Why all the uproar over LIPA paying some Navigant consultants $500 an hour ?
Even though each consultant’s “advice” is probably not worth more than the legal minimum wage, his hourly fee is equivalent to “only” $4,000 for an 8-hour day, “only” $20,000 for a 5-day week, and “only” ONE MILLION DOLLARS for a 50-week year. Hey, if the guy’s “storm preparedness” advice wasn’t extraordinary, LIPA wouldn’t pay him that much---would they ? Maybe his insights are so brilliant that, like the Oreal woman used to say, he’s “worth it”. And, anyway, don’t LIPA’s initials (secretly) stand for
I must take exception to Mike Barry’s recent column trumpeting the County Office of Legislative Budget Review’s (OLBR)’s “verdict” that the County Comptroller’s office sought and received adequate backup for payments to Super Storm Sandy contractors. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The only thing wrong with Kathleen Rice’s public display of the 104 men arrested for illegally patronizing prostitutes in a police sting was the absence of “Client # 105”: former Governor Eliot Spitzer! When he committed a similar crime, he was not sent to jail or fined, even though people working for “his” house of prostitution were.
That was patently unfair. Especially since prostitution (the “supply”) would not exist if there were no (male) “demand.” As long as prostitution remains a “crime”, people who break that law have a lot of nerve to complain about the consequences---even if their identities are made public. They all CHOSE to respond to those escort service ads, travel to the hotel, walk into the rooms where they expected to meet their prostitutes, and offer their money as payment. As for these men being “innocent until proven guilty (in a court of law)”, their voluntary actions virtually “prove” their guilt, and the plea bargains which most of them will make will verify their “guilt.”
I first saw James Gandolfini playing a mafia enforcer many years before watching him play Tony Soprano on Sunday nights. He was so believable in his roles that he eased into his Soprano acting role as mob-boss flawlessly. The show won 21 Emmy awards.
Gandolfini had a little crooked smile that endeared him to the viewer. He made you realize there was a bit of humanity and emotional frailty in the crime figure. He portrayed a caring father to Meadow his daughter (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) and his wayward son A.J. Soprano (Robert Iler). Tony also had mother problems with his overbearing and pushy parent. On the show, to deal with his childhood problems, he saw a professional Psychiatrist, Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco). Incidentally, Lorraine Bracco was a Hicksville High School graduate. The good doctor would not relate to Tony on a romantic level. She also turned down the role of Carmella because she felt it was too similar to her character in “Goodfellows”.
Kemp Hannon’s “There Ought To Be A Law” contest for students is a fine educational and public service program...But, I’d rather see him spend his time getting his State Senate and Assembly colleagues to pass “better” laws than they currently do. By “better” I mean: Laws that are so well thought out that, in practice, they don’t turn out to have unintended consequences (usually bad ones) and unforeseen “loopholes” one could drive a truck through.
Laws that will be strictly enforced by police, district attorneys, prosecutors, judges, prison officials, and parole board members.
Laws with penalties sure, swift, and severe enough to serve their truest purpose—not to punish, but to deter people from committing the proscribed crimes in the first place.
Charles Lavine’s “Foreclosure Fraud Prevention Act of 2013” bill is just one more extremely inadequate Albany document that will likely prove as effective as treating a hemorrhage with a band-aid. This bill is aimed at banks and money-lending companies that make obscene profits by knowingly, falsely, and deceitfully cheating homeowners out of millions of dollars. Yet, on those rare occasions when they fail to get away with their crimes, they will only be charged with a misdemeanor and have to pay an insignificantly small (to them) cost-of-doing-business fine of a mere $1,000; and might see an employee spend “Up to one year in jail” (which will in most cases be 30 days---at most---or less). Even worse is the part of the bill that makes it a felony punishable by (only “up to”! ) 4 years in prison ONLY IF an employee commits this crime 5 or more times! So the “message” to the unethical business is that it’s “okay” to commit this crime 2, 3, or even 4 times, because the worst that might happen is a relative slap-on-the-wrist which makes the illegal profits worth the risk. If this bill becomes a law, it may be better than nothing, but it still stinks! How ignorant and impotent can our Albany lawmakers be?
Somewhere along the Baltimore Washington Parkway, there is a place called Fort Meade, Maryland. I was stationed at Fort Meade in 1960, after my one year tour in Korea. Fort Meade was close to the Bronx (but not too close). It was known as a tank training base, but I was a dentist in the Army so it did not affect me.
On the grounds of Fort Meade was a section that was well guarded and the lights shined all through the night. No one knew what was going on there. Very mysterious!
This article is being written poolside in 85 degree weather in San Diego. The palm trees are swaying and the sun is strong and pure. I am here to celebrate my grand-daughter, Rachel’s graduation from high school. In the fall, she will enter Cornell University.
As I sit here, my mind goes back to the past year and the loss of four of my favorite friends. These were guys, I could speak with about any topic with complete confidentiality. Usually, the subjects ranged from financial to family with a lot of feeling in all matters. I miss these guys and I miss not being able to confide in them.
My last letter appeared on the same page as Stanley Greenberg’s weekly column, “Over 60...And Getting Younger.”
I don’t know how he manages that age-defying feat, but he’s apparently been defying the laws of physics, biology, gerontology and geriatrics for more than a decade !
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