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Letters: More support for Israel from media

Thousands of people rallied on behalf of Israel at the United Nations on Monday. I saw it with my own eyes because I was there. There were congressional representatives addressing the crowd, as well as a large media presence. Yet, reading Newsday, you would think it never happened; not a word or picture to be found!

What you did find room to print was a letter to the editor in which the writer asked why two American citizens died fighting for Israel ["Why were Americans fighting for Israel?" July 29]. Is this supposed to be some sort of unpatriotic act? The writer asked, "Why do we put up with this?"

Clearly, the notion of dual citizenship is something unheard of to the letter writer or Newsday.

The responsibility of a newspaper is to report the news. By not reporting on a major event such as this, Newsday failed its readers.

Lester Bleich, West Hempstead

Editor's note: The letter writer is president of Young Israel of West Hempstead, an Orthodox synagogue.

I find the writer's indignation about Americans fighting for Israel rather amusing. We have a long history of American citizens fighting for foreign causes.

How about the Lafayette Escadrille in World War I, the Flying Tigers in World War II, American volunteers during the Spanish Civil War, and the American pilots flying for the British Royal Air Force before our entry into World War II?

Barnett Behrenfeld, Plainview

Red-light cameras cite 'innocuous' acts

If our elected officials wish to understand the consternation of their constituents regarding the ubiquitous red-light cameras in Nassau County, they only need to look at how the fines are assessed ["Red-light camera extension signed," News, July 23].

While I am not among those who question the efficacy of the cameras in reducing accidents, some fines are based more on revenue than actually preventing traffic accidents.

One example is failing to make a full stop when turning right on red. When there is no traffic coming in either direction on the opposing road, there is no hazard in taking the right on red -- regardless of how many seconds one waits before proceeding.

I served with the New York City Police Department for 32 years and never issued a summons for an action that wasn't hazardous. These cameras afford no discretion; they cite innocuous activities.

This is the type of "gotcha" violation that causes people to lose faith not only in red-light cameras but government in general. Too often we hear that it's all about the insatiable appetite for revenue.

I've been reluctant to bring this matter to governing officials, in the hope that these type of situations, tied primarily to revenue, might be addressed in future legislation. Unfortunately, this program is becoming just another tax.

Eugene Guerin, New Hyde Park

Probation officer helped on cold case

In response to the article "Cold case arrest: DNA links LI man to murders of 2 women, DA says" [News, July 23], I was very disappointed at the lack of acknowledgment of the outstanding work of the Suffolk County probation officer whose work helped lead to a suspect in two killings.

The Probation Department serves an important role in the criminal justice system, one example being the collection of DNA samples from probationers. Senior Probation Officer Elena Mackie demonstrated professionalism and diligence when she collected the required DNA from John Bittrolff's brother, which was the catalyst to possibly solving these two cold cases.

Newsday stories have credited everyone from the state database system, to the county homicide detectives, to the county crime lab and forensic scientists and the district attorney's office, but failed to give deserving recognition to the probation officer who performed the required yet burdensome task of DNA collection that led to the arrest and the potential resolution of this 20-year-old mystery.

Donald T. Grauer, Patchogue

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the Suffolk County Probation Officers Association.

Administrators can improve teaching

Tenure does not protect substandard teachers ["Teacher tenure challenged," News, July 29]. Administrators protect substandard teachers.

If administrators were great at their jobs, there be no substandard teachers. Great administrators have unlimited opportunity to observe new teachers for the first three years. They can dismiss any teacher for any reason during that time.

If an administrator recommends a teacher for tenure, and then later has buyer's remorse, he or she has many ways to help this teacher become highly effective. And if problems persist, this administrator has avenues to dismiss the teacher as long as the teacher receives due process.

Dismissing tenured teachers is now a faster, less complicated and cheaper process.

Beth Shapiro, Oakdale

Editor's note: The writer is a public school teacher.