April 15, 2003 Letters

first_img Immigration Policy The March 1 News featured a letter under the heading “Haitian Immigrants” calling on Florida lawyers to condemn INS (now replaced by the Department of Homeland Security) policy toward Haitian asylum seekers. This prompted me to write in support of the current policy as the only sane approach.In December 2001 the federal government implemented a policy of detaining Haitian asylum seekers while their claims for asylum were considered. In November 2002 the INS expanded this policy to all aliens arriving illegally in the United States by sea. Cubans constitute an exception under a 1966 law enacted by Congress.Most Haitians are found ineligible for asylum and are deported back to Haiti, if they can be located when the deportation order issues. Detention is the key, as history has shown that aliens who are released pending their immigration claims often defeat deportation by disappearing into the community.The INS announcement of the current detention policy recites concerns that perceptions of a loose immigration policy will motivate more illegal and dangerous mass migrations by sea, including large scale smuggling by organized smugglers. A policy that allows people to avoid deportation just by not showing up for the hearing will predictably have this effect.A firm immigration policy is essential to the protection of Florida’s quality of life. Florida’s population is projected to explode from 15.9 million in 2000 to 24.5 million in 2030. Despite low American birth rates, the United States population went from 203 million in 1970 to approximately 280 million today. At current immigration levels (which far exceed traditional levels) the U.S. Census Bureau projects a population of 404 million in 2050 and 571 million in 2100. This directly affects us, as a large proportion of this flood of immigration ends up in Florida.Overpopulation in Florida aggravates a host of problems, including school overcrowding, traffic congestion, environmental degradation, urban sprawl and overbuilding, and looming water shortages. Florida’s public services and social services are already badly strained, and importing more poverty will make it even worse.School overcrowding is largely fed by current extraordinary levels of immigration. Many schools are especially hard hit by a massive influx of students who can’t speak English. Schools nationwide are struggling with shortages of personnel qualified to teach a growing population of non-English speaking students.We should help the less fortunate in Haiti and elsewhere. The Miami Herald recently described a bipartisan proposal in Congress to give Haiti significant trade benefits to boost the Haitian economy. The people of Haiti also receive aid from our government. For the sake of our posterity, however, a firm immigration policy is essential.David Falstad Orlando Law School Loans I write in support of SB96 (a bill to help assistant state attorneys and public defenders pay back law school loans) sponsored by Sen. Skip Campbell as referred to in the March 1 issue of the News, particularly the quote by committee Chair Sen. Alex Villalobos: “You can’t afford to stay” and further, Sen. Rod Smith’s observation: “People come out of law school with $80,000 to $120,000 of loans; they can’t afford these jobs.”Unfortunately, while we qualify for deferrals and low income graduated payments, the interest on our student loans continues to accumulate, then capitalize and compound so that each day we work for the state, our debt increases.However, my own experience, while being mired in law school debt, may provide some insight into the mind-set of those elected officials charged with prosecution or defense. It also provides a warning to others who might dare to lobby for wage increases or contact their senators or representatives.In early 2002, when the legislature was previously working on the state budget, I exercised my rights as a citizen and made an appointment to see my local state senator to lobby for higher budgets for state attorneys and public defenders. As an assistant state attorney at the time, I first informed my state attorney and employer that I was going to lobby on behalf of all of us similarly situated, explaining that, even though the budget was in crisis, it would not always be so.In meeting with my senator, I pointed out that in my short experience as an assistant state attorney I had been impressed by the great many attorneys working in our circuit who were dedicated and driven to provide excellent legal representation either as prosecutors or defense attorneys. I indicated Florida would do well to show respect and support for those of us who do this important public interest work, and one way would be by providing excellent starting salaries and across-the-board increases to those whose tenure represents years of dedication, while at the same time lowering the very high turn-over rate among new-hires and generally improving the overall employee moral. In the alternative, we might be given assistance in paying on those huge law school debts while we accept low starting salaries.Interestingly, in less than one month after meeting with the senator, I was put on probation, and within three months I had been fired for being unable to perform my work. This, in spite of the fact that I wrote copiously on my strategy to address the state attorney’s concerns and asked for advice regarding the same. My requests for advice and consideration of my health issues went ignored as I received virtually no response from my employer, in spite of the fact that I provided medical information as to a coincidently pending diagnosis and urgent surgery for a condition that was causing severe and chronic headaches.When I asked for my termination date to be extended three days to include the date for my surgery and recovery period, my termination date was punitively back-dated by more than two weeks. Upon applying to and interviewing with the local public defender, I informed him of my termination, and while he explained the state attorney’s position is mostly political, I was not hired.My experience has informed me that, unfortunately, politics and the elected officials’ expertise at keeping payroll expenses in check, in spite of need, is the driving factor in the mind of some of those elected lawyers charged with prosecution and defense and who hold public office, certainly not whether the interests of the citizens of this state are served by lawyers dedicated to the public charge they serve and who should be fairly compensated for the work they do.Lynn W. Rhodes Bartow April 15, 2003 Regular News April 15, 2003 Letterslast_img read more

