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Letter: Schools can lift up homeless kids

I was excited to read the article "Homeless enrollment in school raises concern" [News, Oct. 11]. When I finished, I became sick.

The concern was not to end homelessness; rather, it was to get homeless children out of Hauppauge. It is despicable on Long Island that we continue to reject homeless people. It is also despicable that our lawmakers are considering legislation to end the agreement with the shelter.

Our homeless children face many challenges. They shouldn't face more challenges and rejection from parents and lawmakers.

We need to work together as a community to embrace our homeless children in our schools. Let's raise concern by educating ourselves that homelessness is everyone's problem. We Long Islanders need to stop the "not in my backyard" response to our homeless population.

Homeless children have dignity. Supporting their education is a way to break the cycle of poverty, and this is the road we need to take.

Sarah Brewster, Long Beach

Editor's note: The writer is a leader of Circulo de la Hispanidad, a nonprofit social services agency.

Judicial records should be public

Newsday's editorial "A poor way to pick judges" [Oct. 7] correctly points out that when it comes to voting for judges, "The electorate has little or no knowledge of these candidates' track records, qualifications or political beliefs." But your suggested solution, having judges appointed, would be undemocratic and equivalent to throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

We voters would not all be in the dark if only the judicial system would simply provide Newsday with detailed information about the sentencing records of criminal court judges. With legislators, their voting records are public knowledge.

For instance, what percentage of each judge's sentences were probations, suspended sentences or community service? How often did he or she merely fine a convicted criminal? What percentage of the sentences were for the maximum number of years in prison, and what percentage for the minimum term?

Allow us to "judge" which candidates are lenient, and which are law-and-order types.

Richard Siegelman, Plainview

Leaf blowers exacerbate asthma

Why are landscapers allowed to blow dirt all over our streets and property?

An increasing number of children suffer from asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and related breathing problems. Yet, people with leaf blowers send dust and dirt particles, rotted foliage and other pollutants into the air.

As a society, we have tried to eliminate secondhand smoke. Why can't we have the same campaign against fouling the air with leaf blowers? All gardeners should be required to vacuum the debris from the laws and streets, then collect it in nonporous bags and cart it away.

Peggy Mulho, Oceanside

No need to mandate backup cameras

A simple suggestion to mitigate the likelihood of hitting someone when backing out of your driveway is to back into your driveway ["Rearview safety," News, Oct. 13].

When backing in from the street, you have a more comprehensive view of the surroundings, and when you drive out headfirst, you also have a better command of the situation.

John Stone, Wantagh

Plumes and public water supplies

The recent News 12-Newsday series about our water supply and waterways provided a much-needed wake-up call to Long Islanders about these vital resources ["Lawn Island," News, Sept. 25]. The public should understand our water comes from the ground beneath us through a vast aquifer system.

The Massapequa Water District is one of the few remaining Long Island public water suppliers that has not been affected by aquifer contamination from an underground plume. However, our source water is being threatened by the well-publicized Grumman-Navy plume.

Although treatment systems protect public health, the public should not readily accept filtration treatment as a protective measure. The responsible parties who contaminated the aquifer should be held accountable to clean up these plumes. Our district continues to research options to provide pure water in lieu of treatment.

The public also should understand that water suppliers do not have control over aquifer protection or plume remediation. This responsibility lies with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Thomas Hand, Massapequa

Editor's note: The writer is chairman of the Massapequa Water District board of commissioners.

Tea party wants fiscal responsibility

With all the selective reporting, it is no wonder many people blame the tea party Republicans for the shutdown ["It's up to the Senate," News, Oct. 16].

Conservatives want spending slowed to shrink the deficit. Waste is out of control under this administration, and there has been an accumulation of debt exceeding $6 trillion in five short years. Where is the outrage?

The status quo must change. Handouts will never fix these serious problems, only sacrifice and hard work will.

William W. Bruner, West Babylon

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