New York has a historic opportunity to reform election laws. The 2013 Fair Elections Act, which provides for greater transparency and strictly enforced campaign finance laws, recently passed the State Assembly by a vote of 88-50. In contrast to the wild calculations that Sen. Martins provided, a public campaign finance system could be had for the cost of only $2 per person per year, according to the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute; a candidate’s participation would be optional. I daresay that most New Yorkers would gladly pay a mere $2 (the cost of a cup of coffee) for fairer, more transparent elections.
According to a recent Mercury Public Strategy poll, more than three-quarters of likely voters agree that reforming New York’s campaign finance laws is key to cleaning up Albany, rooting out corruption and improving the work of state government. Public financing would increase the number and diversity of candidates for office, require more disclosure, and give low- and middle-income candidates the opportunity to run credible campaigns against well-heeled candidates.
I read with interest about the panel discussion on the pros and cons of so-called “hydrofracking.” The debate as framed makes good points, however, it also misses a few key points.
When I was an exploration and development geologist for a Fortune 100 oil and gas company, for all the majors I worked with the preferred industry standard practice for both oil and gas well completions was called an “acid frac,” or an “acid job.” Based on my understanding, this is still the preferred method for non-horizontal wells, not hydrofracking.
I am writing in response to Howard Weitzman’s letter to the editor dated May 31, 2013 wherein he disputes the highly respected journalist Mike Barry’s commentary “Quietly Vindicated” which complimented the Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, published on May 17, 2013.
Let’s remember that Mr. Weitzman is the former Comptroller who left the County nearly bankrupt with a $250 million structural deficit. He is now a candidate for Comptroller attempting gain attention with misleading statements. He is wrong in every allegation.
In Aesop’s fable of the Tortoise and the Hare, we learn that “slow and steady wins the race.” Truthfully, many of us probably learned this first from an overconfident Bugs Bunny who challenged Cecil Turtle to a footrace. Who can forget his look-alike cousins who help the slow-talking tortoise outwit Bugs to win the race?
There’s something to be said about enlisting the help of others to steadily accomplish goals and this is true of my effort to protect Long Island’s drinking water. That’s why I’ve introduced legislation to create the Long Island Aquifer Commission.
I always read the Letters to the Editor. I was very disappointed in the cartoon that was in the paper. Here is a woman with 5 kids looking for a babysitter. So she voted for the school budget. It is in poor taste. Our school is not a babysitting service.
So I’ll share my position here. To be clear, I consider taxpayer financed political campaigns to be one of the most blatant exploitations of hard-working New Yorkers I have come across. Proponents claim it cleans up elections by taking money out of the game. It doesn’t. It merely substitutes your tax dollars for private donations.
I read your story about Canadian Geese. A large part of the problem is a man-made one. This is a migratory species that no longer migrates. I understand that geese were originally introduced into the area by hunters, and they never learned to migrate. Since there are very few predators in this area, the problem does worsen every year.
Thank you for writing about this problem.
Rich Cameron, Hauppauge
I must take exception to Mike Barry’s recent column trumpeting the County Office of Legislative Budget Review’s (OLBR)’s “verdict” that the County Comptroller’s office sought and received adequate backup for payments to Super Storm Sandy contractors. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The OLBR report clearly stated that their review was limited in scope and not meant as endorsement or criticism of the FEMA funding and approval process in totality (pg. 3). In fact, payments to the largest vendor, Looks Great Services, which totaled over $34 million, were approved for payment based upon an Excel spreadsheet without adequate documentation (pg. 5).
I enjoyed John Owens’ article “When The Goose Poop Hits The Fan.” In England (I am English), this is a problem that has been dealt with humanely for many years by feeding corn or other feeds treated to interfere with the egg laying; a form of birth control.
Something similar is available here: www.idausa.org/ida-offers-free-birth-control-for-geese/
Gavin E. Pike
New York State voters approved nearly 96 percent of its school districts budgets on Tuesday, May 21.
The New York State School Board Association (NYSSBA), which announced the results, is still waiting for nine additional school districts to release their data. Of the 660 school districts with released results, 630 of them have had their budgets pass.
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