Letter: Headline on data story's too broad
The news story "Most on school boards oppose data-share plan" [Dec. 12] cited "a survey of more than 600 school board members," when there are in fact about 5,100 board members statewide in 691 school districts and 37 BOCES districts.
I question the validity of the conclusions in this article. First, the sample is self-selected. An email was sent out by the New York State School Boards Association with a link to the poll. Those who wanted to participate did. I would imagine that, for the most part, those who participated feel passionate about this subject.
Aside from that, how do we know that all the school board members throughout New York even had an opportunity to respond? Furthermore, a self-selected sample is most likely not representative of the entire population of school board members.
In addition, the 75 percent who said they oppose the state's data-storage plan with inBloom Inc. amount to about 450 school board members, or 8.8 percent of the total statewide. I don't think that the opinion of 8.8 percent can be considered the opinion of "most." I find the headline misleading with the intent to sensationalize.
Shari Bardash-Eivers, Farmingdale
Father's heroics worthy of mention
I read your story "V for valor: LI-based rescue unit awarded Bronze Stars" [News, Dec. 7] with great pride and interest. I was disappointed, however, that the reporter missed an opportunity to tell a part of the story.
One of the recent Bronze Star with Valor recipients, Sgt. James Dougherty Jr., is the son of Chief Master Sgt. James "Doc" Dougherty Sr., who also served as a pararescuer at the 106th Rescue Wing.
Having one pararescuer in the family is rare because of the physical and mental strength required to complete intense Air Force training. A father-son combination is very rare, and these two served together until Doc's retirement a few years ago.
Doc was also featured in a very high-profile rescue ["Drama on the High Seas," News, Dec. 12, 1994]. He jumped from a 106th helicopter into the shark-infested waters of the North Atlantic to save one of 31 crew members of the sinking commercial cargo ship the Salvador Allende. Only two crew members survived.
I was in the rescue center in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with the mission management team, and we were elated at the news of the second man's rescue. That brutal mission required an extraordinary 15 hours in a helicopter.
Like father, like son. Thank God for their courage, sacrifice and willingness to risk all so that others may live.
Michael F. Canders, Nesconset
Editor's note: The writer is a retired Air Force colonel and past commander of the 106th Rescue Wing.
Bring upstate hydropower to LI
The Long Island Power Authority's electric rates are among the highest in the nation ["LIPA issues $2.1B in debt," News, Dec. 18]. Enough already.
Here's a suggestion: Our elected representatives should look into the prospect of securing low-cost electric power from the publicly owned, New York Power Authority hydroelectric plants near Niagara Falls. Some of that power already goes to Long Island municipal utilities in Rockville Centre, Freeport and Greenport.
The hydroelectric plant also supplies electricity to local governments and state agencies, including the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. New Jersey?
Am I missing something here? Aren't we Long Islanders part of New York?
John Vullo, Bohemia
Washington budget lacks fiscal restraint
Concerning "Budget deal gains support in GOP ranks" [News, Dec. 12], tea party Republicans are correct to criticize Republican House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). The adopted budget for 2014 and 2015 is a disaster for those who advocate fiscal restraint, balanced budgets, no tax increases and reduction in long-term debt.
"Higher fees" are just hidden taxes to pay for more social programs advocated by Democrats. Promised savings of $85 billion over 10 years, accompanied by a $23-billion reduction in the deficit, is just creative bookkeeping. How could anyone not find far more than that in savings from a $3-trillion-plus budget?
There are many good managers in government. If their superiors would give them the authority and flexibility, they could find more savings than Congress and the president have proposed. Also, there is no guarantee that future budgets will enforce these commitments that exist only on paper.
Everyone has forgotten that, decades ago, balanced budgets were supported on a bipartisan basis by the president and Congress, regardless of which party was in control.
How disappointing that everyone in Washington appears to be preoccupied with staying in power, regardless of the cost to taxpayers.
Larry Penner, Great Neck