Bus demolition derby a bad idea

As if putting a child on a school bus isn’t stressful enough for most parents, in today’s Wild West mentality on our roads, the Aug. 25 exploreLI story “A crash course before school starts” touted a demolition derby where kids can watch banged-up buses going grill to grill at Riverhead Raceway.

Doesn’t anyone see the dangerous message our young, impressionable children get from this event? All in the name of fun, according to Raceway co-owner Eddie Partridge.

I see a quick buck and no concern for the safety children should feel once they have left home and boarded the school bus. This should be the No. 1 concern for both parents and children. Entertainment needs to take a back seat.

Diane Sciacchitano, North Massapequa

Ridiculous suggestion for war in Afghanistan

I have read some of the most ludicrous articles since unbridled and subversive ideas started flowing freely after Inauguration Day. I siphon out the truth and see through the slanted reporting. However, Lane Filler’s Aug. 23 opinion column, “Try killing them with kindness first,” was the most appalling and uninformed piece of journalism I have ever read!

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Filler suggested that the United States drop food, clothing and cash into Iraq to curtail the violence and unrest and show the American way. This was an insult to all intelligent readers, no matter their political or social beliefs.

Filler wants to entice the Iraqis to lay down their weapons in a kumbaya moment, as large pallets of medical supplies, clothes and candy are airdropped into their towns. Filler needs to understand the real and serious problems we have in the Middle East.

America and its allies are not battling there for capitalism or so that Iraqi children can get video games. We are in a war against terrorism. Radical Islamic terrorists are not looking for candy and hugs; they are looking to create a caliphate.

Martin Stevens, Centerport

Make wealthy Treasury head pay his own way

I saw a photo of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his wife getting off a government aircraft after a flight from Kentucky [“Mnuchins repay wife’s travel bill,” News, Aug. 23].

Why should taxpayers foot the bill for millionaires like the Mnuchins? Mnuchin made millions of dollars some years ago when he worked for Goldman Sachs and then OneWest Bank, selling mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them and aggressively forcing defaulting homeowners out of their houses.

So instead of Mnuchin being put in jail for what he did, President Donald Trump made him Treasury secretary. That’s like putting the wolf in charge of the chicken coop. It’s no wonder people have so little trust in the government. So much for draining the swamp.

Ann Leahy, Wantagh

Political connections still matter at OTB

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Political patronage and nepotism are alive and well at the Suffolk Off-Track Betting Corp. despite past abuses and stated intentions to reform hiring [“Former official’s new job,” News, Aug. 21].

Newsday reported that Bartolo Dalli, a former deputy Suffolk County comptroller, was hired at OTB. He is a Conservative Party member and the husband of an acting State Supreme Court justice. The political parties trade off. It depends on whom you know to get a job at OTB. Are they looking to hire the most qualified person or a politician? They always seem to get a politician.

Our only hope is that Newsday will continue to shine a light on these practices.

Ed Goldstein, Baiting Hollow

Taxpayers need more data on local schools

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Newsday’s headline read “LI scores rise in math, ELA” [Aug. 23]. But how do we know what this really means?

My school district’s opt-out rate averaged 72 percent last spring. That means that only 28 percent of students on average were tested during the math and English exams.

As a result, how will taxpayers know whether we are getting the results we should expect for the more than $21,600 a year we spend to educate each student? How do you justify this to taxpayers who are still paying more each year to teach fewer students?

Our school budget and debt rise each year with fewer kids to teach. Taxpayers are entitled to know whether their taxes are being spent well, by testing all of the students we fund so generously, to measure their progress or lack thereof.

Forget the reasons given by proponents. It is clear that the opt-out movement’s intent was to eliminate teacher accountability while keeping the money coming in regardless of performance or results.

Andrea Vecchio, East Islip

Editor’s note: The writer is an activist with the taxpayer groups East Islip TaxPAC and Long Islanders for Educational Reform.

CORRECTION: Letter writer Diane Sciacchitano is retired after working for a charitable organization. An editor’s note in a previous version of this story gave an incorrect occupation.