COMMON SENSE: Week of April 21

Congratulations to State Senator Martin Golden for successfullycausing the MTA to reinstate the old Express Bus schedule from BayRidge and Dyker Heights, thus saving many commuters a great deal ofcommuting time each day. The change, which goes into effect inJuly, will create more direct routes to Midtown, thus bypassing anumber of stops that only added greatly to travel time.

In obtaining the change, Golden confronted the MTA on manyissues. In January he was appointed to the powerful position as thestate senate’s representative on the MTA’s Capital Review Board.It’s a title that gets everyone’s attention at MTA headquarters.Then there was the successful state budget negotiations in whichthe senate Republicans were able to advocate for servicerestorations throughout the MTA region.

Finally there was the MTA lawsuit propelled by Golden,Councilmember Vincent Gentile, attorney Matt Daus and advocates forthe disabled led by Jean Ryan. This lawsuit kept the issue frontand center both in the community and before the MTA who had toappear numerous times before a judge to justify their actions.

As they used to say on the old A-Team television show – Ilove it when a good plan comes together. In the case of thishard-fought struggle for important service restorations, it all didcome together in the end.

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Surprise, Surprise — recent polling shows that more Americansthan ever, approximately 65 percent, are unhappy with the movetowards implementation of the Federal Health Care legislation. Theimmense costs frighten them. Considering the strong support forCongressmember Paul Ryan’s multi-trillion dollar federal deficitreduction proposal, it makes sense that most Americans would beconcerned with a mandatory health plan that will add billions tothe federal budget.

President Barack Obama showed his true beliefs in his recentspeech on the economy in which he talked about the possibility oftax increases next year. The president is concerned about losinghis base in the face of agreements he has been forced to make withthe highly- motivated House Republican Majority. If the presidentpushes for a tax increase next year, he may keep his base, but willcertainly lose the election.

Couple the speech together with a growing discontent withObamacare and you have the makings of an administration close tolosing its ability to move forward with an agenda. And to addinsult to injury, many of the president’s top people have left theadministration to move back to Chicago to work on his re-electioncampaign.

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The ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan has done serious damage toefforts to revitalize the domestic nuclear power industry. Many ofthe concerns represent a knee-jerk reaction to scenarios that for avariety of reasons will not occur in the United States.

For example, the next generation of reactors being designed byGeneral Electric are major advancements over the designs thatfailed under extreme conditions in Japan. It is worth noting thattidal waves do not affect any plants more than 15 miles inland onthe West Coast and are a non issue on the East Coast. It is alsoworth noting that the earthquake did not cause the dangerousconditions in Japan, but rather the tsunami. Despite media reportsthat one reactor at Indian Point in Westchester is vulnerable to anearthquake, it has also been stated that it can handle an event 100times greater than any quake ever felt in the area. There is a veryhigh standard for nuclear power production within the UnitedStates. We cannot allow the Japanese disaster to put on holdimportant progress America needs to make towards energyindependence.

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