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Opinion

Our elected officials come before us once again and tell us "it's not their fault," that taxes are going up. The state says we should be happy because if they didn't fight the Governor, taxes would have been even higher. Our county says they need more money, while reducing the few services that they continue to supply. Our town says it's doing a good job, because our taxes have not had to go up EVERY year. Our school district says that they are being responsible because most of the increase is due to mandated pension fund increases.

When will someone start "thinking outside the box?" When will our politicians stop behaving like antelopes, who when things get difficult, simply paint their behinds, and run with the crowd, looking for cover? When will we taxpayers start insisting on new thinking instead of the same old "stinkin' thinkin'?"

In the "real world" the non-public sector world), there is an insistence on some sort of accountability. Our schools use as an excuse a number of issues, but when we are told how "big" our high school is in terms of student body, and we then graduate under 350 students this year, that is not big! I went to a NYC high school that had more students in one grade than Schreiber has in the entire school, and the percentage of Merit (now Intel) and Regents Scholarships was higher than at Schreiber. When will our schools start understanding that it is not OK to accept mediocrity, but that we should demand superiority from our students, teachers, administrators and planners?

It is not just how much money we spend, but how we spend the money! Ask Schreiber why we have a six day rotation, with major courses given four of the six days (meaning students get only approximately 120 hours/school year of their majors, instead of a five day rotation (of approximately 45 minutes), with majors every day (like most other school districts/ giving students approximately 135 hours/year of majors), and we are told simply that it's better, more flexible, or we have done it that way for a long time and it works. That is, if we are even given an answer! Analyze planning, programing, scheduling, teacher assignments, etc., and one will see that there are other equally as good (or better) alternatives that in many cases would be more cost-effective.

Look at the way there is duplication in Port Washington because of the many different governing bodies each of which are in a world all their own. There is no central Port Washington government or administrator. Different villages have different rules, in many ways not getting economies of scales because some of the villages are so small! Our police district is a separate government, as is our water district, our garbage district, our school district, etc. Many villages have their own building examiner, while others use the Town of North Hempstead's. It is time for the taxpayers to demand more accountability and more sanity!

We taxpayers said nothing when the county reassessed our properties, believing that our increases in taxes would be minor! Is there anyone who had minor tax increases? Taxpayers must get involved in the planning process, and not just wait and complain about budgets. "Think outside the box" and insist that your representatives do!

There is no central plan for building and development on this beautiful Port Washington peninsula! There is no future planning going on! Let us reinvent government! If there is anything people should realize by now, regardless of their political views, it is that the public is often misled - sometimes intentionally, sometimes due to neglect, and sometimes due to vision.

I pray that we wake up and help Port achieve its potential! Let us keep asking, "Is there a better way? Is there another way? Are we getting the most bang for our buck? Are we achieving our potential, and demanding the best?"

Richard Glenn Brody


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