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Letters: Smithtown's charm is history

Smithtown recently celebrated its 350-year anniversary with a parade down Main Street ["At 350, town puts its founder on a pedestal," News, Sept. 20]. The town unveiled a bronze sculpture commemorating founder Richard Smith.

I grew up in Nassau County on the Queens border. I remember how proud I was to move to Smithtown 15 years ago. It had North Shore charm and small-town feel. Unfortunately, that is now a distant memory.

Smithtown today is reminiscent of a depressed area in Queens. As you walk down Main Street from the corner of Route 111 to the corner of Route 25, where Whisper the Bull stands, many storefronts are boarded up and signs are mismatched or broken. There are undesirable massage parlors and vacant stores. I'm sure we will soon see a check-cashing store open up.

It's time for a new regime in the town. If Town Supervisor Patrick Vechico can go to his office every day and ignore the fact that the town he is responsible for is an eyesore, he needs to vacate office.

Heidi Frigano, Smithtown

Inform LI's plan for future with analysis

Newsday's editorial "#transform LI: A smart bet on science" [Sept. 27], wisely praises the renewed regional approach policymakers, stakeholders and industries are following to "reboot" the region's economy.

However, remember that regional thought is only as effective as its local implementation. Execution of these efforts cannot become dragged down by an overreliance on cheap development buzzwords and concepts. Rather, far-reaching plans must be grounded in careful analysis, data, public input and measured assessment of regional trends. Past efforts on Long Island have failed because they lacked these.

Rich Murdocco, Syosset

Editor's note: The writer blogs about land use at

New York gun law is subjective

While the vast majority of law-abiding U.S. citizens are permitted to have pistols based on the laws of more than 40 Second Amendment-compliant states, New York has manipulated the right to keep and bear arms into a privilege for the rich, influential and active law enforcement ["Retired officers denied gun permits," News, Sept. 30]. Gun control has always been supported by law enforcement unions as long as the laws did not adversely affect their membership.

The "may issue" language of gun licensing in New York enables gun licensure to be politicized and privilege-driven. Political appointees maintain unchecked power to dictate who is granted a pistol permit. There is no obligation for them to justify their decision.

All of this could be easily fixed if New York were to update its discriminatory gun-control laws. New York can join the more than 40 "must issue" states by simply removing the "proper cause" loophole from the law. The result would require that New York adhere to the letter of the law instead of political subjectivity.

Vincent Cristiano, Ronkonkoma

Editor's note: The writer administers the New York State Concealed Carry Advocacy Group website, and is a member of the National Rifle Association.

The duel and demise of Alexander Hamilton

Many historians would disagree with statements made in a letter about Alexander Hamilton ["Hamilton doesn't belong on $10 bill," Sept. 4]. As the letter states, Aaron Burr challenged Hamilton, not vice versa, and Hamilton had an aversion to dueling after his son died in a duel three years earlier. Many believe that Hamilton missed shooting Burr on purpose, which was common in duels.

It's doubtful Hamilton was a poor shot; he served in the Continental Army. Burr was tried for treason in 1807 and acquitted. He went to Europe and tried to meet with Napoleon about a plan to conquer Florida.

Bill Marion, West Babylon

Potholes mar the Wantagh Parkway

I have to disagree with letter "Recent road repairs done conveniently," lauding improvements to South Oyster Bay Road and Hempstead Turnpike [Sept. 28]. The state did a bad job on Wantagh Parkway southbound in the right lane before the Hempstead Turnpike entrance. It's full of potholes.

Bernard Fradkin, Levittown