We must stop politicians from once again taking the easy way out, with school-zone speed cameras ["Cameras stir passionate reactions among LIers," News, April 27]. If this was a problem, speeding cars would be the talk of every school board meeting, and there would be numerous news stories about pedestrians being hit or nearly hit.
The Nassau traffic safety coordinator points to a study of 200 vehicles per hour driving faster than the 25 mph posted limit in school zones. If children's safety is the prime concern, where is the police enforcement? If police were more active in these zones, Nassau could collect all the money from fines and not share it with anyone. The driver of the vehicle will get the ticket, not the registered owner.
The Nassau police would normally threaten a job action or lawsuit if work was taken away from their members. Yet, they are willing to allow the cameras to do their job if the money is earmarked for their wages and there are no offsetting layoffs.
Politicians gave out contracts without knowing where the money would come from. If they can't run the county on the taxes collected, they should not be in office.
Recently I paid an $80 fine because my car was traveling 1/100th of a mile per hour, instead of making a complete stop when turning right on red. While I was technically guilty, this law was never enforced to this degree before in my 40 years of safe driving.
This incident illustrates the fears I've had about traffic cameras -- that local governments, desperate for revenue, would be tempted to use technology to abuse the citizenry under the guise of safety.
Now, they are seeking to expand the abuse as far as they can -- with school-zone cameras -- to derive more and more revenue.
The time has come to end this nonsense. The citizens are becoming furious. When I talk to people, there is no variation of opinion. Everyone sees through the charade, and everyone thinks this needs to stop!
This abuse of technology is going to become a lightning-rod issue that will decide elections in the near future.
Frank Bucalo, Shirley
Posturing over Crimea rings familiar
Russian President Vladimir Putin snatched Crimea to bolster his popularity with the Russian people, many of whom are quite fed up with him ["Ukraine rebels make gains," News, May 1].
In the United States, Republicans declared this a major disaster for the West, blaming it on the weak and vacillating foreign policy of the current administration. Then, President Barack Obama took the bait and got tough. There were, threats, sanctions, meetings canceled and visas denied.
I hope that our secondary school teachers are using this crisis to illustrate the great influence political posturing has on world history, and to compare it with events that preceded the bloodbath of World War I.
Arthur Bradley, Floral Park
Apartments too dense for Smithtown
I would like to comment on "Not set in concrete" [News, April 4], which describes a proposed 260-unit apartment development on the site of Smithtown Concrete Products Corp. on Middle Country Road.
There is a tremendous need for such housing for our young people and seniors who otherwise could not stay on Long Island. However, Middle Country Road is incapable of handling the existing traffic load, let alone additional traffic. The traffic along that section of Route 25 is a nightmare.
Maribeth R. Siskind, Smithtown
Modest teacher contracts misdirected
So teachers are finally getting rational by giving up hard-earned and deserved compensation and benefits ["A sign of rationality in LI teacher contracts," Editorial, April 28], and this will help solve Long Island's money woes? Newsday is insulting and disingenuous.
The fact is that Long Island teachers have been subsidizing the schools forever, and even more so since the recession.
Why are Long Islanders so foolish? Why do we send $2 billion-plus more to Albany in taxes than we get back in aid to our schools? So our governor can redistribute it to his crony capitalist friends via reduced tax rates for the wealthiest New Yorkers, many of whom funded his election? Sounds like a quid pro quo to me.
And then we pay more in property taxes as we try to maintain the best schools in New York. Newsday should report more on this financial inequity instead of scapegoating teachers.
When will we rise up to correct this financial mess before it destroys our Long Island? The suggestion put forth by the Working Families Party for a third-party candidate for governor is interesting, but I fear it may only serve to elect a Republican, which wouldn't improve finances on Long Island.
We must demand our fair share.
Mary Ellen Pantaleo, Center Moriches
Editor's note: The writer is a retired teacher.