Just one or two voices can help stop bullying
Cyberbullying goes on 24/7 with constant harassment whether by texting, e-mail, humiliating caricatures on fake Web sites or derogatory comments on social networking sites . As a result, it is far more detrimental than schoolyard or neighborhood bullying, from which a teen can escape to the safety of his or her home.
Programs such as Teenangels, a cyber safety teen volunteer program, demonstrate the importance of speaking up when others are being harassed. All it takes is one or two people to speak up to stop bullying behavior, whether on the school grounds or in cyberspace. Teaching and practicing empathy and leadership is an invaluable lesson to pave the way for lifelong social responsibility.
Editor's note: The writer is a psychologist and former president of the Media Division of the American Psychological Association.
Inefficiency ups cost of Able-Ride service
I am a blind retired social worker, and I have lived in Nassau County since 1965. Able-Ride service has been a lifeline for many disabled residents . For that reason, disabled people hesitated to publicly criticize its inefficient administration.
A great deal of tax money might have been saved if individual rides were planned efficiently, so that a van could carry several people at one time. This was done occasionally. However, often one van carried only one customer, despite the assertion of Long Island Bus that Able-Rides are shared rides.
Also, although driving an Able-Ride van should involve a good deal of experience because drivers go to different destinations each day and serve individuals with a variety of disabilities, it seems the least experienced drivers are assigned to drive Able-Ride vans.
If Able-Ride were run efficiently by Long Island Bus, or some other entity, service cuts which so negatively affect the lives of disabled people would not have to be instituted.
Tax cap ideas good; now we need action
Kudos to Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy and former Rep. Rick Lazio for their stance on capping our property tax increases at either 2.5 percent or 4 percent . But unfortunately, talk is cheap. As your article states, Gov. David A. Paterson has proposed such a bill for the past two years, with no action taken.
It's time to get rid of our career politicians in Albany who answer to special interests instead of the people they are supposed to represent. As long as we do nothing to change the situation, we get what we deserve.
School boards need to get the message
Yes, there will be school layoffs this year . For the first time in 35 years, I plan to vote against my school district budget.
When I moved to Comsewogue 35 years ago, we had only three administrators; now we have three times that number. Many more teachers could be kept if they unloaded some of these administrators with their high salaries and bountiful perks.
The taxpayers cannot afford these costs. School districts don't need all these administrators for each and every little district. I would rather see teachers in the classroom and services for the children, but these boards of education need to get the message.
State's 'diet' can't cut the basics
Regarding the editorial "Put this state on a diet," , this sounds more like gastric bypass surgery than a diet. Among the suggestions: cap property taxes, cut school spending, close hospitals.
The first idea is counterintuitive, the second is counterproductive, and there is little public interest in the third.
A diet will fail if you eliminate basic nutrients. Cutting school programs and increasing class size puts the future of the workforce in jeopardy. Capping property taxes increases the budget shortfall. That leaves closing hospitals, an idea, but not a solution.
It's a terrorist group, regardless of religion
It amazes me to hear conservatives say that Muslims are too sensitive when they take umbrage that the word "Islamic" is constantly attached to the word "terrorist" by the media simply because the perpetrator happens to be a Muslim. A recent article shows the double standard:
Nine members of a "Christian militia" called Hutaree (which purportedly means "Christian warrior") were charged with "conspiring to kill police officers" as a "catalyst for a larger uprising against the government" .
The story goes on to report that the group had been "meeting and conducting military-style training exercises in the Michigan woods since 2008 to prepare for an impending war with its enemies." This certainly sounds like a "jihad" to me. Yet astonishingly, not once is the word "terrorist" used in the article. How in the world are these people not terrorists?
I was raised Roman Catholic and am not a "terrorist sympathizer," as many conservatives label those who feel that this dichotomy is an outrage. A terrorist is a terrorist, regardless of their religious affiliation.
Marlon G. Smith
Stop pension padding - even retroactively
Regarding your editorial "Pension problems" : One fix would be to reconfigure contracts - retroactively, if possible - for all public employees so that pensions would be based on salary only, exclusive of overtime and any other schemes for the purpose of inflating pensions. Taxpayers cannot afford to pay for higher pensions, and labor arbitrators must be aware of this.
Solution to LI traffic? Leave the Island
Regarding "LI's traffic mess" : Three years ago I made the best decision of my life. I got out of Long Island. Just 125 miles away is a whole new world in Pennsylvania. I came back for a visit. From Exit 304 on Interstate 80 to the George Washington Bridge took 50 minutes; then two and a half hours to get to East Meadow. Unbelievable.
I told my kids I love them but I will never come to Long Island again. They can visit me - end of story.
I bought a three-bedroom house with five acres of land for $206,000. Property taxes are $2,600 a year. I wake up to look at beautiful mountains, no noise, no trash thrown all over the roads, no earsplitting motorcycles. Just peace and solitude.