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OpinionLetters

Letter: Suffolk police pay is out of hand

Here we go again, more raises for Suffolk County police ["Police brass contract sets raises," News, Feb. 17].

Superior Officers Association president Tim Morris is quoted as saying, "We believe this is a good contract for our members and the people of Suffolk County."

I respectfully disagree. These salaries and continuous sellout increases are out of hand. In the real world, this time bomb of a problem would have been fixed long ago. Unfortunately our Legislative presiding officer, DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville), and others, I am sure, think it's just wonderful.

These self-serving practices of increasing pay are the nail in the coffin for this region.

William W. Bruner, West Babylon

Isn't it about time that elected officials review the benefits of the many public labor contracts?

There was a time when civil servants were not highly paid, and so negotiations centered on benefits -- sick leave, vacation time, retirement, medical, etc. Today, many salaries have increased to the point of being more than livable, including those for teachers and police. I'm not begrudging anyone a good salary, but it's time to take a hard look at the benefits in these contracts.

When do we say enough? Why should overtime be factored into retirement pay? Overtime is paid due to an immediate need to get a task accomplished. Why should that increase continue into retirement? Is it realistic to believe that someone hasn't taken vacation in years and receives that pay, instead, at retirement? Is it safe? Is it safe and healthy for someone to work excessive overtime?

Frank Leahy, Smithtown

Cartoon, coverage insult Irish parade

Newsday's coverage and the Jimmy Margulies cartoon on the St. Patrick's Day Parade [Opinion, Feb. 27] refuse to acknowledge what has been parade policy for years.

The guidelines for participation are easily accessible on the parade website. The only banners allowed are to identify a unit or to say, "England get out of Ireland," which seems entirely appropriate for an Irish parade.

A unit means identifying the county in Ireland, or the college or band that is marching. No displays of any kind are permitted. That seems pretty clear and eliminates any other causes: clean air, states' rights, immigration reform and the like.

The gay community has its own parade. Why is it so intent on forcing its views on the Irish?

Jack Barthel, Cutchogue

The Margulies editorial cartoon showing a St. Patrick's Day marcher with a "no gays" button and spectators comparing the parade to Russia and Uganda is blatantly false and insulting to millions of Irish Catholics.

I ask Margulies to produce one rule, regulation or bylaw banning gays from the parade. He can't, because the truth is, there aren't any.

This is another attack on religon carried out by Newsday, Margulies and radical gay organizations that are not allowed to march under a gay banner.

As far as Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council supporting a radical gay group instead of supporting the Irish Catholic community, that's up to them. It would be nice if Newsday tried to get its editorial cartoonists to be a little more honest.

Phil Sullivan, Lake Ronkonkoma

Worried about Medicare trims

I hope that other senior citizens who were naive enough to believe that Obamacare would have no effect on our Medicare read "Trims likely for Medicare Advantage plans" [News, Feb. 23].

My wife and I bought Medicare Advantage plans because, as the article states, we were "seeking better health care value." My co-pay for 2014 went from $15 to $25 for primary-care physician visits and from $25 to $50 for specialists. Who knows what will happen in future years if this trimming takes place?

An interesting statement in the article was that, "Administration officials say the plans don't need to be paid as much to turn a profit, because the growth of health care spending has slowed dramatically." So now Washington is going to tell the insurers not only what they must cover, but what they should be making?

Gary Aronowitz, Plainview

Anti-gay law merits a warning

While I enjoyed reading about Uganda's game parks in the Travel section, I was disappointed and even a little shocked that it didn't include a warning for gay and lesbian travelers ["A tall tale of adventure," Feb. 16].

Uganda is not the place for same-sex couples to take a honeymoon, unless they plan to spend the rest of the marriage in prison.

While large parts of Africa criminalize homosexuality, Uganda is increasing the penalties -- surely a note worth attaching to your travel article, along with warnings about shots and diseases.

Sarah Hall Sternglanz, Stony Brook

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