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Newsday letters to the editor for Tuesday, May 1, 2018

A rendering of a potential tunnel under the

A rendering of a potential tunnel under the Long Island Sound. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan / Polimeni International

Politicians need to fix veterans care

The mission statement on the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s website says, “Honor America’s veterans by providing exceptional care that improves their health and overall well-being.”

Based on Newsday’s April 23 news story “VA hospital ‘falling apart,’ ” that statement is fraudulent, and politicians at every level should be held accountable.

Every politician should focus on a piece of that pie and try to right the wrong happening within that system. According to Newsday, there is enough of that problematic pie to go around, from issues with medical care to an unsanitary environment.

There should be no shirking when it comes to serving our veterans. As one commentator wrote in the anonymous survey commissioned by the VA, “Patient care and staff morale is suffering and no one seems to notice!”

Those who have a voice in Washington should make sure our veterans get noticed. They served our country, now our country must serve them.

Lorraine WodhanilWest Islip

Editor’s note: The writer’s husband and father served in the armed forces.

Gillibrand right to question Syria attack

The writer of the April 18 letter “Disappointed in Gillibrand on Syria” says he doesn’t want Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a position of leadership in the future because Gillibrand did not support the recent missile launch against Syria. Since when does agreeing with everybody else constitute leadership?

Gillibrand stated that only Congress has the legal authority to approve the use of military force in Syria, and there has been no discussion regarding strategy and consequences. I don’t want to speculate on Gillibrand’s motivations or put words in her mouth, but maybe she is waiting for actual evidence that shows who attacked those civilians in Syria.

Maybe Gillibrand sees that U.S. intervention did not work out so well for the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in Iraq who died as a result of the invasion, or the merciless civil war and the rise of the Islamic State.

Maybe she is cautious about the possibility of sending our kids into World War III and then having them come home with missing limbs, brain injuries and post-traumatic stress. Among veterans, there is a shocking rate of suicide. With all this, the government doesn’t allocate enough money or resources to treat them.

Not agreeing with others is not bad leadership; being a sheep is.

Chris Polley, Oakdale

Spend Sound tunnel billions elsewhere

The push by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to build a tunnel, potentially from Oyster Bay to Westchester County, should be abandoned [“Foes of a Sound tunnel,” News, April 26].

There are many reasons that Long Island residents oppose a tunnel or bridge from Oyster Bay. In 1973, the Department of the Interior blocked a Long Island bridge for environmental reasons involving wildlife. The impact on the environment and the increased traffic near the tunnel make this project very objectionable.

The proposed tunnel is estimated to cost $31.5 billion to $55.4 billion. The East Side Access project is proof that major construction can run many times over cost and time projections to complete.

What would the toll be? No numbers are given.

New York could spend the money to upgrade the Long Island Rail Road, or to help bail out Nassau and Suffolk counties from debt. An unneeded tunnel under the Sound is not one of the ways to spend this money!

William Pastarnack, Glen Cove

Refreshing to see bipartisan discussion

I attended an April 15 forum in Plainview on immigration as a member of Long Island Jobs with Justice, one of the sponsoring organizations [“King, Suozzi discuss immigration reform,” News, April 16].

It was refreshing to see a House Democrat and House Republican come together to support recipients of Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, the extension of temporary protected status, and a willingness to explore comprehensive immigration reform.

King repeatedly diverted the conversation toward MS-13 and his insistence that border security take precedence, which was frustrating when the main focus was to be DACA and TPS. However, it was still heartening to hear him express strong support for immigrants under TPS, a willingness to grant “amnesty” to DACA recipients, and a path to citizenship for 11 million law-abiding immigrants.

Both congressmen modeled a civil discourse that is sorely needed in this time of partisan political paralysis, incivility and petulance that often borders on childishness. It was encouraging to hear two people representing different parties who are willing to seek, and perhaps even discover, common ground.

The Rev. Marie A. Tatro, Garden City

Editor’s note: The writer is vicar for the community justice ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island.