Thursday, January 10, 2008

In Our Opinion...

Nicky, Give Us A Break

Last week former State Senator Nick Spano launched a ‘trial balloon’, opening a website and soliciting public reaction to the possibility that he would run against Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins for his old seat this year. The article, appearing in The Journal News, explained that since leaving the Senate a year ago, Nick has been working as a lobbyist/consultant earning, in his first year officially in the game, some $500,000.

Imagine, in his first year out of the Senate, he made more than five times his annual salary as a State Senator and yet, he would be willing to throw it all away if we only asked him to. Yes, Nick Spano, who spent eight years in the Assembly and 20 years in the State Senate, would throw away $500,000, which might very well grow to a million or more this year, just to be our State Senator once again.

Of course, we hope Nick is not suggesting that the only income he derived as State Senator was his salary and whatever stipends he received as Chairman or member of various Senate committees. Truth be told, over the years Mr. Spano has been given multitudes of custodianships and committeeships for incompetent and in-firm individuals, as well as refereeships totalling several hundred thousand dollars
from State judges very friendly to him.

Occasionally, he has gotten carried away and signed off on official custodial reports with the letters “Esq.” following his name, though we are not aware that he possesses a law degree. We all know that long-time politicians, especially “wardhealers” like Nicky, have the habit of stretching the truth a bit, now and then.

And speaking about truth, most people are aware of the fact that Nick had a Senate staff of some 30 employees, earning approximately $1.2 million, most of whom took up “no-show jobs” in the Amicone Administration at about the same cost to Yonkers taxpayers. Keep in mind, once in office, Nick is not that easy to dislodge. Andrea Stewart-Cousins had to actually beat him twice, once in 2004 by some 355 votes, and again in 2006 by nearly 2,000 votes before she was seated. Let’s not lose sight of the fact, either, that it took federal monitors and marshals to keep the 2006 race from repeating what had occurred in 2004.

Nor can we lose sight of the 166 ballot fraud admitted in Nick’s Green Party Primary in 2000 by his repeated campaign director, Anthony Mangone, in his race against Tom Abinanti, or the peculiar circumstances that eliminated a Latino Democratic opponent who was kept out of action by State Courts cozy with Nick until two weeks before the election of 2002.

We would ask Mr. Spano if he wouldn’t agree that 28 years in Albany was more than enough time to have done his best work, remembering that 20 of those years were spent in the Senate, and that it took him all 20 years to finally put some permanent funding vehicles in place so that the Yonkers Public School System would not necessarily need to go begging for fundamental support, money for instructional expenses,
year-after-year, only to be bailed out at the last minute by Cynical St. Nick.

We think, notwithstanding the Republican State Senate Machine that has been spending a fortune against her from the day she took office, that Andrea Stewart-Cousins has been working hard for her district and clearly deserves another term. Surely, she will be required to stand for reelection against some Republican opponent. We do not believe in “political monarchies” and We do not believe the people of the 35th State Senatorial District would benefit from a return to Life Under Nick Spano.

Our Readers Respond....

Concerned About Yonkers Failing Schools

Dear Editor:

Your perspective on the Yonkers Public Schools was right on point and accurate. Both you and Mr. Robertson were able to show the public that our schools are failing and need to be addressed. Mr. Amicone has buried his head, or may be misinformed, about the schools; he has chosen a superintendent that is putting our district, and Yonkers, in the worst situation in the City’s history. All this superintendent does is make excuses for his failure. So where does that leave the taxpayers and schoolchildren of Yonkers?

I have attached the New York State Board of Regents State Education Department Report issued on December 20, 2007 entitled, 444 Title I Elementary And Middle Schools Statewide Are “In Need Of Improvement” Under NCLV; 53 Schools Also Identi-fied Under Separate State Rules.

According to the report, Yonkers has nine schools out of 34 in need of improvement, 25 percent of the schools failing. Three schools given a bye - Pulaski, School 29 and School 21. These three schools were accused of cheating two years ago and, last year; all three of them did not reach their annual yearly progress goals and, technically, should have been placed on the SINI List as failing. A deal must have been made to keep these three schools off the list because the cheating should not count. Perhaps the State Education Department might be willing to supply the answer.

1. Cedar Place Elementary School: In Need of Improvement, Year 1; Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts.

2. Commerce Middle School: Restructuring, Year 1; Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts.

3. Emerson Middle School: Restructuring, Year 3; Elementary-Middle Level Mathematics.

4. MLK Jr. High Tech & Computer Magnet School: In Need of Improvement, Year 1; Elementary-Middle Level English Language

5. Mark Twain Middle School: In Need of Improvement, Year 1; Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts, Elementary-
Middle Level Mathematics.

6. Riverside High School: Restructuring, Year 1; Elementary-Middle Level Mathematics.

7. School 13: In Need of Improvement, Year 1; Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts.

8. School 23: In Need of Improvement, Year 1; Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts.

9. Yonkers Middle School: In Need of Improvement, Year 2; Elementary-Middle Level English Language Arts.

Concerned Taxpayer

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