There are times that I feel as if I am being buried alive, one tablespoon of tabloid dirt at a time. It would be redundant to name the culprits. Besides, they all blur together in blaring headlines accompanied by a steady beat of sneering and self-righteous talking heads.
I wonder what young people think of the endless parade of public figures —government officials, businessmen, entertainers and professional athletes—crashing and burning before their eyes. Then again, maybe they have other things on their minds.
New York State and federal officials remind those who were affected by Hurricane Irene that October 31 is the deadline to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for possible federal disaster assistance from Hurricane Irene damages.
The proposed 2012 budget submitted by the county executive protects our hard pressed taxpayers since it contains no property tax increase. This budget has severe cuts across the board and includes demands for significant labor concessions. NIFA’s cooperation is necessary to help the county get through this lingering national recession and our county’s fiscal crisis.
Nobody likes to spend excess money, and one way to alleviate extra spending is to conserve water in the home. By closely monitoring the amount of water one uses, and implementing easy and simple changes in the home it becomes possible to lower water bills.
Continuing the effort to eradicate raccoon rabies in Nassau County, Nassau County Department of Health and Cornell University announced that they will again distribute raccoon rabies vaccine to protect residents from rabies. Rabies vaccine “baits” will be distributed in the northwestern portion of the county in response to the most recent case of rabies reported in Queens.
The rabies bait, which is attractive to raccoons and includes a vaccine packet, will be distributed in raccoon habitats which include woods, bushes, streambeds, sewers and other areas. There is a label that clearly identifies the bait packet that reads: “Rabies Vaccine Live Vaccinia Vector. Do Not Disturb, Merial, Inc Us Vet Lic. No. 298 1-877-722-6725.” Raccoons are attracted by the scent of the bait and are immunized when they eat the contents of the vaccine packet.
As part of its ongoing tradition of pro bono and community legal assistance, the Nassau County Bar Association along with Nassau/Suffolk Law Services is inviting all Nassau County residents to a free legal Pro Bono Fair offering free assistance, information and referrals, to be held on Thursday, October 27, in celebration of national Pro Bono Week. Any Nassau resident is invited to come to the Bar Association’s headquarters at the corner of 15th and West Streets in Mineola, between 3 and 7 p.m. with a question and meet with an attorney one-on-one for legal guidance.
Nassau County is heading closer and closer to its demise. Following a national Republican trend, the administration is targeting government workers and their unions as the main reason for the county’s financial collapse. It implies our county is being destroyed by overgenerous labor agreements, and if those aren’t amended, massive layoffs will occur.
But a lack of transparency on the county’s part clearly exists. The administration complains that Nassau has the second highest taxes in the nation, yet if the county got rid of all 6,000 of its Civil Service Employees Association workers, Nassau would still hold that regrettable status. In fact, in a $10,000 property tax bill, only $300 is for the services provided by CSEA members.
Although I am a month behind the news cycle, I have hurricane hangover. The soundtrack of my life during the build up to Irene was like the theme from Jaws, that universal jingle of impending doom. I live in Long Beach, close to the bay and canal and a few blocks from the ocean.
I am not one of those who thought the warnings were overhyped or unjustified. I think it was the right thing to do, to warn people and issue orders for mandatory evacuation. I did evacuate my family. And, although we did not suffer any damage I do not regret evacuating. I felt the same way decades ago when hurricane Gloria blew in. I wanted my children then, who are young adults now, to know that they should take hurricanes seriously.
There is a house two doors down from mine on Division Avenue in Massapequa that has seemingly been abandoned for at least two years. The house has been boarded up but is covered with mold and mildew due to wind driven rainstorms and because for the most part, has been left unattended for years.
It is important that I share with you the fiscal challenges facing Nassau County. Nassau faces a projected $310 million deficit for 2012 resulting from unaffordable labor contracts, coupled with a broken assessment system and a stagnant economy that have collectively created a fiscal storm. Today [column submitted Sept. 14], I will submit a budget for 2012 that reduces year-over-year spending by $63 million. This is the first time Nassau has done so in over a generation. My budget changes the culture of taxing and spending, which has brought us to where we are today. First, let me say that my budget for the second year in a row does not include a property tax hike as our problems are not tax-driven. Nassau’s problems are spending-driven. As such, my budget significantly reduces the workforce, cuts tens of millions of dollars in spending and reforms unaffordable labor contracts.
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