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OpinionLetters

Newsday letters to the editor for Monday, Feb. 5, 2018

Newsday readers respond to topics covered.

President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the Republican

President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the Republican National Committee winter meeting in Washington Feb. 1, 2018. Photo Credit: DO / POOL / EPA-EFE / REX / Shutterstock

Drawbacks of gov’s tax proposal

The proposal by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to convert the state income tax to a payroll tax would not help retirees or residents who depend on investments to supplement their income [“Bill to protect taxpayers OKd,” News, Jan. 24].

It might be possible to impose a payroll tax within New York, but the federal government and adjacent states and municipalities that employ New York residents would seem unlikely to participate. Residents of some other states who commute to New York also would not be helped.

Anyone fortunate enough to have a private-sector pension or tax-deferred retirement savings also would not be helped.

Others have pointed out that Social Security, pensions and employer supplements to retirement plans are based on income. If employee pay were reduced by the amount of the payroll tax, employees would have less retirement income.

Stanley G. Kalemaris, Melville

Set qualifications for school boards

The situation in the Hempstead school district is disturbing and tragic [“Hempstead case given more time,” News, Jan. 24].

The school board hired Shimon Waronker, a successful and proven educator, to clean up the mess that existed for many years under previous administrations.

Recently, a new board majority put Waronker on administrative leave, firing the experienced professionals he hired to improve the failing district, while attempting to place the blame for the lack of progress on Waronker.

Problems such as these can occur because of the makeup of local school boards. Surprisingly, the only requirements to run for a seat are that a candidate be at least 18 and a resident of the community. Board members are entrusted with the education and safety of our children, plus the handling of hundreds of millions of dollars of residents’ tax money.

More stringent eligibility requirements should be put in place. I suggest candidates must have attended some college and have shown up for at least 40 percent of board meetings in the prior two years. I agree with the recommendation by state education officials that the board members be required to take an orientation course given by the state Education Department.

Gus Costa, Westbury

Editor’s note: The writer was a member of the Hicksville school board from 2003 to 2006, and board president in 2005.

Perspectives on the Trump presidency

Having read Newsday’s editorial “Trump’s task: to truly unify” [Jan. 31], I can see why our country is divided.

I call this a “but” editorial. According to Newsday, the economy is great, but not for all people; the stock market is up, but nearly half of Americans own no stock; jobs are growing, but at a slower pace; the Islamic State has been weakened, but . . . and on and on.

Is President Donald Trump perfect? No. Everyone has flaws. But at least Trump is trying to make America great again.

Newsday’s editorial was hardly positive about the Trump speech, similar to the disrespect displayed by congressional Democrats who were texting and making faces during his speech. Even when he said something any rational person would applaud, the Democrats sat on their hands.

The ride won’t be smooth, but hopefully it will be worth it if we all start pulling together.

Everett Mann, Miller Place

President Donald Trump’s ultimately futile but transparent efforts to undermine U.S. institutions such as the judiciary, journalism and even the FBI are textbook extracts from the operations manual of tinhorn dictators in banana republics.

Transforming the bully pulpit of the presidency into the bologna pulpit, Trump’s most recent fantasy conspiracies about the FBI are only getting more bizarre the closer the Mueller investigation gets to his inner circle [“FBI fights memo release,” News, Feb. 1].

Trump’s recent anti-FBI antics have done more to harm the reputation of the FBI than the actions of FBI agents-turned-spies Robert Hanssen, Richard Miller and Earl Pitts.

Trump simultaneously better serves the interests of a foreign power, Russia, that rightly might consider Trump to be its useful idiot.

Edward B. “Woody” Ryder IV, Greenlawn

Columnist Kathleen Parker claimed that there was no “convenient answer” as to how culpable President Donald Trump is for the threats a 19-year-old man allegedly made against CNN [“Threats against CNN. Blame Trump?,” Opinion, Jan. 26].

While I applaud Parker for raising this issue, I believe Trump and his core enablers are fully to blame for that man’s actions. Whether Trump intends for his constant rants against “fake news” to inspire violence or not, you can’t paint journalists as the enemy of the American people and not expect someone somewhere to take your rhetoric to its logical, violent conclusion.

Fortunately, in this case, the perpetrator stopped short of carrying out any threats. That hasn’t always been and won’t always be the case.

Matthew Zeidman, New Hyde Park

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