I have been riding motorcycles since 1977. All of the riders I know were outraged by the events in New York City on Sept. 29 ["Lawyers stand by cyclists," News, Oct. 11].
Those guys were not representative of the riders I know. They were using the roads for stunts -- not very bright.
Now, it seems that sportbike riders are being targeted by the police ["Bikers busted on LIE," News, Oct. 15], who allege the motorcyclists were traveling 90 mph and driving in and out of traffic.
Riding in a group of bikes has always been a way to be seen by surrounding traffic. It is actually a safety measure. Anyone who reads Newsday, and who has driven on the Long Island Expressway lately, is aware that the average speed for traffic exceeds 70 mph. On a motorcycle, you have to become part of that scenario or risk taking your life into your hands. In fact, it is prudent to go slightly faster.
I do not condone darting in and out of traffic, but the basic rule is to ride as if you are invisible to other motorists. It seems, to the drivers around us, we are invisible, and many of us die because of that every week.
Lawrence Z. Aupperlee, East Setauket
School district consultant a waste
Your recent article "Consultant draws fire" [News, Oct. 11] shows common sense by Roosevelt residents who protested a proposal to hire a $350-an-hour consultant to help the local school district. Critics called this idea a waste of resources. They're right. Consultants are con artists who glance at your watch and charge a high fee to give you the correct time.
I'm reminded of the 11 Science Applications International Corp. consultants who fraudulently billed New York City for more than $500 million in the City Time scandal; as well as Navigant, which is facing a federal investigation for allegedly ripping off the Long Island Power Authority; and Booz Allen Hamilton, which paid high school dropout Edward Snowden more than $122,000 a year for a job that federal employees can do better, cheaper and with much greater loyalty.
Richard Reif, Flushing
Public money for religious schools
Is the proposed Education Investment Tax Credit legislation a slippery slope ["Interfaith appeal," News, Oct. 18]? Half of the potential $300 million in yearly assistance would go to religious and independent schools. These are schools for which there are no state requirements for accreditation or licensing.
Yes, paying tuition for private religious institutions may be a burden for families, but it is their free choice to do so. Public education is provided for all, regardless of religious affiliation or socioeconomic status.
Public funds have been available to nonpublic schools for textbooks for decades. Public transportation and other services that meet necessary educational requirements are also provided to families whose students attend nonpublic schools. This system is as it should be; it provides benefits directly to children, and their families, and indirectly to the state.
However, how far should we go? The notion that education is so important to our society and so valuable to the public good that it should be paid for by public money has been a guiding principle in our country for more than a century.
Victor Caliman, South Huntington
Editor's note: The writer is a former public school administrator.
Debt and deficit are the 'cancer'
Regarding the letter writer who called the tea party a cancer within the political system ["Frustrated by gov't shutdown," Oct. 13], the real cancer is the progressive liberals who intend on running this country into bankruptcy.
This writer seems not to care whether her children and grandchildren will inherit a debt that cannot be repaid, resulting in a lower standard of living. I applaud the few who stand up for what they believe.
The real battle is between the financially responsible and financially irresponsible. We cannot defy the laws of economics into perpetuity.
We should not be creating a new entitlement in the form of Obamacare, when we are running a projected $845-billion deficit in 2013.
Most states already have programs for health insurance. The problem is that there are income limits on who may qualify. Why not build on what already exists, instead of creating a whole new layer of bureaucracy?
Thomas Haas, Massapequa
I never realized that the speaker of the House of Representatives was solely responsible for the complete operation of the government and that all means of negotiation rested on his shoulders.
The media did their job of portraying the GOP as holding the only keys to ending the shutdown, and far too many people bought it.
The Democrats could have negotiated as well, but they chose to be just as stubborn. No one held them accountable.
Let's see how much President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will negotiate about our nation's fiscal future, as they said repeatedly during the manufactured crisis, now that the Republicans have zero to bargain with.
James Coll, Seaford