July 22, 2024
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July 22, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Take Action for School Choice

Dear Editor,

For the first time, Congress has before it a school choice bill to empower all parents in our nation’s capital to send their children to quality schools of their choice. Universal school choice in DC will undoubtedly serve as a model and trailblazer for all 50 states. Every American can ensure equal educational opportunity for every child in the country by prevailing on their members of Congress to support the Education Freedom Accounts Act (S.2455/H.R.4426).

Congressmen and senators may be reached at (202) 224-3121. All are sworn to uphold the Constitution, to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” Considering the substandard condition of DC public schools and the many drop-outs who join gangs, commit crimes and end up in jail, this bill surely deserves unanimous support.

Everyone knows that our educational system is a disaster, and dragging down all society! All that is required to turn this ship of state around is to restore liberty, justice and sanity to our educational system. Education is the domain of parents—not self-serving educrats. The sooner this national bill has unanimous support, the sooner will we restore Constitutional government, with liberty and justice for all.

Israel Teitelbaum,

Health Insurance Payouts for Council Members and Teaneck’s Tax Burden

The recent health insurance debate that is brewing at Teaneck Council meetings, online and in the papers regarding three sitting council members receiving “questionable” payments or healthcare coverage is a healthy one that shows our democracy at work. However, seeing two council members going toe-to-toe for the whole world to see doesn’t do Teaneck or our community any good, as in the end we have to work together to fix the rapidly increasing Teaneck tax burden.

While I will not comment on the legality of the issue, as it seems to be unclear and interpreted by each side according to their understanding (or benefit), I will comment on the appropriateness of elected part-time officials receiving an annual stipend of $7,000 along with their healthcare costs being multiple times that amount. All council members are considered equal and should receive the same stipend from taxpayers and, with ballooning healthcare costs, a part-time worker should get their health care from either their full-time position or Obamacare. After all, that’s why Obamacare was created.

Mayor Lizette Parker receives almost $10,000 a year for not taking health insurance. “In lieu” benefits have been gone for most of the world for a long time. The concept may seem fine if it is a small amount (although it might not be legal in NJ), but $10,000? Now, wait, here’s the kicker—the mayor is getting her health insurance from her full-time position at the Bergen County Board of Social Services. How about that for double-dipping on the taxpayers!! Sign me up.

The second questionable situation concerns our Deputy Mayor Elie Katz and former mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin, both long-term friends of our community. Both are receiving family health insurance coverage which is costing Teaneck taxpayers ~$30,000 a year—each. Now that’s a generous plan for a part-time employee. What is their annual contribution for this benefit, you might ask? Three percent of the benefit cost, or $900 a year. Again, sign me up!!

These are extremely lavish “Cadillac” plans (which most Teaneck residents would only dream of) which Teaneck teachers, policemen and firemen receive as well. (For clarity’s sake, the cost-sharing percentage is on a sliding scale based upon salary, so the more you earn the greater percentage you pay. Though still way less than most Teaneck residents are paying themselves.) This is obviously another area at which the council and Board of Education need to take a closer look and negotiate to keep healthcare costs more in line with the rest of the country. Much more is needed from our elected officials to control our runaway costs.

Our local elected officials not only have an obligation to be “clean/yashar” with our money, but also to not even give the appearance of not being “clean/yashar.” I would highly recommend that they do the right thing.

More to come in the future I am sure as the election for three council members starts to heat up.

With concern,

Uri Jacobs


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