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Letters: Fate of Freeport Armory

The Freeport Armory has been on the village's radar for municipal purposes for some time ["Stop Hooper's armory plan," Editorial, July 2]. The importance of securing it became much greater after superstorm Sandy devastated our public works complex. It's important to move the department out of a flood hazard zone.

Newsday correctly points out that the intergovernmental transfer of obsolete armories has benefited other municipalities on Long Island, and Freeport would make good use of this one.

What makes the Village of Freeport's argument for the armory even more compelling is the fact that when New York State sought the land for the training of personnel for defense, the village conveyed the property to the state for $100 by a resolution on May 17, 1949.

The only logical thing for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to do is veto the bill from Deputy Assemb. Speaker Earlene Hooper (D-Hempstead) and return the favor to Freeport residents by giving us the opportunity to acquire the land that our citizens dutifully gave to the state in our country's time of need 65 years ago.

William H. White Jr., Freeport

Editor's note: The writer is the village's deputy mayor.

Whatever decision Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo reaches regarding the former Freeport Armory, one story should be added to history. The late Sen. Norman J. Levy (R-Merrick) did not want either the Village of Freeport or a private entity to take possession of the armory; he wanted it to remain open.

Especially following the 1990 nor'easters that impacted his South Shore district, Levy wanted a mobilization center close enough the water, and safe from its waves, a central location that high-axle vehicles and reservists could access with ease. He wanted a place where residents could seek shelter and supplies, and following a storm, an operations center for state agencies.

I served as one of the senator's lead staff people on the senate's defense diversification plans during those years, and I recall being directed to notify the Village of Freeport that he would not support a transfer to the village.

Kevin Mulrooney, Williston Park

Headstones larger for Palestinians

Kudos to Jimmy Margulies for the editorial cartoon depicting the tombstones of both Israeli and Palestinian civilians ["Finding common ground in the Mideast," July 7]. Usually, in the United States, more media coverage is given to Israeli deaths than to those of Palestinians.

However, if Margulies' cartoon were drawn to an accurate scale reflecting the real number of those killed, the Palestinian tombstone would be six times larger than the Israeli one. According to If Americans Knew, a nonprofit research organization, at least 6,878 Palestinians and 1,110 Israelis have been killed since September 2000.

Remember, the state of Israel has an army, navy, and air force for its defense, all mostly supplied by the United States. Palestinians do not even have a state, let alone regular military forces for their defense.

Much more coverage would help Americans understand why so many Palestinians are angry at both Israel and the United States.

Ed Ciaccio, Douglaston

Teacher tenure bars arbitrary action

Regarding Anne Michaud's column, "Challenge to teacher tenure revs up" [Opinion, July 2], tenure is a necessary safeguard that allows good teachers to speak freely as professionals on behalf of their students and their families.

In New York, teachers earn tenure after three years -- during which time thousands leave the profession. Once a school board grants tenure, however, it only confers the right to a fair hearing before an impartial third party. This due process of law -- the same underpinning that shields police officers, firefighters and other public servants from nepotism, favoritism, patronage and arbitrary dismissal -- is the linchpin of our judicial system and is grounded in the U.S. Constitution.

History shows tenure's basic protections are necessary. Because of tenure, teachers are able to speak freely on public policy issues, like the effects of poverty and over-testing on student learning.

Andy Pallotta, Albany

Editor's note: The writer is the executive vice president of the New York State United Teachers union.

Tenure is not, should not, and was never intended to protect teachers who engage in sexual or other misconduct. It is intended to protect competent teachers from the threat of arbitrary or capricious dismissal, and that's what it does every day.

Without the due process rights afforded them under tenure laws, teachers could be fired for questioning the decisions of administrators, assigning low grades to the children of Board of Education trustees or influential community members, participating in political or union activity, or -- gasp! -- making too much money.

Frederic Stark, Oceanside

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the Hewlett-Woodmere teachers union.