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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.

Editorial Spotlight: Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation


The Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation has launched Choose NY Hudson Valley, an effort to help grow certain business sectors — and jobs — in the region. At 2 p.m. today, HVEDC President and CEO Mike Oates joins the Editorial Board for a discussion on jobs, the economy and the future of the Hudson Valley. To view the LIVE interview, go to LoHud.com/editorialspotlight; to submit a question, engage the CoverItLive feature on your screen.

Posted by Ed Forbes on Tuesday, November 15th, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

Too big to fix: A conversation on the condition of our schools


Reporters Gary Stern and Cathey O’Donnell will lead a discussion on their special report, “Too Big to Fix,” today at noon at LoHud.com.

The analysis, which examined 456 school buildings in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties, found that one in three received unsatisfactory ratings through state inspections. The cost of repairs to all 456 buildings could exceed $1 billion over the next five years.

Experts will join the conversation and readers are welcome to submit their questions and comments via our CoverItLive blogging feature.

Posted by Ed Forbes on Tuesday, November 15th, 2011 at 10:59 am |

Editorial Spotlight candidate interviews scheduled


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 |


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.

More opinion
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

Posted by Ed Forbes on Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 at 11:43 am |
| | Comments Off on Opinion roundup: Dana Sassano, Westchester’s budget and Teaberry Port

Farewell, 2010


What a year, huh? A quick review of the big events that shaped us in 2010 range from the tragedy of the deadly Haiti earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands to the silliness of cable TV wars that almost upset the Oscars and later left us “Glee”-less. Much like 2009, we kept finding more that divided us than united us, with the Party of No becoming the anthem for congressional Republicans, the Park51 (a.k.a. Ground Zero mosque) imbroglio and Lower Hudson Valley residents still suffering the financial whammy of the Great Recession and the highest property taxes in nation.

Recession ended?
That pain was real. The good economic news came in dribs and drabs. The back news came in waves: Pfizer making its Pearl River facility a research hub was the good part; the loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs at the plant has been and will be hard on the local economy, and tax base.

While many railed against the public employee unions and the cost of pensions. But government was no longer immune to layoffs. Just ask workers in Yonkers, Westchester and New York state.
Recalibrating in all sectors continued, even though it was announced in 2010 that the recession actually ended in 2009. Who knew!

This year, taxes were tamed in many towns and school districts — budget increases averaged 1.4 percent statewide for school districts. Of course, there’s plenty of room for improvement: Westchester ranks No. 1 in the nation, Rockland No. 5 and Putnam No. 12 in property taxes paid. Meanwhile, in Albany, calls for instituting a property tax cap were muffled by Assembly inaction. There’s hope in 2011, when one of the guy’s yelling the loudest for property tax cap legislation, Andrew Cuomo, takes the governor’s seat.

Politicians behaving badly
U.S. Senate candidate Jim Russell’s old writings were considered so vile, his own Republican Party dropped him from the ticket. Former state Sen. Vincent Leibell, who had won election to Putnam County’s executive post, pleaded guilty to two felony corruption charges. White Plains Mayor Adam Bradley was found guilty of criminal contempt, attempted assault and harassment in a spouse abuse case. He has refused to step down. State Sen. Pedro Espada, who represented the Bronx but lives in Mamaroneck, was indicted on embezzlement charges.

In politics, newly minted Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino made good on his promise to cut government and taxes; for the Board of Legislators, though, it seemed at times more like a threat. The two branches wrestled over the county budget up until the last minute, and there’s surely more of that to come in 2011. Rockland’s longtime County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef tried ascending to the state Senate, but was upended by a 29-year-old town clerk.

The state enacted Leandra’s Law, which made it a felony to drive drunk with a kid in the car, because it was so badly needed. In an embarrassing statistic, Leandra’s Law netted more than 660 arrests statewide in its first year. Other crimes also reminded us how vulnerable our children can be. A molestation of a young girl on New Years Day at the busy Palisades Center demonstrated that; but the tip from two women in New Jersey that led to an arrest showed that community action matters. That same community attention helped thwart the Times Square bombing. Duane Jackson, a 58-year-old handbag vendor from Buchanan, told police about the car, with the keys in the ignition, in a no-standing zone.

Small world
The Jan. 12 Haiti earthquake underscored that the Lower Hudson Valley community is tied to the rest of the world, in many ways. The relief efforts were astounding. A Haitian-American Nurses Association chapter formed in Rockland, as medical workers with ties to the Caribbean nation poured so many resources into the relief effort; local school districts served children coming from Haiti; financial support was offered. For many local residents, the news was tragic; so many lost family and friends. Spring Valley’s mayor discovered her husband, missing for days, was alive in Haiti. As the year ended, the need in Haiti was still yawning and many fundraisers continue. The threat is ever-present too. Spring Valley hosted a forum for travelers to Haiti about cholera prevention on Dec. 12, 11 months after the earthquake hit.

Your turn
Many more landmark events occurred in 2010. What do you see as a signature moment of 2010? What event(s) helped make the year what it was?

TJN FILE PHOTOS: Top: Valerie Placide of Spring Valley and her son, Cleo, came to Rockland from Haiti after the earthquake. In March, they visit his school, St. Peters in Haverstraw.

Middle: Former Republican State Sen. Vincent Leibell leaves federal court in White Plains Nov. 6, after pleading guilty to tax evasion and obstruction of justice.

Bottom: Lenny Rosado, the father of Leandra Rosdao, wipes his eyes as he speaks at a July press conference announcing the second phase of Leandra’s Law, at the Rockland County Fire Training Center in Pomona. The law  mandates that anyone sentenced for DWI after Aug. 15 will have to install an ignition locking device on any vehicle they drive.

Posted by Nancy Cutler on Thursday, December 30th, 2010 at 11:01 am |
| | Comments Off on Farewell, 2010

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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