After serving ten years as your town supervisor, I am stepping down to join the administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo as Special Advisor to the governor. I have also been appointed by the Governor to serve on the Nassau Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) as its chairman.
In the coming months and years ahead, I will be handling storm recovery for the State of New York focusing on Sandy’s impact on Long Island and the resources and policies that are being so dedicated. In regard to NIFA, I will lead the board that conducts oversight over Nassau County’s Finances. NIFA was established in 2000 by Governor Pataki to oversee and monitor the budgeting and fiscal operations of the county as a result of the county’s financial turmoil.
Twelve years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the tensions haven’t gone away. But the progress in resolving them hasn’t stopped, either. And it may surprise you to note that Nassau’s Muslim community is leading the way.
The Islamic Center of Long Island (ICLI) in Westbury, which was the first mosque built from the ground up on Long Island, has worked through the years to bring all Long Islanders together. A leader of those efforts has been Dr. Faroque
Khan, member of the ICLI board of trustees and a founding member.
Crack of the gun, they’re off!
Left, right, left…
Waves of swimmers
Slicing through crystal waters.
To cacophonous applause tossed like
crazy laps beyond them, bouncing off walls—
drowning the void between air and space,
pledging deafening sorority that promises
to go on forever past the finish line.
The new school year is well under way.
I admit that I personally dread the week it begins. Maybe because I remember that sinking feeling as the days of summer would wind down and we prepared for homework, books and bedtimes. Nowadays, it’s the never-ending lists of school supplies and the coordination of jam-packed calendars that puts a damper on things.
It’s been 50 years since Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech at the Lincoln Memorial. It was a sacred effort and the words and sentiments he spoke that day are grafted into the nation’s collective consciousness. The ideal of universal freedom is a uniquely American one and the struggle for civil rights under the shadows of slavery and Jim Crow is a compelling and courageous narrative in the volume of liberty in which King was a central figure.
African-Americans have made great strides toward equality under the law and are an integral part of America’s multi-cultural fabric. Over the last few decades their rise has been meteoric: In 1964, 26 percent of blacks graduated high school, now 85 percent do; in 1970 there were 1,469 black elected officials while today there are 10,500; a black middle class is a staple of society and from sports to politics to the entertainment industry discrimination against blacks is virtually non-existent.
The Great Depression was a pivotal event whose causes have generated much heated debate. The consensus was that the stock market crash, fueled by reckless speculation, triggered an unprecedented bank crisis. This explanation became one of those unquestioning verities, an established fact, and a datum of certainty. It also happened to be dead wrong.
Conceit is the queen of human presumptions. What we know is often overlevereged by what we don’t know. Proximity gropes in a fog of uncertainty. Evidence, accumulative and accumulating, needs the luxury of time to purchase perspective and understanding.
It was not until Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz’s A Monetary History of the United States established that monetary contraction was the true catalyst for economic calamity. It was not the loosening but the tightening of the money supply that was the real culprit.
Two old friends standing together,
great sturdy tall bodies
touched by the sky.
In which we sought shelter.
In which we sought comfort
from cloud and sun.
So many souls
waiting to receive the stars
for the light of morning.
Editor’s note: This is a response to Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos’s “County Financial Report Card,” published in The New Hyde Park Illustrated News, Sept. 11-17 edition. Howard Weitzman is running on the Democratic line against Maragos in the November election.
George Maragos continues to mislead the public by falsely claiming that the county’s financial condition has improved on his watch. During Mr. Maragos’s tenure as Nassau County’s fiscal watchdog, the county has undergone three bond downgrades by the credit rating agencies, the county’s fiscal outlook has been lowered from “stable” to “negative,” and the county’s debt has reached a new all-time high. No amount of “cooking the books” and issuing misleading financial statements and press releases can hide this truth, a truth which can be easily verified by outside sources.
The Financial condition of the County continues to improve by all fundamental measures, primarily due to the improving economy and cost controls instituted by the Mangano administration. From residents’ point of view, the County’s improved financial state is reflected in the county portion of their property tax bill, which has not increased in the last four years.
The mid-year financial projections for 2013 indicate that the County will end the year with a $5.6 million budgetary surplus. This follows on the heels of 2012’s surplus of $41.5 million, now confirmed by independent auditors. These budget surpluses are due to increased sales tax revenues from the improving economy (up 10.4 percent year to date) and reduced Social Service costs due to lower unemployment (down to 6 percent, one of the lowest rates in New York
State and lower than that of Suffolk County and New York City.)
It keeping with tradition, the Williston Park Little League will again be hosting a 9/11 observance at Kelleher Field at 7 p.m., on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Former Deputy Mayor Bill Darmstadt has organized members of the WP Little League in order to hold this solemn ceremony. On behalf of the Village Board I ask all to come down to Keller Field to honor both those who passed away on that fateful day in 2001 and their families, who continue to feel the impact of this tragedy each and every day.
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