LETTERS

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EDUCATION REFORM

Roosevelt schools transcend media's outdated stereotype

I take exception to the opinion expressed by Paul Vitello "State should save

Roslyn" [News, June 3]. Today's Roosevelt Union Free School District has

nothing in common with Roslyn School District with respect to fiscal

mismanagement and malfaescence.

It seems to me that anything deleterious about public schools in Nassau

County is associated with Roosevelt's school district by Newsday's writers and

columnists no matter how tenuous. While I cannot defend what our predecessors

did, some of the current team of administrators have demonstrated exemplary

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leadership skills worthy of mentioning, but in a different forum.

Now Roosevelt UFSD is highly regulated. In addition to our annual external

audit by R.S. Abrams & Co., stringent monitoring and oversight is exercised by

the State Education Department and the Office of the State Comptroller. While

the concept of "auditing the auditor" is being discussed in most districts in

Nassau County, as a result of Roslyn's debacle, Roosevelt UFSD has implemented

that for the past three years.

The Roosevelt district that Vitello referred to is not known to me and I

have been in Roosevelt since July 5, 2000. This administration has cured 104

audit exceptions, maintained a reasonable fund balance, provided adequate

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textbooks and supplies to students, and repaired and retrofitted a decaying

infrastructure to ensure that teaching and learning take place.

In the face of extraordinary challenges, I contend that Roosevelt UFSD is

better managed than some affluent districts in Nassau County. Therefore, we

reject the poster boy image created and marketed by Newsday to unsuspecting

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readers based on information that is trivial, superficial and inane.

Kwame Boakye-Yiadom

Editor's note: The writer is Roosevelt Union Free School District's assistant

superintendent for business & finance.

Roosevelt

A death worth remembering

Apropos Paul Vitello's "Trying to see through fog" [News, June 10], it is

clear that no president in recent memory has tried harder to exploit the dead

for political purposes than George W. Bush. Bush has reached a ghoulish new low

when it comes to trampling on the graves of others to achieve his political

ends - from using the horror of 9/11 to wage an unnecessary war in Iraq (and to

add drama to his campaign commercials) to draping himself in the flag on D-Day

in the hope of deflecting attention from the grim costs of the Iraq war, to

attempting to compare himself favorably to the now-deceased President Ronald

Reagan on his campaign Web site.

The only dead Bush cannot exploit - and indeed chooses to forget - are the

American men and women and the thousands of Iraqis who have died because of his

tragically misguided intervention in Iraq.

Sam Ludu

Baldwin

Good example

Television coverage is saturated by ceremonies in honor of the passing of

former President Ronald Reagan. I watched as his flag-draped casket arrived in

Washington. I watched as his casket was drawn through the streets and

eventually carried up the steps of the Capitol - all in plain view.

This display is considered an honor. Yet the current administration has

banned the images of military and other U.S. personnel returning from the

Middle East in flag-draped caskets because, I read, it would be "disrespectful"

to the families of the deceased. These men and women gave the ultimate

sacrifice to carry out the orders they were given, but somehow the remarkably

similar image of a flag-draped casket is looked at differently by our

government.

Why isn't the casket of every fallen soldier driven past the front of the

Capitol? Did these men and women give us any less than any former or current

commander in chief?

Tom Raetz

Northport

Fitting tribute

With the passing of Ronald Reagan, it is only fitting that the memory of

this great man be extolled in a dignified manner. Perhaps the Washington

Monument should be renamed the Savings and Loan Scandal Monument. Would it not

be fitting to name our current $6-trillion deficit the Ronald Reagan Memorial

Deficit? This great man mortgaged our future on the altar of trickle-down

economics. His legacy cannot be overestimated.

Nicholas Santora

Roslyn Heights

Wrong war

Distortion is entertaining in cartoons but not in political debate. Bruce

Tinsley's "Mallard Fillmore" cartoon ["If D-Day Were Today," Part II, June 6]

distorts not only human features but facts, when it compares the Iraq war to

World War II. Saddam Hussein may be as immoral as Hitler but Iraq did not have

the strongest army in the world, as did Germany in the late 1930s.

It's true that sentimental and pacifist Americans opposed the earlier war

as many do the present one. But the main opposition to our going to war with

Hitler came from his isolationist admirers on the right. Today, however, many

patriotic Americans of varied politics question our invasion of Iraq because of

dubious allegations about weapons of mass destruction and links with

terrorists.

Howard Pierson

North Babylon

Get back in the gas line

All this talk abut the dangers of dependence on foreign oil brings back

memories: memories of long lines of irate drivers waiting for an hour or more

to fill up with gasoline - of politicians vowing to make sure that it would

never happen again, of finger pointing, of editorials clamoring for change.

And here we are some 30 years later and still in the same rut. Change will

only come when every car buyer decides to stop purchasing gas-guzzling SUVs,

and start purchasing the best fuel-efficient vehichles on the market. I hope 30

years from now drivers won't be experiencing deja vu.

Sal Taormina

Deer Park

Unpatriotic act

In response to "Kerry record inconsistent" [Letters, June 4]: Every day

there are examples of violations of civil liberties brought on by the so-called

"Patriot Act." Illegal searches have become commonplace. Holding people

without charge for months (or even years) is accepted procedure. There are

American citizens who are being held without the right to see an attorney,

without the right to know the evidence against them, without the basic rights

that we all expect in a free democracy.

Many politicians voted for the Patriot Act during a time of fear, right

after 9/11. But a safeguard was put in the bill. It was explicitly made

temporary. We must now move on from this climate of fear. If we do not, then

the terrorists have won.

Howard Knispel

Smithtown

Understand LIPA's plans

Newsday's editorial "The Kessel Plan" [Opinion, May 30], describing the Long

Island Power Authority's Energy Plan, correctly describes the major proposals

that LIPA recently announced to provide approximately 1,000 new megawatts of

power.

Unfortunately, Newsday omitted several key points. For instance, the Neptune

Cable Project, which will link Long Island to the energy-rich states of New

Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland, has been virtually permitted

already and thus will not likely face the kind of stringent opposition that the

Cross Sound Cable faced from some Connecticut politicians. In my view, it

would be a big mistake to ignore the need to continue to open up Long Island to

outside sources of electricity through

additional links to the nation's electric grid because a small group of

Connecticut politicians are playing parochial political games.

The main reason that we chose the Caithness Project was that, combined with the

Neptune Cable, it could provide savings of $1.2 billion over 20 years to Long

Island ratepayers. Since Newsday correctly wants to focus on costs, it is hard

to understand how you could omit these dramatic savings from the editorial.

Fortunately, these projects will be built and owned by private developers

without any construction or development risks to the ratepayers.

Richard M. Kessel

Editor's note: The writer is chairman of the Long Island Power Authority.

Uniondale

Space problem

While the Suffolk County executive was trying to save as much open land as

possible, Nassau County Executive Tom Gulotta sold land in Plainview to Charles

Wang, without opening the bid to others, and without trying to keep this

precious property as park land.

Wang proposes to build shops, apartments, houses, offices and a hotel ["The

Wang touch," News, June 1]. If we wanted to live in Forest Hills, we wouldn't

have moved to Long Island. Now Wang proposes to build Forest Hills right here

but call it "old Plainview." Old Plainview was potato fields until about 50

years ago. Too bad our progeny will think that every square foot of land here

was always commercial.

If Wang were dedicated to improving the quality of life for Long Island, the

property would have been reserved for open space. This is a manifestation of

avarice overtaking altruism.

Charles Kirschen

Doris Kirschen

Old Bethpage

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