Goodner named state courts administrator

first_img Goodner named state courts administrator Associate EditorElisabeth “Lisa” Goodner, a homegrown Tallahasseean who worked her way up the ranks of state government from clerical work, has been named the new state courts administrator.“As I’ve said to the staff and judges, I am humbled by their confidence in me, and I’m honored by the opportunity,” said 47-year-old Goodner, who had served as deputy state courts administrator since 1993, second-in-command of the office that provides administrative support to more than 850 Florida appellate and trial judges.“They know me. They know who they are getting, and they’ll take me anyway,” she said with a chuckle.“I know them, and I know the work we’re doing, and I’m deeply committed to seeing the judicial branch through the next several years and doing what I can to help with this big transition.”Chief Justice Harry Lee Anstead gave Goodner a strong vote of confidence when he named her to the position: “Lisa’s experience, proven ability, strong leadership skills, and passionate representation of the third branch of government will provide the stability that is critically needed at this time.”Goodner is a veteran at working with the legislature on court budget issues and the Article V, Revision 7 transition. This year of severe budget cuts was the most challenging in her career, she said, which ended with the painful elimination of 13 positions from the Office of the State Courts Administrator, nearly 12 percent of the total staff of 116 employees.“Lisa has 24 years experience in Florida state government, with 10 years of direct service helping manage the Office of the State Courts Administrator at its highest level,” said Chief Justice Anstead.“Because the state courts are facing immediate challenges, including the final implementation of Revision 7 a year from now, the court determined it was important to fill this vacancy without delay with the most experienced person we could identify,” Chief Justice Anstead said.Revision 7, a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 1998, requires the state to assume a substantial part of local trial courts that now falls on county commissions. The deadline for final implementation is July 1, 2004.“I would say life has never been the same since the Constitution Revision Commission met,” Goodner said. “We started working on the amendment with Ken Palmer (longtime state court administrator who died of cancer in 2001). He and I were the principals who worked on Revision 7, and it has been a major focus of this office ever since. The culmination of all those years we spent preparing for it came to the table with the legislature this session. I feel very good about the work we did with Revision 7. The budget, obviously, was a disappointment to us all. What we achieved with the implementation, however, we are well poised to go into next year and secure the funding. It’s challenging, no question it’s very challenging. It’s the biggest challenge we’ll face this decade.”Goodner replaces Robin Lubitz, who resigned his position effective June 30. When Lubitz came on board as state courts administrator in January 2002, he knew he was stepping into the firing line. In an interview with the Bar News last year, he said, “I knew that we were moving toward this change, but I don’t think I realized the enormity of it until I actually got here and realized all it’s about.”Before coming to Tallahassee, Lubitz had most recently served as chief deputy for the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, helping to manage a court system with more than 5,000 employees and a budget in excess of $360 million.Goodner said she is excited about continuing to serve the judicial branch. Her favorite part of her job at OSCA, she said, is that “it’s just never the same any two days. It’s always a different challenge, and there’s always something new to learn. I enjoy tremendously working for the judiciary. I have so much respect for the judges in this state and have found it always to be a real pleasure to serve in this branch. It is fascinating work.”While dealing with changes sparked by Article V, Revision 7 will take a huge chunk of her time, Goodner said she looks forward to working on other court initiatives, as well.“OSCA has gotten a federal grant for good projects. These are court improvement issues I want to spend a lot of time on, projects that will improve case processing and will provide better outcomes for our citizens.”After receiving her bachelor’s degree in government from Florida State University in 1978, Goodner’s first state job was doing clerical work at the Department of Administration, where she worked for six years. From there, she spent another six years in personnel at the Department of Corrections, and came to OSCA in 1990, where she began as chief of personnel services and expanded to budget and finance areas.Among her accomplishments at OSCA has been developing policy and implementation planning for Revision 7, including being instrumental in the creation of the Uniform Chart of Accounts, helping pass legislation for the creation of the Article V Trust Fund, overseeing a significant study of court funding issues through cost inventory collection, helping develop policy relating to Revision 7 implementation legislation passed by the 2003 Florida Legislature, and serving as lead staff to the Trial Court Budget Commission.She was recently honored with the inaugural Kenneth R. Palmer Award of Distinguished Excellence in Judicial Administration, given by the Florida Conference of Circuit Judges and the Trial Court Budget Commission.Goodner is a third-generation Floridian whose family hails from Jacksonville and Fernandina Beach. Her father, the late Dr. I.N. Harrison, was director of medical affairs at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, and her mother, Miki Harrison, now lives in Atlanta.Goodner is an avid runner, is active in her church, Christ Presbyterian, and has two children, Caroline, 17, a senior at Leon High School, and Andrew, 21, a senior at FSU. Goodner named state courts administrator July 15, 2003 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

