- Click for Restaurant Directory_____

 

Find us wherever you are!
Subscribe To Smithtown Matters
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter
_________________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________

 



*******************************************************************

Editorial / Op Ed

 

 

 


Saturday
Feb202016

Op-Ed - Trump Another Red Faced Belligerent Guy At the Bar

By Allison Cafferone

At Thursday night’s town hall, Donald Trump tried to walk back some of his outrageous statements from the last debate and soften his remark that the Pope’s earlier comment that Trump was not Christian was “disgraceful.” Based on the South Carolina primary results, however, it appears that no matter what Trump says or does, his followers are going to continue to support him.

For the first time in this election, over the past week, we heard substance from Trump.  That substance was enlightening and if possible that Trump can still shock us, shocking. It allowed us to see beyond the persona of the entertainer and gain insight into Trump’s true political beliefs. 

For the first time we heard more than simple assaults on character and vulgarities meant to evoke emotional responses.  We heard more than mere shouts to “Make America Great Again.”  Up until now, the attacks on Trump have been that he has no real political beliefs; he changes his views to pander to his audience; when asked for particulars, he responds “believe me!”  But at last Saturday’s debate we heard Trump articulate his political beliefs; and we learned that those views and beliefs line up with the furthest left-leaning democrats—the Michael Moore’s of the world.

First, Trump claimed that President George W. Bush knowingly and intentionally lied to the American people by pretending to believe weapons of mass destruction existed in order to disingenuously lead our American soldiers into war.  Speaking about whether he thought Former President Bush should have been impeached, Trump said, “They lied.  They said there were weapons of mass destruction, there were none, and they knew there were none.

Second, Trump adamantly argued the left-wing, Michael Moore talking points that Bush was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.  Addressing Jeb Bush, Trump began yelling, “The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign, remember that. That’s not keeping us safe.”  

He continued by interrupting Marco Rubio’s defense of then-President Bush, by again bellowing, “How did he keep us safe when the World Trade Center came down…The World Trade Center came down during his reign.  He kept us safe?  That is not safe.  That is not safe.  That is not safe!”

Take away his fancy suit and his name and he’s the red-faced, belligerent guy in the bar that, at best, Republican primary voters are rolling their eyes at and at worst, throwing a punch at—not the one they’re generally wishing would run for president. 

Both the audience and the candidates got under Trump’s skin on Saturday’s debate and he slipped up. It may have been the voters’ only chance to hear what Trump truly believes, beyond what he espouses while shouting, interrupting, and tweeting in the middle of the night.  

Indeed, at Thursday night’s town hall, he appeared to have realized that the American people weren’t so willing to let those comments go and he tried to pull back.  He refused to repeat that Bush had lied in order to send our young men and women to war.  He also tried to soften his earlier remark that the Pope’s comments were “disgraceful” by saying he didn’t really believe that he and the Pope were in a fight. Notably, these softer stances followed the first national poll results showing Trump had lost his lead as the Republican front runner. 

Yesterday, South Carolina voters had their chance to weigh in.  And although the margin of victory did not meet expectations, Trump still walked away with around 33% of the vote.  Soon it will be New Yorkers’ turn.  Their turn to consider whether their political beliefs align with Trump’s. Consider whether he really “tells it as it is” when until the last debate when he lost his composure and strategy went out the window, he had failed to reveal his true beliefs.  Consider whether they believe “telling is like it is” includes changing his stances when he realizes he’s fallen behind in the national polls.  Consider whether they want to cast their vote for a man that tells the nation and the world that the atrocities of 9/11 are the fault of George W. Bush.

Trump has become known as “Teflon Don.”  It seems he can say anything he wants and nothing sticks to him. And he’s proud of that, going so far as to say he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?”  He seems to believe—and as of now he appears to be right—that he can manipulate people into voting for him regardless of his beliefs or actions, as long as he can invoke their anger.  

