2009-02-27 / Letters

Letters To The Editor

Email: editor@ gcnews.com

Expensive Curriculum

To the Editor:

It was with great dismay that I read of the upcoming informational meeting for the International Baccalaureate Program in Garden City Schools. It was my understanding that this program had been explored and abandoned in favor of retaining and strengthening Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

Garden City taxpayers need to be made aware of the economic impact an IB program can make on their well-respected school district. The cost for IB is onerous and superfluous. Application and IB teacher training fees will exceed $100,000 before a single class is taught two years down the road. Once a school is "authorized" by IB, your average costs will be between $150,000-$200,000 annually. Every school that applies to IB receives authorization. On average, in schools the size of Garden City, only 10-20 students annually actually earn an IB Diploma.

The other thing that taxpayers should know is that IB is an official Non-Governmental Organization of the UN. IB has agreed to integrate the UNESCO Peace Education platform into every aspect of its curriculum. For the privilege of becoming an IB World School, you give up local control of what is being taught to your children.

Please visit www.truthab-outib.com and say NO to IBO.

Lisa E. McLoughlin

Change Needed

To the Editor:

In The Garden City News editions of Feb. 6th and 20th, I read with a heavy dose of incredulity and strong heart palpitations, the proposed School Budget 2009/10 in the amount of $95,340.587 presented by our School Superintendent Dr. Feirsen. After reading this proposal, anxiety despair and disbelieve got a strong hold of my physical and mental state. In his speech, the Superintendent claimed that 'they' have been working on this budget since the beginning of the fiscal year in July and at that point, 'they' knew that several things were already problematic in particular and most specially, the economy. The 'preliminary' projected tax levy increase (with star) is 2.48% although Dr. Feirsen with a triumphal expression in his face, also mentioned that the budget is presently only .88 percent higher. He further stated on the follow up presentation on Feb. 20th that the District has kept significant costs down and mentioned several projected 'savings' such as 'tracking of receivables, reducing print advertising for staff recruitment, strong control on overtime, adopting more environmentally friendly initiatives to reduce energy consumption, using worker's compensation reserves'. A brief smile of accomplishment and self complacency was visible in his face. Presumably, a gesture of generosity toward us, taxpayers and which under the present circumstances, I find absurd, suspicious and almost grotesque. As always, without a doubt, the final increase will be much higher. That has always been the case and undoubtedly, it will happen again. The 'red curve' of tax increases will continue the same route, Up, Up and Up again. Just in the last 4-5 years, property owners have seen their School Tax levy increase over 40%. Lately, the District has been increasing its rank and file with a rather prolific staff including new teachers, several deputies, project managers, assistants and assistants to the assistants. No wonder that over 60% of my annual property tax (my home, my only home), is absorbed by our School District. As I previously mention in my letter of March 2007, I don't see any flow of imaginative ideas. To do more with less or even the same...? 'absolutely impossible, a quixotic dream'. In 2006, during that year budget presentation, the Superintendent repeatedly mentioned the District many achievements adding in closing: The School District is proud and happy to have the backing of a great community such as Garden City. Perhaps the Superintendent should be remained once again that a great number of residents have reached their limit of endurance. The Assistant Superintendent for business and finance, Mr. Albert Chase, explained that property taxes from individual home owners are the budget's mayor revenue source. Under the present severe economic crisis, this uncontrollable tax appetite is or should be, totally unacceptable. Expenses, real expenses, must come down. Salaries, overtime, perks and other benefits, have dramatically increased and reached the full line of acceptability and fairness.

