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Good Afternoon

Letter: Elected leaders must help LIRR

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are missing in action concerning the pending Long Island Rail Road strike ["Strike a deal, avoid a strike," Editorial, July 13].

Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Thomas Prendergast, along with many MTA board members, serve at the pleasure of the governor. De Blasio appoints four of the board members. New York State provides several hundred million dollars in capital and operating assistance a year to the LIRR.

The LIRR plays a significant role in the New York City economy. Suburban commuters not only work there, but also spend money on dining, shopping, sporting events and Broadway theaters. There are growing numbers of reverse commuters who travel to the suburbs for work.

Cuomo and de Blasio claim to be leaders and hands-on managers. Yet both appear to have abandoned several hundred thousand LIRR commuters to whatever destiny awaits them. Those riders will have to join Queens commuters, which will overwhelm the already crowded subways and express buses.

Larry Penner, Great Neck

Court decision on birth control

Contrary to a recent letter writer's words, I do not agree that a woman's access to abortion-causing drugs is a "basic health need" ["Boss picks birth control?" July 13]. There are at least l6 pregnancy preventives that do not cause early abortions. Isn't that enough?

I agree with the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision because no one should be forced to contribute toward another's use of something he or she considers morally wrong. I'm a pro-lifer, and I believe that a government has no right to command anyone's conscience.

Maria Bruckner, Malverne

Two letter writers put forth false representations of what was decided in the Hobby Lobby case. No company is taking away options of birth control available to women. Every woman can decide for herself what method she wants to use. The ruling pertained to four of 20 methods. The four are all methods that terminate a fertilized egg, which many believe is equivalent to destroying a viable human life. The methods are all still available or, if you don't want to pay for it yourself, at a Planned Parenthood clinic. Problem solved.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which was intended to prevent laws burdening a person's free exercise of religion, was sponsored by two Democrats. It was passed by a Democrat-controlled Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton. It is not a product of a Republican "war on women." Enough with the fictional war manufactured by the left. Conservatives have mothers, and many have wives and daughters. We don't hate women.

Don Karlsen, Farmingdale

Catholic Charities helps at border

President Barack Obama and Congress appear to be doing little about the crisis at the border involving children from Central America ["Dissent rumbles into Obama camp," News, July 14].

Is anybody doing anything? Yes, indeed. Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, is emerging as a hero in this human tragedy. Catholic Charities is providing food, medicine, clothing, portable showers and sleeping tents. And yes, tender loving care.

Diane Kelly, Medford

Airport noise a longtime problem

I am 64 and grew up at 80th Street and 24th Avenue in Jackson Heights, adjacent to the vacant lots containing the landing lights for LaGuardia Airport ["Heart risk tied to airport noise," News, July 13]. A photograph of the home in which I lived appeared on the front page of Newsday twice recently. Similar photos appeared in the now-defunct Long Island Island Star Journal going back to the late 1940s.

The jet-propelled planes would come in so low that we could see the pilot and passengers from our kitchen window. On rainy nights, the Electras and Constellations would come in every 20 seconds, late into the night. I tell people that I had disco before it was invented, due to the strobe lights that would flash on my bedroom walls even with the shades closed.

Luckily, I was able to leave this situation at 17 when I went to college. Unfortunately, my ability to hear higher frequency sounds has been gone for more than two decades.

I am providing you with this level of detail to inform readers that the Federal Aviation Administration and its predecessors haven't given a damn for the past half century, and the FAA doesn't give a damn now. My advice is, move away.

Dan Pichney, Bayport

Abusive teacher should repay salary

The Locust Valley teachers union is protecting the pay of a teacher who pleaded guilty to sex abuse of children ["Arbitration over teacher pay," News, July 13].

Does the teachers' union need to wonder why many of us hold them and their members in such contempt?

Ed Gala, Babylon