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Letters: National Grid is heavy-handed

I read with interest the article about a National Grid worker driving to a woman's home seeking to collect her bill payment or shut off her gas ["Her clash with utility," News, Sept. 28].

As someone who has gotten calls when my National Grid bill was even one day late, I can sympathize with Pam Siegman. She was apparently harassed over her bill while dealing with the illness and death of her husband.

National Grid is very heavy-handed in its practices, as this article attests and as many have experienced. I recently sold my home and was supposed to get a final bill from National Grid. When I received two bills on the same day, I called and was told in a rude and condescending manner that only one was payable as the final bill. If I had unwittingly paid both, I wonder whether National Grid would have refunded me? Our government officials should look into this provider.

Michael Tartaglia, Franklin Square

Unions behind LI's high taxes

Many taxpayers are struggling to survive on Long Island ["LI officials: Tax cap's too tight," News, Sept. 29].

The tax cap has been our defense against runaway spending at every level of government. As we view the landscape of police brass paid more than $200,000 and teachers earning more than $100,000, Newsday informs us that these poor people are struggling under the constraints of the tax cap.

The taxpayer is living on a tight budget, so why isn't our public sector? The question is rhetorical. The answer is simple. It's the public-sector unions that finance the campaigns of candidates, who dare not interfere with their ever-increasing salaries.

Laurann Pandelakis, Manhasset

A DA must have trial experience

Medical examiners work closely with prosecutors on homicides and assaults ["Tight race for DA," News, Oct. 5]. As a medical examiner who has testified in court hundreds of times, I cannot imagine ever working with a prosecutor who lacks trial experience.

The district attorney's office needs a qualified lawyer to administer justice -- not an administrator. The district attorney should be selected by a jury of his or her legal peers and appointed by the county executive.

Selection of a district attorney should be apolitical, like the process used to appoint a chief medical examiner. Board-certified forensic pathologist candidates are interviewed by a selection committee of physicians and members of law enforcement. Candidates must have years of clinical experience working in government medical laboratories and conducting death investigations and autopsies.

The county executive eventually makes the appointment based on the committee's recommendation.

The selection of lawyers and doctors to important leadership positions in government should not be a popularity contest decided by lay people.

Dr. Mark L. Taff, West Hempstead

Editor's note: The writer is the former chief medical examiner for Rockland County.

Skeptical of how school treated clock boy

I'm writing in response to the letter about the Texas boy who was arrested because the school believed the clock he made was a bomb ["Texas authorities justified in arrest," Sept. 24].

The writer feels the story was overplayed by the media, and the school was justified. If that's true, the school should be criticized for much more than having the student arrested. If school officials truly believed it was a bomb, why didn't they evacuate the school? Why wasn't the bomb squad called in? Why did they place the "bomb" and the student in the principal's office and then in a police car?

Did school officials really believe it was a bomb? If so, they should be held accountable for jeopardizing student safety.

Lynn Baglio, Mount Sinai

Editor's note: The writer is a retired teacher.

Teach advanced skills to young drivers

The Sept. 25 letter "GM takes lives but does no jail time" suggests that we put General Motors people in jail for the deaths that occurred while driving in their cars.

That's like saying, let's put gun makers in jail for gun deaths. Instead, we should teach our young drivers more advanced skills. Whenever anyone is behind the wheel of a car, he or she should be prepared for anything, such as when a car stalls or a gas pedal sticks. I think a lot of people panic when something like that happens, causing accidents. Better driver training would eliminate this.

Doug Hadgeoff, Holbrook