Our children's education must be our top priority and we must support our teachers in every possible way but a closer, precautionary and sensible look must be taken to stop such un-precedent expenses using them as the tool for the past and present excesses. I have a 'hypothetical' question: If State and Federal help as well as the hefty tax increase to the homeowners does not materialize, if revenue continues its downward spiral will anyone in the School District abide by the 7% pay cut as mentioned by Thomas Suozzi...? Will anyone agree to a temporary salary freeze...? I don't think so ! That prevailing mentality of 'I deserve a hefty payout for my 'heroic' efforts' is no longer valid. Each member of the District is already being handsomely rewarded for doing their job. The ficticious returns, the excesses of greed of the last decade, have come to a sudden and deadly stop. More than 500.000 people and growing daily, are loosing their jobs every month. Companies are falling almost daily .Retailers are offering the deepest discounts well beyond the traditional post-holiday discount season. In the Village, many homeowners are unable to meet their mortgages, home values have substantially decreased, revenue from sales taxes have also considerably decreased. As mentioned in the Feb.20th article in The Garden City News, the Village residents are currently looking at a possible tax levy increase of 19.76 percent. If that happens, and I believe it will, a great number of residents will just be to overwhelmed. As I said in my letter of March 17, 2007 published in The Garden City News, we may see a lot of 'Home for Sale' signs and very few buyers. Under those circumstances, with an extremely high tax burden, who will buy...? If we don't act know and recognize that we need a very deep change and very seriously scale back our lifestyles and expectations. The leap in wealth of the last several years, has already turned to be a mirage. As a result, a great number and diversity of local programs, activities and services, could and will be seriously impaired and even eliminated. Drastic cuts are necessary. Period. For the sake of the residents and our beautiful Village, I pray that common sense, restraint and willingness to accept drastic changes, will prevail. Starting with our 'governing body'.

Antonio Moreno

No Backlog

To the Editor:

Concerned residents have advised me that presentations regarding assessment challenges have been made by officials of the Nassau County Legislature in which confusing and inaccurate statements were made about real estate filings in the Office of the Nassau County Clerk. It has been wrongly stated that the Clerk's Office has a filing backlog that would delay the availability of accurate land records information. The implication is that homeowners might be deprived of recent comparable home sales data when challenging their assessments due to delays in recording by this office. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I would like to advise all residents and homeowners that the Nassau County Clerk's Office provides real time recording of land record documents that may be accessed in our office. More importantly, please be aware that the County Clerk's Office plays no role in the assessment of homes in Nassau County. Residents who have inquiries regarding assessment challenges are urged to contact the Office of the County Assessor at 571-1500.

As always, my dedicated staff and I are pleased to provide the residents of Nassau County with the expedient level of service they deserve.

Maureen O'Connell, RN, JD

Nassau County Clerk

Lenten Project

To the Editor:

In the last two years, many Garden City families participated in a Lenten Project geared towards instilling the value of love, compassion, generosity, service and charity in our children. The Lenten Project required families to "spiritually adopt" orphan children sponsored by the St. John's Kenyan Children's Foundation. The 2007 and 2008 projects were a great success and we believe that we accomplished our goal of getting our children to think about the meaning of Lent and committing them to performing certain acts of love, prayer and sacrifice.

For the 2009 Lenten season, Kathy Billanti, a Board member of the St. John's Kenyan Children's Foundation, has informed me that, due to the unusual dry weather in Kenya, there is great famine, food is scarce and the supply is not reaching the small villages where the orphan children and their host families live. The Foundation has made contact with a store owner in Kenya who is able to obtain food to all of the 50 families sponsored by the Foundation. The food order for each family will consist of 10 Kg. Maize, 5 Kg. Beans, 2 Kg. Rice, 2 Kg. Wheat Flour, 5 Kg. Maize Flour, 2 Kg. cooking oil, 2 Kg. Sugar, 1 Kg., Tea leaves and 1 Pkt. of salt. This amount of food will keep the families fed and nourished for 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the amount of people in each family. The cost per package is 2,000 Schillings or the equivalent of $25 per family.

In order to raise the necessary funds to provide food for the orphan children (and their host families) in need, the Foundation has established a 2009 Lenten project named FACE (Feed A Child on Easter) and is seeking minimum donations of $25 per family. Participating families can save the money from now until Easter, to cover the fee to pay for the food supply for one Kenyan family. For example, families are encouraged to make some sacrifices during lent (e.g., give up pizza night, movies or other treats) which would enable them to save $25. Any donations received in excess of the funds needed for the food supply will be credited to the General Fund of the Foundation.

