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The Westbury School Solution

The school tax goes up, property values go down and school performance remains poor. This growing crisis is hurting everyone.

Public education should be preserved but the single greatest mistake we are making is to process students like objects on an assembly line, forcing them through the system without regard for their readiness to learn. This policy is causing student indifference and even defiance towards school, and transforming the system into an enormously overpriced daycare. The hard truth is that there is simply no amount of money that can educate teenage students who aren’t ready to learn, and it’s time to accept that compulsory education and truancy law have backfired. If we don’t restore public education as an honor and privilege that must be earned, this crisis will continue to get worse by the day. In addition to the soaring cost, students who are not ready to learn put those who are ready at risk. [Read more…]

The $172.6 Million School Bond Farce

The Westbury Board of Education has proposed a $172.6 million school bond because of the need for expanded facilities due to excessive student enrollment and projected future enrollment.

The district has this problem primarily because of illegal housing being particularly acute in New Cassel where 85 percent of the students reside. Also, a large percentage of students reside in homes that house two or three families that may have six or more children in the district but are defined as one family by New York State law. Moreover many students do not live in the district. Probably 50 to 70 percent or more of the students are in these categories. [Read more…]

Transportation Issues Are A Social Class Issue

I read your article on [Sept. 16 entitled “Transportation Tumult”]. While this is somewhat true, it is not the only issue plaguing Park Avenue School. My daughter currently attends said school after spending a full academic year at Powells Lane. Let’s call this what it really is—this is clearly a social class issue. The haves must no longer mix with the have-nots. The powers that be believe that children from New Cassel should no longer enjoy the privilege of attending other schools within the village. [Read more…]

Trump’s Wall

By Westbury Village Justice Tom Liotti 

Trump’s campaign announcement that he wants to build a wall across the Mexican border is not a novel idea, but it is a very dumb one. The Mexican border spans 2,000 miles from California to Texas. Presidential candidates in the past such as Michele Bachmann wanted to build a fence across the entire border while former Texas Governor Rick Perry wants to use Predator drones instead.

George W. Bush signed the Secure Fence Act in 2006. It mandated the construction of 700 miles of barrier fences along the Mexican border. Some Presidential candidates have called for electrified fences. [Read more…]

Constitution Day

By Village Justice Tom Liotti

In 2004 the late United States Senator from West Virginia, Robert Byrd, convinced the Congress to pass a law that requires all colleges and universities receiving federal aid to have an annual program on the Constitution. Sept. 17, the day when the Constitution was enacted in 1787 has since been referred to as Constitution Day. For the past six years our Village Justice Court invites distinguished speakers to address different aspects of the Constitution on that day, Sept. 17.

[Read more…]

Unmet Solutions To Violence

Village Justice Thomas F. Liotti

On Sept. 20, 2001, I held my first meeting in Manhattan as Chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section. In front of me were some of the most experienced prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges in the nation. Several moments of silence for the victims of 9/11 were followed by a tension filled round table discussion of what we should do to respond to 9/11. Anger and frustration were expressed but bewilderment rather than solutions gripped the air. It was too early for any intelligent discussions. [Read more…]

Local Courts And Same Sex Marriages

By Village Justice, Tom Liotti

A dozen years ago the Mayor of Poughkeepsie decided to perform same sex marriages. On one occasion he was going to marry 600 couples. Anticipating that the couples would be arrested, I was asked to represent all of them. I agreed but the ceremony never happened. [Read more…]

Our Favorite Day

By Tom Liotti, Westbury Village Justice

On July 2, the Islamic Center of Long Island conducted its 12th annual Interfaith Breaking the Fast Dinner in celebration of the Muslim holiday Ramadan. Many of the remarks made by community leaders in attendance centered around freedom of religion condemning the recent events of shootings in Charleston, South Carolina. The freedoms of which they spoke are of course contained in our Constitution, which was inspired by the Declaration of Independence. A copy of the Declaration of Independence hangs on the wall of our courtroom. It is the reason for celebrations on our favorite day—July 4th. [Read more…]

Frivolous Expenditures By The School Board Are Without Merit

From June 13 through July 13, the Westbury school board president Pless Dickerson will have spent $5,080 of your money unnecessarily, on items ID# 5575 and ID# 5585 as shown on the June 11 Westbury school board agenda.

Though the meetings are required, this expenditure of $ 5,080 is frivolous, without merit and not in the best interest of you the Westbury taxpayers.

I take exception to this expenditure and not the lawful requirement of the school board meeting. The utilization of a facilitator, a consultant, is absurd, at the cost of $ 3,980. A facilitator by definition is merely to guide, to make, easier, to help with a task at hand. [Read more…]

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…]