In the January 17 issue of the Westchester Guardian
Resolution # 1 - The Ravages of Guns in Our Society Needs to be Addressed
Governor Andrew Cuomo has stated he plans to present a "full package' of gun control laws But how can the public, especially school children be protected? Unprovoked gun attacks, for example, in Newton, need to be stopped. Innocent children in a classroom were killed in heart breaking gun attacks Our religious leaders need to speak out more on the inhumanity and immorality of using guns for revenge.
A British Psychiatrist, Dr. James Healy, founded RxIsk.org, an independent Web site on prescription drugs. He claimed about 90% of school shootings over a ten year period were linked to a prescribed antidepressant (SSRIs). Although it is not known if Adam Lanza in the Newton shooting had been taking these drugs, there were reports he was taking medication for a neurological disorder. Healy had said any kind of psychotropic drug could "trigger violence ,,,including homicide." Another doctor, Peter D. Dreggin, a Harvard trained psychiatrist, wrote in a scholarly journal in 2003 that SSRI drugs could be related to suicide, violence and extreme abnormal behavior. He expressed great concern about the risks associated with these drugs.
This is an urgent priority in our society which must be addressed in the new year. More attention needs to be paid to the availability of guns . But more important young people who have demonstrated lack of emotional stability need to be helped to become stable members of society.
Resolution # 2 - Education of our youth must be given a high priority.
School boards throughout New York State must deal with all the current problems in the state including the funding from the Federal government and mandates for evaluating teachers based on their students' test scores. These mandates do not consider students' background and preparation for learning. Another serious problem is the cost of pensions. According to a published report, Boards of Education must acknowledge the rising costs of pensions for personnel needed to improve instruction. Yet there is another important goal of a real estate tax cap of 2% promoted by Governor Cuomo. Money needed to improve instruction for school children must be found. In the new year serious discussions need to take place on the priorities, both past and present, which school boards face.
Resolution # 3 - Proper methods for protecting our environment should be used.
When fracking decisions in New York State must be made, State officials should take heed that despite all their computer simulations which say fracking is safe, the EPA's (Environmental Protection Agency) was unable to find even one company willing to test water before and after drilling for fracking. Computer simulations are also frequently used in Environmental Impact Statements and actual testing of the air should be required to validate the computer findings.
Resolution # 4 - All efforts should be made to reduce the rate of unemployment.
State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins has stated she wants to put a priority on creating jobs in New York. This is a laudable goal. But unemployment problems need to be addressed on every level: local, county, state and federal. It has become apparent that the state imposed tax cap at the local and county levels has resulted in more workers being laid off from their jobs. Our elected leaders at every level should continue to find ways to operate more efficiently, but they need also to use innovative ways to create jobs especially those that will make our economy grow. Most new jobs are created by small businesses. For example, bonus payments to small businesses that hired unemployed workers has been found to be an effective way to reduce unemployment.
Resolution # 5 - All levels of government should fairly assess the "Green: programs established.
Municipalities, especially, should get "real" and fairly evaluate their claims that "green" buildings are more energy efficient. Apparently, as reported in the Journal News (12/25/12) "none" of these buildings have been required to determine how much more energy efficient they are. Worse yet, some "green" buildings have been found to use more energy. In the New Year all "green" construction should have mandated energy audits so these costs can be compared with pre-"green" costs.