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What I See In Albany: Victory Vs. Progress

One of the frustrating things about being a state senator is that some of my less admirable counterparts in Albany will hold good and valuable legislation hostage in an effort to advance their unrelated political agendas.

 

If you have the courage to stand up to these strong-arm tactics, they sic the high-priced mouthpieces of special-interest groups on you who incessantly spin misleading headlines to distort the truth.

To be candid, they absolutely count on citizens not following closely and hope wave after wave of sensationalism will somehow influence the outcome. It’s nothing more than gamesmanship, plain and simple, and it’s happening right now with New York’s Women’s Equality Act.

 

Your legislators in Albany are considering several measures that will most certainly advance and protect the rights of women in New York State.

Reforms include guaranteeing equal pay for women, expanding protections for domestic-violence victims, stronger safeguards against discrimination and sexual harassment, and tougher human-trafficking laws that will free prosecutors to strike at this hideous crime happening throughout the state.

 

Both parties in the Senate and Assembly, as well as the Governor, support these reforms. In fact, we’ve been in agreement on these points for 18 months! It should be a slam-dunk, right? So why hasn’t it gotten done?

 

The answer is “partisan politics.” A group within the New York City-led bloc in the legislature is demanding that these reforms be lumped together in a single bill with a measure that would expand late-term and partial-birth abortions, and which will also allow non-doctors to perform those abortions. And despite pleas from legislators, Republicans and Democrats alike, to unchain this very different measure from the rest, this faction will not allow them be considered separately. They flat out refuse to let it pass or fail on its own merit. You’re free to make your own determination as to why.

 

Here’s what Amy Paulin, a Democrat Assemblywoman, had to say: “The Senate voted unanimously on the measures. The only reason to keep it together is because it helps the Senate Democrats, in their minds, increase their majority. It’s completely—it’s an election year. It’s politics over substance to keep the bills together.”

 

We’ve discussed this legislation extensively for more than a year in Albany and it’s been discussed extensively here at home with family and friends as well. Along with most New Yorkers, I fully support the nine original measures. I also fully and unequivocally support the faction’s right to make their case on late-term, doctorless abortion and have a straight up and down vote based on their rationale. I do not support their denying New Yorkers not one—but nine whole pieces of beneficial legislation that we all agree on—in order to ram through one controversial one. And they have great nerve to obfuscate this reality and dumb down the argument in the press.

 

I can simply think of no fairer way to address such a contentious measure than to let it be resolved democratically—to be discussed, debated, negotiated and voted upon on its own. Most reasonable people agree that one of the most critical issues of our time deserves nothing less. It is not to be traded like so many marbles in an elaborate school-yard game.

 

Everyday people, the ones who do most of the living, working and tax-paying, hate when special interests and party politics get in the way of delivering results. So do I. We’re fed up with the partisan gridlock in Washington which is so mired in political bickering they haven’t even passed a federal budget in years. So it exasperates me that these important and necessary reforms are being hijacked for purely partisan reasons right here at home.

 

My hope is that common sense will prevail and that the points we all agree on will be passed and signed into law. My personal appeal to these legislators is that they put progress over victory. Anything less would be a complete insult to our wives, mothers, sisters, daughters and friends.

News

The Wheatley School recently hosted an Item Writing Workshop for more than 100 language teachers representing districts across New York State.  The workshop was sponsored by the Foreign Language Association of Chairpersons and Supervisors (FLACS), the professional organization that has assumed responsibility for the creation and administration of the FLACS

Checkpoint A and B Exams (formerly the NYS Second Language Proficiency and Regents Exams).

Last year, the Mineola Fire Department initiated an Adopt-A-Hydrant program to offer residents and businesses an opportunity to enhance their fire protection by providing a simple service to the village, caring for a fire hydrant. The MFD is looking for adopters once again.


Sports

After consecutive seasons of finishing runner-up in the men’s golf Player of the Year for the Skyline Conference, Christian Bleck of St. Joseph’s took home first place in a rather unlikely turn of events. 

 

After a herniated disc caused the Chaminade High School alum to miss every event after the first week of the season until the conference tournament, Bleck returned—without even having the luxury of practicing a full 18 holes—and competed with the best players the conference has to offer. 

Cross-Country Crowned Champs

The Mineola Mustang boys cross-country team won the division 4A championship recently at Bethpage State Park.  This is the first championship for the program since 1974, ending a 40-year championship drought. 

 

Mineola defeated Seaford, who also entered the undefeated in division competition, 38-20.  Overcoming rain and high winds throughout the race, many Mustangs ran personal records for the 5K in route to the victory.


Calendar

Mineola School Meeting - November 20

Fools Rush In - November 21

Mustangs Face Roosevelt - November 22 


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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