Your lead editorial on Sunday, "Mad As hell," expressed exactly how I and many of my friends feel -- helpless with the total lack of morality in our elected officials. What kind of world will our grandchildren inherit?
Lois Meierhof, East Meadow
Two simple steps would begin to address the problem: public funding of campaigns and term limits. We are in a chicken-and-egg conundrum.
Politicians don't relish fundraising to finance their campaigns. However, with the cost of campaigns increasing they need to get money. We end up with a "he who has the gold rules" environment.
Politicians, however, have created the "club government" atmosphere. They like trappings of being in office. It becomes their rationale for everything, as opposed to really governing. So the rules support their continuing tenure, just look at election district gerrymandering!
The lust for continuous and increasing power, along with the seniority system, has bastardized our representative form of government. We need to return to the citizen legislator. Term limits will do that.
Bob Detor, Port Washington
How much more can Nassau homeowners take? It seems almost every day for the past month, Newsday has published scandal after scandal regarding the fraud, waste and corruption in Nassau County government. The latest quid pro quo for campaign donations is tax-reduction firms getting big fees for reduced assessment services.
Instead of fixing a broken system, Nassau County government allows further benefits for politically connected firms. Fees for these services have grown into the millions. Of course, if the settlement favors the homeowner, Nassau County receives less property taxes. Some say it is the way government works. No, it is the way government doesn't work.
Until residents demand integrity in our government at every level, the cheat goes on. The cheat goes on and on . . .
Anthony Mignone, Massapequa Park
I strongly agree with Newsday's editorial about the anxiety of Americans.
People know the economy is changing, yet their paychecks remain static, super PACs are drowning out their voices in Washington, and the elite are amassing more wealth and power while the majority of Americans are forced to tread faster than ever just to stay afloat.
Fortunately, there are pragmatic solutions. Here's a start: First, drastic campaign finance reform requiring overt disclosure of donations to all super PACs. Second, cap interest on college loans so the next generation isn't saddled with debt. Third, prohibit American companies from intentionally relocating abroad to escape paying taxes and use those funds to create jobs at home and rebuild our crumbling roads, bridges and commuter transit.
The anxiety Americans feel is historic, but the solutions are out there if our leaders are only bold enough to look.
Rep. Steve Israel, Huntington
Editor's note: The writer represents is New York's 3rd Congressional District.
Thank you for Newsday's excellent investigative reporting and bringing these stories to the public. It is time to put an end to these elected and nonelected officials' shenanigans. We are mad as hell and we are not going to take this anymore!
Alfred Roldan, Lake Grove
Big money corrupts public education
As I read your "Mad as hell" editorial, I looked in vain for a reference to another imposition of big money and corrupted politicians on little people and their angry response to it: the current mania for high-stakes testing as a club with which to beat up public education and the response in the form of the opt-out movement.
Just to put this in your format:
It's teachers and parents and students being victimized by the big money behind testing companies like Pearson Education and the charter school movement.
It's children traumatized by test questions beyond their grade level. It's teachers being judged by invalid "value added modeling" scores instead of by their administrators who know them best.
The "Quick hit" editorial on the same page, "Just too much homework," adds irony to your omission by criticizing the amount of homework given to children in lower grades. If your job depended on how the children in your care did on a standardized test over which you had no control, wouldn't you try to be sure they all did as well as possible on it?
I am a retired high school English teacher, but I am also a mother and grandmother, and I ache for the abuse that New York State's testing program -- implemented without proper preparation or teacher input, shoved down the throats of children, parents, and teachers -- is causing.
Ellen Solow Holzman, Roslyn Heights
Don't allow bow hunting to cull deer
I cannot believe what I read about longbow hunting to address overpopulation of deer in Eatons Neck and Asharoken ["Residents debate deer hunting proposal," News, Aug. 12].
Besides bow hunting being cruel, inhumane and ultimately ineffective, it seems quite obvious that the possibility of accidents occurring far outweighs any temporary solution the town and residents may seek.
How can the town consider allowing residents to hunt deer on their own property? What about the person who accidentally shoots a neighbor's beloved pet, or worse, his beloved neighbor?
Marianne Shaw, Kings Park