Allison Caffarone is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Legal Writing, Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. Allison.caffarone@hofstra.edu

Wednesday
Feb172016

Op-Ed - Congressman Lee Zeldin - Defending the LI Sound Against President's Budget Proposals

“Defending the Long Island Sound against the President’s Budget Proposals”

Op-Ed Written by Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-01)

Congressman Lee ZeldinLast year, President Obama presented Congress with a proposed budget that completely ignored one of the nation’s most populated and popular watersheds— the Long Island Sound. Here we are now in 2016, President Obama’s final year in office, and we must relive last year’s fight in order to protect our waterways.

Today, the Long Island Sound, which borders the states of both New York and Connecticut, provides a diverse ecosystem with more than 170 species of fish, over 1,200 invertebrates and many different species of migratory birds; however, the Long Island Sound is not just a cultural and natural treasure, but also essential to the everyday economy and livelihood of millions of Long Islanders. The Sound is home to more than 9 million people living in the coastal communities around the Sound, and over 24 million living within 50 miles of the Sound. Revenue generated by the Sound contributes to the overall and much larger Long Island Sound Basin. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the economic value of the Basin’s natural capital is estimated to be anywhere from $17 billion to $37 billion in one year. From activities such as sport and commercial fishing, boating, recreation and tourism, it is estimated to bring in over $8 billion a year for the Long Island region. Furthermore, reports that detail the economic value of the Sound estimate that at least 191,000 jobs stem from this valuable estuary; either directly or indirectly. Moreover, our local schools and colleges work in the Long Island Sound, studying ways to improve its cleanliness and helping to preserve its countless benefits. The Sound is also our gateway to New England and a crucial means of transportation for thousands on any given day.

While the Great Lakes and Chesapeake get special attention in the President’s budget, the Long Island Sound, a true Long Island treasure, is nothing more than an afterthought. This is unacceptable; especially since over the years, the Long Island Sound has suffered severely from issues such as pollution, overdevelopment and the dumping of dredged materials. Currently, restoration for the Long Island Sound is funded at $3.94 million through the Long Island Sound Program; however the Obama administration’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2017 would cut that number by over $1 million. The Long Island Sound will not be able to overcome the many challenges it faces with such a dramatic reduction in essential funding.

Last year, when President Obama proposed a 22% cut to the Sound, I successfully fought on a bipartisan basis to reverse the proposed cut. I’ve also continued to oppose the misguided plan to dump Connecticut’s dredged waste into this critical waterway. Long Island cannot be a dumping ground for any questionable waste dredged out of Connecticut rivers. Additionally, I joined with Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY) to introduce bipartisan legislation in the House, the Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act (H.R.2930), to ensure the Sound is protected and restored for generations to come. Our bill proposes $65 million in funding per year through 2020 for a water quality and shore restoration program and additional focus, oversight and coordination of federal activities related to the restoration of the Sound. In addition, I was proud to support $27 million in funding for the National Estuary Program last year to protect Long Island’s natural estuaries, including the Long Island Sound. 

With valuable natural treasures like the Long Island Sound, comes a great responsibility to protect them. We must all work together to ensure our waterways are preserved for generations to come.

 

Congressman Lee Zeldin, a member of the Long Island Sound Caucus in the House of Representatives, represents the First Congressional District of New York. Congressman Zeldin is the lead Republican sponsor of the Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act in the House of Representatives.

Tuesday
Jan122016

Editorial - Yes We Are Weary But ....

Legislator Trotta along with other Republican legislators at Dec. press conferenceeEven though we are only a few days into 2016 the public appears weary. They, we, are weary of political debates, politicians who pander, stupid questions asked to candidates, but mostly we are weary of political scandals. That is not to say we are weary of crooked politicians being tossed into a prison cell. We are weary of hearing how people who have betrayed our trust are entitled to taxpayer funded pensions, health care and whatever else elected officials have determined they are entitled to receive. 

Newsday has done an excellent job of informing the public about government corruption. Those who are paying attention are almost unanimous in their support of United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara.* “Come to my neighborhood”, is a phrase that can be heard all over Long Island. Again they, we, are weary.

