Good afternoon. Here’s a digest of opinion content published over the weekend and today.
Perspectives: Obama’s response to the oil spill
President Barack Obama has been roundly criticized for the BP oil spill. Here are two views on whether the criticism has been justified:
Feds were unprepared, slow to respond
Andrew P. Morriss, the H. Ross & Helen Workman professor of law and business professor at the University of Illinois, offers a critical view of the federal response to the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill.
Obama, not critics, sees the big picture
Rafael Reuveny, professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University in Bloomington, defends the White House approach to the spill.
Bloated pensions rooted in poor oversight: Editorial
In our Sunday editorial, we comment on a recent report that revealed that 25 of the state’s top 100 pensioners live in the Lower Hudson Valley. We write:
“… New York politicians are the policymakers responsible for New York’s overly generous pension rules; they alone craft the policies — and enact the needed reforms (or not). Albany has been slow to attend to the latter. Reforms adopted in 2009 for new workers leave in place some of the most generous benefit terms in the nation. Moreover, poor local management and poor political oversight have long allowed honest and savvy workers to load up on OT — to the detriment of the taxpayers’ long-term financial interests.
“Thanks to taxpayers, New York is regarded as a national leader in terms of managing its pension liability, according to a recent report by the Pew Center on the States. But the same survey worries about big payouts going forward — to pay for the overly generous promises of yesteryear.
“Such concern is compounded by the state’s poor climate for business: New York has the worst economic outlook of any state in the nation, according to the most recent rankins of the American Legislative Exchange Council. It blames high taxes and spending. ALEC likely missed last week’s speculation, which had Albany considering borrowing from the pension fund to balance the budget.
“State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, accused by The Times of doing a ‘backflip’ on the issue, said in a statement, ‘There have been a number of outrageous and unfounded rumors and erroneous press reports that I will allow a raid of the pension fund to balance the state budget. Let me be very clear: The pension fund will not be used to balance the budget.’
“If only taxpayers had such protection against the ongoing and outsized raid on their wallets.”
Rep. Barton and BP: Davies cartoon
Matt Davies comments on Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, and his apology to BP CEO Tony Hayward for the White House’s handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Yonkers and its unions: Reisman
In his Sunday column, Phil Reisman assesses the fiscal crisis in Yonkers and the need for the city’s police and fire unions to make sacrifices.
Lottery chief says profits aid education: Community View
Gordon Medenica, director of the New York State Lottery, replies to a June 13 report on public schools and the aid they receive from the lottery profits.
Arizona boycott deserved: Community View
Vanessa Merton and Jennifer C. Friedman of the Pace University Law School write a Community View in which they argue that proposals to boycott Arizona because of its controversial immigration law are justified.
Poor families kept from becoming self-sufficient: Perspective
Michelle Chen, a New York-based writer who contributes to the Progressive Media Project, a source of liberal commentary on domestic and international issues, offers a Perspective piece on the scourge of poverty.
Shabbos House endures: Editorial
In today’s editorial, we comment on Shabbos House, the Suffern home that provides shelter for family and friends who visit patients at Good Samaritan hospital. We write:
“…The Village of Suffern and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which filed suit against the village over the issue, and the guesthouse’s operator, Bikur Cholim, have reached a settlement that allows the home to continue serving observant Jews who want to honor the tenets of their faith while tending to sick loved ones. It is a reasonable settlement that is overdue. Key to the settlement: Suffern officials, including those who serve on land-use boards, will receive training on the religious protections outlined in the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.”
Ramapo ballpark would jumpstart Rockland ecomony: Community View
John J. Tormey III, a Pearl River attorney and co-founder of Quiet Rockland, argues in favor of a proposed minor-league ballpark in Ramapo in a Community View published today.