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Newsday letters to the editor for Monday, April 9, 2018

Former North Hempstead Democratic Party leader Gerard Terry

Former North Hempstead Democratic Party leader Gerard Terry in custody at the Nassau County Courthouse in August 2016. Credit: Howard Schnapp

I find it laughable and sad that more than 100 letters were written to U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert in support of a more lenient sentence for former North Hempstead Democratic Party head Gerard Terry, who pleaded guilty to 15 years’ of tax evasion [“Supporters appeal to Terry judge,” News, April 1].

These letters were submitted by current and former public officials who defended his character and his “integrity as a community leader,” and who found him to be remorseful. Are they kidding?

Terry evaded taxes, as the story said, “using schemes that included government workers, a law firm and a business.” Because of his guilty plea, the public may never know the extent of his crookedness. He held six public positions at the same time. As a party leader in North Hempstead, he failed to file the required financial disclosure forms for 25 years!

Shame on the officials and community leaders who wrote letters of support for this man. What kind of message do they send to the public, particularly young people looking to have careers in public service?

Wendi Stranieri, Huntington

The local political class has demonstrated that its members stand behind one of their own, and not the taxpayers and residents they are supposed to represent.

Gerard Terry will be sentenced in federal court on May 11 after pleading guilty to intentionally avoiding payment of nearly $1 million in taxes between 2000 and 2015.

Terry failed to pay taxes on income he earned from multiple government jobs, which he got based on his position as a powerful political leader. While Terry was living off tax dollars paid by the public, he deliberately refused to pay his taxes for years. The result is the rest of us had to pay what we owed and what he owed.

Is this the “rare skill set” that Rep. Thomas Suozzi views as admirable in his letter to the judge? Our federal, state and local leaders who now ask the court to be lenient in sentencing Terry should be ashamed of themselves.

Michael Chartan, Great Neck

Be careful in sizing up older drivers

Concerning Nathaniel Bullard’s op-ed on older drivers, shame on him for using such disingenuous terms [“America is getting older, and so are its drivers,” Opinion, March 24].

He wrote that older drivers are “potentially less aware.” I challenge him to a mental acuity and driver’s skill contest any time. Remember, where you are, older people have been.

Gregory DiBenedetto, Melville

Schools share crisis prevention ideas

I read with great sadness the April 2 news story “Threats spike at LI schools.”

We are living in a time like no other in history. Threats to the health and well-being of our children come in so many forms. Now, yes, school shootings.

However, as the media provide what is sometimes too much coverage about school violence, they simultaneously provide too little, if any coverage of the local, statewide and national prevention and preparedness programs in our schools.

I retired in 2015 after 38 years as a school psychologist at Elwood-John Glenn High School. With several concerned colleagues, I formed the Long Island School Practitioner Action Network. It is an all-volunteer consortium of 28 Long Island school districts, including all three Long Island BOCES, with the mission to spread news about best practices in crisis prevention, intervention and care afterward.

We started almost three years ago with a handful of courageous districts. We continue to grow as administrators realize how vulnerable their schools are — no matter how many metal detectors or armed security personnel they add.

Anthony Pantaleno,Lynbrook

How can Christians support Trump?

Newsday’s April 2 edition starkly presented a question that many have struggled with since Donald Trump’s election: How can Christian Americans approve of Trump?

In the news story “From sand to pew, Easter joy,” Catholic Bishop John Barres, in his Easter homily, cited the messages of Pope Francis and his “constant appeal for a concern for children of the world, a concern for war-torn areas, places of poverty and hunger . . .”

In “No DACA deal with Dems, Trump vows,” the president’s Easter message was a call to shun immigrants brought here as children.

I read of Trump’s absence of compassion. Because of a Fox News report about a “caravan” of immigrants headed to the United States, he called for ending discussion of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals. It doesn’t matter that DACA covers only immigrants who have lived here since 2007. Facts mean little to Trump, and what means less are Christ’s teachings.

Jim Morgo, Bayport

Editor’s note: The writer has worked in Democratic and Republican administrations on Long Island.