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Letter: Political deals not 'conservative'

Has the Suffolk County Conservative Party lost its moral bearings ["Fire party leader from both jobs," Editorial, May 9]? Even if one presumes the innocence of chairman Edward Walsh, have the party's core principles already been lost?

Conservatism recognizes the universal success and appeal of free enterprise, low taxes, individualism, small and efficient government, privacy, a strong national defense and self-reliance. It favors free and open elections and rejects corruption and top-down political policies.

How then can Suffolk County conservatives accept that their chairman is a jail lieutenant making $282,000 in 2013 from the public trough? How can he be the dispositive figure in choosing the political endorsement of his own boss and the district attorney? And how is it that through Conservative Party cross-endorsements voters didn't even have a choice for district attorney and sheriff?

Now the sheriff is investigating his own political patron. The process itself is appalling and a conflict of interest, but moreover, to a true conservative, it violates the very soul of the enduring moral order. If the allegations against Walsh of stealing public payroll monies prove true, Sheriff Vincent DeMarco should have known and must be held accountable.

District Attorney Thomas Spota is similarly in a tight spot. In almost Shakespearean irony, he may find himself investigating the very character responsible for his own guaranteed electoral success.

Michael J. Butler, Greenport

Editor's note: The writer is a registered Republican and retired Nassau County police captain who ran unsuccessfully for the Nassau County Legislature in 1995.

Sheriff department pay clarified

The May 9 editorial "Fire party leader from both jobs" gave the wrong impression of the salaries of the Suffolk County sheriff's office employees.

The salaries quoted reflect a contract arbitration award that granted three years of retroactive pay raises to the correction officer's union, totaling $37 million from January 2008 through December 2010.

The editorial stated that one employee, Edward Walsh, received $282,000 in 2013. This amount included $74,339.37 in retroactive pay from the arbitration award.

In the case of the other employee, Steven Compitello, of his $226,000 salary, $61,132.11 represented the contract-mandated retroactive payment.

Vincent F. DeMarco, Riverhead

Editor's note: The writer is the Suffolk County sheriff.

Solar panels a danger to pilots

Installing solar panels at Brookhaven Calabro Airport seems like a bad idea ["Sites leased for solar panel plan," News, May 7].

There are four runways, and they're all operational. I wonder how much thought went into the placing of these panels? Reflective light from them may interfere with takeoffs and landings.

As a pilot flying over Brookhaven National Lab, I have seen many times the reflection from the 56-acre field of panels.

At Calabro, the panels most likely would face south to receive the benefit of the longest exposure to sunlight. That would reflect by runway 33. Aircraft lights during a night landing would also reflect back at the pilot.

The Federal Aviation Administration has deemed laser light aimed at aircraft dangerous and unlawful. I believe a study should be done concerning the reflective light of solar panels. I can understand our representatives wanting to get the benefits of the land mass, but certainly not at the expense of pilots' and passengers' lives.

Roy Willis, Massapequa

Torn knees of female athletes

Injury rates in youth sports continue to skyrocket, and concussions rightfully garner the bulk of media attention. But another serious problem is going virtually unnoticed.

Injuries to the ACL -- the anterior cruciate ligament -- of the knee are on the rise, especially among young female athletes. A whopping 70 percent of these injuries are estimated to be noncontact, meaning these girls are getting hurt when attempting to rapidly change direction or land from a jump -- movements that are key to lacrosse, soccer, basketball and volleyball.

A warm-up protocol exists that has been shown to reduce these injuries by up to 64 percent when performed twice a week for just 15 minutes. Yet there are coaches who are either unwilling to allocate the time or who are unfamiliar with the proper execution of the drills.

As parents, coaches and physical educators, we have to stop with the constant focus on athletic success -- complete with the specialized camps, clinics and near year-round training for a particular sport -- and get kids learning how to move properly. Early integration of conditioning drills will ultimately serve young athletes better.

Mike Mejia, Plainview

Editor's note: The writer is a member of the national STOP Sports Injuries campaign.