Dogs and the constitution help kids learn the appellate process

first_imgDogs and the constitution help kids learn the appellate process June 1, 2005 Regular News Dogs and the constitution help kids learn the appellate process Pinellas Park High School won the first Florida Appellate Competition, which involved writing briefs and presenting oral arguments at the Supreme Court in a hypothetical canine search case.Serving as an extension of the high school mock trial competition, coordinated by the Florida Law Related Education Association, the new appellate program was first conceived by Chief Justice Barbara Pariente and incorporates both a brief writing and oral argument component.The high school mock trial case was written by attorney Laurie Chane and incorporated an issue on appeal.Teams of students submited briefs that were judged by a panel of attorneys from the Young Lawyers Division, which provided funding and support for the program. Winning brief writers presented oral arguments in each of the state’s district courts of appeal. One team from each appellate district traveled to Tallahassee to compete for the state title.Annette Boyd Pitts, FLREA’s executive director, said FLREA hopes to expand the program to reach the size and popularity of the state high school mock trial program.last_img read more

The Quote – April 2013

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York “We’re in a moment where political satire, political comedy, is more able to provide more criticism than mainstream journalism outlets.”–Molly Knefel, a comic who co-hosts the satirical podcast, Radio Dispatch. Read full story: The Revolution Will Be Satirizedlast_img

Long Beach Boardwalk Reconstruction Hits 100 Days

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Reconstruction on the Long Beach boardwalk reached the 100-day mark on Thursday, July 25, 2013 (Photo by Joe Abate).Thursday marks the 100th day of reconstruction on the new Long Beach boardwalk, a key milestone in restoring the city’s iconic oceanfront attraction that was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy nine months ago.The first two blocks of completed boardwalk stretching from Long Beach Boulevard to Edwards Boulevard were turned over to the city for inspection on Tuesday, according to Gordon Tepper, a spokesman for the city.“As soon as everything checks out, we will open those blocks to the public,” Tepper told the Press. An exact date for the grand reopening for the first blocks will be announced Friday morning.The area was still lined with “no trespassing” signs and construction cones this week, leaving uncertainty as to when beach-goers will be able to roam the new boardwalk.Long Beach signed a $44.2-million contract in April with Plainview-based Grace Industries, LLC to replace the boardwalk, which Tepper  said is currently “on time and on budget for the project.”The company faced significant daily fines if it did not meet certain milestones, such as completing the first two-block stretch within 100 days.The entire 2.2-mile boardwalk is expected to be fully completed and open to the public in November.The new boardwalk will be constructed of tropical hardwood and cement, which city officials have repeatedly said will make the structure “stronger, smarter and safer” with the goal of it withstanding future hurricanes that hit the island.last_img read more

