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Letter: Student loans add up too easily

My oldest daughter went to Nassau Community College, a great 2-year program, and then transferred to NYU ["Obama expands student loan help," News, June 10]. She was able to secure grant money and loans for Nassau in her own name, but not for NYU; so to attend NYU, I had to take out a $62,000 Parent Plus Loan.

It was a similar situation for my 19-year-old going to Binghamton University. She could not secure a bank loan on her own for tuition, so I took on a Parent Plus Loan. After my daughter graduates from Binghamton, I will have almost $200,000 in combined student loan debt between both daughters . . . and I have two more kids to go.

I have a good civil service job, but realistically, there is no possible way I can repay these loans. And the most disturbing fact? Next year the feds will offer me two more Parent Plus Loans for the twins. If I were going to a bank for any other type of loan in this amount, I would be laughed at and then denied -- perhaps not in that order.

Because these educational loans can never be discharged through bankruptcy or any other way, the only qualifications you need are a kid going to college and a pulse.

Joseph Bua, Long Beach

Medicare-like system for vets?

I am a Vietnam veteran who has been receiving excellent care at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Northport for 12 years ["LI lawmakers seek VA explanation," News, June 13].

However, from the beginning I recognized the inefficiency of this facility maintaining so much land -- it even has a 9-hole golf course -- and so many buildings that could be developed and added to the tax base.

Many vets must travel a great distance to the VA. The system originated in the 1940s, when few people had health insurance. Why not replace it with a Medicare-like system for veterans? I know that the conversion would be difficult for some, and there would be serious resistance from vested interests, but the long-range benefits would accrue to both the veterans and the taxpayers.

Steve Sullivan, West Babylon

Police lax in chasing opiates

I'm glad that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is getting involved in cleaning up the opiate addiction epidemic ["Raising stakes in heroin fight," News, June 12]. He called Long Island a "ground zero" and assigned state troopers to narcotics work.

It's too bad that the Suffolk County Police Department has been unable and unwilling to more vigorously address this calamity.

I have a family member in the grips of an opiate addiction, and I offered the police a cellphone with information (texts messages) that would have led to several local dealers. Five years later, I know these dealers are still peddling their poison.

Until we take these dealers off the street, this problem will continue to rob the lives of what could be wonderful, productive people.

Not only are police pathetic, but our prosecutors and judges have failed to see the dealers' terribly destructive actions. The punishments for peddling opiates are far too soft.

Kevin Niles, Brightwaters

Red-light cameras violate rights

I hate those pesky red-light cameras that seem to keep popping up all over the Island. You come to a stop at a red light, then all of a sudden, flash! Government contractors now have a picture of your car and license plate in their databases.These cameras violate several constitutional principles. First, when you get a ticket you are not able to confront your accuser, as it is an inanimate object, although you may request an appearance before the Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency.

Second, the person to whom the vehicle is registered is always deemed to be the guilty party, even if he or she wasn't driving. One can only appeal this by filling out an affidavit and providing an alibi. This violates the burden of proof clause, which requires the government to present the case and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person is guilty.

Third, these cameras are constantly watching us. The idea that no matter where we travel we will always be watched is downright Orwellian. While a search or seizure in the exact definition has not occurred, this constant surveillance is a rather slippery slope.

Do these cameras make people stop at red lights? Perhaps, but is the cost an eventual police state? I'll pass.

Seth Connell, Selden

GOP primary is alienating voters

I wish the Repubican candidates for the 1st Congressional district would show some character and respect for the voters ["In GOP, a fight on the right," News, June 15]. Lee Zeldin and George Demos lack logic and maturity in their sad campaign presentations.

I want politicians to discuss issues and how to solve problems. Instead, Zeldin and Demos are alienating voters.

Warren McKnight, Riverhead

Editor's note: The writer is the former head of the Riverhead Town Conservative Committee.