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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.

Rockland sheriff, Ramapo supervisor candidates on Editorial Spotlight

October
25

The Journal News/LoHud.com Editorial Board holds endorsement interviews with candidates in key contests on the Nov. 8 ballot. Voters may watch LIVE online at www.lohud.com/editorialspotlight; questions can be submitted via our CoverItLive live-blogging feature.

The following endorsement hearings are scheduled:
Today: 1 p.m.: Rockland County sheriff (Matthew Brennan vs. Louis Falco III vs. Timothy O’Neill).
Today: 3 p.m.: Ramapo supervisor (Marino Fontana vs. Robert Rhodes vs. Christopher St. Lawrence*).
Wednesday: 1 p.m.: Yonkers mayor (Carlo Calvi vs. John Murtagh vs. Mike Spano).
Wednesday: 3 p.m.: Mount Vernon mayor (Ernest Davis vs. Maureen Walker).
(* denotes incumbent.)
Interviews for Westchester and Putnam candidates take place in our Harrison office, 1 Gannett Drive. Interviews for Rockland candidates take place in our West Nyack office, 1 Crosfield Ave. Candidates needing more information may contact Nancy Cutler at ncutler@lohud.com or 845-578-2403.

View past sessions
Recent Editorial Spotlight candidate interviews include:
» Stony Point supervisor (Geoffrey Finn vs. William Sherwood*).
» Rockland Legislature, Session 1: District 1 (Mike Diederich Jr. vs. Douglas Jobson*); District 2 (Dian Cifuni vs. Michael Grant*); District 3 (Jay Hood Jr.* vs. Ricky Sanchez); District 4 (Michael Parietti vs. Ilan Schoenberger*); and District 8 (Denet Alexandre vs. Toney Earl*).
» Rockland Legislature, Session 2: District 9 (Christopher Carey vs. Christopher Martone); District 10 (Harriett Cornell* vs. York Kleinhandler); District 11 (Robert Milone vs. Frank Sparaco*); and District 12 (Elye Kramer vs. Joseph Meyers*).
» Rockland Legislature, Session 3: District 14 (Aney Paul vs. Henry Stewart); District 16 (John Murphy* vs. Eliot Tozer vs. Andrew Wiley) and District 17 (Guy DeVincenzo vs. Nancy Low-Hogan).
» Putnam’s county executive (MaryEllen Odell vs. Alan Schneider)
» New Rochelle mayor (Noam Bramson* vs. Richard St. Paul).
» Westchester Board of Legislators, Session 1: District 1 (Michael Kane vs. John Testa*); District 2 (Peter Harckham* vs. Peter Michaelis); District 3 (John Nonna* vs. Michael Smith).
» Westchester Board of Legislators, Session 2: District 4 (Michael Kaplowitz* vs. Terrence Murphy); District 5 (Iris Pagan vs. William Ryan*); District 6 (Dan Brakewood vs. David Gelfarb vs. Mark Jaffe, who has since dropped out); District 7 (Suzanna Keith vs. Judy Myers*).
» Westchester Board of Legislators, Session 3: District 9 (Catherine Borgia vs. Susan Konig); District 10 (John Fitzpatrick vs. Sheila Marcotte*); District 13 (Lyndon Williams* vs. Rosemarie Jarosz).
» Westchester Board of Legislators, Session 4: District 14 (George Kevgas vs. Bernice Spreckman*); District 15 (Gordon Burrows* vs. Delfim Heusler vs. Ted Moustakopoulos); and District 17 (Jose Alvarado*, who has since dropped out, vs. Carmen Gomez Goldberg vs. Virginia Perez).
» Clarkstown supervisor (Alexander Gromack* vs. Ralph Sabatini).
» Orangetown supervisor (Andrew Stewart vs. Paul Whalen*).

To view the discussions, visit www.LoHud.com/editorialspotlight; click “On Demand” and select the video from the menu.
* denotes incumbent.

Voters guide
The elections determine who represents you on the county, town and village level. Visit www.lohud.com/candidates to find out who’s running, and where the candidates stand on the issues.

