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Letter: Change must come to Hempstead kids

I would like to join Newsday editorial board in lamenting the position taken by Hempstead Village Mayor Wayne J. Hall Sr., someone for whom I have voted twice ["Insiders failing Hempstead," Editorial, May 28].

Change has been too long in coming to Hempstead on many fronts, but none is more urgent or pressing than that required by the Hempstead school district to provide a quality education to all of our children. In this regard, there are no "outsiders." The fate of Hempstead's children affects all Long Islanders, and beyond.

It is extremely disappointing that a public official like Hall and clergy members would take such a parochial view when the outcomes are so critical. The recent election cycle has been notable not only in the effective "get out the vote" effort that nearly doubled the electorate, but also in motivating a number of new faces to emerge -- people who are willing to become champions on behalf Hempstead's children.

Philip M. Mickulas, Hempstead

Editor's note: The writer is the chief executive of the Family and Children's Association in Mineola, a nonprofit service agency for youths and seniors.

Death of Rev. King ally raises memories

Newsday's obituary for anti-war activist Vincent Harding unleashed a flood of memories for me, especially his visit to Hofstra University in the 1980s ["Activist Vincent Harding, aided MLK," News, May 22].

The obituary properly highlights Harding's role in the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s criticism of the Vietnam War, a key aspect of his leadership that is too often neglected.

However, there was one notable omission. Harding wrote a book about King in 1996 with the striking subtitle, "The Inconvenient Hero." Harding spoke of our "national amnesia," in neglecting King's emphasis on the "triple evils" of poverty, racism and militarism -- and their symbiotic ties. Harding said we failed to provide "a humanizing gift" to rising generations by neglecting King's "lessons about courage, compassion, and the merit of sacrifice for the community, as well as the darker sides of hatred and betrayal in human affairs."

King's speech about the Vietnam War at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967, which Harding is credited with writing, effectively reflected his commitments to reform and social justice more than any of his other talks. Like Harding, Harry Wachtel -- a Long Islander on King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference board -- contributed to that key address. In 1969, Wachtel returned to Riverside Church to give his own talk explaining King's journey for "beloved communities." A copy is in Hofstra's Axinn Library.

My students and I continue to benefit from the work of Harding, Wachtel and Hofstra alumnus Bernie Fixler, who brought King to Hofstra in 1965 as the graduation speaker. We also benefit from reading one of the best books ever written about King, by James Colaiaco, a resident of Baldwin, who appropriately subtitled the book, "Apostle of Militant Nonviolence."

Michael D'Innocenzo, Hempstead

Editor's note: The writer is a history professor at Hofstra University.

Preventing more mass killings

When the police received the warning from Elliot Rodger's mother about his haunting video threatening to kill people, the police should have gotten a search warrant for any incriminating evidence in Rodger's home ["Deadly spree in California," News, May 25].

If a warrant had been issued, the police would have searched his home and would have gotten evidence of Rodger's intentions and his mental state. He would have been arrested, and no one would have been killed.

Douglass Robinson, Levittown

Once again we have a senseless killing spree. Do we think banning guns, knives and cars will keep this from ever happening again? I'll bet that foolish liberals and spineless politicians will call for more gun bans -- knives and cars, too!

Maybe we should ban poor parenting. In my opinion, whether on the high or low end of the economic ladder, depriving children of love, guidance and parental attention is the root of all this evil. It can be caused by too large a family for the budget or for the time available to give each child the necessary attention.

In some cases, neglect can come from outright selfishness and immaturity on the part of the parents. Out-of-wedlock births and teen pregnancy contribute to the problem.

All the money for education and laws to prevent these outrageous acts of violence are of no use unless we attack the real problem.

Frank Grunseich, Deer Park

Insurer will pay who for delays?

I see where my new insurance company, Narragansett Bay, was fined for delays in visiting homes damaged by superstorm Sandy ["Insurer fined $327G," Business, May 29]. This is not at all reassuring for any future needs I might have.

I would also like to know who exactly will receive the money from this fine? I somehow doubt it will go to the poor homeowners who suffered this disaster, but instead will find its way into government coffers. Seems like a lot of salt on a still very deep wound.

Steve Feuer, Oceanside