Sheldon Silver, Dean Skelos and the others involved in Albany’s scandals are last year’s news. 2016 appears to be about happenings closer to home. 

Locally, Ed Walsh, chairman of the Suffolk County Conservative Party and a lieutenant in the Suffolk County Sheriff Department is heading to trial for theft of services in which the government alleges that Walsh misrepresented the hours worked and the compensation he was entitled to receive. 

Then there is James Burke, Chief of Police in the Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) until December when he was handcuffed and jailed. For years Robert Trotta, legislator in the 13th LD, has been vocal about problems within the Suffolk County Police Department hierarchy. The December arrest of Burke has provided Trotta with the opportunity to take a victory lap. 

Mr. Trotta, retired from the SCPD, was aggrieved by James Burke when he was part of the SCPD/FBI task force. Burke removed Trotta from the task force. Trotta never forgot.

Currently Burke has been incarcerated without bail for over a month.  

Legislator Trotta is calling for the Suffolk County Legislature to begin a legislative hearing on law enforcement operations. Not all the legislators are supportive of his propsal. Good for him.  It would be easy to discount his actions as revenge seeking. Revenge does not explain Burke’s incarceration. Certainly James Burke’s imprisonment and denial of bail may be gratifying for Trotta, the fact remains that if federal prosecutors didn’t believe Burke engaged in criminal activity he wouldn’t be sitting in a jail cell.  

A hearing would be a double edge sword for Trotta. If the hearing is bumbled Trotta will look at best foolish and at worse vindictive and inept. If the hearing is successful residents may hear what has been happening in our police department for which we pay dearly. 

Yes we are weary but not so weary that we won’t support investigating questionable behavior …..Preet Bharara please visit us and stay as long as you feel it’s necessary.

Pat

* correction was made to Preet Bharara’s title. Mr. Bharara is U.S.Attorney for the Southern District of New York

Tuesday
Dec292015

Op Ed - Teachers Deserve Thanks, Not Blame

TEACHERS DESERVE THANKS, NOT BLAME 

by Dr. Tom Staszewski 

It’s time to stop blaming and criticizing teachers and start thanking and acknowledging them. 

Our schools reflect society, and society has undergone a dramatic shift from previous generations. A typical classroom today consists of many students with severe behavioral problems, limited knowledge of English usage, emotional and psychological difficulties, learning disabilities and attention-deficit disorders. And many suffer from abuse and other adverse home and socioeconomic conditions. 

Unlike previous generations, many parents today send their kids to school unfed, unprepared and with little or no basic skills nor social skills. In many neighborhoods, it’s the school building, not the child’s home, that provides a safe, secure and predictable haven. Despite these societal problems, we need to focus on the success stories of what’s right with our schools rather than what’s wrong with our schools. 

In my previous work as a motivational speaker and professional development trainer, I have personally worked with thousands of teachers nationwide. I have found them to be caring, hardworking, dedicated, industrious and sincerely committed to the success of their students. 

Teachers’ duties have now grown to the added dimensions of counselor, mentor, coach, resource person, mediator, motivator, enforcer and adviser. Instead of acknowledging that teaching is a demanding profession, critics will often focus on the supposedly shortened workday of teachers. Still others claim, “Yes, teachers are busy, but at least they get a planning period each day to help get things done.” In reality, the so-called planning period is really a misnomer. A typical teacher is so involved with the day’s activities that usually there is no time to stop and plan. Those minutes that are supposed to be devoted to planning are often filled with endless amounts of paperwork, meetings, interruptions, schedule changes, extra assigned duties, phone calls, conferences, gathering missed work for absent students, completing forms, submitting required data and on and on. Maybe they call it a planning period, because there’s NO time left for planning…period! 

Most teachers leave the building long after the students’ dismissal time and usually with plenty of paperwork and tests to correct. Evenings are spent reviewing homework assignments and planning for the next day of teaching. 

