of his role as the ultimate decision maker that the “buck stops here.” We should now be saying that the bucks should stop altogether from going to politicians and political campaigns.
Thomas F. Liotti
Saturday, 27 September 2014 00:00
Old classmates reignited friendships and shared memories of their teenage years as the Hicksville High School Class of 1964 came together recently to celebrate their 50th reunion at the Holiday Inn in Plainview.
Among the attendees was Bob Cheeseman who met his wife, Lorraine (Kirwan) in middle school. They were serious throughout high school and married soon after. Bob said, “I enlisted in high school and went into the Air Force. I did 30 years active Air Force and another 15 after that. I retired in 2010 as a Brigadier General. After I retired, my wife received a certificate from the Governor of Texas and was designated a Yellow Rose of Texas.”
Friday, 26 September 2014 00:00
The Common Core results are in and overall the district performed reasonably well according to Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction, Marianne Litzman at Sept. 17's school board meeting.
“The students in grades 3-8 performed wonderfully in some areas but there were also some challenges,” said Litzman. “Overall as a district we performed above average for the County and State levels.”
Thursday, 25 September 2014 08:51
It seemed to happen in an instant.
Hicksville forward Michael Osmundsen was touching the ball past Kellenburg goalkeeper Jack Abuin to slot the ball into an empty net to score the lone goal in the non-league 1-0 victory over the Firebirds.
It’s nothing short of what Comets boys soccer head coach Scott Starkey would expect. He described his forward as “very explosive, fast and he’s not just fast — he’s tenacious.”
Thursday, 18 September 2014 00:00
This November, Hicksville resident Marlo Signoracci will head to Florida for Ironman, a demanding, long-distance triathlon that includes biking, running and swimming. Here, she shares her story as she prepares for one of the most physically challenging athletic events out there.
If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!