Karen Heckler writes “Hicksville’s revitalization is nothing to fear.” Courage and confidence in free markets by the leaders in the Town of Oyster Bay are what is necessary for real positive growth and change. Too often a community in their interest for “attractive restaurants, retail shops and maybe even some cultural arts” decides to amend the zoning ordinances to such specifics, attempting to dictate the change desired. Excessive regulation and uncertainty of Government approvals are what drives away entrepreneurs, investment capital and wonderfully innovative new development.
Real positive change comes from freedom and less Government restrictions to use, density and architecture. Sure, there is fear of risk in change. But often if the change is a mistake, the mistake is later corrected and redeveloped into a success.
Could you imagine if, tomorrow, school districts across New York State had to absorb more than 400,000 new students? Or picture your local school enrolling hundreds of new students and the effect it would have on class sizes, let alone our ability to provide books and materials, desks and lockers. Our current facilities could in no way withstand that kind of blow. In each district, new schools would have to be immediately built and hundreds of teachers, aides, and support staff would have to be hired. With the average cost to educate a student in New York at over $20,000 annually, you could bet our already sky-high school taxes would zoom to astronomical levels.
The revitalization of downtown Hicksville is a topic that has been tossed around since the 1960’s. Ever since the widening of Broadway into Route 107 led to the destruction of what was once the downtown, people have been coming up with ideas to revitalize the area. Unfortunately one thing has stopped every proposal from being realized. That one thing is fear.
People fear that their beautiful suburban lifestyle will be ruined. They fear apartment buildings will be cropping up on their block. They fear low income housing, increased traffic and crowds. They fear their wonderful suburb will become another Queens, Brooklyn or the Bronx. They fear change.
Like all of you, I was shocked and disgusted by the revelations in Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s report that roughly 40 percent of the $570 million raised by non-profits in the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts have yet to be given out to storm victims. This is unacceptable and I commend the Attorney General for making public the malfeasance of these non-profit organizations in keeping the charitable donations of good people looking to help those in need for themselves.
Tom Suozzi is my cousin, so obviously you know I’m supporting him this November. He’s running again for Nassau County Executive, because he believes that this county can be one of the greatest places to live in the country. He’s a deeply caring man that wants nothing more than to use his skills, abilities and leadership to serve his community and provide a better future for our children.
I believe Ed Mangano probably wants to do the same, however, sometimes the things I hear from Mangano and see in his commercials just don’t add up.
Something is very wrong with Nassau County’s assessment system when 87 percent of appeals are successful. You don’t have to look hard to see evidence of a broken system. The county website shows that several nearly identical homes on one block in Hicksville had assessed values that ranged from $322,000 to $436,000. These were homes built the same year by the same builder and had very little difference in modifications yet their 2013 total property taxes, based on assessed value, vary by almost $2500!
You can easily find other examples of this failed system by looking at page 9 of last week’s Illustrated (October 9-15) where two recently sold homes in Hicksville had nearly identical taxes of $8500, but one sold for $404,000 while the other for $650,000! A little research on the county website shows the $650,000 home had its assessment value reduced 4 times since 2010, from $505,200 to the current $366,800. Based on its recent sale price of $650,000, it is clear that this property should not have seen a reduced assessment.
In his article, John Owens criticized public schools for essentially being expensive bureaucracies that often fail in their educational mission. His criticism is well founded given recent test scores which clearly demonstrate that too many students are not taught at the highest level and lack the necessary critical thinking skills to function in our global economy.
This being the case, one would think that Mr. Owens would promote educational opportunity for all students. Educational opportunity translates into government monetary policy that would enable students to attend schools which better suit their learning style, whether it be a public school, charter school, parochial school, or private school. Why not give parents the freedom to choose the best school for their own child and support this freedom through monetary policy?
There’s a lot of blame and finger pointing for the recent federal government shutdown. Today I’m offering a common-sense solution.
Originally, House Republicans, who are in the majority, offered a resolution to temporarily continue governing operations. It had two conditions: 1.) Fund the government at a level that many Democrats felt was insufficient; and 2.) Defund and delay the Affordable Care Act (known to many as Obamacare). I could not support both of those conditions, particularly using a shutdown of the federal government to effectively repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Nassau County is very similar to other places around the country when election time comes around. You have candidates and incumbents willing to say anything to stay in office or get back in office. This time around we have two former incumbents in Suozzi and Weitzman who for over three years did not say a word about the county’s finances, struggles, or achievements. Yet all of a sudden they come out and say that everything is horrible. They say things like “cooking the books” and “the County borrowed $2 billion and your children will pay the price.” All these statements are meant to grab your attention and make you question your quality of life.
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 District Attorney Kathleen Rice is against arresting, prosecuting and punishing 16 and 17-year-olds as adults for these horrible crimes “Regardless of the offense.”
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