Bankers' apologies

are too little, too late

What a farce and a sham was the session of the bankers before Congress ["Bank execs apologize," News, Jan. 14]. Their saying "We're sorry" is like the killer who has been caught, convicted and sentenced by the judge, and then says, "I'm sorry."

Why weren't they sorry one, two, three years ago when people were starting to lose their homes to foreclosures? Why didn't they realize something was dreadfully wrong and do something then? No, they kept making their faulty loans, looking to continue making a killing.

If they are so sorry, why aren't they trying to do something to help more people keep their homes instead of foreclosing?

If they are so sorry, why aren't they out there making more loans to businesses so they can expand and hire more people?

Even though the banks and Wall Street caused this near depression, they have no compassion for all the millions of people who lost their homes and jobs because of their greed.

Roger Kaufmann

East NorthportFeds' choices show

misplaced priorities

Citigroup: $50 billion. Bank of America: $45 billion. J.P. Morgan Chase: $25 billion. Wells Fargo: $25 billion. Long Island Schools Anti-Drug Funding: $0 ["Problem rising, fed help shrinking," News, Jan. 12]. Somebody remind me what these guys in Washington do for us?

Brian Fleming

Kings Park

Get government out of betting business

Your editorial calling for a restructuring of OTB misses the point ["Outlook not so good," Editorial, Jan. 10]. It makes no sense for the government to be in the horse racing or gambling business. Horse racing is a sport and a business, like baseball, football and basketball. Let market forces determine the fate of tracks and betting parlors. The government has enough messes of its own to contend with without having to be in the business of taking bets on horses, and losing money at it, to boot.

Arthur Wellikoff

MalverneAnother wake-up call

When Katrina hit New Orleans America was unprepared. A devastating earthquake hits Haiti and we realize the world was unprepared.

John R. Brooks

Garden CityNIMBYism won't fix sex-offender problemThe reaction of Suffolk residents to the recent sex-offender plan is understandable ["New sex-offender plan opposed," News, Jan. 14], but it stems from NIMBY emotion rather than rational thinking. Numerous sociological studies regarding sex offenders show that nonviolent offenders who are released from jail into stable environments where they can obtain jobs and decent housing have a near-zero recidivism rate, while those released into transient situations such as what we see in Suffolk are indeed likely to re-offend.

By denying jobs and decent housing, the well-meaning citizens of Suffolk are actually creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, rather than solving the problem.

Children, and indeed adults, are in far greater danger every day from drunken drivers who ply our streets with impunity and who have one of the highest recidivism rates of all criminal offenders. If we are a nation that truly believes in equal protection under the law, then registration and residence-restriction regulations ought to apply to drunken drivers, who as a group historically re-offend.

It's time to stop the lynch-mob mentality and let public officials do the jobs to which they are elected or appointed, in a manner consistent with the Constitution of our great nation.

Leonard Cohen

WantaghHigher cigarette tax

is a no-brainer

Newsday asked readers whether they think it's fair to boost cigarette taxes to help fund health care.

Being a nurse practitioner and working closely with people who suffer from the consequences of smoking, I pose the question: Is it fair to our future generations not to continue to increase the tax not just on cigarettes but all tobacco products?

The fact that we are debating taxing the very product that causes a significant part of the health care costs in this state is ludicrous. Increasing the tax on cigarettes is the most effective method of preventing initiation of tobacco use among the youth of New York. Increasing the tax on cigarettes not only helps fund health care programs, but also reduces the future financial burden that tobacco use places on our health care system. The current financial climate dictates that tough decisions need to be made when it comes to taxing and spending. This is not a tough decision.

Dan Jacobsen

Great NeckAn easier way

to dispose of drugs

I keep reading about the problem of disposal of prescription drugs ["Suffolk holds medicine disposal event," News, Jan. 13], in terms of damage to the water supply, pollution and the risk of people - especially teenagers and children - getting hold of dangerous drugs.

Here's a simple solution: Why not require pharmacies to keep containers with one-way portals, similar to those used for disposal of sharps, into which people can simply place their expired or unused drugs. This would be the same as the requirement that gas stations accept used oil. Even if a nominal fee were required, it would still be easier for the average person - and especially for seniors - than having to go to a central disposal site on specific days.

Suzanne E. Mueller

Great NeckNew York's turn

on medical marijuana

Hey, Albany politicians, isn't it about time New York State legalized medical marijuana ["NJ OKs medical marijuana," News, Jan. 12]?

New Jersey just passed the law. There are probably many more people in New York who are suffering from conditions that marijuana can help. It's about time for legislators to take on this issue.

Frank Orito

East MarionTighten belts

but keep teachers

Kudos to a recent letter writer for addressing the true problem of our out-of-control property taxes ["Ask questions now about school budgets," Letters, Jan. 10]. The benefits and pay system for our teachers and administrators has far outpaced inflation and common sense. What adds insult to injury is that when a budget isn't passed, the districts cut benefits to the students by creating larger classrooms because they have to let teachers go.

They should take a lesson from the private sector, where everyone gets a little less and the services remain the same because of no personnel cuts. The first place where they can get a little less can start with the pensions and pay, but keep the teachers and services to our children.

Joe Matajy