Sales tax revenue is the County’s biggest source of income, accounting for over 40 percent of total annual revenues. Sales tax is also a good barometer of the County’s economic activity and economic health. Therefore, it is gratifying that the final sales tax figures for 2013 show an increase of 6.3 percent to $1.13 billion over the prior year. This was on top of another healthy increase of 4.2 percent in 2012.
These sales tax growth figures would seem to imply that Nassau County has recovered well from the recession and Superstorm Sandy, and in fact it has, with unemployment now under five percent, well below the national and state averages.
A few weeks from now, New York’s public school children in grades 3-8 will spend six days taking the poorly designed, expensive New York State Assessments. The overreliance on these tests has pushed school districts to abandon successful curriculum models and confine themselves instead to the limited, unproven and expensive Common Core standards.
“Prepping” for these dreary, mind-numbing examinations greatly reduces the time our kids can spend on appropriate, meaningful educational pursuits. It inhibits excellent teachers from bringing their inspiration and ingenuity into the classroom. The tests penalize children for their creativity and original thinking, and they punish gifted children and those with special needs even more severely. The process also channels tens of millions of our tax dollars out of the classrooms and into the coffers of rapacious testing corporations, who view our children as nothing more than a footnote on their bottom line. These companies also eagerly look forward to gaining access to our children’s confidential personal information.
A day after New York State Regents chose to disregard efforts to dismiss poor-performing teachers based on Common Core testing, Gov. Andrew Cuomo fired back, “There is a difference between remedying the system for students and parents and using this situation as yet another excuse to stop the teacher- evaluation process.” Regents listened and agreed to put teacher performance back on the table.
As far as all those additional tests are concerned, editorial and in-depth reporting has broadly pointed out it was educators/unions that asked for additional testing, at the district level, to account for half of their evaluation, which is 40 percent under Common Core. But again, Regents is listening and has proposed several actions to reduce testing. To see their proposals, go to www.oms.nysed.gov/press/regents-adjust-common-core-implementation.html
Your “Patience Is A Virtue” editorial was a good one: a good lesson, plus good advice. Unfortunately, it was probably preaching to the choir, because those of us patient, considerate reader/drivers will just continue practicing our responsible, careful driving habits; while the impatient, reckless fools like the one you describe (who arrogantly think that their time is more important than anyone else’s safety) are likely to continue their public-menace bad driving habits.
If only horn-honkers like that Mercedes owner were the worst ones on the road. It’s more the speeders, swervers, texters and drunkards who cause the most damage and death. I only wish that each and every one of them would hit a vehicle-damaging, disabling, incapacitating pothole before they cause an accident that will kill or maim some innocent person—whether pedestrian, passenger or “pilot” of a patiently-driven car.
Confidence and trust in government appears to continue to erode because of political infighting, and the perception of waste, fraud, and limited transparency. This is why my office has taken small yet significant steps to attempt to restore some trust through transparency.
Our latest step came last week when we made available to the public on the Comptroller’s Facebook page all 2013 Nassau County contracts with vendors as well as all the bills paid by the County. In keeping with my office’s prudent standards of controlling costs and promoting innovation, we used the latest social media tools to make this information available to the greatest number of residents by using Facebook, Twitter and Google Docs. Not a single taxpayer dollar has been spent for this important public service.
Impatience is rampant these days, with harried drivers blaring horns to speed up traffic. The car horn was designed to alert other automobile drivers to potential hazards, i.e. swerving into oncoming traffic, drifting into the next lane,
Recently, we observed the impatient driver of a beautiful white Mercedes sedan waiting to turn at a traffic light. When the light turned green, most drivers proceeded slowly due to the potholes, many of them cavernous but deceptively filled with water. This particular driver honked his horn abrasively and barreled through the intersection. It damaged the undercarriage of his Mercedes. It forced him to stop in his tracks.
If you’re a Seinfeld fan like me, you’ll probably remember the episode “Bizarro Jerry,” in which the gang’s world seems strangely inversed. The writers were apparently inspired by the Bizarro World found in the old DC comic books where good and sensible things were shunned and stupidity and recklessness were embraced.
I think I work in Bizarro Albany sometimes, especially after Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent proposal to give convicted felons free college educations on our taxpayer dime. Our governor has actually proposed providing prison inmates with free associate’s and bachelor’s degrees and he’s serious. His public relations machine is already out in full force.
The Board of Fire Commissioners of the Hicksville Fire District would like to thank the many residents of Hicksville for their cooperation during this winter season.
Due to numerous snowstorms and record breaking snowfalls the fire hydrants in Hicksville required repeated clearing in order to facilitate access in the event of an emergency.
“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”
This simple observation made by Albert Einstein captures our concerns with New York State’s rollout of Common Core. It’s what caused parents and educators from across the political landscape and from across this great state to come together in opposition to artificial metrics of whether our children are “college and career ready.” It’s why hundreds of you joined me at a forum this Fall at Mineola High School to demand that the Common Core rollout be rolled back. It’s why we worked so hard to ensure that our children’s privacy is protected. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to get it.
You know Old Man Winter has overstayed his welcome when even a middle school student will say he doesn’t want any more snow days.
We love the sugar-frosted dusting of a first snow in the treetops along Jerusalem Ave. but after that first dusting, it tends to get dirty and dangerous. Ice that glitters in the branches or along telephone lines starts to melt, breaking off branches and denting cars parked in the street below. Did we mention cars? Winter driving is all problems. At times Hicksville feels like an episode of Ice Road Truckers. The potholes—plenty deep and getting deeper—make every drive an “off-road” experience. Salt and sand eat away chassis. Both black and white ice send us skidding. And they all conspire to send us to the mechanic to spend money. Did we mention money? We just got our bills from National Grid and fuel oil suppliers. Harumph. And we just hate being cold all the time.
Enough is enough. Let us hope that the latest snowstorm is the last and that Malverne Mel and Holstville Hal, Long Island’s bellwether groundhogs, were right: Spring is coming early this year.
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