Good Monday morning. Here’s a look at opinion content published over the weekend in The Journal News:
Saturday, April 9
Federal budget: Commentary
Doyle McManus, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, comments on last week’s 2012 budget proposal from Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. While the plan is far from perfect, McManus does offer Ryan a bit of praise:
… On one major point, Ryan has done a great service. He has made it clear that if you’re serious about cutting the federal deficit, you have to make a choice: low taxes or guaranteed Medicare coverage. You can’t have both. …
Indian Point: Commentary
John J. Kelly, a Garnerville resident and former director of licensing for Entergy Nuclear Northeast, which owns and operates the Indian Point nuclear facility, responds to a Sunday, April 3 editorial that assessed the relicensure process for the power plant.
Sunday, April 10
Sing Sing: Editorial
We comment on news that a group comprised of Ossining political leaders and local members of the state Assembly are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to consider closing Sing Sing, the maximum-security prison. We think they’re likely to be disappointed. We write:
Local politicians calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to shutter Sing Sing will likely be disappointed. The state maximum security prison is doing brisk business, unlike the minimum- and medium-security facilities upstate, where the prison population has been dwindling for a decade. There are also important public policy reasons for maintaining such a facility close to New York City and the metropolitan area, notwithstanding the local officials’ far-fetched dreams of turning the historic property into new housing — for the private sector, of course.
Elected officials who represent Ossining last week wrote a letter to Cuomo, who is weighing where to cut 3,700 beds, and $72 million, from the state’s prison stock. The officials figure that Ossining will benefit economically if the prison is closed, returning prime Hudson River real estate to the tax rolls. In their minds, closing Sing Sing would also present the governor with a win-win proposition: doing so would allow some jobs-depressed upstate community to keep its facility. Their argument, however, isn’t likely to gain much traction.
Cuomo’s been calling for a halt to the state’s prison-industrial complex since before he was elected. New York’s laws have long protected upstate prisons by making the process of closing them long and convoluted. This year, Cuomo formed a Prison Closure Advisory Task Force that included members of the state Senate and Assembly. The state’s 2011-12 budget, however, leaves the final decision-making with the governor. That is a prudent course: politics have long hampered earlier efforts to close or consolidate facilities, in the face of compelling reason to do so. …
The state of Westchester County: Reisman
Phil Reisman comments on Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino’s Thursday, April 7 State of the County address. The speech, Reisman concludes, was far more about the state of county government and did little to address the day-to-day challenges faced by countless Westchester residents.
Terror hearings: Commentaries
State Sen. Greg Ball, R-Carmel, chairman of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security & Military Affairs Committee, caught flak last week for inviting virulent anti-Islam critics to Friday hearings he hosted on emergency preparedness and security in New York. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., heard similar criticism — that such rhetoric merely inflames tensions — when his House Homeland Security Committee recently held hearings on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and That Community’s Response.” We competing views on such inquiries:
Homegrown threats are too vital to ignore: Commentary
Lawrence J. Haas, senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the American Foreign Policy Council, argues in favor of King’s hearings.
Muslims deserve religious liberty: Commentary
Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, argues that the hearings are unfounded and that Muslims deserve religious liberty.
Monday, April 11
Immigration reform: Commentary
Tamar Jacoby, president of ImmigrationWorks USA, a national federation of small-business owners advocating immigration reform, argues that states like New York, California and Illinois, all of which are poised to comparatively liberal immigration reforms, should prod the federal government to consider comprehensive national reform.