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 wanted to write something poetic here. My intention was to memorialize a good friend with words that would strengthen those of us who loved him while capturing his extraordinary spirit for those who didn’t know him. But I got stuck, starting and stopping a good half a dozen times as no words seemed to be doing my sentiments justice. Then, as providence would have it, I came across a quote from the American essayist, E.B. White, who wrote “To achieve style, begin by affecting none.”
So I will affect none. I’ll do away with flowery phrases and just tell you a little bit about my good friend, John DaVanzo. who passed away on March 21 at the age of 92. He wouldn’t have wanted anything written about him anyway, but if it was to be, my plainspoken friend would have told me to “say what you mean and mean what you say.”
Editor’s Note: Lou Sanders, who has his journalism degree from NYU, and his wife, Grace, a graduate of Adelphi, founded the Mineola American in 1952, giving the village its first successful newspaper. Lou and Grace, a graduate of Adelphi University, have lived in
Mineola for 60 years, and his popular column is a signature feature of this paper.
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Bill Donohue, head of The Catholic League, says that it is a lie that gays can’t march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. They can march with their counties like Derry, Mayo or Tipperary. No special interest groups can march like Clean Air or Stop Russian Aggression. I was talking to Bill at Corpus Christi Church where he attends Mass.
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.
John DaVanzo never let me pay for lunch in the four years that I’ve been editor of the Mineola American. I managed to sneak a check by him a last year at Shaker’s on Mineola Boulevard, but boy was he angry when he came back from the restroom.
He wasn’t angry in the literal sense, but wanted to set an example. I recall, not entirely what he said, but it went something like this: “I want you to take care of the youngster you buy lunch 70 years from now.”
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.
Nassau County is vigorously promoting its new smart phone app that allows citizens to report potholes, but when we got the announcement last week our reaction was “Seriously? You need an app for that?” After all, it’s not as if the potholes are hiding. Many of them reappear, year after year, in predictable spots, well-traveled stretches where major roads intersect. Jericho Turnpike near Mineola Boulevard, offers a stupendous moonscape. You can see it has been repeatedly patched. Liberty Avenue and Hampton Street is a bone-jangling mess.
Editor’s Note: Lou Sanders, who has his journalism degree from NYU, and his wife, Grace, a graduate of Adelphi, founded the Mineola American in 1952, giving the village its first successful newspaper. Lou and Grace, a graduate of Adelphi University, have lived in Mineola for 60 years, and his popular column is a signature feature of this paper.
Nazi U-boats patrolled the North Atlantic Ocean in World War II. John Pavolovich was with the Merchant Marines as they ferried ships from Baltimore to Liverpool. Some may remember John, who later owned restaurants on the island, including the Executive on Mineola Boulevard. During his long career—he is 93—he met a young senator named John F. Kennedy and later Harry Truman. John now lives quietly on Dow Avenue.
Even on the days that school is closed due to inclement weather, members of our custodial and maintenance staff are working hard to keep the snow and ice at bay so school is ready to open when storms subside. These past few weeks have been very challenging weather-wise.
A tremendous thank you to Nicholas Fusco, our director of school facilities and operations, for his hard work and skilled leadership managing our facilities during the weather emergencies. Thank you, as well, to those members of our custodial and maintenance crews who have worked so diligently during these snow emergencies to ensure our grounds and sidewalks are safe for our students and staff.
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.
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