Here’s a look at opinion content published in The Journal News over the weekend:
Friday, April 22
East Ramapo: Editorial
We comment on the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights’ probe of the East Ramapo School District. We write:
The U.S. Department of Education has declined to comment on its inquiry of the East Ramapo school district, except to state that it is looking into a complaint. Whatever the particulars, parents, taxpayers and students should welcome the involvement of the department’s Office of Civil Rights. The school board has largely been unresponsive to concerns raised by those constituencies and other public-school advocates; perhaps the federal government will have better luck.
Local officials with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, not the DOE, announced the probe. A statement from the civil rights organization stated that it would focus on allegations raised by the Spring Valley chapter that East Ramapo has engaged in discriminatory practices. Public-education advocates have long accused the majority Orthodox school board of mismanaging resources and shortchanging students. Of the 27,000 students living within the district, just 8,000 attend public schools; 19,000 attend private schools. The public-school population is majority black.
Lack of transparency by the school board during a number of recent controversies has only made for more frustration and distrust. School board meetings too frequently adjourn to executive or closed sessions; school board meetings conducted in open session are often marred by sharp exchanges and hot tempers, rather than constructive dialogue. So maybe the federal officials will be able to secure answers that have long eluded public-school advocates. …
Saturday, April 23
Gas woes: Commentary
Dan Becker and James Gerstenzang of the Safe Climate Campaign, a Washington environmental organization advocating tough measures against global warming, comment on rising fuel prices and argue in favor of stricter fuel efficiency requirements and smarter energy policy.
Sunday, April 24
Last week’s hydraulic fracturing mishap at a gas drilling site near Canton, Penn., should be a wake-up call to New York, we argue. The accident, in which a wellhead connection failed, allowed gas and thousands of gallons of toxic liquid to scape containment and flow across farm fields and into waterways, is proof-positive that fracking is not the way to harness natural gas from Marcellus shale deposits. We write:
… It is important for the New York officials to establish the right regulatory framework: “This (New York) document will serve as the basis for policy decisions that could affect safe drinking water for New Yorkers, air quality, habitats and the health of those who live in the Marcellus Shale region of the state,” as an NRDC staff attorney set forth the stakes last month. “Indeed, it will determine what the landscape of the state will look like five or 10 years from now if this heavy new industrial activity is allowed to proceed.”
But New York will still need Washington’s help, a point driven home last week by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. He cautioned several federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, that unless they commit to a full environmental study before allowing natural gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin he will file suit. The Delaware River commission — it covers New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware — is readying regulations to allow 15,000 new drilling wells in the basin. It is, of course, the sort of inquiry that should have been done before the inevitable accident. …
Phil Reisman comments on Sunday’s Easter holiday and hopes that it might bring much-needed renewal to all.
Monday, April 25
Donald Trump: Commentary
Doyle McManus, a Los Angeles Times columnist, comments on the possible presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. McManus predicts that, despite all the hype, the Donald will not, in the end, bear the GOP’s standard in 2012.