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LETTERS: Health care, civics lessons and more

Bravo for passage of health care reform

Congratulations to Congress on passing health care reform . American presidents since Teddy Roosevelt have fought to provide health care to all Americans. This Congress has finally made this a reality.

The process has been messy and improvements will be needed in the future, but the United States has taken a giant step into the 21st century.

Robert Kleinman

Port Washington


Congress provided dubious civics lesson

As a former social studies teacher and current high school principal, I would like to know if Congress now intends to provide additional federal assistance to school districts for new purchases of U.S. history and government textbooks.

Thanks to the convoluted and rule-bending process that gave birth to the new health care legislation, Congress has forever rendered obsolete the time-honored chapters in existing textbooks on "How a bill becomes a law." In addition, schools will now have to devote an extended amount of staff development time so social studies teachers can create new instruction plans that will hopefully be able to explain this "new and improved" section on how a bill becomes law.

Thank you Congress, for a civics lesson that we will never forget!

Jay Matuk

Miller Place

Who's crying now?

Regarding "Communities in crisis expect more from Steve Levy" [News, March 18]: Isn't it ironic that for the past several months, many of these same communities now meeting to discuss the recent rise in crime were bashing the police department and the county executive, calling them names and demanding sensitivity training? The crowds at a meeting in Brentwood started chanting "Where is Levy?" Now, their outcries turn to cries for help. Now, instead of demands for sensitivity training of the police, the demand is for a police presence.

Common sense could see the correlation between bashing the police and a rise in crime. Maybe some community organizers should work with the police before they bash them.

Barney Chiarello Jr.



Eminent domain is key to fight blight

"Controversial condemnation" [News, March 9] painted eminent domain with a strongly negative hue. It emphasized the "seizing of private properties . . . to pave the way for developers to build . . . other private properties," while ignoring land owners who refuse to maintain abandoned parcels where litter and junk accumulate. These blighted eyesores prevent economic vitality in our commercial corridors and present dangers to the health and safety of their commercial and residential neighbors.

One has only to contrast the revitalized Bay Shore and Patchogue downtowns, where the use and the threat of eminent domain were judiciously applied, to downtown Riverhead, where eminent domain is not considered and whose revitalization has long been promised but never realized.

Eminent domain should not and, in fact, cannot be employed capriciously. It should only be used when all other approaches fail. But what is a community to do when an owner refuses to sell his empty, rotting and dangerous property? Its use, or at least the possibility of its use, must remain a tool for those committed to the revitalization of blighted commercial corridors.

Jim Morgo


Editor's note: The writer is economic development coordinator for Brookhaven.


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