The recent political chatter about “Obamacare” before the Supreme Court of the United States got a great deal of media attention. President Obama added fuel to the fire when he declared, “Ultimately, I am confident the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”
For someone who was a law professor those words were absurd. Even if a bill passed unanimously in the house and senate, it could still be overturned – if the law was in violation of the Constitution.
Giving up is not “reform.” County Executive Ed Mangano’s proposal to transfer property assessment from the county to the towns might possibly speed up assessment decisions by replacing one large and overwhelmed bureaucracy with several somewhat smaller ones. It will likely recreate problems that were major motivations in creating our highly centralized county government 75 years ago.
The 1938 county charter merged the town Boards of Assessors and the County Board of Equalization, ending three decades of complaints, lawsuits and hard feelings about the lack of specific, uniform levels of property assessments between the towns. In a tax system screaming out for simplification, clarification and a sense of certainty, spinning off assessments to the towns will reintroduce “equalization” as an annual issue. Tens of thousands of residents are still trying to figure out why their assessment went down but their tax bill still went up. The division of taxes heading up the tax food chain in an equitable manner is the most complex subject in local government, and it’s all going to make people very sad, particularly in villages and school districts that are split between townships.
Manhattan District Attorney (D.A.) Robert Morgenthau was facing a spirited Democratic primary challenge from a former judge in 2005, but his opponent had trouble finding anything substantively negative to say about Morgenthau.
The reason I know this: a city-based tabloid newspaper reporter called me weeks before the election, asking whether it was legal to have a Manhattan driver’s license while at the same time registering and insuring a car in Dutchess County, where auto insurance premiums are much lower. The answer: yes, so long as the insured vehicle is primarily garaged in Dutchess County. I was the director of public affairs for the New York State Insurance Department at the time and knew immediately the question pertained to Morgenthau because he met those criteria.
Written by Mike Barry Friday, 26 October 2012 00:00
The 2nd Annual Gold Coast International Film Festival (GCIFF) began earlier this week but Nassau movie fans have a few more days to catch the latest films from some of Hollywood’s biggest names.
Edward Burns, who grew up in Valley Stream, will be at Port Washington’s Clearview Cinema on Thursday evening, Oct. 25, to participate in an audience question and answer session, following that night’s 6:30 p.m. screening of his latest movie, The Fitzgerald Family Christmas. Burns wrote, directed and starred in this story about “an expansive Irish clan’s fraught yuletide when their long absent patriarch declares his intention to come home for the holiday.”
Silver Linings Playbook, starring Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro, Julia Stiles and Jennifer Lawrence, is competing with Burns on that same evening (Oct. 25). It will be shown at the Great Neck Squire Clearview Cinema at 7 p.m. The motion picture is about “a former high school teacher who returns to his family home after eight months in a mental institution” and starts to rebuild slowly his life.
The anticipated highlights on Friday night, Oct. 26, include In Another Country, a South Korean film that was a 2012 Cannes Film Festival selection, and Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey, which offers a close-up look at the rock group Journey. In Another Country will be shown at the Manhasset Clearview Cinema on that evening (Oct. 26) at 7 p.m. Meanwhile, the Journey film’s screening will take place on Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Port Washington Clearview Cinema, with filmmaker Ramona Diaz and Great Neck resident David Paterson, the film’s producer, appearing afterwards for a question and answer session.
There are three films being shown on Saturday evening, Oct. 27 as part of the GCIFF, with the Port Washington Clearview Cinema’s 7:30 p.m. screening of Bad Parents featuring a filmmaker question and answer session with director Caytha Jentis. Bad Parents is a comedy built around the world of suburban youth soccer and stars comedian Janeane Garofalo.
Restoration, an Israeli film that has been nominated for numerous awards, will be shown on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the Roslyn Clearview Cinema. The movie is about a 70-year-old man who finds an 1882 Steinway and believes its restoration can save his financially troubled antique shop. Lighter fare is on the calendar that same night (Oct. 27) at the Great Neck Squire Clearview Cinema, at 8 p.m., where the GCIFF will show The Sapphires. It is billed as an uplifting musical about three performers who are “plucked from the obscurity of a remote Aboriginal mission, branded as Australia’s answer to The Supremes, and dropped into the jungles of Vietnam to entertain U.S. troops.”
Finally, on Sunday, Oct. 28, at 4 p.m., a panel featuring the director, writer and producer of Mother of Normandy, will convene at the Great Neck Squire Clearview Cinema for a screening and discussion of their documentary about Simone Renaud. She spent a lifetime tending to the French graves of American soldiers who perished on D-Day in 1944 while also corresponding with their loved ones back home.
Tickets can be purchased on the day of the show. For more information, go to www.goldcoastfilmfestival.org.