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In Focus: Rockland

More from the opinion-makers of The Journal News and LoHud.com, with a special look at Rockland.

Archive for August, 2011

Sept. 11: Share your reflections and tell us how you’ll serve

August
23

The tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks is weeks away. We’re preparing special coverage that will begin a week prior to the anniversary and will include a special section that pays tribute to Lower Hudson Valley victims and their families. We do, however, want to hear from you.

As the 10th anniversary of that terrible Tuesday approaches, how are you feeling? What are you thinking? What will the day mean to you? Share your reflections and thoughts on our special Facebook page.

How will you serve?
A growing number of people pay tribute to those lost on 9/11 by rolling up their sleeves and volunteering on Sept. 11, designated as National Day of Service and Remembrance, and Patriot Day. ­

In 500 words or less, tell us why, where and how you plan to serve on the anniversary. If your service honors a particular person, tell us about that, too. Please email your submission to letters@lohud.com and include verification information (full name, address and daytime phone number).

Posted by Ed Forbes on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
| | 94 Comments »

Opinion roundup: Bugged by cutbacks

August
12

Happy Friday! Today, the Editorial Board is bugged by the idea of cutting mosquito prevention programs. Today’s editorial, “Mosquito control’s the wrong budget bite,” says:

Whether it’s a wholesale cut to West Nile programs or nibbling around the edges of prevention, counties need to proceed with caution. Skipping preventive methods could quickly land counties right back to 1999, when West Nile sent fear around the region as the little-understood disease showed up in mosquitoes, birds and people. New York City, Rockland, Westchester and other counties sprayed aerial pesticides in 1999, and again in 2000. After that, aggressive prevention efforts, such as using larvicide and even mosquito-eating fish, helped tamp down the risk. … Counties shouldn’t be so quick to scrap or scale back simple and relatively cheap storm-drain treatments. Skipping such a basic preventive measure could quickly lead to more dramatic and costly intervention.

In other opinion news, a new blog, Public Authorites, looks at those quasi-governmental entities that operate so much infrastructure and so many services in New York. The blog is a project of the Government Law Center at Albany Law School. Recent posts address the toll hikes proposed for the Port Authority’s bridges, tunnels and roadways, and the proliferation of Local Development Corporations around the state (Rockland’s considering one that would buy the nursing home complex from the county and operate it.) It’s a great public service that explains the ins and outs of little understood government operations.

Posted by Nancy Cutler on Friday, August 12th, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
| | 287 Comments »

Opinion roundup: It’s the economy

August
9

Dropped credit ratings, stale job growth and political bickering. What does it mean for jobs, and the economy, in the Lower Hudson Valley? We’ll seek answers during an Editorial Board discussion on the economy in the Lower Hudson Valley at 2 p.m. Thursday LIVE on LoHud.com. A panel of stakeholders will weigh in on where we are, and where we’re going, as the economy heads down a bumpy road. Join us at www.LoHud.com/ editorialspotlight, and add your voice by using the CoverItLive feature to ask questions and make comments.

Today, the Editorial Board comments on the economic gyrations that impact the U.S. and beyond. In the editorial, “Markets pay price for U.S. dysfunction,”  the Editorial Board writes:

Because “compromise” and “cooperation” are such poisonous words in Washington, no one knows where the crisis will lead. The answers have implications for our wallets, investment accounts, local school and government budgets, and state pension funds.

Columnist Phil Reisman, too, weighs in. His column, “What we need is a financial czar,” says:

The S&P downgrade has only added more kindling to the raging economic inferno that is burning down the American house. …

I’m beginning to think martial law should be declared on the financial front. It’s a fantasy, I know, but maybe we need some kind of a financial czar to make the tough, painful decisions that no one in elective office is capable of making.

The Editorial Board, along with the nation, also honors the brave fallen and remembers the cost of war, with a record loss of 30 U.S. service members in a helicopter crash over the weekend in Afghanistan.  We said:

Around the nation, from nearby Stamford to Hawaii, families learned that their loved ones had paid the ultimate sacrifice. More than one recalled brave men, “gentle warriors” dedicated to their country, and their duty.

