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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

In a typical Long Island community packed with houses and backyards, there are a couple of acres of open land of community gardens where people are growing basil and dahlias and roses and cabbages—people like Terry Dunckey of Westbury and Peg Woerner of Great Neck, tending their small plots and helping to promote sustainable and organic practices.

East Meadow Farm, off Merrick Avenue, is owned by Nassau County and operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Nassau County. Previously it was a family-owned farm that was purchased by the county through the Environment Bond Act Program, a $150 million program that called for, among several mandates, the preservation of 400 acres of open space. In 2009, CCE of Nassau was awarded the lease to the land and in January 2012 took possession of the property. East Meadow Farm is a place where we can get the best advice on how to make our gardens grow without harming the earth. Part of the CCE’s original proposal was the establishment of a farmer’s market and, now, the market is open two days a week, a place to purchase organic vegetables and flowers during the growing season.

Drivers—get ready to slow down. Nassau County is currently in the process of installing school zone speed cameras in an effort to enhance safety by encouraging drivers to travel with caution, as well as support law enforcement efforts to crack down on violators and prevent accidents caused by speeding.

Nassau County officials say they’re still investigating locations in the Mineola School District, while leaning towards installing cameras near the North Side or Willets Road schools in the East Williston School District. Cameras could begin operation in September.


Sports

Nobody wants to make excuses, but sometimes when the injury bug hits, it’s impossible to overcome. Mineola Mustangs football head coach Dan Guido, entering his 28th season at helm, knows the injuries were the cause for their first-round defeat at the hands of the West Hempstead Rams last November.

“There was too many injuries on the offensive line last season,” said Guido. “It was supposed to be our strength and it ended up being a weak link by the end of the season.”

Even with those injuries, the Mustangs went 4-4 during the regular season.

The BU15 Mineola Revolution were crowned champions of the Roar at the Shore Tournament 2014 in West Islip on Aug. 10. After dropping the opener 2-0 against North Valley Stream, Mineola bounced back to beat Freeport Premiere 2-1.

The Revolution’s offense exploded in the third game as they beat West Islip 7-0. Mineola’s final game pitted them against Quickstrike FC, which entered the contest without a loss and within a point of winning the tournament.


Calendar

Zoning Meeting

Thursday, Aug. 28

Mineola Village Meeting

Wednesday, Sept. 3

School Board Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 4



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com