I’d like to point out several inaccuracies in the Letter to the Editor published January 23 titled, “New Cassel: Still on the Path to Overcrowd the Westbury School District.” Mr. Kirton first referred to the Grand Street School property near the “Yes We Can” Community
Center in Westbury. It is important to note that the intended use of this property by the North Hempstead Housing Authority is for senior housing only, not affordable housing that would create a spike in enrollment in the Westbury School District as Mr. Kirton asserted. While working with the Housing Authority over the past several years regarding the redevelopment of this property, the concerns of the school district and residents have been at the forefront of our planning process. I am pleased to move forward with the demolition of this dilapidated and abandoned building as I believe it will rid the community of an eyesore and a health and safety hazard. This plan will remain consistent with the original vision for New Cassel revitalization which includes providing affordable senior housing to the community.
The North Hempstead Town Board voted unanimously last month to approve a land swap plan between the North Hempstead Housing Authority (NHHA) and the Town of North Hempstead (TONH). The TONH will give the housing authority a parcel of land in New Cassel for the development of affordable housing. Councilwoman Viviana Russell, who represents the first district that houses the parcel of land being swapped, helped to move the project forward from a swap idea that emerged almost two years ago.
During the same two years, the Westbury School District reported that it has experienced an explosion in student enrollment that has increased the attendance of in-district students from New Cassel to a staggering 85 percent. With the declining student enrollment
from the Villages of Westbury and Old Westbury, the primary contributing area overcrowding the school district is New Cassel. Since existing affordable housing is not generating sufficient school property tax revenue to support the increase of number of New Cassel
students attending the district schools, it is reasonable to expect that any affordable housing planned, created and developed by the NHHA and the TONH’s Community Development Agency (CDA) will not take into account the destructive impact of more housing for families with school age children on the school district’s infrastructure.
It’s a new year and much is already being made over Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State speech. As one of the most powerful people in New York, liberals, conservatives and everyone in between were waiting to hear the tone and substance of the speech, sizing up where the supposed “battle lines” will be drawn.
The governor’s position is magnified because it’s a re-election year for him, and it is rumored that he has presidential aspirations. Naturally, a big win at the home-state polls this year would strengthen his position among Democratic frontrunners, so it’s easy to see why this speech carries a heck of a lot of baggage. So far, in his first term, he has tried to maintain some balance, but Cuomo’s unfortunately coming under increasing pressure from New York City Democrats, led by newly-elected Mayor Bill DeBlasio, whose ultra-liberal agenda doesn’t necessarily mesh with the goals of the state. Indeed, the new mayor made many promises, some of which will be impossible to keep unless Cuomo yields to that pressure.
John Owens is correct when he says that inBloom’s promise that the student data it collects will be kept safe in its supposedly hack-proof cloud is “a lot less believable since info on 40 million Target customers was compromised”. I’d say that the most appropriate response to inBloom’s hollow assurances and unkeepable promise is contained in the first two letters of their claim “HAck-proof” : Ha ! My second response to inBloom’s wishful-thinking promise of its collected-data’s supposed invulnerability can be found inside the phrase Owens used to pointedly point out that inBloom’s “underLYING operating system was built by a company owned by Rupert Murdoch”. So when inBloom says that their student data will be “hack-proof”, they are lying — since they know that is literally impossible in a world of Julian Assanges, Edward Snowdens, Russian hackers, and thousands of brilliant conscience-less computer criminals and identity thieves. I’m guessing that any inBloom official who made such an unsupportable false claim had his fingers crossed behind his back when he spoke those words.
I want to wish you and your family a healthy and happy new year! I also want to thank you for the privilege of representing you for the last 22 years, first as a school board member then as a town councilman and, more recently, as a county legislator. During that time much has been accomplished, with your support, to move our community forward, including:
• Winning the coveted National School of Excellence Awards for three of our schools;
• Attracting $80 million of private investment funds for the revitalization of Prospect Avenue;
“Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.” So wrote the British historian Bertrand Russell, and if you’ve read the papers this week you may think he was absolutely right. Years of education do not translate into intelligence let alone an enlightened insight into truth.
I write specifically about the American Studies Association (ASA), a nationwide organization of university professors. In an effort to protest Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, its members overwhelmingly voted to boycott Israel’s academic institutions from collaborations with the universities here in the United States. Among local institutions affiliated with the ASA are New York University, Cornell, Columbia, SUNY Buffalo and SUNY Stony Brook. To be fair, the administrations of many of these affiliated universities have slammed the boycott but are just sitting on the sidelines.
A few weekends ago, I was honored to take part in the Kerry Rose Foundation’s first ever 5K-trail run at Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve in Commack. The foundation was created to honor the memory of Kerry Rose Fitzsimons, a Marist College student and Commack High School graduate, who was tragically killed in 2012 in an off-campus house fire in Poughkeepsie. The event brought together community members and first responders to raise awareness of and promote fire safety.
Each year, 2,855 people lose their lives and an additional 16,500 are injured by fires. The cost of a fire sprinkler system is between $1,700 and $21,000. But the cost of failing to making this investment is potentially far greater.
The recently concluded election campaigns all had something in common — political signs and advertising that promoted name recognition over substance or the actual records of candidates. The public knows and learns little about them. They vote blindfolded, with their feet. Slogans over substance prevail.
This is really no different than the national disgrace in 2012 where the Presidential campaign cost over one billion dollars and Senate candidates spent over 25 million dollars each. Even a local House seat cost over a million dollars in campaign funding. For what?
With the announcement this week that County Legislator Robert Troiano will be leaving the Legislature in January to take a job in town government, I came to the sad realization that we will be losing both of our current County Legislators, as Legislator Richard
Nicolello’s district has lost the portion of Westbury that he has long represented due to redistricting.
The loss of these two lawmakers is significant as both have represented Westbury for a long time, and both have worked very hard making sure that Westbury was not forgotten at the County level.
The Commission to Investigate Public Corruption has been given a title that tells us that the Governor has determined that there is public corruption. No kidding! Does this come as a surprise? Of course there is public corruption and it is rampant throughout the State and nation. We do not need a Commission to tell us that or even to investigate that of which we are already acutely aware.
Corruption, as we all know, stems from those greedy persons who misuse public service for their own gain. For them, it’s a power and money trip where most of their service is geared to winning re-election by accepting campaign contributions from lobbyists and
special interests. The Governor and members of the Commission are also guilty of these practices. Instead of running on their records without accepting campaign contributions, advertizing, sloganeering or even accepting public financing, they spend their time raising money for the next campaign and seeking awards that they do not deserve and which should not be given to them.
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