It seems part of the human condition to become so focused on that which needs correction that we often fail to appreciate our progress. It’s true in our personal lives, our work lives, and certainly when it comes to how we view government. In 11 years of public service I have yet to meet anyone whose first observation about government is how great it works.
But today I’ve got some terrific news that’s definitely worth celebrating. This past week Moody’s Investor Services upgraded New York State’s bond credit rating from “stable” to “positive.” While I realize that doesn’t sound like a particularly electrifying statement, it actually carries enormous significance. “Positive” is Moody’s Aa2 rating and their third-highest possible. In announcing their optimistic outlook, they cited – are you ready for it? – “the state’s resilience during and after the Great Recession, closing state budget gaps, reduction of government gridlock and its relatively well-funded public employee pension system.” How about them apples?
Your “Raise The Age” story pointed out that 74.4 percent of crimes that 16 and 17-year-olds are arrested for are only minor misdemeanors. Of course, that means that 25.6 percent are felonies---including burglaries, robberies, muggings, assaults, molestations, rapes, torture, and murders. Yet D.A. Kathleen Rice is against arresting, prosecuting and punishing 16 and 17 year-olds as adults for these horrible crimes regardless of the offense. Similarly, Assemblyman Charles Lavine feels that “children should be treated as children regardless of the crime they chose to commit.
As a long time Nassau County educator, I’ve seen a lack of interest at best, and some negligence to be sure, regarding fiscal management in some school districts in Nassau. The past County Executive administrations have done nothing to address these issues and have in fact exacerbated the situation by ignoring them.
We now have a candidate with a real plan. Adam Haber has effectively reversed a horrific situation in the Roslyn School District as School Board Trustee. He has proven there are ways to cut costs without loss of personnel and most importantly, to strengthen academic resources for students. His innovations, to name a few, included refinancing a bond, implementing cooperative purchasing, and recycling and purchasing used equipment. School buildings are very large facilities to run. Adam Haber has first-hand experience with commercial space, ensuring these facilities are run smoothly and economically. His plan for energy performance for our schools will create a profound effect on the budgets of our school districts, helping students and taxpayers alike.
A Republican and a Democrat standing together these days is rare. Even though we are from different political parties, partisan politics could not have been further from our minds on October 29, 2012 and in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
It was immediately clear that this was not just another storm and that the challenges it placed on our residents and businesses—and on the entire region—were enormous. That’s why President Obama established the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, chaired by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.
Last Monday, the Task Force released its Rebuilding Strategy to help guide federal investment in the region, marking an important new chapter in the region’s rebuilding effort.
On behalf of the Greater Long Island Running Club and the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce, we would like to offer our sincere thanks to the residents of northwest Hicksville for their patience and understanding as several hundred runners made their way through their neighborhood at the Discover Hicksville Five Mile Run last Saturday, Aug. 17.
We were especially appreciative of the dozens of local residents who took the time to come out of their homes to cheer the runners one. Running five miles is not an easy task, and we are thrilled that so many of our Hicksville friends and neighbors became a part of the event in this way.
Sue Fitzpatrick, Greater Long Island Running Club
Marlo Signoracci, Hicksville Chamber of Commerce
I was recently speaking with one of my staff via cell phone as he walked his dog late in the evening. Unfortunately, we had to stop our conversation about a half dozen times as he waited for the noise from overhead aircraft to pass. So to those who ask me about airplane noise, yes, I do understand how aggravating it is. To be sure, I live with it every day, like most of you.
The problem becomes especially clear as many of us spend time outdoors with family and friends during the summer. Not that we don’t hear it when we’re in our homes. We do, but being outside just makes the problem that much more obvious. I guess you could call it par for the course when living next to three major airports, but it was never this bad, never this loud. That’s why I want you to know that I’m working to get something done about it.
Since New York State’s lawless legislature and gutless governor have proven themselves unwilling or impotent to remove sleazy, shameless Sheldon Silver from his position as Assembly Speaker, someone has to do something to “punish” him for his egregiously unethical role in the disgraceful Vito Lopez affair. It appears that I may be the only person who can do it; so I’m hereby demanding publicly that Mr. Silver give me back the “It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need, and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber” t-shirt that I gave him as a gift on March 3, 1995. This was in the early days of his role as Speaker, and I had no way of knowing how embarrassing his tenure would turn out to be. I know it is unethical to ask someone to return a gift you voluntarily gave them, but Mr. Silver has demonstrated that he is not governed by ethics anyway. So, Sheldon, either resign your speakership or return my shirt!
For the past few years, it seems like New Yorkers have been dealing with one weather-related disaster after another. We’ve seen heat waves, flooding, and you don’t need to tell New Yorkers about hurricanes and tropical storms. Unfortunately, climate scientists predict that extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy will become even more common if we don’t cut our global warming pollution.
As a New Yorker, I expect our legislators to do everything in their power to protect us from another Superstorm Sandy, but the NY senate, especially Senators Dean Skelos and Jeffrey Klein, failed to reach an agreement to expand clean and renewable solar power in New York. I can’t image how this common sense issue failed to pass.
In a continuing effort to make Nassau’s roads the safest in the nation, the County Legislature approved the Complete Streets program that ensures Nassau will consider all users of roadways, pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders in planning and design of new and current roadways.
By including Complete Streets principles in the design and construction of future road projects, Nassau County will be able to accommodate and facilitate safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. These design principles include paved shoulders and bicycle lanes, suitable to encourage bicycle riders. Other designs would improve sidewalks, signage, crosswalks, pedestrian signalization and traffic calming methods designed to allow pedestrian and motor vehicles to safely coexist.
The selfishness we’re witnessing in Albany right now has to stop.
You know I’ve written in this column many times that New York State has made real progress these last three years. Things are far better than they used to be simply because Republicans and Democrats alike are finally working together. Despite the accompanying noise, there’s really no magic formula. Legislators with common sense have finally realized that you can’t always get everything you want and that most times, the reasonable middle ground also happens to advance the people’s agenda very nicely.
But I’m not “feeling the love” lately.
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