Officers should pay part of damages
A Hempstead resident, Abel Alvarenga Vasquez, received a $4.5 million settlement in a 2015 case because of police using unnecessary force ["Slammed into car, disabled for life," News, March 31].
That award was funded by the taxpayers, one of many such cases: Breonna Taylor ($12 million), Eric Garner ($5.9 million) and George Floyd ($27 million).
Do taxpayers deserve these penalties? Financial damages are supposed to be a disincentive to commit the act again. We pay, and the offending officers go on their way, with no financial penalty.
Suppose the responsible officers were included in the awards, and instead of being assigned to desk duty, the officers’ pensions were reduced by half, and salary and benefits garnished by, say, one-third to supplement the award. Would that be a disincentive for those officers and other bad apples and make them think a bit harder when confronted with these situations? Would the officers consider that "if I do this, it’s going to cost me dearly, from a financial standpoint."
The vast majority of good police officers have nothing to fear from this suggestion. And the bad ones, well, if the shoe fits . . .
Bill Bernstein, Dix Hills
State vote bolsters children in poverty
Some 325,000 of New York’s children are living in poverty because of the pandemic. And 4,200 children in New York State have lost a parent or caregiver. Adding this to the 712,000 children already in poverty before the pandemic spells out a crisis for New York’s most vulnerable children ["Rolling Out $212B NY budget," News, April 7].
Children experiencing poverty are more likely to suffer negative physical, emotional and developmental consequences and are more likely to live in poverty as adults. Lifting children out of poverty now would give them a chance at a healthier, brighter and more successful future.
New York State is home to the second-highest number of billionaires in the country, yet New York children are more likely to live in poverty than in 32 other states. We have a moral imperative to address this crisis. Taxing the wealthiest New Yorkers will ensure the revenue for resources our children need.
The governor and State Legislature should be applauded for their commitment to lift New York’s children out of poverty. This indeed was not the time to cut the vital support struggling children rely on, but the time to recommit to them.
Dr. Eve Krief, Centerport
Editor’s note: The writer is legislative chair of the New York American Academy of Pediatrics Chapter 2.
Consolidating LI water providers? A bad idea
The real problem isn’t the number of water suppliers in Nassau County, it is the pricing/taxing structure of one investor-owned water supplier ["Public fix for private water," Editorial, March 31]. If the issues are resolved, the discussion of consolidation becomes null and void, as putting all water providers under one umbrella solves nothing.
When has an all-encompassing Long Island utility proved it is more effective at providing service than a smaller one? Need we remind everyone of the failures of PSEG Long Island during Tropical Storm Isaias?
Consolidating water providers does not mean we need fewer water mains, wells or treatment facilities. There are little to no economies of scale in this regard. It also likely means the cost of water will go up for the majority of Long Islanders due to the significant debt burden. Why should the vast majority of residents who are happy with their water provider subsidize the cost for the buyout of another? What does the average resident gain?
Water is important, and consolidating control could be scary. The current structure provides accountability and responsiveness, things that can be lost with one overarching utility.
Andrew N. Bader, Plainview
Editor’s note: The writer is Long Island Water Conference chairman and executive board member of Nassau Suffolk Water Commissioners’ Association.
Nassau shouldn’t follow Suffolk bike bill
The Suffolk County Legislature, to me, was wrong to pass the 3-foot bicycle bill, and it should not become a law ["Bellone must sign 3-foot bicycle bill," Letters, March 25].
And Nassau County should not ever follow what I view as a misguided act of motorist discrimination. Bicycles on Long Island should be left as recreation and not as transportation.
I believe bicyclists should stick to riding at the many public parks all over Long Island.
When a cyclist takes classes on how to ride, takes and passes a proficiency test, pays for a registered license, pays to register a bicycle and pays for vehicle insurance as motorists do, then and only then should they be able to share roads intended for motorists.
No bicycle-vehicle fatalities happen on any of the 50 states’ bicycle paths in public parks. It is only when cyclists attempt to share roadways with authorized motor vehicles that accidents occur. I view this bill, under the guise of misplaced safety, as absolutely unfair to licensed drivers.
Bill Alderman, East Meadow