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Letter: Sewers unnecessary in Suffolk County

Here we go again! Does anybody remember the huge cost overruns, scandals and corruption surrounding the creation of Suffolk County's Southwest Sewer District? It budgeted $291 million, but the final cost was $1 billion. Now the county wants to spend another $1 billion on sewers for 12,000 more homes ["Suffolk's $1b pitch for sewers," News, March 26].

I'll bet the people looking to spend this money have never heard of self-contained composting toilets. They're on the market today, sell for less than $900 each at retail, cost nothing to install and need to be emptied only once a month. Their odorless compost can safely be put out with the trash or even used as garden fertilizer. You can install two per home for far less than Suffolk County wants to spend.

Once again, our government is flushing incredible amounts of hard-earned taxpayer dollars down the toilet. It's so easy when it's not your own money.

Eric Merz, Shirley

Need for better security at WTC

I'm concerned that four people were able to parachute off the World Trade Center in September and we are just learning about it ["3 LIers held in jump from WTC," News, March 25].

Is it a coincidence that a 16-year-old could access the same facility last month? How many more of these incidents have occurred? Shouldn't security be increased?

Bill Pearse, North Massapequa

Limit loans for graduate students

The Obama administration has been looking to reduce student-loan debt because the default rate for students has reached amazingly high levels.

According to a report by the New America Foundation, compared with 2004, students graduating with an advanced degree have 43 percent more debt. The largest increase in outstanding debt was for students who graduated with a master of arts, seeing their debt rise by 54 percent to an average of $58,539.

The federal government capped what undergraduates can borrow, but allows graduate students unlimited amounts. If the government truly wants to reduce the default rates, it could start by limiting the amount graduate students can borrow.

The government also could impose restrictions for loans to certain graduate programs that have much higher default rates. This would allow for more loans in fields such as medicine and health sciences, which typically have higher costs but also higher probabilities that loans will be repaid.

James Pepe, Bellport

UN's climate claims are political

"UN panel: As globe warms, tempers flare" [News, March 31], an Associated Press report, needs clarification. The United Nations is a political organization determined to create equality by redistributing wealth and power to less developed and undeveloped nations.

Rather than give attention to politicians or UN staff who are "certain" of the causes, look to scientists seeking truth. The American Physical Society's five-year review of its position on climate change will be completed soon. While most humans find it difficult to be apolitical, the society's members appointed a subcommittee to hear from climate-change experts -- three pro and three con -- and to recommend an informed position to the organization's board.

I hope that this position will also get prominent coverage when it is published.

Gunther Geiss, Southold

Editor's note: The writer is an emeritus professor of business at Adelphi University.

Spend on U.S. problems, not Ukraine

The article "Path cleared for $1B Ukraine aid" [News, March 26] stated that Congress will pass a bill to give Ukraine $1 billion in loan guarantees.

It seems that every few days the United States is providing financial help to foreign countries that despise us: Afghanistan, Iran and many others. They take our money fast enough, but exactly what do we get in return? Nothing but hate.

Our politicians should give the money to homeless people or Americans who are losing their homes to foreclosure.

Ray Steinberg, East Northport

Budget process should be open

We should not celebrate Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the State Legislature for passing a budget on time ["LI school aid $125M boost," News, April 1]. This is what they get paid to do.

This budget was negotiated behind closed doors, and only the state leaders, their key aides and Albany lobbyists were privy to the details.

Did members of legislature take a speed-reading class to absorb the thousands of pages in this spending bill? They received it only hours before being asked to vote up or down. Liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, we would all be better off if our State Assembly and Senate members took the time to actually read, line by line, any legislation before voting.

There should have been an open-budget process, agency by agency. The public, media and members of the legislature should have been afforded sufficient time to read the budget before its adoption.

Larry Penner, Great Neck