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On our minds: School boards, vets, Suffolk dysfunction

Newsday's editorial board spends all week striving to be a reasoned and pragmatic voice for Long Island and its values through our editorials and columns. We debate local, national and international issues and write on those we think will impact our readers.
Some topics come up that don't turn into longer pieces, but are part of the national conversation and worth bringing up. Here's how we're telling you about them.

This week, we discussed school board elections, treatment of veterans and some Suffolk county business you should know about.

Make sure to vote on Tuesday

Proposed budgets and board of education candidates face
Photo Credit: AP

Proposed budgets and board of education candidates face voters Tuesday in Long Island's 124 public school districts and across the state. Check the voter's guide in Newsday then make sure you vote. There's a lot at stake. Long Island school districts spend nearly $12 billion a year and their tax levies are the largest part of homeowner property tax bills. This year four districts -- Bridgehampton, East Hampton, Sayville and West Babylon -- propose to bust the state tax cap on tax hikes, which requires 60 percent voter approval. A parent-sponsored busing proposal in Patchogue-Medford means that district's budget also needs 60 percent approval. Also up for grabs: scores of school board seats. Board members set taxes and educational policy. What they do is important. So is your vote. Cast it.

Outrageous, right?

236,000 -- That's the number of appointments for
Photo Credit: Getty Images

236,000 -- That's the number of appointments for medical care the Veterans Health Administration has each day. Almost 6.5 million veterans and other beneficiaries rely on the sprawling system for care each year. With the need that great, it's outrageous that waiting lists at some clinics were allegedly doctored so it appeared new patients were seen within 14 days, when they actually waited six to nine months for initial visits. Veterans deserve quality care delivered with integrity. If they got anything less, other heads should join the one that rolled Friday.

This is great news

It is good news that Anthony Manetta will
Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

It is good news that Anthony Manetta will end his $10,000-a-month consultancy with the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency in June. Manetta was the IDA's executive director until March, when he resigned and opened a consulting firm. But he didn't earn much less from the IDA after he quit: He drew $12,916 a month as a full-time employee, even though he was only working 20-25 hours a week. Now, the IDA board and County Executive Steve Bellone will pick a new leader. The next director must work well with other IDAs in the region, and dispense tax breaks only when solid jobs are the payoff. The best chance of that will come from hiring a proven economic development professional, rather than simply a political ally, like Manetta, of the powers that be in Suffolk.