In addition to earning a bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate/license, once teachers begin to work in the classroom, they need to immediately continue their own education. During summertime, they are constantly updating their education, earning a graduate degree or two and making sure their teaching certificates are active and valid. 

Too many people have the mistaken notion that anyone can teach. They think that they could teach because they have seen other people teach. Yet, when looking at other professions and occupations, these same people understand that they can’t perform those jobs. They may have briefly seen the cockpit of an airplane, but they don’t assume they can fly it. They may have spent an hour in a courtroom but don’t believe that they can practice law. They certainly don’t think they are able to perform surgery. 

Every day, teachers are making a significant difference. At any given moment, teachers are influencing children in positive and meaningful ways. Many societal problems exist, such as violence, drugs, broken homes, poverty, economic crises and a variety of other woes. Teachers struggle with the turmoil of society while trying to offset the negative influences outside of school. As they roll up their sleeves and take strides to improve the lives of their students, teachers are the real heroes. 

Today’s teacher is more than a transmitter of knowledge; the demands of the profession are ever-increasing. Many parents and taxpayers have an expectation that a school system should be the do all and be all in their children’s lives. Some parents have a notion that they can drop off their child at the schoolhouse door, and behold, 12 years later, they will be able to pick up a perfect specimen of a human being — well-rounded, academically proficient, emotionally sound, physically fit and ready to meet the next phase of life. 

But we know that teachers cannot do it alone. A sound, safe and secure home life is essential. An effort on the parent’s part to prepare the child for school is vital. And parental involvement that results in a partnership in the child’s development is necessary. When that doesn’t occur, then it’s easy to scapegoat the classroom teacher. 

As the school year begins, our  public schools welcome everyone.  The individual classroom teacher is  faced with dozens and dozens of human beings who come to school in varying  degrees of ability, potential, maturity, motivation levels, and readiness to  learn.  Students arrive with a tremendous amount of baggage, with various  health and nutrition factors, family issues, neighborhood influences and  differing socioeconomic levels.  

In today’s climate of high  stakes testing, business leaders and politicians continue to demand better  results with data driven assessments and test scores.  It is important to  realize that the classroom is not a factory floor where uniformity and precise  precision can be molded into just one final finished product. Unlike the  manufacturing arena, teachers don’t select the raw materials (students).   All are welcome as teachers strive to meet and serve all levels and all kinds  of students. Test results will always vary from low to high ranges because  schools are dealing with human beings with varying degrees of potential.   The school is not an assembly line that can mass-produce exact templates of  finished products meeting the same exact predetermined standard. 

Instead of bashing our teachers, we should be conveying recognition, accolades, tributes and positive acknowledgments. Teachers deserve a sincere thank-you for the tremendous benefits they provide society. And that’s why my all-time favorite bumper sticker offers a profound and important declaration: “If you can read this … thank a teacher!” 

In our schools today, there are thousands of success stories waiting to be told and there’s a need to proclaim those successes proudly and boldly. Teachers should stand tall and be proud of their chosen profession. Critics should not judge them unfairly. Together, let’s become teacher advocates and show admiration for the inspiring and important life-changing work they do. 

Dr. Tom Stasweski, a former middle school teacher, lives in Erie with his wife, Linda.  He recently retireed after a 35-year career in higher education administration. Doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh and is the author of “Total Teaching: Your Passion Makes it Happen”. tomstasz@neo.rr.com

Wednesday
Dec162015

Op Ed- "Hit The Reset Button" On Education Reform Efforts

LET’S LET EVERY CHILD SUCCEED

Gary D. Bixhorn and Susan A. Schnebel

After years of legislative gridlock in Washington, President Obama has signed the “Every Child Succeeds Act” into law and called it a “Christmas miracle”. The bill had strong bipartisan support in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.  Educators across the country have eagerly awaited the passage of this bill, which replaces the 15-year-old Bush Administration’s “No Child Left Behind Act” and the subsequent Obama Administration’s “Race to the Top” program.  In combination, these two initiatives significantly expanded the federal government’s role in educational matters traditionally subject to state and local control. It’s been New York State’s implementation of these overreaching federal initiatives that’s generated so much dissent within the educational community and ultimately resulted in a public revolt in the form of the opt-out movement. 