Posted by Nancy Cutler on Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
| | 433 Comments »

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Opinion roundup: Regents back, markets sink

August
5

It’s a frightful Friday, as shaky markets around the globe have us on edge. Today’s editorial, “Winter Regents saved — for now,” welcomes the return of January Regents exams in 2012 for schools statewide, thanks to private donations. But, we say:

This unique solution — using private donations to pay for mandatory public-education tests — hardly offers a permanent fix. But it gives students on both ends of the spectrum a chance to excel — at least for 2012. And it allows some breathing room for state education officials, and the elected leaders who determine state funding for education, to determine the true value of January tests.

Meanwhile, the dismal economic picture (hardly burnished by better-than-expected jobs numbers) grabbed media attention, including these opinions:

Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein, in today’s column, “Stabilizing into a crisis,” says the complex causes of the economic turmoil befuddle most Washington politicians:

Whatever weak recovery we might have hoped for is being hindered by global commodity prices, consumer deleveraging, fears of flagging demand in emerging markets, earthquakes in Asia and much more. Globally, it’s been an almost uninterrupted run of crises and bad luck. Meanwhile, Washington just spent two months arguing over whether it would pay its bills or spark an unnecessary financial crisis.

New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Paul Krugman writes that “Washington has been worrying about the wrong things” in today’s column, “The Wrong Worries.” He says:

It’s not just that the threat of a double-dip recession has become very real. It’s now impossible to deny the obvious, which is that we are not now and have never been on the road to recovery.

In other opinion:

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, in its editorial, “SUNY networks show promise,” lauds the State University of New York’s newly formed Campus Alliance Networks, a collaboration among campuses to allow shared services and trim administrative costs. The editorial says:

This kind of collaboration is overdue within SUNY, and one that local school districts should look at emulating, given the new property-tax cap, and districts’ fears of laying off more teachers and dropping programs.

Posted by Nancy Cutler on Friday, August 5th, 2011 at 10:49 am |
| | 132 Comments »

Opinion roundup: Bank switch, FAA

August
4

Today in “Bank sale good news for the region,” the Editorial Board looks at the planned $1 billion sale of 195 HSBC bank branches to First Niagara, including nine Rockland, four Westchester and two Putnam branches. Gov. Cuomo sounded optimistic in his comments, as did local business leaders here. Business Council of Westchester President Marsha Gordon told the Editorial Board:

They still need tellers, relationship managers … they are looking to maintain good talent. I see it as a positive that they’re here and that they want to grow their market here.

In other opinions, the FAA funding standoff continued to draw plenty of attention, including:

A New York Daily News editorial, “Congress flies away home and leaves badly needed FAA projects grounded,” calls Congress “miserable” for splitting from Washington after the debt-ceiling tug-of-war without funding the Federal Aviation Administration, which is now on Day 13 of furloughed workers, stalled construction projects and taxes on tickets going uncollected by the federal government and instead pocketed by the airlines. (The New York Times weighed in yesterday, with its editorial, “The F.A.A., after the Republicans,” which details the standoff over rules that make it easier for airline and railroad workers to unionize. The Albany Times Union also weighs in. Its editorial, “Another impasse grounds the FAA,” sums up the funding flap this way:

Tens of thousands of people are out of work over Republicans’ refusal to fund the Federal Aviation Administration, part of the GOP’s war on unions. This hard-line ideology is irresponsible.

Posted by Nancy Cutler on Thursday, August 4th, 2011 at 9:26 am |
| | 504 Comments »

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About this blog
Welcome to the community conversation/editorial page blog for Rockland. It's your place for two-way talk with the people behind the opinions on The Journal News editorial pages and LoHud.com. Look here daily to talk back to the opinion writers, find out what's on our agenda, and steer us to the hot topics in your community. Contributing to this blog are deep-rooted Rocklanders Nancy Cutler, editorial page editor in Rockland, and Bob Baird, longtime Rockland columnist and editor, along with Ed Forbes, interactivity editor, with occasional contributions from other opinion staff.

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