Both before and after the enactment of a control period by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority on Jan. 26, budget reform and the renegotiation of union agreements with Nassau County have been the call of the day.
The argument has long been made that one way to relieve Nassau County of the dubious distinction of having the second highest property taxes in the nation is to consolidate some of the special taxing districts that dot our towns and villages into county or town-wide entities. Special fire, sewer, sanitation, parks and other districts are all taxing entities, and it is probably worth the while to take a critical look at what benefits can be gained from merging services where it seems reasonable and act accordingly in the interest of the taxpayer.
The Tea Party movement since 2010 has signaled the makings of a new American Revolution, much like our Declaration of Independence in 1776. Much like the drafters of the Declaration, including Thomas Jefferson, Tea Party activists have expressed their discontent at the ballot box. However, the worldwide recession has precipitated a revolution in other parts of the world, most recently and notably in Egypt, an ally of Israel and the United States. Our Congress approved our Declaration on July 4, 1776. Even though we were breaking with our mother country, England and its King, we were living by and making a system of laws and forming a government that has enabled us to survive for more than 220 years notwithstanding our revolution known as the Civil War.
It’s 2011 – by now you have had to figure out that when living on Long Island you have to be loud. Sometimes the loudness will come from yelling over the honking horns and traffic on the Long Island Expressway. Sometimes the loudness will come from singing along with the national anthem at a Long Island Ducks or New York Islanders game. Sometimes the loudness will come from shouting your order of fruit and vegetables at a local farmers market that’s bustling with hundreds of Long Islanders.
Andrew Jackson once remarked, “To the victor go the spoils,” a signal that partisan politics and patronage would be the way of Colonial America. Soon thereafter Tammany Hall and its evil offspring evolved. In 2007, Mayor Michael Bloomberg made an astonishing statement that “the best ideas should win.” He then changed his voter registration to “Blank.”
I write you in regards to an urgent matter that requires the immediate attention of your office. In a time of fiscal crisis, New York must find ways to reduce spending wherever possible. Perhaps no more egregious waste can be found on an annual basis than the payment of retirement benefits to public employees that have betrayed the public trust and been convicted of felony charges related to the abuse of their position.
Last year, I was the primary sponsor of Assembly Bill 10581, which sought to end such blatant abuse of taxpayer dollars. A number of my colleagues in the Assembly Minority joined me in support of this legislation, which was being held for further consideration in the Committee on Governmental Operations at the conclusion of the 2010 Legislative Session. I have resubmitted this bill for the 2011 Legislative Session and the bill, now Assembly Bill 00271, once again carries the support of many members of the Assembly Minority.
The problems in the Nassau Police Crime Lab are extensive, impacting on the convictions of literally thousands of cases. The extent of the problem must first be identified. This is not something that should be determined by the Nassau County Police Department or District Attorney’s Office alone. What should occur is a review of what has happened when other labs have had similar problems. For example, when the former Inspector General of the United States, venerated attorney and former prosecutor, Michael Bromwich, uncovered similar problems with the F.B.I.’s crime lab, what was done there? Similarly, when New York City had more than 50,000 rape kits backed up for several years, what did they do to satisfy accrediting authorities?
(Editor’s Note: To view the document discussed in the following letter, visit http://tinyurl.com/BOEfees.)
In what seemed like a free for all litigation spree following the May 2010 school board election in the Westbury School District culminated in a decision by the court on Dec. 6 to dismiss the most serious of these cases: then school board president Karin Campbell’s petition against David Steiner, the New York State Education Commissioner. It was somewhat hard for the average resident to make sense of, or keep up with the daily developments and the various twists and turns that were mainly centered on the presumption that Dr. Pless Dickerson’s seat on the Board of Education was legally vacated because of his multiple and consecutive absences at Westbury Board of Education meetings. This charge created a ripple effect in that it raised serious questions about Dickerson’s eligibility for controlling the majority on the board with the victorious “516 team.”
I would like to wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season. Like most, the holidays represent a special time for me. Whether it is decorating the tree, hanging the stockings, or enjoying a holiday meal, it is all made more enjoyable by the presence of loved ones.
Along with the annual traditions and the time I get to spend with my family, my favorite part of the holidays is the spirit in which it brings. Through acts of kindness and a willingness to lend a helping hand, this time of the year seems to bring out the best in people. The charity you see is truly amazing and makes me proud to represent people that are so willing to give during these tough economic times.
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