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Newsday letters to the editor for Thursday, March 29, 2018

In Ocean Beach, an activity in 2015 at

In Ocean Beach, an activity in 2015 at Woodhull School. The one-school Fire Island district has the highest per-pupil spending on Long Island. Credit: Fire Island School District

Fees and salaries rise in Oyster Bay

The Town of Oyster Bay has just approved more than $100,000 in raises for town employees [“Town OKs over $100G in raises,” News, March 20].

I wonder whether my town parking permit at the Bethpage train station, which is going from $20 per year to $100, helped pay for this.

Joel Schlissel, Bethpage

Newsman Les Payne sought the truth

I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Les Payne, a courageous and accomplished journalist who was unafraid to speak truth to power [“Les Payne, a fighter for truth,” Editorial, March 21].

Payne had a full and productive life but still found time to help many others along the way. The country is a better place because he was here.

Robert Mays, Freeport

Execution not best solution for opioids

President Donald Trump finally presented to the American people his plan to combat the opioid epidemic [“Death penalty in opioid plan,” News, March 20].

In typical Trump fashion, the essence of the plan is that some caught selling will face the death penalty. Possibly years from now, if the law is passed and fully implemented, it might save a life. What a plan!

What is the plan to relieve the present pain and suffering caused by this epidemic? How is sending big-time dealers to their deaths going to mitigate the current stress on treatment centers so that beds and counselors are made available to those in need?

I have firsthand knowledge of what happens when a person with the disease of addiction seeks help and cannot get it because beds are not available. I’m also keenly aware of how stressed the system is and how the professionals are overworked.

It’s extremely disappointing that this epidemic continues to rage across the land, and the administration has not offered a program of substance.

The Trump administration is not capable of addressing this major health crisis.

Congress needs to put forth a plan that will succeed.

Michael Gelormino, Farmingville

Don’t hide data on per-pupil spending

“A disclosure debate” [News, March 19] reported that new rules on revealing per-pupil spending worry officials. Just why would transparency worry officials?

The article lists the top 10 Long Island schools in per-pupil spending; they range from $38,845 per pupil to $99,224.

According to the College Board’s “Trends in College Pricing 2017” report, the average cost for full-time undergraduate students at public, four-year universities is $20,770 for in-state students.

On Long Island, education in kindergarten through 12th grade costs more than college. No wonder officials worry.

It is the taxpayers who should be worrying!

Leo McSherry, Hempstead

Set up a point system to assess property

The solution to the Nassau County assessment system described in a March 21 letter — inhibiting homeowners from grieving their assessments by charging them a penalty — doesn’t even begin to address the reasons the system is broken [“How to reform Nassau assessment”].

The problem with the system is the result of former County Executive Edward Mangano’s faulty policies, which created the grievance nightmare. To fix the system, provide a fair and accurate way of assessing property. That would reduce the need to grieve assessments.

The question is, what is a fair and accurate way of assessing? I’ve come to believe that a market-rate assessment is not the answer. It’s too subjective.

My idea is a point-based system. Give a certain number of points for the size of the property, and apply a factor for location. Add points for interior square footage and amenities such as pools, decks, central air, solar, number of bathrooms, etc.

Such a system would be easy to maintain, and homeowners could easily understand how their assessments were made.

Scott Diamond, Levittown

Trump himself implied a call to arms

Outrage is being directed at Rep. Tom Suozzi by the state Republican Party for “encouraging a potential armed response against President Donald Trump” [“Suozzi denies call to arms,” News, March 20].

It’s a pity this outrage was not evident during the 2016 election campaign.

Has the GOP forgotten the implicit call for gun violence against Hillary Clinton at a campaign rally in Wilmington, North Carolina, on Aug. 9, 2016: “By the way, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Trump said. “Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

Bill Burns, Hempstead