Good afternoon. Here’s a glance at opinion content published since Thursday, June 10:
Brodsky takes on authorities: Editorial
We comment on a proposal advanced by Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, D-Greenburgh, to eliminate 129 of the state’s 700 public authorities. We write:
“… Public authorities were initially intended as a way to get public infrastructure built and maintained with private-sector efficiency. The authorities finance public works by issuing state-backed bonds or through user fees, rather than directly through taxes. But they have grown in number and in debt-load over the years and now are responsible for more than $100 billion in taxpayer-supported debt, most of it issued with very little public oversight.
“We applauded the Public Authority Reform Law and its expansion of a newly expanded Authority Budget Office with investigative powers. Let’s hope that it will flex its muscles for reforms that bring real savings.”
Davies cartoon on Albany
Matt Davies comments on the state Legislature’s inaction on a budget plan in Thursday’s cartoon.
The legislators and Astorino: Editorial
We wonder how much more the Westchester County Board of Legislators and County Executive Rob Astorino might get done if both stopped barking and swiping at the other. In a Friday editorial, we write:
“… These latest salvos come on the heels of other territorial disputes — which branch of county government should choose the health-care provider for the county jail; which employees should contribute to their health-care costs and how much; how to trim payouts for unused sick and vacation pay. Despite the press-release wars, the combatants are actually getting things done — including cost-savings on health care, sick and vacation pay, and workforce reduction. Still makes you wonder how much more they could get done if they did more talking and less barking.”
BP Oil Spill: Davies Cartoon
Cartoonist Matt Davies comments on the British reaction to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Ray Suarez at Dominican College
We excerpt the speech of journalist Ray Suarez, who has worked as a correspondent for PBS’ “NewsHour” program since 1999, at Dominican College’s May 23 graduation.
Keep Kendra’s Law: Editorial
In our Sunday editorial, we challenge the state Senate to extend Kendra’s Law. We write:
“The Assembly has backed a five-year extension of Kendra’s Law, a common-sense measure that allows courts to order involuntary outpatient treatment for seriously mentally ill people who have histories of violence or recidivism. Now the matter is pending in the slow-to-do-anything state Senate. The lawmakers there should follow suit; Kendra’s Law is good policy and protection for both the mentally ill and the public at large.
“Kendra’s Law is the namesake of Kendra Webdale, who died after being pushed in front of an oncoming subway car in Manhattan in 1999. Her assailant, Andrew Goldstein, suffered from schizophrenia that had gone untreated even though he had sought help and had assaulted 13 other people. Her death was among a string of violent tragedies that highlighted yawning gaps in mental health services in New York.
“The law has been extended once before, in 2005. If not renewed again by June 30, this valuable public safety tool permanently sunsets. The Senate should both renew the law and begin work to improve the measure and ensure that it becomes permanent. Doing so protects patients and those who might come into harm. …”
Albany standoff: Cartoon
In his cartoon, Matt Davies reflects on the standoff between Gov. David Paterson and the Legislature over the state’s long-overdue budget.
Port Chester cumulative voting: Community View
Randolph M. McLaughlin, a professor at Pace University School of Law, is a frequent contributor on justice issues, writes a Community View in which he assesses the cumulative voting in this week’s Port Chester election of village trustees.
Child care subsidies are wise investments: Community View
Cora Greenberg, executive director of the Westchester Children’s Association, and Kathy Halas, executive director of the Child Care Council of Westchester, write in defense of county-funded subsidies for child care.
Good will sold too cheaply in Bronxville: Reisman
Phil Reisman writes about a recent incident in Bronxville, in which the fine for a parking offense was excessive.
Five local pitchers drafted: Editorial
We congratulate a slate of five local high school pitchers who recently drafted by major-league teams. We write:
“… A draft pick doesn’t necessarily mean a slot on a team. Contracts have to be drawn up, and signed. This may just be the first step, but their fans here in the Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties are hoping each of these young men hit it out of the park.
For now, these Boys of Summer can bask in the glow of their post-draft glory. “Just like baseball, you’ve got to take things pitch by pitch and see what happens,” Ferrer told staff writer Jake Thomases. “You can apply that to life. I’ll take this day by day.”
Grandparents inspire immigration work: Community View
We excerpt a speech from Gail Golden, who recently received the New York Civil Liberties Union’s Myron Isaacs Community Service Award for her commitment to immigrant rights.