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At The Old Ballgame

By Fred Moreno

Every so often I stick my nose where it doesn’t belong. This time it happened literally and figuratively when I stuck my schnoz inside the square of a chained link fence as I was watching a Little League game between 6 year olds from Westbury and Carle Place. It only took about two minutes for the umpire to call time out and yell at me to remove my nose from inside the fence “before I lose it.” I was going to yell back and tell him to keep his nose out of my business, but I didn’t want to show the kids that I was disrespectful of authority.

I noticed that the umpire was now on his cell phone. Was he calling the police on me? No, but I did hear him say that he would, “be there in two seconds.” Sure enough he ran from the field, got into his car and sped away. I found out that his daughter went into labor and had to leave. So now what? Or should I ask, “Guess what?” [Read more…]

“Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You…”

By Tom Liotti

The Great Depression caused a change in government policies from Adam Smith’s postulate of laissez-faire or hands off private industry to the establishment of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and other initiatives in order to rescue our faltered economy. Government policies changed to the adoption of the macroeconomic theories of John Maynard Keynes namely, that the economy may be driven by regulation. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s programs stemmed unemployment and stimulated the economy. The cost of Government took on a larger percentage of the Gross National Product. WWII spurred additional development. The Government was then looked upon as a solution to our economic woes. [Read more…]

Ex Post Facto Prosecutions

Village Justice Tom Liotti

Prosecutors come and go but their designs on higher office for themselves often take them into unchartered prosecutions of elected officials. Since the days of Tammany Hall in the 19th Century these prosecutions have routinely occurred. Tom Dewey cacheted his position as Manhattan’s District Attorney into a Governorship and Presidential nomination. Louis Freeh went from being an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Manhattan in the Pizza Connection case to a federal judgeship and then became F.B.I. Director. Rudolph Giuliani took his position as a federal prosecutor to the Mayoralty and a bid for a Presidential nomination. James Comey has traded up his role as Southern District Chief Federal prosecutor to F.B.I. Director. Marc Mukasey went from prosecutor to Chief Judge to Attorney General of the United States. Kathleen Rice, a state prosecutor, has traded her laurels for a seat in Congress. The list goes on with prosecutors claiming to take on political corruption and a system of which they are a part. [Read more…]

Stars In Life

By Village Justice Tom Liotti

When a star athlete like Derek Jeter retires, he leaves his game with few regrets but when others retire without fulfilling their dreams, the end of a career as a player may be marked by difficulties in coping with the realization of failure which cannot be re-done. Parents never want their children to fail but if they do, what can we as parents say that will help them to launch the next stage of their young lives? This is the question which I face with my son who is contemplating retirement as a professional hockey player without having reached his dream of playing in the NHL for the Islanders and winning the Stanley Cup. [Read more…]

The 9/11 Museum And Memorial

Village Justice, Tom Liotti

The attack on the World Trade Center Twin Towers and the seven other buildings most directly affected by it, took our nation by surprise. Not since Pearl Harbor, 60 years earlier, had there been such an attack. Our nation’s mourning will never end. Our bereavement is more akin to an indelible post traumatic stress that will never go away.

No monument to the 3,000 innocent people murdered in that attack can in any way make up for the loss of a single life. The vivid images from that day are etched in our brains forever. The horror of that day is a constant in the lives of the families who lost their loved ones. [Read more…]

War On Illegal Housing Welcome

The recently announced joint venture by the Incorporated Village of Westbury and the Town of North Hempstead to fight the illegal housing issue that has plagued the community for years, is very much welcome. This is especially so since the problem is expected to get worse if the projected 3.5 percent increase enrollment in the Westbury Union Free School District (WUFSD) for 2015-2016, can be used as an indicator of what’s to come. According to the WUFSD superintendent, Dr. Mary Lagnado, approximately 130 of the current school district population represents the children of illegal immigrants; unaccompanied youths coming across the border, cleared by the federal government and refugees under the law. The district is legally obligated to educate them, and register them in the school system. [Read more…]

Illegal Housing Crackdown

Village Justice Tom Liotti

The Town of North Hempstead and Westbury Village officials have embarked on a cooperative effort to stem the tide of illegal housing in the Village of Westbury and the Town of North Hempstead. The village east of Ellison Avenue and the unincorporated area of New Cassel in the Town of North Hempstead are both in the Westbury School District. Remarkably according to the most recent census data, Westbury Village’s population (including that part not in the Westbury School District, west of Ellison Avenue) is 15,132 whereas New Cassel which is entirely in the Westbury School District has a population of 14,059. Thus, New Cassel, totally comprised of African Americans and Hispanics, has a greater proportion of students in the Westbury Schools than the village itself. This ever growing disparity and the influx of undocumented immigrants primarily from Central America and Mexico, has created huge problems for the village, town and school district. Similar problems are faced by other parts of Nassau, the state and the nation. They are complex and cannot be solved by the well meaning, commendable efforts of strict code enforcement alone. [Read more…]

Making A Difference

By Tom Liotti, Village Justice

Some years ago I was giving my youngest daughter a hard time about her work ethic. She replied: “Dad, I can tolerate your mediocrity, why can’t you tolerate mine.” It was like a knife through my heart but as Jack Nicholson said in A Few Good Men “[you] can’t take the truth.” When your child tells you you’re boring or mediocre, it’s time for introspection. Is it hopeless? Am I destined to be mediocre forever? Say it isn’t so! [Read more…]

Making The Rounds

By Fred Moreno

April 1 is the day I have chosen this year for all my doctors’ appointments. I mean all. This ritual reminds my family of the exercise class at Curves, but instead of going from one exercise apparatus to another, I go from doctor to doctor all in a matter of 12 hours. To explain how this works, let me give you my itinerary from last year.

I strategically book the appointments in July so I get the exact date and times that are necessary for me to complete the circus—I mean the circuit. Last year, I began with my gastro doctor because one of the blood tests involved fasting; that appointment was the earliest at 7:30 a.m. A few buildings away on Stewart Avenue, I had my cardio appointment at 9 a.m., then it was on to my primary care doctor at 10:30 a.m. Next, I drove down the road to Hempstead Turnpike for a quick check by my podiatrist at noon. I say “quick” because I can’t take this guy too long. He thinks he’s funny, but he’s not. Every year he tells me the same stupid mistletoe and tow truck jokes. Yeah, I get it. Now scrape my bunion. [Read more…]

1 in 24

By Village Justice Tom Liotti

In 24 years as a Village Justice I have sent only one person to jail, a repeat offender, for 15 days. That is the maximum sentence that I can impose for a violation of the state’s vehicle and traffic laws or for a violation of our building code. I can impose a consecutive sentence or more time if a person is found guilty of more than one violation. For example, if convicted of two violations, the potential jail sentence could be up to 30 days. [Read more…]