It appears, based on the new federal legislation which scales back federal involvement and restores state and local control, that our leaders have learned an important lesson- a parent will not let their child’s education become an academic research project or a campaign platform. Parents expect schools to provide a safe, secure environment where teaching and leaning is fostered and protected.  Given the new federal direction, it’s now time for the state to work with local school districts to give parents what they expect and students what they deserve; schools meeting high standards, with outstanding teachers and rich program offerings.

Clearly, now is the time to “hit the reset button” on reform efforts. Many of the more controversial provisions of the State’s effort to reform education were put in place to align with federal requirements that are now changing.  Accordingly, key members of the state legislature are beginning to voice support for a moratorium on new State legislative requirements involving testing and teacher evaluation in accordance with recommendations of the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association and others.  In addition, both the Governor and the State Education Commissioner have established advisory councils to help sort out the tangled web of issues that has been created.

Mr. Gary Bixhorn is the executive director of Suffolk County School Superintendents Association(SCSSA), Mrs. Susan A. Schnebel is president-elect of the SCSSA

 

Sunday
Oct042015

Editorial - Make Election Day About Your Priorities

Approximately 1,700 people voted in the September Republican primary. Over 33,000 people are registered as Republicans in Smithtown. Blame the rain, blame the candidates or blame apathy, but the fact remains that less than 6 percent of those eligible to vote did so. Primary voting is normally low but this was a hotly contested election, the stakes were high and few people thought it important enough to vote.

Low voter turnout is demoralizing to candidates, disrespectful to those who have died in service to our country, and problematic for the future of our young people.

We are a republic. We empower our elected officials to make decisions on our behalf. Once elected an official will make decisions that impact on your wallet and your quality of life. Winning an election gives them that authority. Not voting gives others power over your future and sends the signal that you don’t care. 

At the town level elected officials appoint people to the Planning Board and Board of Zoning Appeals. They will vote on the budget, replacing department heads, whether or not we move forward with commissioners. Decisions that impact your wallet and your quality of life. How do you want your tax dollars spent? 

What do you think is important? Is it downtown revitalization, traffic, taxes, is protecting the environment important to you, maintaining zoning, increasing the tax revenue, maintaing property values, parks or something else? Ask questions. Make this election about your priorities.

Make elections mean something. Make this election personal and vote.

The League of Women Voters of Smithtown is hosting a candidate debate Monday, October 5. Candidates for local offices will take questions. It is a great opportunity to listen and learn about the candidates positions.

Election Day is November 3.

Pat

 

.

 

 

 

Sunday
Sep062015

Editorial - Beautification Is In The Eyes Of The Beholder

Intersection of Rte. 111 and Rte. 347

(click on photo to enlarge)

Take a good look at the photo alongside this editorial. Is this the future of your street, a friend’s street or all of Smithtown? That’s a question one would hope Smithtown Republicans ask themselves as they go to the polls Thursday, September 10. Three Republican candidates Edward Wehrheim, Robert Creighton and Lisa Inzerillo are in a contentious battle for two seats on the town council.  Wehrheim and Creighton, incumbents, are being challenged by first time candidate Lisa Inzerillo.

A lot of mud has been slung in this campaign. Rhetoric intended to demonize and vilify the opposition has been the focus of this primary to the detriment of issues like planning, roads, parks, infrastructure. Very little has been heard about protecting the environment or how to address the challenging traffic problems we face. Even less has been said about how Smithtown will move forward to protect its drinking water and to accept and implement its master plan for land use, or perhaps to reject it.

The concept of being pro-business is too often a euphemism for change the code, grant zone changes, waivers and remove covenants. A business is good and residents will adjust mindset. It is unquestionable that Smithtown needs a strong commercial/business presence for our tax base, convenience and to support our quality of life. In order for a community to thrive residents and business need to coexist. But, we must not negotiate our quality of life, our safety or our sense of community.  