Newsday Fails to Disclose Suozzi Ties in Primary Endorsement

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Critics are calling out Newsday for failing to disclose its ties to former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi in the paper’s coverage and endorsement of him in the Democratic primary as he runs for his old job.Cablevision Systems Corp., which owns Long Island’s lone daily newspaper, has donated through its PAC and owners in this campaign cycle at least $200,000 to Suozzi, who Cablevision hired as a consultant to their MSG Varsity television channels shortly after he was unseated in 2009—facts Newsday omitted, sparking questions about the paper’s conflict of interest in reporting on the topic.“It just looks creepy and it smells bad not to disclose,” says Ruth Hochberger, an editor in residence at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and New York University who teaches media ethics. “It raises suspicions unnecessarily about the purity of their endorsement or their coverage. I’m not saying it’s impure. It just doesn’t look good.”Newsday’s ethics were also questioned last month when it failed to disclose Cablevision’s political donations while reporting on the same practices of their parent company’s owners’ rivals in their multi-million-dollar bid to rebuild Nassau Coliseum. The paper also failed to mention another nearly $200,000 of campaign donations their parent company made to Suozzi’s political aspirations since 2006.Former Nassau County Executive Tom SuozziTaking Newsday to task for not disclosing their Suozzi ties in an editorial of her own Monday was Jaci Clement, executive director of the nonprofit Fair Media Council, a local media watchdog.“What is net result of Newsday‘s heavy handedness?” she wrote. “The reader is now forced to question the validity of the race as a whole, and is left to wonder if the candidates’ accomplishments—all of the candidates, not just Suozzi’s—reported and editorialized by Newsday are fair, just and in the best interest of the public.”Adam Haber, a Roslyn school board member who challenged Suozzi to the Democratic primary Tuesday, says the relationship Suozzi has with LI’s largest newspaper is indicative of the machine politics he’s trying to break as an outsider.“During the closing statement he reads the endorsement from the same people who hired him and gave him money,” he tells the Press between last-minute campaigning. “That’s like my mother endorsing me…of course it’s going to be glowing!”Suozzi’s campaign spokesman declined to comment, but the ex-county exec touted the endorsement three times when he debated Haber last week on News12 Long Island, which is also owned by Cablevision and hasn’t disclosed their parent company’s ties to Suozzi, either.Newsday spokesman Paul Fleishman also declined to comment.last_img read more

