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TODAY'S PAPER

Newsday letters to the editor for Friday, Aug. 31, 2018

Suffolk County District Administrative Judge C. Randall Hinrichs speaks at an Aug. 13 news conference about new drug treatment program. At right is Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini. / Daniel Goodrich

The new effort by Suffolk County to offer more treatment options to low-level drug defendants is commendable [“Suffolk: Get treated, no drug rap, News, Aug. 14].

As Long Island seeks effective strategies to combat a deadly opioid epidemic, the criminal justice system is an excellent point of engagement. The new Comprehensive Addiction Recovery and Education program will provide important incentives for defendants, who otherwise might not volunteer for treatment, to get services. As a practicing addiction psychiatrist for more than 50 years, I have seen thousands of addicts enter recovery and rebuild their lives, and this program will facilitate that.

Dr. Mitchell S. Rosenthal, East Hampton

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Editor’s note: The writer founded the Phoenix House substance abuse treatment organization and is president of the Rosenthal Center for Addiction Studies in Manhattan.

Judges shouldn’t bow to party bosses

In today’s partisan and divisive political landscape, one area of agreement is opposition to the practice of cross-endorsing candidates [“Cross-endorsement cunning goes on and on,” Editorial, Aug. 2].

Most voters, particularly those who pay attention to the machinations of political bosses regarding judicial candidates, see through this gaming of the system.

There’s an inherent contradiction when judicial candidates appear at public meetings throughout the campaign season citing judicial ethics that prohibit them from speaking about their political positions, and yet, their candidacy is entirely in the hands of political bosses.

It’s distressing to hear new judges at robing ceremonies make speeches filled with gratitude and praise for the party leaders who made their elections possible rather than of our great judicial system designed to provide equal treatment under the law.

The practice of cross-endorsing by Suffolk County’s political leaders deprives the electorate of its right of franchise and creates a disincentive to vote. Most judges’ names appear on multiple party lines. Even countywide officials often appear on multiple ballot lines.

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Why would a voter bother to go to the polls when her vote does not count? There is no accountability in government when there is no choice on the ballot.

Vivian Viloria-Fisher, Setauket

Editor’s note: The writer is a former Suffolk County legislator who placed third in June’s five-candidate Democratic primary in the 1st Congressional District.

Again, the Jets snub NY and NJ wineries

Once again the New York Jets have chosen a California winemaker to create a commemorative vintage, this time for the 50th anniversary of their Super Bowl-winning team [“Jets to honor SB III champs Oct. 14,” Sports, Aug. 22]. They did so back in 2010 to celebrate the opening of their new stadium. Is the team unaware of the hundreds of wonderful wineries in New York State and in New Jersey? Shameful! So much for supporting local businesses.

Christine Gietschier, Westbury

LI doesn’t need to burn more fossil fuels

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The article on the Caithness Long Island energy antitrust lawsuit against PSEG leaves out some very important information [“Caithness, stymied, sues PSEG,” News, Aug. 16].

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has established a goal of producing 50 percent of our energy by 2030 through renewable sources such as wind and solar. PSEG’s actions are compatible with that goal. Long Island has tremendous offshore potential, and plans for building wind farms off Montauk and other sites are underway. A gas-fueled Caithness II plant certainly would not bring us closer to our renewable-energy goal.

This summer, we have seen unprecedented wildfires in California and record-setting temperatures around the world. Adding carbon to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels will only exacerbate these problems.

Will the public interest finally get priority over corporate profits? Long Islanders are still paying for the Shoreham nuclear plant debacle. We do not need new plants when we have cheaper and cleaner sources right in our backyard.

Luciano Sabatini,Massapequa

What if aliens got the ball rolling on Earth?

Forget the Silurian hypothesis posited in the International Journal of Astrobiology [“Were the brainy lizards here first?,” Opinion, Aug. 22]. There’s a far more tantalizing possibility. What if we are the spawn of an extraterrestrial civilization? What if an alien species jump-started the process of earthly evolution?

In 1973, Nobel Prize winner Francis Crick and fellow molecular biologist Leslie Orgel theorized that a guiding intelligence — an advanced ET culture — seeded the universe with the genetic material necessary for life.

However outré such a notion may be, there is no denying the improbable emergence of complex organisms. Should astronomers definitively detect evidence of extraterrestrials — while solving the core chemistry of life’s origins — perhaps we will finally have an answer to the silentium universi (silence of the universe) implicit in Enrico Fermi’s paradox: “Where is everybody?”

Rosario A. Iaconis,Mineola

Editor’s note: The writer is an adjunct professor in social sciences at Suffolk County Community College.