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Newsday letters to the editor for Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo hands pens to Brentwood

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo hands pens to Brentwood High School students on April 11 after signing a bill to provide state funds for youth programs. Credit: James Carbone

Don’t let urgency of school safety fade

Now that the horror and shock of the Parkland shootings on Feb. 14 are receding, I wonder whether our legislators will realize that training guidance counselors, school social workers and teachers about the signs of anti-social behavior and mental illness is the road to take [“Gun control won’t stop mental illness,” Letters, April 19].

Arming school personnel not with guns, but with the knowledge and understanding required to take care of the most vulnerable and broken children, is what could make a difference. This is the discussion school boards should have, coupled with funds the training requires.

Another idea is to educate parents through meetings and emails about what to watch for in their children’s behavior, and to share it with school personnel. It’s time to act instead of wringing our hands and waiting.

Linda Napoli, Mineola

Editor’s note: The writer is president of the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island, a religious community.

Heinous violence that has shattered lives and instilled fear in the hearts of students and educators has captured national attention. But what is being done to protect them?

The Federal Commission on School Safety met for the first time on March 28, but the National Education Association was not invited. Neither were students, educators and the public. People pleading for a solution have been silenced.

Working in a school as a teaching assistant for students with special needs, I can state that there are not enough measures to protect children and staff. The absence of guards gives staff an uneasy feeling; instead, we are thinking of safe locations for students in an active-shooter situation.

The harsh reality is, this is not enough, and more precautions need to be put in place in schools.

Teresita Logan, Plainview

After-school funds won’t defeat MS-13

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is sending $18.5 million to Brentwood and other local communities to fight MS-13 gang membership and provide after-school activities, training programs and other anti-gang initiatives [“Cuomo says $18.5M focuses on LI gangs,” News, April 12].

The Town of Islip can’t repave its roads properly, and property taxes rise every year to keep schools running. So the state sends $18.5 million to combat immigrant criminals on Long Island, rather than strictly enforcing federal immigration laws. Why?

How bad do things have to get before someone in state government wakes up and wonders, gee, how did this problem get here? Is Cuomo so naive as to think that throwing money at people will make them good and productive? Does he really believe feel-good programs will turn neighbors who are here illegally into productive, law-abiding pillars of their communities?

Long Island is turning into a disaster, and people who’ve lived here for a long time know it.

James Flynn, Oakdale

New York needs to lead economic growth

The April 18 business story “Wage hike’s impact” was quite informative. The article described the economic impact on workers and businesses from the deal struck by the governor and legislature in 2016 to raise the minimum wage.

One company canceled $3 million in building plans and equipment purchases. Another company won tax breaks after threatening to lay off workers. A third company said it plans to shift some production to Malaysia.

Job seekers, small businesses and taxpayers can only hope that politicians will do what is right for their constituents rather than themselves. New York needs to be a leader in economic growth, not stagnation.

Arthur Wellikoff, MalverneHurdles to economic growth on Long Island

“Report: LI economy needs to grow faster” [News, April 20] shed light on the problems with Long Island’s economy. This problem is enormously complex.

Ideally, Nassau and Suffolk counties should reduce property and school taxes to make housing more affordable and attract new businesses, but we know that won’t happen.

Luring employers with high-paying jobs won’t work, either, as Long Island simply can’t compete with other states in terms of taxes, quality and cost of living, weather, etc.

To add insult to injury, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 really threw a monkey wrench into the works by reducing the amount Long Islanders can deduct on their federal tax returns for state income, sales and property taxes, making it even more expensive to live here.

Another factor that works against Long Island is there isn’t enough vacant land for new housing, offices, shopping centers or warehouses. In other words, Long Island has matured and, unfortunately, doesn’t have as much opportunity for development as other regions.

Herbert Kraut, Woodmere