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Letter: Public Schools: Liars Figure

Thursday, 21 November 2013 00:00

John Owens’ column “Public School Data: Numbers Beyond Belief” deserves a great big “attaboy” for going to the heart of the problem. Being a math teacher, I would say to the kids, that in statistics, “figures don’t lie, but liars figure.” And  when the city presented data that “garbage in results in garbage out,” they are trying to quantify the unquantifiable. In my career I’ve seen some of this, but the use by NYC is mind-blowing.

What fraud. But the New York State Education Department seems to be promoting this in many ways, including coming up with a number to rate teachers. What an insult to teachers to think that the efforts to motivate kids, the creativity, the dedication, the ability to put on a “dynamic show” five times a day, five days a week can be reduced to a number.

 

From The Desk Of Senator Jack Martins: November 14, 2013

Written by Jack Martins Thursday, 14 November 2013 00:00

Stupidity Should Have Its Limits

If you’re a person who values common sense, then prepare yourself to be disgusted and angry. I’m about to tell you about a sensible piece of legislation that’s long overdue, but is being blocked by the New York State Assembly, which is shamelessly pandering to its constituents with your tax money.  In fact, you may be shocked to learn that we even need this legislation at all, let alone that it’s being systematically stymied by some in Albany.

Currently, New York issues something called Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards to our welfare recipients. It works much like a debit card and it allows us to help our needy neighbors in an efficient yet dignified way. The system conveniently provides a Food Stamp and a Cash Assistance component all on one card. As it stands, strict regulations dictate what can be purchased with the Food Stamp allotment. Cash assistance, on the other hand, is intended to pay for items not covered by Food Stamps, such as soap, toothpaste, school supplies and toiletries. To be clear, there are no restrictions whatsoever on the use of the Cash Assistance component. None. It’s doled out like cash.

 

Letter: Excessive Regulations Hindering Revitalization

Thursday, 14 November 2013 00:00

Karen Heckler writes “Hicksville’s revitalization is nothing to fear.” Courage and confidence in free markets by the leaders in the Town of Oyster Bay are what is necessary for real positive growth and change. Too often a community in their interest for “attractive restaurants, retail shops and maybe even some cultural arts” decides to amend the zoning ordinances to such specifics, attempting to dictate the change desired. Excessive regulation and uncertainty of Government approvals are what drives away entrepreneurs, investment capital and wonderfully innovative new development.

Real positive change comes from freedom and less Government restrictions to use, density and architecture.  Sure, there is fear of risk in change.  But often if the change is a mistake, the mistake is later corrected and redeveloped into a success.

 

From The Desk Of Senator Jack Martins: November 8, 2013

Written by Donna Duffy Thursday, 07 November 2013 00:00

An Education No-Brainer

Could you imagine if, tomorrow, school districts across New York State had to absorb more than 400,000 new students? Or picture your local school enrolling hundreds of new students and the effect it would have on class sizes, let alone our ability to provide books and materials, desks and lockers. Our current facilities could in no way withstand that kind of blow. In each district, new schools would have to be immediately built and hundreds of teachers, aides, and support staff would have to be hired. With the average cost to educate a student in New York at over $20,000 annually, you could bet our already sky-high school taxes would zoom to astronomical levels.  

 

Letter: Hicksville’s Revitalization Is Nothing To Fear

Thursday, 07 November 2013 00:00

The revitalization of downtown Hicksville is a topic that has been tossed around since the 1960’s. Ever since the widening of Broadway into Route 107 led to the destruction of what was once the downtown, people have been coming up with ideas to revitalize the area. Unfortunately one thing has stopped every proposal from being realized. That one thing is fear.

 

People fear that their beautiful suburban lifestyle will be ruined. They fear apartment buildings will be cropping up on their block. They fear low income housing, increased traffic and crowds. They fear their wonderful suburb will become another Queens, Brooklyn or the Bronx. They fear change.

 

From The Desk Of Assemblyman Michael Montesano: October 31, 2013

Thursday, 31 October 2013 00:00

Sandy Money Must Go To Sandy Victims

Like all of you, I was shocked and disgusted by the revelations in Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s report that roughly 40 percent of the $570 million raised by non-profits in the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts have yet to be given out to storm victims. This is unacceptable and I commend the Attorney General for making public the malfeasance of these non-profit organizations in keeping the charitable donations of good people looking to help those in need for themselves.

 

Letter: It Just Doesn’t Add Up

Thursday, 24 October 2013 00:00

Tom Suozzi is my cousin, so obviously you know I’m supporting him this November. He’s running again for Nassau County Executive, because he believes that this county can be one of the greatest places to live in the country.  He’s a deeply caring man that wants nothing more than to use his skills, abilities and leadership to serve his community and provide a better future for our children.

I believe Ed Mangano probably wants to do the same, however, sometimes the things I hear from Mangano and see in his commercials just don’t add up.

 

Letter: Assessment System Winners and Losers

Thursday, 24 October 2013 00:00

Something is very wrong with Nassau County’s assessment system when 87 percent of appeals are successful.  You don’t have to look hard to see evidence of a broken system.  The county website shows that several nearly identical homes on one block in Hicksville had assessed values that ranged from $322,000 to $436,000. These were homes built the same year by the same builder and had very little difference in modifications yet their 2013 total property taxes, based on assessed value, vary by almost $2500!

You can easily find other examples of this failed system by looking at page 9 of last week’s Illustrated (October  9-15) where  two recently sold homes in Hicksville had nearly identical taxes of $8500, but one sold  for $404,000 while the other for  $650,000!  A little research on the county website shows the $650,000 home had its assessment value reduced 4 times since 2010, from $505,200 to the current $366,800. Based on its recent sale price of $650,000, it is clear that this property should not have seen a reduced assessment.

 

Letter: The Civil Rights Issue of Our Day

Thursday, 17 October 2013 00:00

In his article, John Owens criticized public schools for essentially being expensive bureaucracies that often fail in their educational mission. His criticism is well founded given recent test scores which clearly demonstrate that too many students are not taught at the highest level and lack the necessary critical thinking skills to function in our global economy.

This being the case, one would think that Mr. Owens would promote educational opportunity for all students.  Educational opportunity translates into government monetary policy that would enable students to attend schools which better suit their learning style, whether it be a public school, charter school, parochial school, or private school. Why not give parents the freedom to choose the best school for their own child and support this freedom through monetary policy?

 

Letter: Common Sense Is Needed

Thursday, 17 October 2013 00:00

There’s a lot of blame and finger pointing for the recent federal government shutdown. Today I’m offering a common-sense solution.

Originally, House Republicans, who are in the majority, offered a resolution to temporarily continue governing operations. It had two conditions: 1.) Fund the government at a level that many Democrats felt was insufficient; and 2.) Defund and delay the Affordable Care Act (known to many as Obamacare). I could not support both of those conditions, particularly using a shutdown of the federal government to effectively repeal the Affordable Care Act.

 

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