Calling all candidates
The Journal News and LoHud.com wish to hear from candidates vying in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam elections. Please send an email with your full name, home address, daytime phone number and an active email address to elections@lohud.
com. In the subject line and body of the email, indicate which office you are vying for. The information will be used by our news and opinion staffs to contact and correspond with candidates. The email address will be used to send candidates a questionnaire that will form the basis of a voters guide.

Posted by Ed Forbes on Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 at 10:21 am
Category: Editorial Spotlight, Government & Politics
Tags: , ,
| | 98 Comments »

Editorial Board poll: Tappan Zee Bridge

October
17

Plans are out for a new crossing to replace the aged Tappan Zee Bridge. The new game plan from Washington doesn’t include rail or rapid bus transit, both long-discussed components of the project. What do you think?


Posted by Ed Forbes on Monday, October 17th, 2011 at 11:49 am
Category: Editorial Board polls, Government & Politics
Tags:
| | 1,201 Comments »

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Editorial Spotlight candidate interviews scheduled

September
29

The Journal News/LoHud.com Editorial Board holds endorsement interviews with candidates in key contests on the Nov. 8 ballot. Voters may watch LIVE online at www.lohud.com/editorialspotlight; questions can be submitted via our CoverItLive live-blogging feature.

The following endorsement hearings are scheduled:
Oct. 4: 1 p.m. Stony Point supervisor
Oct. 4: 3 p.m. Rockland Legislature, Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 8
Oct. 5: 1 p.m. Putnam County executive
Oct. 5: 3 p.m. New Rochelle mayor
Oct. 11: 1 p.m. Rockland Legislature, Districts 9, 10 and 11
Oct. 11: 3 p.m. Rockland Legislature, Districts 13, 14, 16 and 17
Oct. 12: 1 p.m. Westchester Board of Legislators, Districts 1, 2 and 3
Oct. 12: 3 p.m. Westchester Board of Legislators, Districts 4, 5, 6 and 7
Oct. 18: 1 p.m. Clarkstown supervisor
Oct. 18: 3 p.m. Orangetown supervisor
Oct. 19: 1 p.m., Westchester Board of Legislators, Districts 9, 10, 12 and 13
Oct. 19: 3 p.m., Westchester Board of Legislators, Districts 14, 15 and 17
Oct. 25: 1 p.m. Rockland County Sheriff
Oct. 25: 3 p.m. Ramapo supervisor
Oct. 26: 1 p.m. Yonkers mayor
Oct. 26: 3 p.m. Mount Vernon mayor

Interviews for Westchester and Putnam candidates take place in our White Plains office, 1 Gannett Drive. Interviews for Rockland candidates take place in our West Nyack office, 1 Crosfield Ave. Candidates needing more information can contact Nancy Cutler at ncutler@lohud.com or 845-578-2403.

Voters guide
The 2011 local elections determine who represents you on the county, town and village level. Visit www.lohud.com/candidates to find out who’s running, and where the candidates stand on the issues.

Calling all candidates
The Journal News and LoHud.com wish to hear from candidates vying in local Westchester, Rockland and Putnam elections.

Please send us an email including your full name, home address, daytime phone number and an active email address to elections@lohud.com. In both the subject line and body of the email, be sure to indicate which office you are vying for. The information will be used by our news and opinion staffs to contact and correspond with candidates. Additionally, the email address will be used to send candidates a questionnaire that will form the basis of an online guide for voters.

Posted by Ed Forbes on Thursday, September 29th, 2011 at 3:26 pm
Category: Government & Politics
Tags: , , ,
| | 3 Comments »

Opinion roundup: Still a flood of problems

September
16

Today’s editorial, FEMA funds stall in GOP mire, gets an update: Last night, the Senate passed a measure that clears $7 billion for emergency disater relief funding for the Federal Emergency Disaster Administration (eight Republican senators defied leadership and voted for the funding). But now the House bill has to be reconciled with the Senate action. More politicking is expected, so replenishment of FEMA funding is far from a done deal and House GOP leadership differs on the amount needed and whether “offsets” with cuts are needed. (Here’s an article from the Albany Times Union.)

