41° Good Evening
41° Good Evening

Letter: Nassau debt and speedy tax refunds

The Nassau Interim Finance Authority's concerns about Nassau County's borrowing ["NIFA: Nassau borrowing a concern," News, Oct. 17] refers to the $150 million required to pay down property tax refunds due county residents. But that number reflects just half of what the real liability is projected to be when all the settlements are paid.

The larger issue is the speed by which the payments to commercial and residential properties are made; the sooner the arrears are resolved, the faster the debt service disappears from the county books and slows the growth of interest due.

Expediting the payment of court-ordered refunds is in everyone's financial interest and also places in the wallets of taxpayers tens of millions of dollars that could be spent locally. In turn, this would generate the sales tax revenue desperately needed by a county concerned with a growing deficit.

We are well past the point of whether the refunds should be paid. It's now a matter of when, and speed should be of the essence.

Richard G. Fromewick, Garden City

Editor's note: The writer is chairman of the real estate tax reduction practice at the law firm Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein.

History education molds citizens

I read with disgust that the New York State Board of Regents is considering the elimination of one history Regents exam as a graduation requirement for some students ["State exam opt-out," News, Oct. 21]. I guess in this era of dumbing down just about everything, it shouldn't surprise me.

It seems to me that our students, who will become the future electorate, should be more aware of our history and our earned place in the world. Education should not be narrowing its scope and, trust me, once tests are optional for some, the next step will be, why bother to teach history at all?

After all, we must continue to make things easier for our uninformed students to graduate to perpetuate statistical rates of graduation. It's no wonder that American education is no longer the beacon it once was.

Richard A. Rathman, Lido Beach

As a history educator, I am aghast to hear about New York State's planned social studies testing change. Although I teach in a private school and am not affected by the Regents exam, I feel that this move will be a detriment to students in the greater scheme.

I am by no means against promoting vocational, trade or technical studies, but I find this hard to stomach, especially since the history of the great state of New York is beautifully interwoven into the tapestry of the American story. The learning of history, economics and politics is important to the foundation of an adolescent's studies. It creates a base for future citizenry.

As President George Washington once wrote, "a primary object . . . should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?"

If we don't properly learn both American and global history, we will be ineffectual as a nation. A country with historical amnesia is no country at all.

Matthew Bursig, New Hyde Park

Amityville coach deserved better

If it weren't so serious a subject, the dishonorable discharge of Jack Agostino ["Agostino out as Amityville coach," Sports, Oct. 17] as the Amityville boys basketball coach after 27 exemplary years could be sardonically termed the "Amityville Horror."

How can a reputable school district summarily dismiss such a popular and successful mentor and role model without recognition of the inspiration and pride he bestowed upon generations of young athletes?

Agostino used an ineligible player, who appeared briefly in two playoff games last season. It was bad enough for Section XI, the Suffolk high school sports governing body, to strip Amityville of it Suffolk Class A championship three days after beating Glenn, 74-73, fair and square. This particular youngster was not a superstar, although he might be someday. No, he was a benchwarmer who Agostino felt deserved to wear a varsity jersey for the playoffs.

Now Agostino, who ranks fifth all-time in Long Island history with 473 career victories, has been cheated of perhaps becoming No. 1. An admirable career ignominiously shattered by blind and blunt bureaucracy.

Joe Krupinski, Sea Cliff

Editor's note: The writer is a former sportswriter for Newsday.

Sad to see veterans parade canceled

I was saddened to hear that the second annual Veterans Day Parade that was supposed to take place on Nov. 2 in Levittown was canceled ["Veterans," News, Oct. 26]. This parade was going to honor our World War II veterans.

Nov. 2 is a Sunday, and the parade was to begin at Gardiners Avenue and Hempstead Turnpike, and end at the Levittown Veterans Memorial Park. Apparently, St. Bernard's Church was concerned about the noise and inconvenience to its parishioners during services.

The number of World War II veterans is dwindling. The veterans who might have been honored this year may not be with us next year.

Joyce Fischer, West Babylon