TODAY'S PAPER
Good Morning
Good Morning
OpinionLetters

Letter: Stand up for Postal Service

I'm glad the citizens of Northport stood by their post office ["Post office plan sent packing," News, Oct. 16]. There was no financial need to shut it down. While it may be fun to take potshots at the post office, and talk about the letter that was delivered next door two years after it was mailed, the truth is that our Postal Service is well run.

The U.S. Postal Service gets along very well with the postal union, without the threat of strikes. Its operation is completely funded by the sale of postage stamps and other materials and services. Not one penny comes from taxes. The Postal Service delivers 212 billion pieces of mail and takes in more than $62 billion annually. So why does it seem that the system is financially unstable and mismanaged?

Back in 2006, during the George W. Bush administration, the Postal Service was making a huge profit -- so huge that it attracted big business that wanted to privatize it and cash in on the profits. Congress was encouraged to pass an absurd law requiring the Postal Service to fund health benefits of future employees, costing more than $5.5 billion a year. No wonder the U.S. Postal Service seems so unstable.

Was that pre-funding retirement law passed to drive the Post Office out of business and justify its being privatized? I don't know; but if that absurd law were rescinded, the Postal Service would be back on its feet, delivering mail through rain and snow.

Robert Shorin, Syosset

Further restrict leaf blowers on LI

Isn't it time to look into the possible environmental issues that leaf blowers pose ["Leaf blowers exacerbate asthma," Letters, Oct. 18]?

A number of cities and towns across the country have decided that they are a health hazard for their citizens. They have placed seasonal restrictions on them or banned them outright.

Nassau and Suffolk counties, along with towns, have codes that regulate the hours for usage. Some dictate that operators sweep up the debris immediately. Observation indicates that this is never or rarely done, obviously a enforcement issue. They merely blow the stuff into our air, where it seems to disappear. In addition, the machines generate high noise levels and exhaust. Is the efficiency worth the health risk?

Isn't it time to get serious about the issue for the quality of life for citizens?

Guy T. DiSpigno, Massapequa

Charter schools should pay rent

Profit-making groups have always paid the city for use of public school space ["De Blasio chides Lhota's 'Republican playbook,' " News, Oct. 16]. Most charter schools are extremely lucrative operations. They are "public" schools in the sense that the public is forced to fund them through involuntary donations known as taxes.

New Yorkers should get to pick their own charities. For my money and yours, there are far worthier causes than charter schools.

Ron Isaac, Fresh Meadows

Too much focus on breast cancer

I'd like to applaud anyone who walked at the breast cancer awareness walk ["Jones Beach marchers raise $3.15M to fight breast cancer," News, Oct. 21]. It's inspiring to know that people are so passionate about curing breast cancer, unfortunately, I believe that Americans are too focused on one type of cancer.

I think that we should let other cancer-related causes -- such as those for thyroid, prostate, childhood or ovarian cancer, or leukemia or lymphoma -- have a chance in the spotlight. I understand that breast cancer is the most common cancer for women, but it is not the most deadly.

Karan Ishii, Jericho

Lawsuits are costly for schools

Most Newsday readers know that the Weber Middle School's decision to ban hard balls at recess ["School urges Nerf balls," News, Oct. 9] was not about "safety," as school officials suggested; it was about lawsuits. While people across the nation claimed that the school was overreacting, lawsuits and litigation pose a very real threat to our schools.

New York schools are frequent targets of lawsuits from teachers, students and disgruntled parents. Just this month, a New York school was sued because a student did not make varsity; last year there was a lawsuit by a gym teacher blaming his school for an assault by a first-grade student.

It is easy to chuckle at these suits, but we as taxpayers are paying for them and our schools are suffering. According to one survey, 57 percent of schools reported that lawsuits affected school-related programs. In fact, one of the largest legal settlements in New York last year was against a Long Island school district for an astounding $15 million, the result of an antiquated liability standard known as the Scaffold Law.

Unless we reform our legal system, we will continue to spend taxpayer dollars on lawsuits, rather than education. Fear of lawsuits will continue to undermine the needs of our children.

Thomas B. Stebbins, Albany

Editor's note: The writer is the director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, a lobbying organization.

Columns