(Editor’s note: This letter is in response to “Denenberg Asks AG to Investigate Privatization of Sewage Plants,” that appeared in the Thursday, Jan. 26, edition of The Westbury Times. This is the second of two letters from Claudia Borecky. The first letter appeared in last week’s edition.)
County Executive Mangano is proposing to sell or lease three of the County’s sewage treatment plants (STP), Cedar Creek, Bay Park and Glen Cove, to fill the county’s budget gap. He stated in a Long Island Press article, “In this case, we have the ability to protect the taxpayer, increase efficiencies and protect the environment.”
In last week’s letter, I discussed how Nassau County will lose its ability to protect the taxpayer and sale of our STPs will mean a huge increase in our sewage tax bill. Research has also shown that the quality of service often declines when operated by a private system. Although faith in the private sector to outperform government agencies is ingrained in the American psyche, facts disproving that belief are steadily mounting. Private companies seek to maximize profits, often by cutting corners to reduce costs. This can greatly impair service quality and maintenance. Over 60 percent of governments that brought functions back in-house reported this as their primary motivation.
Our Declaration of Independence and our Bill of Rights were written by men well-schooled in the ideas of the French and Scottish Enlightenments. They were men who respected human reason and who despised superstition, prejudice and ignorance. These European intellectuals were in awe of Jefferson, Adams, Washington, Paine, and all Americans whom they had previously mocked as “Yankee Doodles.”
They saw that despite our being in the midst of a war for our very existence, we calmly, humanely and bravely proclaimed, “all men are created equal...with certain unalienable rights...life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Is that just ancient history or are we still the awesome people who sing of their land as the “land of the free and the home of the brave?”
If my position when I was a trustee of the Board on the Westbury Union Free School District a few short years ago were guided by the recommendation of the Westbury School District administration and some of my neighbors, especially those with children attending Westbury Schools, my support of the proposed 2012 school budget would be assured. My position, however, is not only guided by those neighbors or the school district administration.
I have considered many of the issues prior to deciding for myself whether to support the proposed budget or not, and one conclusion I have come to is that some segments of the Westbury community have a vested interest in supporting the proposed budget that are inconsistent with mine.
The school district support staff – the teaching assistants, maintenance and security staffs and educators – would all support and welcome the passage of the proposed budget for 2012. Historically, teaching assistants, maintenance and security personnel and some secretaries have been awarded the smallest contractual salary increases and are the first subject to layoffs and staffing reductions during difficult economic climates like the one we find ourselves in now.
(Editor’s note: This letter is in response to “Denenberg Asks AG to Investigate Privatization of Sewage Plants,” that appeared in the Friday, Jan. 13 edition of the Levittown Tribune. This is one of two letters from Claudia Borecky. Her letter next week will address how she thinks privatizing will affect the efficiency of the sewage treatment plants and the affect on the environment.)
County Executive Mangano is proposing to sell or lease three of the County’s sewage treatment plants (STP), Cedar Creek, Bay Park and Glen Cove, to fill the county’s budget gap. A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued on Feb. 16, 2010 seeking Public/Private Partnerships (P3) to help fix the County’s fiscal woes. Morgan Stanley won that bid and was paid $24,750 (a bid under $25,000 does not require NIFA approval) to help prepare Requests for Qualifications (RFQ), to seek qualified bidders to purchase or lease our STPs. Three viable entities were found:
On Monday, Jan. 16, we once again honored one of our nation’s greatest civil rights leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His passion for equality and opportunity for all, coupled with the courage with which he opposed social injustice, continue to serve as an example for us all. I’m committed to helping his legacy live on through my work in the Assembly. While we made some important strides toward that end, we still have much work to do.
In his famous “I Have A Dream” speech, Dr. King said, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’”
Call it my pet peeve but given Nassau’s tax and budgetary problems, I find it especially irritating as I pass through Mineola on weekends and holidays that lights are left on all weekend long in county offices and courts. So here is the creation of a new job or maybe one that should be accomplished by current employees. Turn off all the damn lights when not in use! And what about the heat and air conditioning in those buildings? Why not turn them off or down on the weekends and holidays.
There are at least nine buildings that would be affected by such an initiative. It would be interesting to see how much of a cost differential there is in energy savings. Those buildings include two Nassau County Executive and Legislative office buildings; NC Police Headquarters; the three Court buildings and District Attorney’s Offices on Old Country Road; the Matrimonial Center and finally, the Supreme Court building.
(Editor’s note: The following is a copy of a letter from Senator Charles Fuschillo and the Long Island Senate Delegation to the LIPA Board of Trustees opposing LIPA’s rate increase proposal. The letter was read into public record at a LIPA public hearing on Tuesday, Dec. 6 regarding its rate increase proposal.)
As representatives of many voices in the breast cancer community on Long Island, our coalition urges Governor Cuomo to ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in New York State since 25 percent of chemicals used in the fracking process have been demonstrated to cause cancer or mutations. Hydrofracking companies use products containing 13 different known and suspected carcinogens. Two of those carcinogens, benzene and ethylene oxide are linked with breast cancer as cited recently by a report released by the Institute of Medicine.
Moreover, 37 percent of chemicals in fracking fluids are endocrine disruptors which alter hormonal signaling and in doing so can place cells on the pathway to tumor formation. Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals has been implicated in cancers of the breast, prostate, pituitary, testicle, and ovary.
As 2011 comes to a close we pause to say thank you to our family, friends, board members, supporters and volunteers that have made The Sarah Grace Foundation successful for another year. We continue to honor Sarah’s memory by helping children with cancer and their families in a way we feel Sarah would have wanted us to. We continue to assist with funeral expenses and provide comfort for those families, like ourselves, who have become parents of an angel. James continues to play a more active role in our programs and events while at the same time distinguishing himself in his studies.
The holidays are a time to reflect upon the past, to cherish its memories and to look ahead with hopes and dreams for a better tomorrow. We dream of a day when childhood cancer is cured and our children can live in a world free to have fun and not battle for their lives. It is inconceivable that Sarah has been gone nine years; her courage continues to inspire us and guide us.
Recent Op-Ed pieces in prominent newspapers have suggested that with proper regulatory oversight, hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” can be accomplished safely in New York, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and bringing much needed economic benefits to hard-hit areas of the state. If the issue was that simple, and if the statements were true, surely everyone would be in favor.
But the facts don’t support these statements, and the issue is not as simple as the TV ads would have citizens believe. Fracking is an inherently dangerous and destructive extreme form of energy extraction that brings with it a myriad of serious environmental and economic problems. Now that we have the opportunity to see how fracking has actually impacted citizens in Pennsylvania and other states, we can more easily distinguish fact from fantasy and make smarter choices for New York.
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