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, 25 October 2014 00:00
Levittown Hall in Hicksville comes alive every Thursday night with music, dance, fun and laughter as students are swept away into the world of Latin dance.
Under the instruction of professional teacher Mark James, dance hopefuls learn a trio of Latin dance, including salsa, meringue and what James describes as the biggest craze in Latin dancing today, bachata.
Friday, 24 October 2014 00:00
book shops in Hicksville and around the country will hand out free comics on Oct. 25, to celebrate the second biggest free comic book event of the year—Halloween ComicFest. On Saturday, anyone who goes into a participating comic shop can choose from 19 free comics and participate in fun activities comic shops host for their customers to enjoy, while discovering new types of comics and the treasures found in store.
In Hicksville, both Game Master Games (954 S. Broadway) and Amok Time (108C New South Road) will be taking part in the Halloween ComicFest festivities. Game Master Games just recently started carrying comic books and this will be the store’s first comic book-related event. Coincidently, the event runs in the middle of an in-store gaming convention, and store owner Dave VanderWerf is looking forward to the increased exposure for the store.
Thursday, 23 October 2014 08:18
The Hicksville girls volleyball team improved to 7-1 by knocking off Oceanside in three consecutive sets by scores of 25-13, 25-19 and 25-14.
Emily Markakis played terrificly, using a powerful serve to record three aces, seven kills and added nine digs. Nikki Chase added six kills and eight digs. Additionally, Raeann Dong was versatile—recording three aces, seven kills and nine digs.
Thursday, 16 October 2014 08:31
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