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LETTERS: Ex-Sen. D'Amato touches a nerve

Shame on former Sen. Alfonse D'Amato for suggesting that public schools "rape and pillage" communities ["D'Amato offends some with speech," News, Nov. 20]. Such comment suggests that all educators, and even all public employees, are immoral and dishonest.

As a public servant himself, D'Amato accepted a sizable salary with impressively generous senatorial perks and is now collecting his retirement pension.

Mr. D'Amato, as they say, those who live in glass houses, should not throw stones. And those who work in schools are not our enemies.

Joel Ratner

East Meadow

Editor's note: The writer is the music coordinator for the Brentwood school district.

Former Sen. D'Amato blamed unions and public workers' pensions for high taxes and budget woes.

However, he is one of the many retired public officials who enjoys a pension and benefits that are even greater than the pensions of union and public workers. The politicians in Washington are responsible for the pork-barrel projects and waste and mismanagement that led to the economic crisis that the United States is trying to deal with today.

This is not a great way to say thank you to the people who elected him. I attended a conference a number of years ago where D'Amato was seeking the support of teachers when he was running for the Senate. Today, I would like to ask him, "Et tu, Brute?"

James Moran


So D'Amato used some salty words in a speech - how unbecoming. But, apparently the salt was for the meat of his speech, which, I for one, have been waiting 30 years to hear from a politician.

We on Long Island have had our school taxes on turbo drive for far too long. The ever-increasing school costs have made it impossible for the counties to raise taxes to cover the cost of operating a civil society. This, in itself, might not be a bad thing, but not when another part of the equation is levying taxes that make it virtually impossible for the Island's young adults to buy homes here.

Schoolteachers, and administrators in particular, and those who have been giving our money away with impunity should realize they have become a real problem. Givebacks should be the order of the day.

Where are our elected officials, who purportedly represent the people, on union excesses? We know the extreme political left is the friend of unions in all thing positive for them, and the unions use their members' dues to ensure the candidates who will be beholden to them are elected. But, what about the people? Who represents us? Candidates cannot be elected on union votes alone.

Michael Aneiro


I never thought I would be on the same side of an issue as "Senator Pothole," but former Sen. D'Amato's comments were spot on. Blaming unions and public worker pensions for our high taxes and budget problems he managed to do two things: upset John Durso, head of the Long Island Federation of Labor and some school officials, and bring to light the most important initiative this state must address to solve our many economic problems - the phasing out of all publicly funded pensions.

Pensions for public employees were born during the Great Depression, but considering current salaries and other perks these employees receive, the pensions are no longer needed or affordable, especially when New York State guarantees an 8 percent (last year 7.5 percent) annual return. There is no reason why public employees can't provide for their retirement years the way most of us do, with self-directed IRA and 401(k) accounts. Enough already. I do not want teachers' hands or police hands in my pockets any longer.

Write to State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli if you agree. It would take a constitutional amendment, but phasing out this unaffordable system over five years is doable. Maybe then our children will be able to afford to live on Long Island.

Steve Haar


I feel that Sen. D'Amato was way off base with his comments. Does he care to disclose how much his civil service pension is after only 18 years?

Regarding his taxes, welcome to the club, Senator. All things being equal, his $28,000 in taxes for his 4,800 square feet in Lido Beach is comparable to the $7,000 I pay for my 1,200-square-foot Levitt ranch.

Joel Beckerman