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Letter: Was well-paid deputy police commissioner the only option?

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart with James

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart with James Skopek, right, at a news conference on June 29. Credit: John Roca

Your story explains that James Skopek, the man hired as first deputy commissioner to Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart in June, is well qualified for his new job [“Police deputy earning $309G,” News, Oct. 14]. Skopek received a waiver from the state Civil Service Commission to work for Suffolk because he collects pension benefits from his days as a Nassau County and NYPD police officer.

Was anyone else considered for this job who is not collecting a police pension? And why are police and other civil servants allowed to build up overtime the year before they intend to retire to increase their pensions? County employees are entitled to fair pay for a dangerous job, but eventually every taxpayer has to pay increased taxes to continue this system of generous pensions and large payouts for unused vacation and sick time.

If Suffolk Legis. Robert Trotta recognizes that the compensation system is broken, who on the state or local level is responsible for fixing it?

William O’Brien, Massapequa

Saudi rights abuses are awkward for U.S.

Now is the time for politicians to abandon their ideological biases and support Trump administration efforts to curtail Iran’s ability to create nuclear havoc. I’m referring to bipartisan howling for abandonment of diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia after the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi [“Khashoggi death: Blaming the victim,” Letters, Oct. 25].

That would be the easy political course for President Donald Trump, but he has chosen to take the predictable hit for doing the practical thing and considering the safety of Americans.

Without the Saudis, who stand ready to ramp up oil production, we could not sanction Iran’s oil sales, the only effective way to contain its ambitions. The clamor for punishment of Saudi Arabia ignores far worse rights abuses by Russia and China. Trump critics realize the impracticality of a divorce from those nations, so they go for the low-hanging fruit of the Saudi tree.

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger used the term “realpolitik.” It means not cutting off your nose to spite your face. Instead of ragging on Trump, we should be grateful he’s willing to take the political hit to stymie Iran.

Steven Landis, Hampton Bays

In “What not to do about Khashoggi,” columnist Ted R. Bromund warns that punishing the Saudis for the brutal murder of a journalist would isolate Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally, resulting in a greater Iranian influence in the region [Opinion, Oct. 21].

Saudi Arabia is a medieval country responsible for Islamic extremism and terrorism. Human rights abuses, unjust imprisonment and torture are common. Let us not forget that Osama bin Laden and 15 other Saudis caused the horror of 9/11.

Nevertheless, this administration will wait for the furor to subside and go back to business as usual. Iran is the next target as the Iraq debacle is forgotten.

The United States will continue to buy Saudi oil, sell that nation more weapons to further its war crimes in Yemen, and our morally corrupt president will look for any reason to protect the Saudi royals.

Jack Pepitone, West Hempstead


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