Can you hear it? Listen closely and you’ll recognize the harmony of thousands of voices woefully singing, “It’s the Same Old Song” by the Four Tops. They’re parents from Buffalo to Montauk singing because the New York City-led state assembly voted to return three of the four Board of Regents members to their positions this past week. And the fourth one was only replaced because he resigned. That just about locks him in as the smartest member as far as I’m concerned, because he realized he was in over his head.
The Board of Regents is New York’s 17-member board that dictates education policy to school districts across the state as well as shapes procedures at universities, adult education programs and even manages the licensing of professionals like architects and dentists.
This tone-deaf crowd is also responsible for the disastrous Common Core rollout that has become the bane of parents, educators and students. That’s why I voted ‘no’ to reappointing all the incumbent Board of Regents members who were seeking another term.
I want to take a moment to clear some things up. There’s been speculation in the New York and Washington media the last few weeks that I would be running for Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy’s congressional seat here on Long Island, as she is retiring after nearly two decades of service. While I am honored by the outpouring of support encouraging me to do so, I will be continuing my work with the New York State Senate.
I admit that I am tempted to try to bring some common sense to the three-ring circus that’s set up tent in Washington. You may recall that I ran against the incumbent Ms. McCarthy for that very seat six years ago and since that time, Congress’ inability to get anything done seems to have only gotten worse. But it wasn’t that long ago that Albany suffered the same malady. Thankfully we’re turning that around but the bi-partisan progress we’ve made in our state capitol is in no way safe.
The thermometer has cracked the 50-degree mark. Our clocks have sprung forward. A new type of snowdrop—tiny white flowers—is poking out of the lingering snowmelt. Soon we’ll be seeing early bloomers like witch hazel and daffodil. Then the roadside forsythia will explode in tiny yellow blossoms, a rainbow of azaleas will burst forth, and the floral season will be in full swing.
Toward the close of WWII, Winston Churchill advised that the Allies should shake hands with the Russians as far to the east of the Elbe River as possible. The problem was that the Red Army was occupying Eastern Europe in large numbers. These were hardened troops; four out of five German soldiers who died in WWII were killed on the Eastern front.
As a result, and despite the agreement at Yalta, where the U.S., Russia and Britain agreed that governments of liberated Eastern European countries would be self-determined, the gravitational pull of the Soviet military kept these countries locked in Russia’s orbit.
Having lost several hundred thousand U.S. personnel and Japan still full of fight, neither FDR nor Truman was going to risk a holocaust of bloodshed to liberate these countries from their new oppressor. Instead, through a system of regional alliance and economic assistance to Western Europe, the U.S. committed itself to a policy of long-term containment of the Soviets.
Tully Park has become very popular with Oasis Day Camps, Red Bull Soccer Camps, lacrosse camps and games, baseball camps and softball games and many residents using the track and tennis courts. With this increase of park use I would encourage the Town of North Hempstead to install two AEDs in the park.
One at the track and one by the baseball fields.
One of the most important responsibilities an elected official has is to provide an open and transparent government for constituents. I have been committed to government transparency throughout my 23-year career in public service. Transparency can be achieved in a variety of ways, but it always involves access to governmental proceedings and decision-making, as well as opportunities for meaningful community input. During my first two months in office, I have held community meetings and extensive public hearings on various issues important to our residents. Building on that, we can take the next step by embracing new technological resources to open a wider pathway to exchange information between government and residents. In the Town of North Hempstead, I have already introduced several new technological initiatives to help achieve that very goal.
What is morality; is it inborn or acquired and does it reflect only the mores of time and place? When man began to discover a variety of customs, laws and institutions that existed around the world, the idea of relativism was born and the question of morality became much more complicated.
Friedrich Nietzsche believed that there is no right and wrong, only the strong and the weak. Some of history’s most horrific regimes grew fat feeding from the very trough that sought to produce an aristocracy of Supermen. Even Nietzsche would break under the Gnosticism he preached, signing the final, pitiful letters of his truncated life as “The Crucified.”
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, etc.
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.
“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 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.
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