New solution needed on Asharoken access
Now that the wind and waves have done their worst, it is time to rethink the folly of spending more millions trying to hold back the Long Island Sound with a few rocks and a sea wall that really do not do the job . How many times, and how much money, does it take to make a point?
It is time to consider elevating this portion of the road and letting the water go under during bad storms. Mother Nature will have her way, and mere man cannot deny her.
John F. Dornheim
Judge right to rule for 9/11 responders
Thank you, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein, for throwing out the unsuitable parameters of the settlement for the 10,000 responders of 9/11 . We do not want to get rich; that will not heal the sick or bring back the dead. All we want is permanent federal funding for our medical care and medications, and compensation for our families if we should subsequently die of our illnesses.
We want our country to acknowledge that we became sick from the airborne toxins at the World Trade Center site, and to now take care of those who sacrificed their health without hesitation, not leaving the site until the job was done.
Sean P. Kelly
Editor's note: The writer is a retired New York City firefighter.
Educator's sarcasm raised doubts
As a concerned citizen who happens to hold the opposing view, I sympathize with a recent writer's frustration at being on the short end of the recent health care issue, if one can infer such from his biting criticism of the process .
However, as a former assistant principal and before that, a chemistry teacher who taught biology from time to time, I understand the fine line that can separate political proselytizing from objective teaching in a fair and balanced way. It is my hope that the writer, who offers himself as a practicing educator and school leader, understands where that line lies. The sarcastic manner in which he presents his values leaves room for doubt.
Alan R. Lichtenstein
Student loan takeover was stealth maneuver
What does taking over the student loan business have to do with health care? Oh, you didn't know that was included in this bill? Well, it is "New student loan law a mixed bag?" News, March 26]. The federal government is taking thousands of jobs in the private sector and creating them in Washington. We do not need more government overhead. The deficit is already out of control.
The student loan takeover is a big enough issue that it should have had its own public debate. Again, where is the transparency that was promised? Instead, it quietly gets slipped into a bill on health care.
Assessment flaws hide the real problem
The Nassau County assessment system and its accuracy have been used continuously by politicians to distract taxpayers from the real cause of rising taxes . The assessment system's only purpose is to determine what size slice of the overall budgetary pie each taxpayer will be required to pay. As long as the budgetary pie continues to increase at a rate faster than inflation, county taxpayers will bear an increasingly large tax burden.
Local politicians were more than happy to point toward rising property values and therefore rising assessments as the cause for the increasing tax burden. Now, property values and assessments have plummeted and taxpayers are paying even higher taxes. Rather than focusing on the real cause of the tax increases and finding ways to reduce the burden, the focus is again shifted toward the assessment system.
The assessment system may be flawed or even broken; however, the reason Nassau residents are paying one of the highest tax rates in the country has very little to do with the number of bathrooms listed on their assessments. It is time for county politicians and local school districts to focus on reducing overall spending and stop using the assessment system as a scapegoat for unsustainable tax increases.
SUNY tuition bill draws kudos, barbs
I wholeheartedly agree with SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher that it's time for the state universities to have greater control over their finances "Cut the cord and let SUNY soar," Opinion, March 19]. The status quo will result in continued tuition increases and, perhaps more important, our higher education system failing to live up to its potential.
The Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act would help us use tuition money for its intended purpose: to maximize education by improving and expanding programs, facilities and faculty. It would end the practice of using SUNY tuition dollars to plug state budget gaps and protect students from dramatic spikes in tuition.
Our sons and daughters here on Long Island, many from modest backgrounds, deserve affordable, high-quality college education. It's critical that our three state universities on Long Island offer even greater opportunities for our children, and encourage them to stay here both for college and after college.
Editor's note: The writer is president of Bethpage Federal Credit Union.
A recent column touting the so-called Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act doesn't tell the real story. SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher claims the act would produce new revenue to support SUNY and the ability to create 2,000 faculty positions. But where would this newfound revenue come from? It would come from students and their parents in the form of higher tuition.
The act would allow SUNY to hike tuition by as much as 10 percent, and permit individual campuses to set their own "differential" tuition rates above that percentage. That costly combination would put a higher education out of reach for thousands of New York families. The chancellor portrays those who oppose the act as critics who defend the status quo when change is necessary. But the kind of change being proposed would be dangerously counterproductive.
Phillip H. Smith
Editor's note: The writer is president of United University Professions.
Protesters' behavior puts GOP in bad light
What a colossal contradiction. Sen. John Boehner delivers a tirade in the halls of Congress, the n-word is directed against black members of Congress, homophobic verbal attacks are made against others, disrespectful barbs are thrown at President Barack Obama, protesters behave like an unruly mob. Doesn't all this clearly contradict the Republican Party's posture as the party of morality, law-abiding citizens and upholders of religious values?