There is a direct correlation between who is elected to the Town Board and how the future of Smithtown will play out. We haven’t heard much about the agendas of those running for office. There haven’t been any debates. The primary is being fought in the mail. Those Republicans lucky enough to receive the mailings know that Wehrheim and Creighton are a team and Inzerillo has Supervisor Vecchio’s support. 

Look at the photo again. It is one example of how differently people viewing the same photo can see things. There are many people who look at the photo and say, so it was a vacant abandoned property that has been improved. It is better than what was there before.

There are others who will look at the photo and say,  why did we allow a gas station to be constructed across the street from another service station? How safe is it for the people pulling out onto 347 without the benefit of an acceleration lane? And how many price signs do they need? Haven’t we gotten beyond using American Flags as a marketing tool?  

Republicans need to ask themselves what they want for Smithtown. Everyone wants tax relief but we know that degrading our codes is not the answer.  Planning and a commitment to Smithtown today and tomorrow is the only way we will leave a healthy footprint for our children and our grandchildren.

Republicans must ask questions, demand answers and then they need to vote.

Pat

Sunday
Aug162015

Editorial - The Intersection On Harned Rd And 25 Is Dangerous And Needs To Be Addressed

Intersection at 25/Harned/Indian Head/ Sunken Meadow ParkwayWhen I was on the Smithtown Town Board I was in a position to vote on a site plan that would allow a full service station with convenience store to be built on the corner of Harned Road and Rte. 25 in Commack.  Adjacent to the site is a complicated exit for Sunken Meadow Parkway. The public hearings for the proposal were contentious. Town Board was split with Councilman McCarthy and Councilman Crieghton supporting the proposal and Supervisor Vecchio, Councilman Wherheim and myself opposed.

The site was blighted and its remediation would be a huge improvement to the appearance of the corner. Many waivers had to be granted to accommodate the proposal. The problem for me was that it was a busy and often dangerous intersection. The proposed plan would certainly improve the site but how would it impact on this hazardous intersection?

I remember driving through the intersection one evening in December when there were Christmas trees being sold at the site. Immediately in front of me two cars collided as one tried to gain access to the tree lot (former gas station) by making a left turn from Harned into the lot as a second car was heading north on Harned. It wasn’t the most serious crash, but it was enough to reinforce my belief that the intersection was dangerous and to secure a no vote from me. 

The proposal was approved after I left the board by Councilmen McCarthy, Creighton and Councilman Malloy.

Since the development of the site I have witnessed an additional motor vehicle crash at the intersection.

On Friday, August 14th at approximately 11:40 am, I was heading south on Indian Head Road and was at the light in the lane heading straight onto Harned Rd.  I was the second vehicle behind an SUV (I drive a sedan) we were stopped for a red light. The Light turned green, the SUV moved and I followed. The SUV stopped and I stopped, the car behind me did not move into the intersection. Why were we stopped I wondered sitting half in the intersection. 

The jam up that left me out in the intersection after the light changed was a huge tractor trailer trying to make a left turn into the station as traffic heading north on Harned Rd. was backed-up. With no access to the lot, the tractor trailer driver was forced to wait and I was forced to sit in the intersection. The light changed and I was still hanging out half in and half out of the intersection.

Early Sunday morning view of intersectionWas there an accident? No, but it was incredibly stressful. Since I don’t travel that intersection very often I think experiencing three incidents like I have is indicative of a problem. While no one would suggest taking down the gas station, a no left turn sign (into the service station) on Harned and enforcement is warranted. 

Prohibiting vehicles heading south on Harned Road from making a left turn into the station would provide a safer roadway. People  in the area report that there have been numerous accidents although no fatalities. 

Before a fatality occurs Councilmen McCarthy and Crieghton need to find a way to make the intersection safe. If not the two councilmen who supported the gas station project than someone else on the Town Board needs to get the ball rolling with the County to make the intersection safe now before something serious happens.  

