Church shouldn't need this policy


The Vatican made clear last week that bishops should cooperate with civil authorities in reporting and investigating abuse . These people of the cloth actually needed an OK to do what any decent human being would naturally do? Does the Catholic Church really need a policy for this?

The only way to put an end to these crimes against children is to fire (not demote) and prosecute every person involved, whether they were the perpetrators or the ones covering it up. Anyone who was aware of the abuse and did nothing, or worse yet, covered it up, is as responsible as those committing the abuse. Enough is enough.

Deanne McEvoy

East Norwich



Cigarette tax: Good for health and budget


At a time when the State Legislature is debating an unbalanced budget, I'm surprised that our senators aren't focusing on the powerful public health mechanism of raising the state's cigarette tax "Guv pushes for overdue budget," News, April 14]. The Assembly included the tax increase in its version of the budget, and they are right on target with the usefulness of this budget tool.

Increasing the cigarette tax by $1 will help prevent thousands of children from becoming smokers in the future. At the same time, the $1 increase will create $200 million in new annual revenue. The cigarette tax increase is good for public health, good for the budget, and most importantly in the eyes of our elected officials, it has the support of a majority of registered voters.

Susan Somerville


Editor's note: The writer, a registered nurse, is chair of the American Heart Association's Long Island board of directors and executive director of North Shore University Hospital.



Don't cut Able-Ride, revamp the service


Able-Ride provides a significant service for people with disabilities who cannot use the fixed-route bus system. Wholesale cuts to the current service delivery system are not the way to go. The MTA, Long Island Bus and Nassau County must use this opportunity to redesign the service for those who need it most and at the same time lower its cost. Three suggestions:

First, tighten guidelines for using the service and follow New York City Access-a-Ride's lead and recertify who is legitimately eligible.

Second, modify the Able-Ride fleet to reflect actual needs. Not everyone needs an accessible van. Most users could more effectively be transported in cars, leaving accessible vans for wheelchair users who are not able to, or prefer not to, transfer to an automobile.

Third, create a voucher system to incorporate the use of private taxis as part of the service. This would be the most effective alternative, especially for non-rush hour travel.

Joel D. Ziev

Port Washington

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