It is with sincere gratitude that I recognize the tireless efforts of Fresh Air Fund volunteers in Nassau County as the country celebrates National Volunteer Week. Their commitment to helping New York City children is exemplary for all community members and truly embodies the spirit of the 2011 National Volunteer Week theme, “Celebrating People in Action.”
There’s no doubt that one of the biggest debates in this country deals with something most people take for granted: water — and more specifically bottled water versus tap water. There are many strong views on both sides of the argument, but the truth is that most people just don’t know the facts. The Long Island Water Conference wants you to know that our tap water is not only cheaper, healthier and more convenient, it is also much better for the environment.
The last thing residents need in these tough economic times is a double-digit property tax increase. That is why I recently submitted an updated financial plan for Nassau County’s 2011 budget that protects homeowners and employers from a 21.5 percent property tax increase.
The plan is simple. It slashes nearly $182 million in government spending and impacts every area of the county and the services we provide. Although unfortunate for county employees and some service providers, the cuts are necessary in the face of the dire county financial situation I inherited.
As a New Yorker I was disheartened to hear that the New York State Tobacco Control Program has been slashed to $41 million. This will no doubt be a disservice to the people of New York.
The time has come for New Yorkers to take back their vote. The League of Women Voters of Nassau County believes this can come about only if legislators support an independent, nonpartisan commission for redrawing Assembly and Senate districts in response to the 2010 census. To achieve this end, the LWV has joined ReShape NY, a broad coalition of 30 advocacy, business, union, and civil groups calling on the Governor and state legislature to create an independent redistricting commission that draws district lines using fair and defined criteria while engaging the public in the process. If New York is to have a state legislature that is responsive to the interests of the constituents rather than keeping itself in office, citizens must demand this change from their legislators.
“School boards applaud the state Senate and Assembly for putting New York’s public school students atop their list of funding priorities. In separate budget proposals, both houses restored funds for education and rejected harmful cost shifts proposed by the governor. However, even with the proposed state aid restorations, schools are still left to grapple with a major funding cut.
Some federal immigration agents were wearing cowboy hats and carrying semi-automatic weapons that night in September 2007 when they stormed into private homes across Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Governor Cuomo has proposed to eliminate funding for 4201 Schools (for deaf/blind/physically challenged students) for the 2011-12 school year. As a result, Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf students, and those from 10 other 4201 schools, are in jeopardy! A child who is deaf, blind or physically challenged did not cause the state’s $10 billion deficit. It is wrong to abandon the state’s more than 100-year commitment to these special schools through which these students become productive citizens. It is also wrong to shift these costs to the more than 45 school districts, which send students to Mill Neck Manor!
Last month’s vote by the House of Representatives to strip Planned Parenthood of all federal funding reflects the pursuit of an extreme political agenda by the Republican House leadership.
We are writing in response to your Feb. 16 letter to fellow New Yorkers on education reform. We agree that New Yorkers elected you to be their voice in Albany and to make tough decisions; it is also true that New Yorkers elected 5,000 school board members around the state to be the voice of their school districts.
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