FACE also gives all participants the opportunity to pray together as a family, for all the orphan Kenyan children who are being affected by famine. Since this is a Lenten project, we are inviting families to participate in the FACE project by committing to praying daily for the hungry children in Kenya and spiritually adopting these orphan children (and their families) through daily prayer for their well being. In addition, our children are invited to write pen pal letters to the orphan children in Kenya. I will be happy to collect the letters, and the Foundation will mail them out.

Families wishing to participate in this project, please

feel free to EMAIL me at

marta.waters@att.net. You may also contact Kathy Billanti at kob322@optonline.net or call her at 742-2991. Donation checks should be made payable to the St. John's Kenyan Children's Foundation and mailed by Monday, April 6 to P.O. Box 411 Garden City, New York, 11530. All contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Marta Waters


To The Editor:

Recently an article titled "From the Desk of Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy," attracted my attention. The article explains how Representative McCarthy voted to "extend the deadline for the national conversion to digital television (DTV)." The article goes on to say that she "has asked Speaker Pelosi to include $650 million in the Economic Recovery Package for coupons for additional households to purchase DTV converter boxes." I felt compelled to look further into this issue, and the more I read, the more convinced I became that the congresswoman is irresponsible representing her constituency, at least in the Village of Garden City.

First, the bill to extend the national conversion deadline, the DTV Delay Act, which has been passed into law does nothing to stop television stations from ending analog broadcasts before the new June 12, 2009 deadline. As the bill states, "Nothing in this Act is intended to prevent a licensee of a television broadcast station from terminating the broadcasting of such station's analog television signal ... prior to the date established by law." This provision raises the question "What is the point of the bill if the delay is explicitly not mandatory?" Of course the extended date will allow some people to enjoy their analog televisions for another four months, but they have already had ample time to make the change. Why should they have any sense of urgency now? Furthermore, since stations can cut off the analog broadcasts anytime before June 12 (as long as they provide the FCC thirty days notice), I am led to believe that this extension primarily aims to dole out more taxpayers' money.

One might say that more coupons are necessary because a shortage of coupons is the only thing stopping people from making the switch. This cannot be true either because as the article states, "the bill give those whose coupons had expired an opportunity to apply for replacements." What were those people waiting for? They had the coupons and still managed to let the switch slip their minds. Perhaps the six and a half million homes that have not made the switch would have an incentive if they no longer receive television broadcasts. Furthermore, since so many people avoided the switch despite the numerous warnings, I cannot imagine that all of these homes will be ready by June 12. Does that mean that the date must be pushed further back and more money must be spent on this 5.7% of the population? This absurdly small portion of the population should not have received more money in the first place, and by more money I am referring to the $650 million that Representative McCarthy requested be put into the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, more commonly called the Fiscal Stimulus Bill.

This bill specifically states that the money (over half a trillion dollars) is for "senior citizens, minority communities, people with disabilities, low-income individuals, and people living in rural areas.," One could argue that senior citizens, the disabled, and "low-income individuals" (whatever the definition of low-income is) may need aid, but the Fourth Congressional District in New York certainly has no rural areas, and I fail to see how minorities, more than any other demographic, are less able to convert their TV sets. In fact, while I would debate them merit of spending this money all together, the inclusion of this spending in a bill designed to stimulate the faltering economy is very irresponsible. This sum of money ought to fall under the category of regular government spending, the merits of which would ordinarily be debated on the House floor, but certainly not under the guise of "economic stimulus." Our representative, seeing an opportunity to sneak in a cool half-trillion plus dollars, took advantage of the desperate times, believing that in the grand scheme of the $787 billion bill nobody would notice this relatively minor spending.

Now with the passage of this bill, the money will go to the six and a half million homes that did not manage to heed the plentiful warnings about the conversion over the past year. This means that each home would receive $100, which is enough to convert two televisions to the digital system, although no home can receive more than two coupons at $40 per coupon, How our representative want to use the remaining money I do not know.