Mexico to Long Island Heroin Pipeline Busted, DA Says

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Heroin traffickers disguised as travelers drove an SUV mounted with bicycles and a kayak while smuggling up to $12 million worth of the drug monthly from Mexico to New York, authorities said.Undercover Nassau County detectives who bought a pound of heroin in Manhasset and Great Neck traced it to the source over the course of an 18-month continuing joint investigation with New York City and federal authorities, prosecutors said. When New Jersey State Police stopped the alleged drug ring’s Dodge Durango on Sept. 23, investigators said they found about 5 kilos of vacuum-packed black tar heroin hidden in the engine block—making it undetectable to drug-sniffing dogs at the U.S.-Mexico border.“A border patrol dog would not have picked it up, it was so well secreted,” Rick Whelan, chief of the Nassau district attorney’s organized crime bureau, told reporters Thursday during a news conference announcing the bust. “That car blends in. It traveled up from Mexico through California, across the country… to New York. It just looked like a couple of people on vacation.”Of nine suspects that have been rounded up in what investigators dubbed “Operation Smackdown,” two Queens men were charged in Nassau County court. They include 38-year-old Ajay Carter, aka Jose Zambrano, and 42-year-old Miguel Tormo, who both pleaded not guilty last month to charges of criminal sale of a controlled substance. Their attorneys were not immediately available for comment.Read more: How Long Island is Losing its War on Heroin Authorities released this flow chart showing how they allege the heroin made its way from heroin to New York City and Long Island.The 24-year-old alleged ringleader, Cesar “Menor” Romero-Astudillo of the Bronx, is accused of ordering two unidentified traffickers to drive the heroin-filled SUV from Mexico to what prosecutors described as a network of drug houses. The truck was taken apart at an Astoria auto body shop, the smuggling compartment would be packed with millions in cash and then the truck would drive back to Mexico, authorities said. Romero-Astudillo also allegedly had drug mules swallow balloons filled with heroin and fly to New York.Taylor Koss, the Manhattan-based attorney for Romero-Astudillo, who also pleaded not guilty to drug charges last month, said investigators did not find any heroin in his client’s possession and he is still awaiting copies of the wiretap evidence authorities said they used to make their case. He said it was unusual for his client to be charged with operating as a major trafficker “but not have any narcotics attributed to him.” A Manhattan judge ordered he be held without bail and he faces 25 years to life in prison, if convicted.In the Nassau case, Carter also allegedly sold cocaine, MDMA—aka ecstasy or molly—and anabolic steroids through Craigslist by using code words. Judge Teresa Corrigan set bail for him and Tormo at $5 million bond or $2.5 million cash. Carter faces up to 40 years in prison and Tormo faces up to 20 years in prison, if convicted. They are due back in court on Jan. 8.Authorities noted the rise in fatal heroin overdoses on LI in recent years was an unintended side effect of the crackdown on prescription drug abuse that made addicts turn to heroin when pill supplies dried up. Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said: “This case proves that the battle lines in our fight to save lives in the midst of a devastating heroin epidemic don’t end at any border.”last_img read more

Review: The Walking Dead ‘First Time Again’

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The 90-minute premiere Sunday night of The Walking Dead began its sixth season where the fifth ended in March: with a bang—a gunshot, to be precise.Abusive husband, alcoholic, and danger-to-us-all Pete Anderson (Corey Brill) lay in a pool of his own blood beneath the smoking barrel of Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln) iconic revolver. The moment merged two very different perspectives: the residents of the Alexandria Safe-Zone, blissfully ignorant of the apocalyptic horrors beyond their walled community, and callous Rick’s bloody taste of reality. Later, standing feet away from a herd of blatant CGI zombies, the practical ones complete with severed limbs and exposed ribcages, the main character justified his newly formed Rickstatorship:“I know this sounds insane, but this is an insane world,” Rick said. “We have to come for them or they come for us. It’s that simple.”Depending on one’s appreciation for the character, Rick’s psychological state has either become more engaging or repetitive. Longtime fans witnessed a similar side of Rick back in season three’s prison setting and even toward the end of last season. Veteran characters should recognize Rick’s behavior, but no one attempted to stop him. It seemed like more than a coincidence that the old crew fell to the back burner while Rick’s reckless demeanor was gently prodded by the ignorance of randomly added character Carter (Ethan Embry) and returning fan-favorite Morgan Jones (Lennie James).The Walking Dead trailers have always intentionally misled viewers. Season six’s trailer implied some heavy confrontation between Rick and Morgan. If true, anxious fans will have to keep waiting for Morgan to deliver a blow, as the staff-wielding badass spent the entirety of the first episode delicately reminding Rick of the humanity they once shared.“You’re still the same man I met back in [season one],” Morgan said to Rick. “The one who came back and told me it wasn’t over. That was you. The same you that’s right in front of me right now.”He was awesome with that staff, though.Carter also provided a voice of reason for the residents of Alexandria, but it was short-lived, literally. Rick called it first.“Somebody like that,” he said, “they’re going to die no matter what.”Submitting to the Ricktatorship does not cost Carter an arm and a leg, but instead a chunk of cheek and ultimately his life. Carter failed to survive less than two hours on TWD, but the shocker was who killed him.Carter’s killer (spoiled in the AMC video below) plunged a dagger into the wounded man’s neck to avoid detection from nearby zombies. The killer’s morality was already in question, but dispatching Carter without hesitation showed the extremes the cold-blooded character was willing to take, leaving audiences to wonder what else this character will be capable of in the upcoming episodes.Overall, TWD showed more of the same. Rick and the group find a new home, some new people interfere and conflict, and a herd of zombies eventually run everyone out of town. Much like the fanbase, the herd of zombies mindlessly lumbers to the next plot point, which is a convergence of zombies and survivors at the gates of Alexandria, where the survivor’s eventual eviction will occur.Though it was more of the same, season six of TWD further explored the darkest bowels of the human psyche. The first episode balanced blood, guts, zombies, and human indecency, but it’s the investment in these apocalypse-stricken characters and their fates audiences care about. Though it’s unlikely the show’s popularity will decline anytime soon, entering season six with no endgame in sight may have been the beginning of Walking Dead biting off more than they can chew.last_img read more

