Regarding "Parole hearing for pair in '71 cop slayings" [News, Feb. 18], Herman Bell and Anthony Bottom admitted in 2012 that they were involved in the murders of two New York City police officers. Now they go before the state Parole Board again to ask for their freedom. Before 2012, neither one had expressed remorse for taking the lives of two respected and dedicated law enforcers who chose to protect the lives of decent people in New York City and lost their lives in doing so.
These two convicts now want to put up a phony front to gain their release, pretending they realize now that the crime they committed was inhumane and they are sorry. I think they should have been made to pay with their lives.
Police officers Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones, who were ambushed and shot to death in 1971, will never get a second chance at life. To free the fiends who took their lives is insane.
Edward Dwyer, Elmont
Editor's note: The writer's son, a New York City police officer, was killed in the line of duty.
Voters must demand assessment change
You couldn't find two people better qualified to offer a common sense solution to rid Nassau County of its onerous property tax assessment system than former Nassau County Assessor Harvey Levinson ["A clear-cut way to assess property," Opinion, Jan. 3] and retired New York State Supreme Court Justice Leo McGinity ["Nassau needs legal assessment change," Letters, Jan. 24].
They have laid out a detailed case to scrap the discredited Nassau County assessment system, making several specific recommendations. The current convoluted system has resulted in a never-ending, costly stream of litigation by taxpayers who challenge its inherent unfairness. As a result, scores of certiorari firms have sprung up to "help" bewildered taxpayers seek assessment reductions.
These firms have come away with millions of dollars in fees for their efforts. Ultimately, it is the taxpayers who pay these fees. This cottage industry will continue forever unless our assessment system is fixed.
Each week I receive mail from three or four certiorari firms seeking to represent me in this reassessment quagmire. We taxpayers must demand, via the voting booth, that Nassau County and the State Legislature put an end to it.
William Schroeder, Rockville Centre
Many ignore nursing home troubles
The deplorable situation involving the infamous Medford Multicare Center for Living must not be allowed to fade from public view, as have so many cases of neglect and abuse of nursing home patients in the past ["The nightmare nursing home," Editorial, Feb. 18].
Presumably, the state attorney general's allegations of substandard treatment and the looting of public funds by the home's owners will be subject to due process in court. Not so presumable is the expectation that if the charges are upheld, those found guilty will receive appropriate punishment. Nor, unless systemic changes are made, will this be the last time we see this sad scenario play out.
The players in this dismal tale include the lax state Department of Health, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the State Legislature, the judiciary, hospital discharge planners, attending physicians, unions and professional associations, the state long-term care ombudsman and the nursing home industry itself. This is a long list of absent and failed protectors.
While there are other nursing homes and rehabilitation centers known to have significant deficiencies, most such facilities in Nassau and Suffolk counties offer satisfactory care. Some are superior, and a few are outstanding. They are likely to be the ones that build ethics and accountability into their operations and have strong, ongoing quality assurance programs.
Robert W. Mackreth, Massapequa
Editor's note: The writer is a retired social work consultant to Long Island hospitals and nursing homes.
U.S. must improve education system
There is no trouble rating teachers in America: They fail ["As the Core turns . . .," Editorial, Feb. 23].
Simply look at how American students compare worldwide, and that is all the rating we need. The world has rated us, and we don't even rank in the top 20 in math and not close to the top 10 in reading. Those are failing grades.
Parents and teachers continue to fail to see how America is shooting itself in the foot for the future. Many teachers and students refuse to put in the hard work and self-evaluation needed to compete worldwide. Parents stick their noses into education and have little if any qualification to do so.
Every time I see students winning science and other awards, the majority appear to be from Asian cultural backgrounds. We spend millions of dollars ignoring failure and fighting teacher evaluation systems when the worldwide data is already in.
Rich Adrian, Huntington