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Letter: Quality education at Nassau Community

Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos told Newsday that "Parents and students should know that the quality of education at Nassau Community College has diminished" ["College in 'turmoil,' " News, June 14]. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As an adjunct professor who has taught at the college for 44 years, I have seen, and still see, many committed faculty and students. Many of my students have gone on to attend top colleges and universities. They have left my class writing better and interpreting literature in a more sophisticated way.

Our adjunct union awards scholarships annually to financially needy students, all of whom must have a GPA of 3.3 to 4.0. Also, the fact that there are many students who begin their college experience taking remedial courses does not diminish their education. They learn, are integrated into credit-bearing courses and succeed.

Nassau offers a great education for a bargain price. Maragos made a giant and faulty leap of logic in his statement. Does he work at the college? Does he teach courses there? Is he in touch with the student body? I don't think so. He has done a disservice to a college that definitely educates but is also in turmoil.

Ruben Friedman, Central Islip

Editor's note: The writer is an adjunct professor of English.

PSEG should return funds to ratepayers

I just read "PSEG eyes gym, office projects in capital upgrades" [News, June 17]. It's unbelievable that the company that was chosen to take over running Long Island's electrical system is looking for ways to spend "unallocated funds."

I thought PSEG Long Island was supposed to reduce inefficiency and stabilize and hopefully reduce rates. I suggest they allocate the funds back to the customers.

Joel Stern, Valley Stream

Obama excuse for GM chief exec.?

Once again, new General Motors chief executive Mary Barra was called in front of Congress to testify as to why it took so long to recall millions of cars with defective ignition switches ["Lawmakers press GM on ignition switch report," News, June 19].

Barra should have simply stated, "It was that way when I got here." Heaven knows it has worked many times for President Barack Obama.

Bill Viggiano, Williston Park

Asharoken officials enable beach access

A June 16 letter expressed skepticism about public access to Asharoken beaches ["Asharoken won't create public access"]. The issue is that private beaches will have to include public access for Asharoken to qualify for post-Sandy tax dollars from state and federal funds.

Our Asharoken mayor, trustees and others, along with federal and state agencies, are working very hard to make our village and the residents of Eatons Neck safe from future storms. There is already plenty of parking along Asharoken Avenue. The village code prohibits parking on streets, but not on avenues.

Alexander S. Janow, Asharoken

Editor's note: The writer is a former Asharoken Village trustee.

Public contract reform incomplete

In New York, step raises and benefits for public employees continue in force even after contracts expire. The number of other states that guarantee automatic pay hikes for all public employees is zero. New York is the one and only state in the nation that has a Triborough Amendment in its labor law, and it is killing us.

The Triborough Amendment prohibits public employers, including school districts, from altering the terms of an expired union contract. Yet no one seems to know about it.

Public educators freely spend tax money on public relations campaigns, which successfully obfuscate the cause for our crushing tax burden and place the blame on taxpayers, parents and stingy seniors.

This should have changed when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo took office and halted the automatic growth of the state budget. It should have been pointed out that Triborough's automatic raises were the cause of annual increases. Why didn't the governor discuss it then?

When groups were formed to fight huge yearly school tax hikes, we discovered spending and taxes had to go up a minimum of $3 million a year just to cover salary increases, without adding a thing in our school district.

The tax cap was meant to slow the tax creep; it was a delaying device until Triborough could be reformed. This reform must happen, or the state will continue to spiral downward, and no taxpayer-funded political happy talk will be able to explain it away.

Let us pray that whichever administration wins in November will take on this sacred cow and move New York forward again.

Andrea Vecchio, East Islip

Editor's note: The writer is an activist with the taxpayer groups East Islip TaxPAC and Long Islanders for Educational Reform.