Letters: NBA owner heads for extinction

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By imposing a lifetime ban on Donald Sterling, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver left no doubt that the NBA stands for No Bigots Allowed ["No place in the NBA," News, April 30].

Sterling is a dinosaur, and we all know what happened to them.

Lee Nober, Old Bethpage

Editor's note: The author teaches sports management at Walt Whitman High School and Farmingdale State College.

While I support the NBA decision to ban Donald Sterling, I am bothered that we fail to hold our professional athletes accountable for their actions. We've all seen the domestic violence, drug and assault charges -- not to mention the recent bomb threat by a 49ers player when he was questioned at the airport -- come and go without any real action taken.

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What Sterling said is not where we should be today, and he is going to pay a very high price. But he didn't do any physical harm or jeopardize anyone's well-being. Our athletes' actions have a big impact on society. Maybe it's time we start seeing athletes banned for life.

John Gaudio, Kings Park

Maragos wrong to blame predecessor

Newsday reported that Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos is paying an outside accounting firm to redo the county's financials, which he blames on "mistakes" from 2005 ["Audit restated due to error," News, April 30].

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Maragos must accept responsibility for the mistakes made under his watch, which dates to 2010. His primary job is to issue accurate financial reports on the county. Now he acknowledges that the financial statements have been materially misstated since 2010, and the 2012 statements will have to be reissued -- an unprecedented financial misstep.

Despite Maragos' desperate struggle to blame everyon else, there was no mistake before he took office. In 2005, the state changed its pension laws to give substantial, one-time relief to every municipality from soaring pension bills. This was not a discount, as claimed by Maragos. The change in law gave Nassau County an $84 million benefit, which was transferred to reserves for future pension costs. The appropriate accounting was discussed openly with all relevant parties, including the Nassau Interim Finance Authority.

The problem occurred when Nassau started borrowing from the state in 2010 to make its pension payments. Maragos' office failed to take into account the 2005 pension law change, causing an understatement of future pension liabilities of $84 million. Whatever credibility Nassau may have had with the financial community is gone for sure.

Howard Weitzman, North Hills

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Editor's note: The writer served as Nassau County comptroller from 2002 to 2009.

Botched execution served justice

The article "White House: Execution inhumane" [News, May 1] says that Clayton Lockett was supposed to be executed in Oklahoma State Penitentiary, but the drugs that were used were ineffective.

After the drugs were administered, he became unconscious but then began to grimace, move his head and attempt to get off the gurney. Forty-three minutes later, he died of a heart attack.

Now the White House gets involved, saying the execution was not conducted humanely. I wonder if Lockett felt the same way when he shot 19-year-old Stephanie Neiman in 1999 and watched as two accomplices buried her alive.

To me, this was justice served. The White House has a lot more to concern itself with than whether Lockett was treated humanely.

Bob Schiller, Holtsville

'Silent majority' support ed reform

According to "School debate to shape election" [News, April 30], 2,000-plus demonstrators, many of them teachers, rallied outside a venue in Holbrook where Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was speaking.

It's sad that Cuomo's attempt to improve education is being met by such raucous, uncompromising demonstrations -- ironically, led by educators. Whatever happened to negotiation? The goal of the demonstrators and their leaders seems to be return to the status quo, which resulted in a majority of graduates who go to community college needing remedial math and English courses.

Obviously, educational goals need to be realistic, and compromises have been made to original Common Core requirements. The teachers union signed on to Common Core goals before they were announced. Now, the union is pushing back.

New York already received Race to the Top money for agreeing to the goals. Now demonstrators seem to want to reject those millions slated for educational improvements.

Massachusetts, Florida and Tennessee have implemented Common Core standards, and their tests show students are performing better.

Unfortunately, the silent majority is not speaking up. Reasonable voices need to push back if our children are going to thrive in a global economy, learn about factual debate in a democracy and be able to recognize emotional manipulation.

Carol Swenson, Lake Grove

Editor's note: The writer is a retired teacher.

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