Questions about post-Sandy spending

In “Cruz defends vote against Sandy aid” [News, Aug. 29], Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said he didn’t support relief money for New York after superstorm Sandy because of the attached “pork barrel spending.” I agree that our elected and appointed officials have become far too comfortable taking and giving away taxpayers’ money.

As a Sandy survivor, I saw firsthand the waste in New York Rising. For example, I’m repaying a Small Business Administration loan for a storm-damaged bulkhead retaining wall. After I took the loan, New York Rising decided to replace bulkheads that were not storm-damaged for free, if they were elevated. These bulkheads cost $500 per foot. There must be a cheaper way.

Gary Maksym, Massapequa

Don’t sugarcoat history of America

Two recent letter writers made interesting word choices. The writer of “Rediscover respect of post-Civil War era” [Aug. 29], called the war a “family dispute” when each side “fought for what they believed in.” The Confederacy fought to continue to enslave humans, to buy and sell men, women and children. I don’t think that side of the “family” deserves to be honored.

On the same page, a letter writer was upset that Christopher Columbus is called a divisive figure. Columbus and his men (who did not discover America) enslaved people of the West Indies and slaughtered many Taino people in a quest for gold [“Should we re-examine every historic figure?”]. This seems to me a tad more than divisive.

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When confronted with horrors, we shouldn’t try to sugarcoat them.

Richard Posner, Selden

Many care about school calendar

In his column “We need a holiday from calendar fuss” [Opinion, Aug. 30], Lane Filler missed the mark. He argues that the school calendars should not have been reprinted “because, who cares?”

Certainly, the many parents who wrote or called the school board cared.

To suggest that parents should not concern themselves with such matters when there are terrible things happening elsewhere in the world is an insult to those who really care about local issues as well.

Filler went on to say that those who argue about listing the holidays too often forget to honor what the holidays are supposed to celebrate — courage, kindness, love, sacrifice and exploration. That is a totally presumptuous statement.

Lawrence J. Beufve, Lindenhurst

Making the case for universal coverage

Earlier this year, I spent 10 days in Cuba. When I returned, I did a little research and learned that life expectancy is 79.3 years in the United States, and 79.1 years in Cuba. This is not a significant difference, and that is puzzling.

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We are considered a wealthy nation, and Cuba is poor. Maybe the answer to this puzzle lies in the fact that Cubans have universal health care [“Health care is at a premium,” News, Sept. 3]. Even residents of poor villages have access to routine medical care.

Do these statistics make the case for universal health care? They certainly make a case for starting the conversation.

Ernest M. Fazio, Centerport

Crack down on reckless motorcyclists

“Woman charged with using motorcycle to block road” [News, Aug. 27] described a Freeport woman arrested on the Southern State Parkway and accused of blocking traffic while performing stunts with her motorcycle.

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Every time I travel on the parkway, I see several bikers who speed and weave in and out of lanes in heavy traffic. They also pass between cars when the cars are moving.

I’m not saying that all motorcyclists break the law, but many do. I believe two things should happen:

1. Ban offending motorcyclists from our major roads. If they can’t obey the traffic laws, they shouldn’t be on the road.

2. Install cameras on all roads to catch speeders. This could prevent deaths.

I’m sure there will be people who say this would infringe on their rights. Driving is a privilege, not a right.

Glenn Nilsen, West Bablyon