A juror’s frustration with the mistrial
Fourteen other jurors and I lived in that courtroom during the trial of John Venditto and Edward and Linda Mangano [“Mistrial,” News, June 1]. We sat through five dozen witnesses, saw and heard more than 1,100 pieces of evidence and listened to many recordings. We spent 12 weeks reliving many re-enactments of possible scenarios of events over the course of almost 20 years. We heard people trying to remember what happened as far back as 10 years ago.
We watched the 20-year-plus political careers of Venditto and Edward Mangano, and the friendship of the Manganos and witness Harendra Singh, torn to shreds.
Some jurors who were not from Long Island had no clue as to whom the defendants were, or about the political structure of Long Island, including town supervisors and the county executive. It was a whole new world to us.
Some people commenting online say we were paid off and maybe we knew some of the people. We were not paid off and did not know these people on trial.
All 15 jurors were people who had clear minds free of any judgment, and we put in our civil duty. We put 12 weeks of our lives aside to bring some justice to the people of Long Island. We debated, we agreed to disagree. We were very close to bringing verdicts for the last two, but unfortunately, we could not complete our task because the judge called a mistrial. If I had to go back and serve on this case again, I would.
My advice to those who comment on this case is that they first should have taken time to sit in and listen to the evidence. Live it for yourself and see what you would say. Hopefully, you will get picked for a case someday and do your duty.
After a mistrial was declared, former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano was quoted as saying, “Words can’t describe the emotional pain and hurt and suffering that a trial puts on one and one’s family and one’s loved one.”
After living in Baldwin for 70 years, I moved to the South about a year ago but read Newsday online. I believe all Nassau County residents should ask Mangano, what about the pain, suffering and financial harm Nassau’s high taxes caused the taxpayers? I hope and pray that the Manganos get their just penalties for their actions.
Peachtree City, Georgia
Your editorial on the Manganos and John Venditto was excellent [“Trial exposed a rotten system,” June 1]. You managed to express a nonpartisan appraisal of our corrupt political system.
I am a conservative person who has, over the years, been outraged by what I believe is your liberal slant on most issues. However, in this instance, you point out that “corruption is not the purview of any one party.” Well said.
My hope is that you continue to address this cancerous corruption issue with “we the people” in mind. These self-absorbed, arrogant politicians are ruining our quality of life. You have the pulpit; don’t let them off the hook.
Kenneth P. Lebeck,
Voters have little say on school budgets
So why the surprise in the May 13 news story “Voter turnout for school elections plunges on LI, statewide”?
Long Island has long been the land of multiplicity, with its 13 towns, 124 school districts and scores of fire departments all protecting their own turf. These entities have turned empire-building into an artform.
We get to vote on approximately 3 percent of the school budget, not on the mandates and contractual obligations that are the most costly. Voters know the fix is in because they have virtually no say. If they reject budgets, districts propose the same budget again under the guise of “the voters have no idea what they’re doing.”
If the voters have the temerity to reject the budget a second time, the districts punish the people most likely to vote for the budget, the parents of schoolchildren, through program cuts. All this while teachers have figured out how to opt out of being judged for their job performance. It would be so much easier if districts would simply send a bill each year for the tax increase due and forgo the games.
Cooperative learning can reduce bullying
The suggestion that schools do more to “improve the emotional climate” is a good one. [“Beyond school security,” Editorial, May 27]. One way to do this is for teachers to appropriately and habitually apply the principals of cooperative learning in teaching and class activities.
Cooperative learning involves the use of small student groups to complete academic tasks. This promotes success for all, leaving no student out, thus preventing student isolation. Research shows cooperative learning brings many benefits, academic and otherwise, including student connections and friendships. Power imbalances among students are reduced, taking away conditions that allow bullying and marginalization.
The good news is that embedding these principles into the classrooms is not expensive. Curriculum materials need no modification. No new technology is necessary. The only expense is in training teachers in the principles of cooperation and how to apply them in classrooms.
Editor’s note: The writer is an assistant professor of child study at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue and has taught cooperative learning for teachers.