Kudos to the Suffolk County Legislature for banning the sale of powdered caffeine to anyone 18 or younger ["Powdered caffeine restricted," News, Oct. 8].

This follows other significant safety regulations that have made for safer childhoods and healthier lives. The next big step should be the elimination of tackle football in school through 12th grade, and among other organizations that use municipal facilities to play this sport.

Collisions are the mainstay of the sport, and the evidence has shown that subtle damage done to the brain is more common than previously imagined. We must do all we can to protect our children, our most valuable assets.

Dr. Stephen Parles, Smithtown

Regulate, don't prosecute, sex work

The Oct. 8 news story " 'Flush the Johns' charge dropped" illustrates the waste of money spent on prostitution arrests, prosecution and court time.

I'm not discussing moral conduct, as that is between the person and God, not our legal system. Make all the laws you want, spend money to enforce the laws, and tie up the courts to push morality -- which is impossible -- prostitution has been around for more than 2,000 years. I would not desire my granddaughters to become sex workers, but I can understand why some young women do.

I suggest that all sex workers be licensed to work out of their homes or a house, not the streets. All must be physically examined by a doctor monthly and be drug free. All sex workers should work for themselves without pimps, and all should be required to invest 20 percent of their income in a retirement fund.

Clifford P. Woodrick, Moriches

Candidates duck debates, hurt voters

The League of Women Voters conducts nonpartisan, informative and fair candidate debates, which we define as events that include at least two candidates ["Meet the candidates," News, Oct. 14]. The debates are staged to allow candidates to appear face to face and respond to one other.

This was the format the League of Women Voters of Nassau County arranged for the candidates vying for Rep. Carolyn McCarthy's 4th Congressional District seat. This event was to have taken place at Hofstra University on Tuesday.

However, the debate didn't happen. Democratic candidate Kathleen Rice accepted while Republican Bruce Blakeman did not. The league found itself in the same position last year while organizing a forum for the Nassau County executive race. Same format, same venue, one candidate said yes, one said no. This trend is troubling to the league, as it should be to all voters in Nassau County.

Let's hope that in future races, voters will have the opportunity to witness two or more candidates together, putting forth their firmly held beliefs, allowing voters to choose between them, and proudly acting as the embodiment of democracy in America.

To lose this opportunity is a disservice to our citizens and frustrating for the league.

Jane Thomas and Nancy Rosenthal, Port Washington

Editor's note: The writers are the co-presidents of the League of Women Voters of Nassau County.

Appropriate measures in special education

I'm responding to "Some students being set up to fail" [Opinion, Sept. 29] by state Board of Regents member Roger Tilles.

I'm a retired special education teacher, and I agree that special education students are set up for failure. All students can learn; however, it's not taken into account that students learn at different rates. Success in learning should be measured against a student's innate ability.

A student classified with a borderline IQ level should not be tortured by being forced to take standardized tests. Students are entitled to an appropriate education.

With the abundance of knowledge we have regarding special education and how students learn, giving these students and teachers maximum support should be the new mandate.

Denise Cato, Uniondale

Family with 5 tickets should slow down

To the letter writer who complained that her family had received five speeding tickets because of school zone cameras -- slow down! ["School speeding tickets vexing," Oct. 2] Can't you and yours read the signs? Don't blame anybody but yourselves.

Joseph Schaal, Coram

To the woman who wrote that her family had accumulated five speed-camera tickets in just two weeks, maybe if they slowed down and obeyed the law, they wouldn't have tickets, the public would not have to pay for cameras, and, oh yes, maybe children would be safer on our roads.

Nancy Johnston, Commack

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