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Letters: Insurance issues remain post-Sandy

Superstorm Sandy left so much devastation, and flood insurance has been the only remedy for many homeowners ["Push for aid on flood insurance," News, Jan. 8].

Now, with this program $24 billion in debt, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) are resisting efforts to raise rates for this coverage to properly reflect the risk it covers and make the program sustainable. The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, which they support, is intended to offset flood-insurance rate hikes to help homeowners with waterfront property.

If the homeowners who choose to reside in flood zones don't pay an adequate premium, then taxpayers will be forced to foot the bill. When will we as a society be held responsible for our choices?

If I decide to move to Manhattan and maintain a car, but can't afford the auto insurance, should I ask the senators to support an Automobile Insurance Affordability Act?

Robert Biancardi, Valley Stream

I appreciate your coverage of those of us who are still not home since superstorm Sandy ["After Sandy: Rules for rebuilding," News, Jan. 13].

My house in Freeport was flooded, with structural damage from the storms Irene and Sandy. We received a loan from the Small Business Administration after Irene. After Sandy, which destroyed my home and our cars with unprecedented flooding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the SBA would not help us. My insurance company stated that the home's foundation was damaged because the earth moved, not that the house moved.

I am grateful for the New York Rising Housing Recovery Program. However, despite passing all verifications and receiving an award from New York Rising, my assistance to rebuild has not arrived.

I cannot keep living like this. We need continued coverage by the media and pressure on officials so we are not forgotten.

We cannot stay suspended in helplessness. Paying a mortgage and not living in the house cannot continue.

The real problem is why, if I paid for insurance, did I not get my full coverage? I should be on my way to repairing my home already.

Ann-Marie Farrell, Lynbrook

In-flight phones won't be banned

The airlines will never ban cellphones so long as there is an opportunity for them to make more money ["Airlines should still ban cellphones," Letters, Jan. 7].

For now, they just don't know whom to charge: those who want the quiet seat, or those who want the privilege of speaking on their phones during the flight.

Rick Vitelli, Farmingdale

Inspired by pledge against drugs

The article about the 130 Smithtown middle and high school students pledging to live alcohol- and drug-free was very inspiring .

I am ecstatic that these students pledge not to put that crap in their bodies. Reading that a 16-year-old girl, Alexandra Berti, came up with the idea for the pledge and art project was also awe-inspiring.

If more youth chose to be bold and live without substance use, then the world would be a much better place.

Matthew Smith, Plainview

Argument against life support callous

I found Arthur Caplan's opinion piece about 13-year-old Jahi McMath coldhearted and offensive ["Case against care for the brain dead," Opinion, Jan. 10].

Yes, he made his opposition to artificial life support in this case very clear, with scientific facts and theories. But this bioethics professor clearly missed one gargantuan fact: Young Jahi is not a scientific theory but a human being, and so too are her parents human.

Whether or not her heart is beating artificially, she is not a "corpse," as he so callously refers to her!

My best friend recently lost her young son in a car accident, and I can assure you the depth of force of that shock is far stronger than an earthquake or hurricane. Love breaks all the rules and boundaries of science.

Jahi's parents had every right to move their precious girl from the hospital they felt did this, and to get a second opinion -- or possibly a miracle.

How distasteful to imply it is a waste of society's money. It's the parents' right, not a doctor's, to decide when to let their daughter go, and they deserve that.

Carolyn Mann, Massapequa

Snowden deserves trial for treason

The letters from supporters of Edward Snowden were pretty misguided ["In defense of the NSA leaker," Jan. 14].

People seem to favor giving this traitor some kind of medal.

I say he should be tried for treason. What he did was akin to giving top-secret information to enemies of America. I am a proud Vietnam veteran. I know what it is to fight for my country.

Snowden didn't like what his country was doing; in his opinion, we were doing something wrong, so he decided to steal documents that he swore under oath to protect.

There is no punishment severe enough for this traitor. Otherwise anyone working with sensitive material would feel free to give up our secrets.

Paul Coonelly, North Babylon