And, for a quick update of how some locals are faring with FEMA and post-Irene, I spoke this morning with Jo Hallett of Suffern, whose house was damaged beyond repair by Irene’s floodwaters. She says she’s so grateful for all the volunteers who helped her, and called the FEMA inspector “a very nice man.” Her home’s foundation is damaged, so she cannot even go back in. However, first responders went in to retrieve clothing, pictures and important medical records.

In other Opinionating:

The Democrat and Chronicle Editorial Board in Rochester looks at the United States Postal Service’s struggles and says: “Revise rules for postal service.” Closer to home, LoHud reports that the USPS cost-saving proposals could end some of the mail-sorting duties at the Monsey Post Office, with those duties going instead to the large Harrison facility off Westchester Avenue.

USA Today has an editorial, “Why cut taxes for wealthy investors?” and a rebuttal from Newt Gingrich, “Capital gains tax deters investment.

And we end with an editorial from the LA Times (Dakota Meyer and a grateful nation), hailing the remarkable bravery of Sgt. Dakota Meyer, the first living Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan:

Meyer received the Medal of Honor on behalf of his colleagues; it is tribute to him that he did so, and a reminder to all Americans that servicemen and women risk their lives every day in defense of this nation’s interests. They deserve their country’s undivided gratitude.

PHOTOS: TOP: a section of North State Road between Route 9A and Pleasantville Road remains closed in Briarcliff Manor because of damage from Hurricane Irene. (Sept. 08 Journal News file photo), ABOVE: Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer, who was awarded the Medal of Honor Thursday at the White House.


Posted by Nancy Cutler on Friday, September 16th, 2011 at 11:38 am
Category: Uncategorized

| | 162 Comments »

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
Category: Government & Politics
Tags:
| | 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
Category: Uncategorized

| | 287 Comments »

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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
Category: economy, Editorial Spotlight, Uncategorized

| | 433 Comments »

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
Category: Uncategorized

| | 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
Category: Uncategorized

| | 504 Comments »

Opinion roundup: Pensions; unemployed

June
10

Sing along! It’s Friday, Friday … Here’s a look at today’s Opinions, as we look forward to the weekend

Today, the Editorial Board addresses Gov. Cuomo’s push for a Tier VI pension. An editorial states:

The public-employee pension reforms unveiled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week are neither game-changing nor revolutionary; what they are is practical and necessary. They would mean significant cost savings to taxpayers and serve as a prescription to the real-world malady afflicting so many private-sector employees: benefits envy. Lawmakers owe it to exhausted taxpayers to move on the proposals before the legislative session ends June 20.

In a letter to the editor, Camp Venture president and Rockland County Legislator John Murphy, R-Orangeburg, addresses recent reports of mistreatment of individuals who reside in upstate group homes that are overseen by the state. Venture is a nonprofit that provides care and services to children and adults with developmental disabilities. Murphy writes:

Good care comes from good people; the best way to ensure the well-being of our most vulnerable citizens is to promote the recruitment and retention of workers who have proven their merit. Caring is a sacred trust that must be supported.

Here’s some Opinionating from around the region and nation:

USAToday tackles a concerning trend, companies seeking to hire only those who already have jobs, even though unemployment drags on for many. The editorial, “Telling the jobless not to apply is plain dopey,” mentions legislation in New York that would bar discrimination against the unemployed. The legislation is sponsored by state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers. USAToday‘s editorial states:

… Businesses across the USA are warning in their want ads that the jobless need not apply. … Up-to-the-minute skills could be an asset. But knowledge isn’t lost overnight. To exclude everyone without a job when nearly 14 million people are unemployed — and 427,000 filed new claims for jobless benefits last week — is just plain dumb.

In an opposing view, “Let business hire whoever it wants,” New Jersey state Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll, a Republican, calls his state’s proposed legislation to disallow the practice of declining to hire the unemployed “feel-good legislation” that’s a “silly law.” Carroll writes:

Although the practice seems silly, not every stupid business policy warrants a lawsuit. And that’s precisely what a statute produces: employment opportunities for attorneys. If a business believes its interests lie in hiring only those already employed, that should be its choice. Besides, as soon as it hires someone who already has a job, that, by definition, opens up another position.

Posted by Nancy Cutler on Friday, June 10th, 2011 at 10:41 am
Category: Uncategorized

| | 1,059 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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