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Lloyd's Op-Eds

The Weekender - June 23, 2011

The State University must cease being a government agency

As New York’s legislature moves to conclude this session, same sex marriage dominates the lawmakers’ and public’s attention (and will be the subject of The Weekender’s next column) and overshadows much other important business, including proposed legislation affecting the State University’s vitality and future. As every year since its founding in 1948, SUNY’s fate is being determined by the legislature instead of teachers, students and college administrators. SUNY is treated like, and de facto is, a state agency. Its budget and many of the most important details of its educational offering and agenda are determined as if SUNY were the Department of Transportation or the Department of Motor Vehicles. That model hasn’t, doesn’t and won’t work, condemning SUNY to a future of mediocrity when it has the capacity to ascend into the elite of national and world public universities. Read More 

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The Weekender - June 9, 2011

Both parties spinning Special Election in NY’s 26th, distorting truth about Medicare

Chatham and its environs were most fortunate to have been spared the tornadoes that recently ripped through parts of neighboring Massachusetts. Only God knows why, but The Weekender, at least, knows the source of those swirling winds. They emanated from the incredible spinning and demagoguery that followed the May 24 Special Election to replace Shirtless Chris Lee from New York’s 29 minus three. The winner in the 26th Congressional District was the Democratic candidate, Kathy Hochul, formerly Erie County Clerk, who with 47 percent of the vote, defeated three rivals: Republican Assemblywoman Jane Corwin (Erie/Niagara); Jack Davis, a perennial candidate who this time secured a “Tea Party” slot; and Ian Murphy on the “it’s not easy being the Green Party Candidate” ballot line. Read More 

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The Weekender - May 26, 2011

Don’t get fooled again

The Weekender is generally interested in what his fellow Courier columnists write about and always eagerly glances up the page to see what The Chick in the Black Dress has to say. So, it was fascinating to read her column of April 21 about the protest held in Chatham on April 16, with a specific focus on Bank of America and a collective group of targeted bogeymen defined as the “wealthiest Americans” “raking in record-breaking profits” “who received a government bailout,” but “are getting massive tax breaks” and in the case of Bank of America hasn’t “paid taxes in two years.” Read More 

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The Weekender - May 12, 2011

Reflections on the killing of Osama Bin Laden

If the Chatham Courier and The New York Times accurately mirrored the hopes, fears and interests of the residents of their namesake communities, one might conclude that the only thing the inhabitants of New York City cared about was the death of Osama Bin Laden (confirmed by President Barack Obama on national television late Sunday night, May 1), but that it was a non-event 125.6 miles north in the town in Chatham. All week long, and still as I write, The Times was and is dominated by Bin Laden stories, yet the Courier of Thursday, May 5 had nary a word about the killing, the reactions of Chathamites or its meaning and significance (if any) to this community. The Weekender, who characteristically split his week between the two places and whose family was hosting a beloved Chatham friend in their city apartment at the very moment of the President’s somber announcement, believes otherwise, at least with respect to Chatham.  Read More 

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The Weekender - April 28, 2011

Making sense of the 2010 Census

While New York state and The Weekender’s mid-week home, New York City, were clear losers in the recently released 2010 U.S. Census results, my weekend residence, Chatham, not only held its own but gained substantially. It was a winner in the bottom line tally and in the more granular analysis of what the numbers say about the last 10 years and foretell about our future as a community.

New York state and City lost because their populations each increased by an anemic 2.1 percent, rising to 19,379,102 and 8,175,133, respectively, while the national increase was 9.7 percent to 308,745,538. That will cost New York state two seats in the House of Representatives and tens of billions of dollars in reduced federal funding over the coming decade.  Read More 

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The Weekender - April 14, 2011

Scorecard on the first Andrew Cuomo budget

The last Weekender column (March 31) promised that the next would provide analysis of the importance of both the process and results of the recently released Census. That column will be deferred until April 28 because in the interim, the state enacted its first on-time budget in five years, as predicted in The Weekender of March 17. (Despite this and many contemporaneous, previous and future self-congratulatory pats on the back, this column will continue to be called The Weekender and not be changed to “I Told You So”).  Read More 

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The Weekender - March 31, 2011

Tenure with extreme prejudice: federal judicial jobs for life

The Weekender’s last column (March 17) discussed some aspects of government employee tenure policies and the rigidity of the “Last In First Out” rule that handcuffs public school administrators as they try to retain talented new teachers while trimming their payrolls. These policies are being hotly debated in New York and most states, but there is little recognition and virtually no debate about the most extreme and inflexible form of tenure granted to a class of government employees. Every federal judge on the U.S. Supreme Court, the 13 federal Courts of Appeal and the 94 U.S. District Courts is tenured for life and can continue to sit or snooze into their 90s and beyond, if they so choose.  Read More 

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The Weekender - March 17, 2011

‘Last In First Out, Tenure And Jobs For Life’

The state’s annual budget ritual is playing out like the Kabuki it is. Lobbyists and ad agencies race around with a message of dire consequences, including shattered and lost lives, if the services of their clients are not spared from budgetary cuts. Occasionally their message includes some truth. This year, I predict, without being willing to wager a plug nickel, that the budget will be enacted on time — that is by April 1. As the process winds down, we constantly hear that the remuneration of government employees is a major, if not the primary, cause of the budgetary distress faced by New York and virtually every American state. This fallacy is frequently packaged with a discussion of tenure policies and the rigidity of rules for laying off government employees when that becomes necessary, as it has this year.  Read More 

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The Weekender - March 3, 2011

A better way to fund schools while lowering property taxes

The Weekender column of Feb. 3 explained why the property tax cap proposed by Governor Cuomo in his State of State speech, and roundly applauded by the legislature, would be a grievous mistake for Chatham and all of New York state. It would set New York on the same disastrous path traveled by California after the passage of the infamous Proposition 13 tax cap. Soon after Prop 13 was enacted, California’s public schools, then widely considered the finest in our nation, rapidly deteriorated. That Governor Cuomo, and indeed Governor Spitzer when he had the baton, would make proposals similar to California’s with the resulting educational carnage so fresh and clear is disappointing but not surprising. Both parties have all but eliminated the former ability of elected officials to resort to progressive income taxation as the major source of funding for most of the things we expect government to provide.  Read More 

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The Weekender - February 17, 2011

Report from Chatham, Australia (sort of)

The last Weekender column (Feb. 3) explained why Governor Cuomo’s proposed property tax cap would be disastrous for Chatham and the entire state. I promised to offer a superior solution for lowering property taxes, while funding public schools at appropriate levels. That solution will be explained in the next column. However, in the interim, a trip to Australia intervened and my editor agreed that it would be interesting to send back a column from Chatham, Australia exploring the differences and similarities of communities in two hemispheres and separated by more than 11,000 miles.  Read More 

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