Saving The Planet Is Not A Luxury—It’s An Urgency

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York By Dan KriesbergIn the 1980s, two of the most serious environmental problems were the hole in the ozone layer and acid rain. As the gap in the ozone layer of the atmosphere grew bigger, increased levels of the ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun would reach the surface of the planet. Increased UV light leads to increases in skin cancer in humans and other health risks. Acid rain was killing trees in the Northeast and causing lakes to become so acidic that freshwater fish could not survive.We don’t hear so much about these two problems because their threat has greatly diminished due to bipartisan legislation. In 1989 the Montreal Protocols went into effect. This international treaty was negotiated by President Ronald Reagan and banned the ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons. In the ensuing years the hole has been closing, although in 2015 its 10.9 million square mile size was still bigger than Russia and Canada combined. The Clean Air Act first signed into law in 1972 by President Nixon and revised in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush decreased levels of six common air pollutants by 69 percent. The legislation that eased these threats are lifesavers and money savers. Lawmakers were able to work together for the common good.There is a concept in economics called ecosystem services. It means the accounting of the economic value that the natural world provides for us. The ozone layer protects us from high levels of UV light. If we destroy the ozone layer, the expense of that protection will fall on us. Imagine the cost in health care alone. The forests that would be killed by acid rain provide us with flood control, increased water quality and act as a sink to absorb excess carbon. Without the forests we would have to pay for those vital services.There are no free lunches. Everything is connected. What we do matters. Laws and regulations that protect the environment are not just there for pretty flowers and cute animals. They protect us and save us money in the short and long run.Our elected officials need to know that environmental protection is not a luxury. The health threats are real. Solving the problems requires a long-range view into the future as well as creative thinking.When we had an administration with an environmental conscience, it was easy to be complacent. Trust them and let them do their job. We no longer have that luxury. We must speak up and act out. Write letters, make phone calls, visit offices, join organizations, take walks in the woods, donate money, talk to friends, learn about the issues and involve your children. Our government needs to know that environmental protection matters on the local, state, national and international levels.Here is a list of organizations on Long Island working for a better environment from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Join some today. http://www.dec.ny.gov/public/995.htmlDan Kriesberg teaches science at Friends Academy in Locust Valley. He is the author of A Sense of Place: Teaching Children about the Environment with Picture Books and Think Green: Books and Activities for Kids. He lives on Long Island with his wife, Karen, and two sons, Zack and Scott. He will be writing occasional columns on environmental issues for the Long Island Press. Whenever possible Dan spends his time in wild places backpacking, hiking and hanging out.last_img read more

Dix Hills Man Killed in Motorcycle Crash

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 27-year-old Dix Hills man was killed when his motorcycle was involved in a crash with a vehicle in East Meadow over the weekend.Nassau County police said Erick Galletti was riding a Kawasaki westbound on Hempstead Turnpike when he crashed into a Toyota that was making a left turn from a parking lot near the corner of Newbridge Road shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday.The victim was taken to to Nassau University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The other driver and his passenger were treated for non-life threatening injuries.Homicide Squad detectives are continuing the investigation.last_img read more