Opinion roundup: Dana Sassano, Westchester’s budget and Teaberry Port
Here’s a glance at opinion content published in The Journal News today, Wednesday, Jan. 5:
Dana Sassano: Editorial
We mourn the loss of Dana Sassano, 17, of New City, who was killed Dec. 29 when she was thrown from the back seat of a Toyota 4Runner when the vehicle went out of control on a hairpin turn on Route 17A in Orange County. The driver and two other passengers survived the accident. Sassano wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. We encourage legislators in Albany to revisit the state’s pioneering seatbelt laws and make it mandatory for all passengers to buckle up, all the time. We write:
… Making seat-belt use mandatory won’t magically make all comply, or save all lives. But it can only help. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show the value of seat-belt mandates. About 83 percent of people in 2008 wore seat belts when riding in the front seat, and 74 percent wore them when riding in the rear seat.
Back-seat-belt compliance is higher in states that mandate it, NTSB statistics show. About 85 percent of adults wore seat belts in the back seat in states that mandate back-seat use, compared to 66 percent of adults buckling up in the back seat when state law didn’t require them. Back-seat belts are 44 percent more effective at preventing death than riding unrestrained; that figure goes up to 73 percent when riding in a van or SUV. …
… All passengers should buckle up, at all times, in all seats. It should be a primary law, meaning a driver can be pulled over for this infraction alone. Call it Dana’s Law.
Westchester’s budget: Commentary
Westchester County Legislator Sheila Marcotte offers a Community View on the battle between the Board of Legislators and the administration of County Executive Rob Astorino over the 2011 county budget. She writes:
… In the heated, and at times overheated, process of proposing, debating, amending and passing a budget for Westchester County, most attention has centered on funding this program or that; keeping or eliminating one budget line or another. Unfortunately, what was lost in the clutter of that debate is that the real challenge for all elected officials, now and for the future, must be that of making government smaller.
Taxpayers can no longer afford the superstructure of government, and all the costs associated with it, that has been constructed in Westchester County’s case. Westchester residents are the most heavily taxed in the nation and the relief they demand, and deserve, will not come solely from trimming around the edges of budgets and plucking out one cost or another. Tax relief, meaningful tax relief, will come only from making fundamental structural changes to the model of government and by reducing spending in smart, future-oriented ways. …
Teaberry Port: Commentary
Robert C.A. Sorensen of New City offers a Community View on the news that United Water may raze Teaberry Port, an 18th-century home in West Nyack. Sorensen advocates for the building’s preservation:
… Rockland residents should stand up to this rude and uncaring approach by United Water. We should protect our historical heritage, and United Water should be helping in that effort instead of its current course. Rocklanders must let their views on this be known to United Water and government leaders. They should be working to protect our historic structures and to correct United Water’s misguided plan for demolition.
Cuomo steps up: Editorial, The Buffalo News, Jan. 5
Public officials shouldn’t accept gifts: Editorial, Glens Falls Post-Star, Jan. 5
Wrong approach: Editorial, Watertown Daily Times, Jan. 5