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Newsday letters to the editor for Thursday, March 8, 2018

The entrance to the Nassau County Board of

The entrance to the Nassau County Board of Elections facility in Mineola, on Feb. 25, 2016. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Make polluters pay for green projects

More community solar projects like the 5-acre field at the Sisters of St. Joseph property in Brentwood could be funded by holding corporate polluters accountable for their environmental negligence [“Faith in environmental protection,” News, Feb. 13].

Put a price on greenhouse gas emissions and use the revenue to invest in community resiliency projects. It is only fair to demand that oil and gas companies pay their fair share for pollution that has adversely affected the health of our communities and the world’s climate. The future health and prosperity of our state depend on bold action.

Jessica Sauerwald, Mastic

Editor’s note: The writer is a volunteer with the Long Island Progressive Coalition, an advocacy organization.

‘Pathway to Power’ a valuable expose

“Pathway to power” [News, Feb. 25], the major package of articles on Long Island’s cozy political system, is why I have read and subscribed to Newsday since 1970!

Many of us have witnessed Nassau County going broke, in part from corrupt politicians who put the residents and a balanced budget last. The state had to bail out Nassau County at one point.

Newsday’s look at the politics of control are proof that Nassau residents did not get fair, competent representation. High taxes are a result of the inept representation.

Thank you, Newsday, for shining a spotlight on the power brokers in Nassau. Residents appreciate your expose about what went wrong. Hopefully, changes will be made to prevent abuses from happening in the future.

William Pastarnack, Glen Cove

Require training to vote and own guns?

Columnist Lane Filler proposes raising the age for military service, voting and firearms possession to 21 [“Raise age to serve, vote, buy guns,” Opinion, Feb. 28].

This would, he says, match the age limits for purchasing alcohol and cigarettes.

As far as military service is concerned, unlike the other activities listed, it is the only one that requires long, intensive and ongoing training. Perhaps we should require intensive training for voting and firearms possession at age 18, limiting the age to 21 for those who forgo the training.

Albert Savoy, Huntington

High-priced help at the board of elections

Now that you’ve given us a great look at political insiders in the “Pathway to Power” package, how about examining the Nassau County Board of Elections?

In recent weeks, Newsday has reported on people in both major political parties being employed at the board at annual salaries exceeding $100,000. What do they do there? Does former Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino open mailed-in voter registration forms?

Every Nassau citizen knows the board is incapable of providing a fast and accurate count on primary and election nights. No wonder!

I urge state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to audit this agency and suggest reforms.

David Zielenziger, Great Neck

Find ways to ease the pain for NY taxpayers

To minimize the pain for New York taxpayers, we should be given the option of deducting federal income tax payments on our New York State tax returns [“Cuomo seeks ‘fairness,’ ” News, Feb. 9].

New Yorkers are going to be double-taxed on most income. We have all of 2018 to set up the new forms for payment of taxes in 2019. Another solution is to raise New York State taxes on businesses and the really rich, people who earn more than $1 million a year.

Robert Schweitzer, Mount Sinai

Union case should be an easy decision

The Janus case before the United States Supreme Court asks whether public employees who are not union members must pay so-called agency or fair share fees to the union [“Court spars over union fees, Gorsuch silent,” News, Feb. 27].

This should be a relatively easy decision if it were not fueled by personal and political agendas that cloud the basic issues of equity and fairness.

If a majority votes to be represented by an entity, in this case a union, and there are dues required, which has also been determined by a majority of members, then all members should have to pay their share. This is true especially because all share in the benefits the union must legally provide.

To permit anything less would be akin to allowing citizens who do not vote for or support a particular candidate or political party to abstain from paying taxes to the government when that person or party is elected. The ensuing chaos would be devastating, and it’s unlikely that the organization or government would survive. Democratic institutions should be encouraged and supported, not attacked and diminished, if our democracy is to survive.

Thomas J. Germano, North Babylon

Editor’s note: The writer is a former director of the Long Island district office of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.