In response to columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. ["Let's talk about 'black on black' crime," Opinion, Nov. 30], as a current Nassau County police officer for almost 21 years, the last thing this "snow white" police officer wants to do is end my day having to shoot anyone, let alone a black person.
If Pitts, along with other short-sighted people who continually refer to Michael Brown as an unarmed African-American man, doesn't recall, Brown just moments before his death stole from a store. On videotape no less, he shoved the person he had just stolen from in a bullying fashion. He also acted aggressively toward Officer Darren Wilson, which to Pitts' apparent ignorance or chagrin, was backed up by at least six black witnesses.
Trust me, not one officer alive wants to have to do what Wilson had to do that day. What would really help relations between law enforcement and the public would be if people would comply with lawful orders. This would prevent tragedies like the ones we've seen too often lately. We all want to go home to our families at the end of the day.
Robert Tedeschi, Levittown
There's a much more effective way to redress wrongs than shouting, blocking traffic and burning down your neighborhood ["Ferguson: National Guard tripled after fires and looting," News, Nov. 26].
Only 42 percent of the eligible voters in Ferguson participated in the last election. That's the method: voting!
Fred Zuckerberg, East Hills
Newsday is presenting only one side of the story: that Michael Brown was a poor innocent and Officer Darren Wilson was the bad guy ["Ferguson shooting: No charges," News, Nov. 25]. I would like to see Brown's apparent criminal activity addressed.
It's a shame to promote the race issue instead of the fact that a police officer was attacked, as the facts seem to indicate.
Ray Dawson, Huntington
President Barack Obama went on TV to call for lawful assembly after the grand jury's decision in Ferguson, Missouri.
However, these were many of the same people who burned and desecrated businesses and properties immediately after the shooting of Michael Brown. Did Obama expect totally different behavior this time around?
In the same breath, he asked law enforcement officials to respond with caution and restraint and to do everything possible to avoid confrontation. The results speak for themselves. This is what happens when police officers are hindered from taking action.
Marty Orenstein, New Hyde Park
Stealth taxes are coming at residents
With hardly any input from residents, Oyster Bay sneaked through an 8.8 percent town tax hike that not only raises our taxes, but will make us ineligible for the state tax rebate next year, as the town has exceeded the 2 percent tax cap ["A cowardly way to raise taxes," Editorial, Nov. 21].
Next the Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District will attempt to pass a $49.8-million bond referendum on Dec. 9, which also would raise taxes $19.90 per $100 of assessed valuation. Why hold the vote in December and not in May, together with the school budget vote? Or why not on this past Election Day?
I believe the school district wants the vote on a date most residents don't know about, to give the referendum the best chance of passing. The items in this referendum belong in the regular school budget, and this referendum is a ploy to circumvent the tax cap.
Residents of Plainview, wake up.
Steven Factor, Plainview
Colleges downplay SATs and ACTs
Hofstra University is one of a number of colleges that are dropping the SAT and ACT as a requirement for admission, finally realizing that the best predictor of success in college is success in high school.
Ironically, while colleges across the country are softening requirements for standardized testing, middle and high schools on Long Island are smothering their students with them.
This "strategy" of preparing our students for college by relying on standardized testing is both flawed and foolish.
Some students just don't test well. Good for schools like Hofstra for recognizing this. It's time for our edu-crats in Albany to pull their heads out of the sand long enough to see the beginning of the end of standardized testing.
Lee Nober, Old Bethpage
Editor's note: The writer teaches at Walt Whitman High School and Farmingdale State College.
Nagging calls a source of irritation
What can I do to stop all these unwanted phone calls? I've put my phone numbers on the "do not call" list, but it seems that I am receiving more calls now than ever.
I get an average of five calls a day for home-alert systems and to lower my credit card rates. There has to be a way to avoid these calls.
I know I'm not alone. Is there something I can do other than turn off my phones?
Frank Danulevith, Massapequa Park