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Letter: Buses and trucks contribute pollution

On my commute home recently, I had the misfortune to drive behind a full-sized school bus. In the span of a few miles, the bus spewed heavy smoke and fumes, whether it was rolling along or idling at a stop.

With all the hubbub about global warming and a green planet, why is there not better maintenance of buses and trucks, in compliance with vehicle emissions guidelines?

John Friel, Port Jefferson

Education borrowers need this help

Kudos to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for trying to get student loan refinancing made available at a fair market rate of 4 percent.

Newsday's editorial points out how other borrowers pay the market rate and advocates that people with student loans should have the same chance ["New, lower interest on student loans past due," Feb. 13].

Not mentioned is that people facing financial disasters have the option of filing bankruptcy for relief from their debts, but government-backed student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy.

Ken Gillespie, Freeport

We must strive to end poverty

Do not be afraid of 16 poor children at a homeless shelter in Commack ["Shelter causes a storm," News, Feb. 17]. Be afraid of poverty that can grind down the human spirit.

End poverty by creating good-paying jobs for all as we rebuild our nation's bridges, tunnels, rails and roads. Invest in education and job training. Raise the minimum wage so that all those who work 40 hours a week will be above the poverty level. Regulate the banks so that all can make some money, instead of a few insiders. Reform the tax system so all pay a fair share and poverty will be abolished.

Fear poverty, and love the 16 children.

Peter Barnett, Sayville

Editor's note: The writer is a board member of the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless.

Don't delay the Common Core

A tremendous disservice has been perpetrated by the Board of Regents on the state education system by caving in to a fringe of vocal naysayers bent on the status quo ["Regents opt for test delay," News, Feb. 11].

The Regents voted to allow high school students to graduate with minimum scores of 65 on state exams until 2022. This is an abject capitulation to those who are satisfied with mediocrity and who are willing to accept the abysmal low ranking of American students and, yes, even adults, in basic disciplines such as math, science and language arts, compared with many countries in the world.

The myopic, narrow-minded fringe that opposes the Common Core has pressured the Board of Regents into a flawed decision. It means that their high schoolers will continue to be so ill-prepared for college, and the world beyond, that they will have to pay for these students to take remedial courses. The result is that the clock has been turned back to the failed education system.

Stanley L. Ronell, Port Washington

Don't be fooled by low price of E-85

A letter touting the "affordability" of E-85 fuel ignores significant facts ["Long Island's best-kept secret for fuel," Feb. 20].

First, the total energy content of ethanol fuel is barely half that of gasoline. Simply put, a gallon of E-85 will only carry your car half the distance of a gallon of gasoline. So $2.85 per gallon for E-85 is really like paying $5.70 for ordinary gasoline. That's a bargain?

Second, ethanol fuels are available only because they are heavily subsidized by the federal government through incentives that have diverted corn production from food to fuel, which has aggravated food prices throughout the Third World, especially Latin America.

Finally, the combustion of ethanol fuels also causes significant damage to the valves of most internal combustion engines.

Michael Campanelli, Greenlawn

Editor's note: The writer is a former automotive editor for Hearst Motor Books.

No error is acceptable with taxpayer money

It certainly was troubling to read that Nassau County has wrongly paid almost $400,000 in health benefits over the last decade ["Nassau wrongly pays $400G," News, Feb. 17].

However, even more troubling was Comptroller George Maragos' statement that, "Although no errors are acceptable, it is commendable that so few errors were found."

Perhaps the comptroller should have assured his constituency that these mistakes will never occur again. In these times of economic duress, even a few financial blunders are unacceptable -- and certainly are never commendable.

Joel Ratner, East Meadow

Cars don't need to go 200 mph

The news story "Safety on the streets" [Feb. 19] details New York City's plans to develop safety standards and lower the speed limit.

To really make the streets safer and save lives, some visionary politician should introduce legislation to ban the sale of cars that can reach 120 to 200 mph. I think 80 mph on the top end should be sufficient.

John R. Brooks, Garden City


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