Pat

Wednesday
Aug052015

Editorial - That Was Some Storm!

What was that? That’s what many Smithtown residents were saying after a storm passed through the Town during the early morning on Tuesday. Instead of alarm clocks, we were awakened by thunder, rain, wind and hail the size of golf balls. The lightning was almost non-stop. When it ended most people were stunned by the amount of damage the storm brought.

While some areas of the Town were spared, Smithtown, Kings Park and St. James were hit hard. 25A was closed for at least eight hours as tree limbs and wires were cleared from the road. The Landing Golf Course had a huge tree upended and many more down. Tree limbs and debris could be seen scattered all over the course.

Thousands of Smithtown residents lost power. At one point there were over five thousand homes without power. As of this posting there are 289 without power. The LIRR canceled service from Pt. Jeff out east due to downed trees and wires on the tracks.

On my street a huge tree limb crushed the roof of a home. Fortunately, no one was injured. Wires were hanging and touching the roadway. Kings Park resident, Maureen Ledden Rossi reported that there were police officers with bullhorns announcing to residents the importance of staying away from downed wires.

Traffic lights were out, there was no power to many town buildings, or phone service at town buildings. 

The storm was powerful.

But, the real show began after the storm with the cleanup.  Town Departments performed professionally and with purpose.  Public Safety, Parks, and Highway were the heroes of the storm. Emergency preparedness is not something that happens during an event, it is the result of an ongoing search to do do things better, minimize damage, and to get everything back to normal. No doubt the departments are looking at their response to Tuesday’s storm and leaving no stone (or tree limb) unturned to see if there are changes warranted.

What was that Tuesday morning? That was a storm that Smithtown wasn’t expecting, but was prepared for. Congratulations Smithtown.

Pat

Storm photos

Monday
Jun292015

Editorial - Why?

Ask war veterans what war is like and they will tell you how horrible it is. Death, losing limbs, PTSD, family break ups are real costs of war. Yet we send Americans off to war without a declaration of war. Huge profits are made by private companies and yet we do not question the connection between America’s never-ending military actions and the companies who profit from the military actions. Why?

Indisputable FACTS show that profiteering at private colleges is an impediment to the future of students financial security.  Many for-profit institutions are subsidized by tax dollars. There are indications that institutions target veterans and impoverished people who will likely be subsidized by the federal government increasing their bottom line. Too often students are paying dearly for worthless degrees and certificates. Too often students take out loans that they can never repay. Many drop out of school and are indebted with no degree and no job. The Obama administration has worked out regulations that will hold these schools accountable. Some elected officials are trying to circumvent the regulations. Why?

In addition to salaries taxpayers are indebted to pay for the health care costs and pension costs for the life-time of government employees. Our young people are being brought to their knees by the financial decisions made by elected officials.  In the 90’s Suffolk County Legislators voted automatic pay increases for legislators. The result of this legislation is Suffolk County Legislators in 2015 receive almost $100,000 in salary plus health benefits and pensions. Nassau County legislators do not have the same deal they earn under $40,000 a year in salary. Why?

Corruption and indictments in Albany are more than a disgrace, the bad behavior is an embarrassment that cost taxpayers real money. Ethics reform was a hot topic in Albany a few weeks ago, but not so much now that the legislative session has ended. New York residents have seen both Senate Majority Leader Skelos and in the Assembly, Speaker Silver charged with very serious crimes. Too many electeds have betrayed the public’s trust. NBC timeline of corrupt NYS officials. One of the simplest ways to send a message that corruption by elected officials is unacceptable is for the public to demand that NYS Law is changed to ensure that elected officials who are found guilty of committing a felony forfeit their pensions. This has been discussed in Albany it is an idea that should be supported by everyone. Elected officials have not moved forward on changing the law yet. WHY?

In October/November before election 2016 Albany will be sending out checks to homeowners. WHY?

Isn’t it time to change the dialogue from why? to this is why we are voting for your opponent.

Pat