Since the congresswoman is supposed to represent her constituency, I have concluded that she is doing a poor job. How many people in this congressional district still have analog televisions" I would guess very few. Now, if a station stops its analog broadcasts before June 12, those who have not yet made the switch can thank Ms. McCarthy for supporting a bill that allowed the stations to turn off their televisions. Keep in mind that anybody with cable television, HDTV, and satellite television did not have to make the switch because their televisions were already in digital mode. If anyone reading this happens to fall under the "unconverted" umbrella, please refute this letter, but include an explanation for your tardiness in making the switch and why the government owes you forty to eighty dollar of everyone else's money. If you agree that the congresswoman has acted irresponsible in representing you, please contact her office and let her know your concerns.

Stephen Childs

Dangerous Times

To The Editor:

The worlds largest Debtor Nation. The worlds largest spending bill, passed by three Senators of the Minority Party. Not one pol in the entire House or Senate claims to have read The Bill before voting.

Traditionally we grant a new President a grace period, a honeymoon, the sporting thing to do you know, Old Chap. From what I now see the age of chivalry, trust and all that stuff is over; Dead.

Obama has given us a few quick hits before the bell has rung for round one. We are not required to remain on the canvas. Our Socialist antagonists came ready to fight and for that I applaud them. Thus far they are well prepared to destroy our country. They don't respect us and considering our behavior I can understand their lack of respect.

If you have kept current you should recognize the naked intent of the Clinton-Obama Administration. Obama plans to level the playing field for all ethnic groups. A falling tide lowers all boats. Share the wealth, spread the goodies, earned or not. Who will pay for this largess? Hello Sucker, you will!

And what about the Clintons? They will keep that White House seat warm for Mrs. Clinton as she travels the world increasing her face time, preparing for 2012. What of Billy Boy as he controls Obama at home. He will receive his usual pass as he basks in the glow of adulation. A great man, just look at his record.

Our country is sinking rapidly, the United States is in early decline. We can for a time safely hide behind the quitters motto, "Nobody Cares." Schumer has given his stamp of approval. That means it is now O.K. to be a gutless, immoral, corrupt, dollar chasing bum, throw in a blonde or two. "Nobody Cares!" Spread the pork, the coast is clear.

I believe most decent people know the game, it is not hard to figure, Holder was right, we are cowards afraid to speak our minds. Our political enemies intend to destroy us and our way of life. Like sheep we will roll over exposing our soft bellies to the wolves. A few bleats and it is finished.

We the people, who worship money and carnal pleasure, are now financially bust and morally sated. Do you think me harsh? If so, consider the trillions we owe, mostly to those countries who HATE us. We fear to control our borders and we work to release from prison those who have demonstrated their desire to kill us. Dare we think and say, "America First?"

We absolutely lack political leadership. The pols know us well but we seem not to know them. In general we elect and return to high office second rates. We are convinced by political parties to elect their boys and girls, we quickly lose control of them. I don't blame the pols for what they are but I do blame us, you and me, for allowing the pols to be what they are and for what they do.

The issues and the scale are different as we move from a National to a local jurisdiction. Certainly New York State issues are different from D.C. but still there is a similarity in structure, costs and representation. I have a problem with that last. To our disgrace, pols have trained us to obeisance. Trust government at your peril. Write a letter, get on the phone, or attend a political meeting. Force government back into line.

You are being told get out and spend yourself rich. With what? The largest item in our budget, the major problem, continues to be taxation. What will you, the taxpayer, do? Sit there and do nothing, perhaps a squeaky complaint? Each level of government will bleed you dry. If I were a pol, that's what I would do to you. And they are.

For years we have spoken of redistribution of the wealth. In order to prevent that possibility we, the earners, laughed and said "Not in my Country, the United States of America". Our laughter has brought us Socialism, you will see the dollar for which you worked put in the hands and pockets of another who did not earn it. Out of the goodness of your heart, support welfare if you wish to do so but you must not allow government to make that decision for you.

Decent Americans are struggling to pay their bills, taxes and a mortgage on their homes. It is a cliche and a sad joke to say they are doing the right thing. They will not swallow the liberal socialist lie. They understand the Economic Spending Bill for what it is.

Please recognize we have placed in the dangerous hand of the Clintons and Obama the tools by which to destroy America. Socialism is not the end goal, it is the beginning of the end.

Edward J. Heaney

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