Long Island school taxes affect seniors as well as young married couples trying to stay on Long Island ["Put limits on taxes for seniors," Letters, Nov. 4].
The only way to drastically reduce our school taxes and ensure a quality education for our children is to consolidate our school districts.
High salaries of superintendents and assistant superintendents are forcing districts to cut teachers, staff and critical programs. Think of how many teachers could be rehired if each district could cut expenditures for administrators, secretarial staff and the real estate their offices occupy.
The only person who can accomplish this task is Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. We are being taxed out of our homes and businesses, and this cannot continue. Our children deserve better.
Paul W. Coonelly, North Babylon
Appraisers could help fix Nassau
Nassau County's property assessment system is undeniably broken, but the opinion expressed in "Feeling pain of local taxes" [Letters, Nov. 3] -- that only local commercial real estate brokers can correct the assessment system -- is wrong.
Many commercial brokers may have a good understanding of aspects of the commercial market, but have made their livings advocating or selling property on behalf of property owners.
Real estate appraisers, on the other hand, have many years of appraisal education and training that provide them with the professional skills needed to develop objective, unbiased market value estimates.
Broker price opinions are restricted or banned in many states, although not yet in New York. Many abuses have been documented, such as lowballing an estimate of value of a foreclosed property to quickly sell it when the anticipated listing is obtained.
A real estate broker who takes the time to become a certified real estate appraiser could be part of the solution to fixing the mess that is Nassau County's assessment system.
Bill Collins, Bellmore
Editor's note: The writer is president of Appraiser Help Inc., a service that matches property owners with appraisers.
Fines aren't enough to punish bad traders
While I favor seeing yet another group of insider-trading scoundrels pay a hefty fine for its transgressions, the government's settlement with SAC Capital Advisors appears to be just a deal to avoid probable jail time for the principals involved, notably Steven A. Cohen ["Fund founder's deep LI ties," News, Nov. 5].
I'm sorry, but this $1.8 billion settlement is not nearly good enough. By now, we should realize that money means nothing to the Cohens of the world. The fact they are willing to settle is the clue. Money is only a tool in their game to achieve power and distinction. The fine, no matter how large, is relatively meaningless, as they know it is easy to get more with yet another scheme. This shows a tremendous contempt for the rest of us.
What is needed are felony convictions and some serious jail time for those involved in insider trading. You cannot simply convict and jail one high-profile person and wash your hands. You have to go after and convict all perpetrators.
That sends a much clearer message to others tempted to follow the same path.
Michael J. Moonitz, Massapequa
Bullying in NFL sets bad example
Miami Dolphin offensive lineman Jonathan Martin should be applauded for going public about the way he was harassed ["Lawyer for Martin," Sports, Nov. 8].
Bullying is unacceptable and should never be tolerated. What does it say about the NFL when the league looks the other way as rookie players are subjected to so-called rites of passage?
It's sad that children have to worry about verbal and physical bullying by peers, but to have professional athletes setting an example of acceptance for today's youth is even worse.
Let's hope that this incident will be a watershed moment for the way society looks at this type of unacceptable behavior.
Bob Buscavage, Moriches
Dunes need grass to withstand storms
On a visit to the West End 2 area of Jones Beach just after superstorm Sandy, I found beach grass roots on the surface of the sand ["Repair work wiped out," News, Oct. 15]. It was obvious that the sand had begun to accumulate there many years ago. But that dune, swept away by rushing waves, was in a vulnerable spot and took the full brunt of the storm surge. Some other natural dunes held together because of the network of beach grass roots.
Piling sand along the barrier beaches and calling them dunes may seem substantial. However, the public believes they are dunes when they are not. They are berms of sand with little of the substructure of beach grass roots.
Eventually the Atlantic Ocean will claim these rootless mounds, along with the millions of dollars that were spent to bulldoze them into place.
Tom Stock, Babylon