Letters: School speed cameras a ruse

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The idea that speed cameras near schools are about safety was further demolished by Newsday's April 23 story ["Eye on speed cameras"]. It said only drivers who exceed the speed limit by 10 mph or more would be ticketed.

If safety requires drivers to slow to 20 mph, why permit them to drive at 29 mph in a school zone? If safety requires drivers to travel at 20 mph, authorities should ticket drivers going 21 mph.

I still have not read of any child injuries from drivers speeding in a school zone.

Albert Savoy, Huntington

It appears that Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano has won permission to put cameras in school zones to fine drivers who exceed the speed limit ["125 speed cams for LI," News, May 1].

The county already has numerous red-light cameras that generate summonses. With the addition of these new cameras, do school employees, parents and students who drive realize that they are most likely to be caught speeding by the cameras, since they would drive by them the most?

Also, do Nassau and Suffolk police realize that these new cameras will further reduce the need for actual officers? They, like other professionals, are being phased out by automation. The county doesn't have to pay a salary, benefits or a pension to a camera!

Ronald Gendron, Smithtown

Editor's note: The writer is a retired SUNY police officer who worked for 27 years in Nassau County.

Anxious children and Common Core

Although I have not formally counted, I am certain that when I began practicing as a psychotherapist in 1990, I saw significantly fewer anxious children ["It's dinner and a protest for Cuomo," News, April 28].

Our leaders are deeply concerned about producing a more capable generation of adults equipped to compete with other nations. The Common Core standards are intended to raise our children to a higher level of academic performance.

However, I believe that the climate of rigorous testing and teacher assessment contributes to an environment in which teachers feel pressured to proceed with their classes at an unrealistic pace and are no longer able to offer students extra attention. Children are very sensitive to the feelings of their adult caretakers; they must be affected by the stress their teachers are experiencing.

Today's classrooms are a mix of children with special needs and different abilities. Teachers must possess a range of strategies, a knowledge of different learning styles and a great deal of patience to reach all of their students.

These children depend on the adults in their lives to be their best advocates. We adults must slow down, breathe and put our heads together to consider what is in the best interests of our children, academically and emotionally.

Heidi Berr, Oceanside

Rights and costs of firearm permits

I strongly disagree with the editorial regarding firearms ["Rival to NRA can level debate," April 22].

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg dislikes firearms and the Second Amendment. That is certainly his right as a citizen. However, to use his millions of dollars to abuse our freedoms is another matter.

Newsday supports his effort and thinks that the National Rifle Association is a villain. The newspaper also thinks that the NRA has officials in its pocket. That is incorrect.

Could it be that senators and representatives who support firearms freedom are merely reflecting the views of the folks who sent them to Congress? I think it does. I know that may anger Newsday editorial writers.

A quote from the late Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas is relevant: "As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air -- however slight -- lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness."

James G. Collins, Floral Park

A few years ago, the handgun license renewal fee in Nassau County went from $25 to $200. The reason given was the increased cost for the gun owner to be reinvestigated, etc., by the licensing division of the police department.

Recently, I read that the police department's whole licensing process is about to be streamlined and modernized, making it quicker and less labor-intensive. Can we law-abiding handgun owners hope to see a reduction in the renewal fee, because the costs to Nassau County may be reduced?

The astronomical hike in the fee seemed to be just a big money grab by the county, unjustly imposed upon a fraction of residents.

Stu Miller, Merrick

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