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OpinionLetters

Newsday letters to the editor for Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018

Looking north toward Connecticut, the Long Island Sound

Looking north toward Connecticut, the Long Island Sound is pictured from Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. Smithtown opposition is hardening against a Long Island Sound crossing proposal that would link Kings Park to Connecticut. Credit: Barry Sloan

Findings of ‘Pathway’ probe are disturbing

I congratulate Newsday on its investigative series “Pathway to power” [News, Feb. 25].

This examination of the political power structure of towns and counties on Long Island has revealed the abusive use of government power by politicians who appear to act not in the best interest of their fellow citizens, but to enrich themselves and their friends.

This series shows the necessity of a powerful and investigative Fourth Estate, the media, in protecting citizens from government overreach and corruption.

But what is to be done? Previous articles have shown significant cooperation among Republican, Democratic and Conservative parties in cross-endorsing candidates. The use of the boards of elections, off-track betting and even the Nassau University Medical Center to keep losing candidates on the public payroll is disgusting.

Politicians are unwilling to stand up to public unions, fearing they will be voted out of office. This only reinforces the idea that they don’t work for the public; they care only for their own positions.

The only answer I see is radical and real ethics reform, term limits and the end of nepotism.

Robert F. LaPorta,Dix Hills

I found the information in the articles about real estate developer Gary Melius deeply disturbing.

They illustrated major faults in our political system and the way our democracy works. The present system seems to empower the few at the expense of the many.

I firmly believe that too many politicians do not do their main job of governing for all of their constituents, but work mainly to get re-elected. They cater to special interests like public service unions, the National Rifle Association and other donors. Then they pay homage to them in exchange for their members’ votes.

One way to eliminate this is to limit all elected officials to two or possibly three terms. Once they leave office, they should not be permitted to have public jobs. This would reduce the power of party bosses and their practice of cross-endorsing candidates, which disenfranchises the voting public.

Lewis Damrauer,Dix Hills

Don’t build crossing at Sunken Meadow

My organization, the Townline Civic Association, opposes in the strongest terms a bridge or tunnel across Long Island Sound that is fed by the Sagtikos State Parkway through Sunken Meadow State Park [“A Sound crossing could be critical,” Letters, Feb. 12].

The traffic could degrade nearby residential neighborhoods with air pollution, noise, congestion and the effects of accidents like spills, fires or explosions. The state park is home to hawks, migratory species, marine birds, deer, fox, monarch butterflies, fish and mollusks. There are picnic areas, ballfields, soccer fields, playgrounds, hiking trails. Depending on the route of the access road to a bridge or tunnel, all of this could be harmed.

This is also true of various structures, landmarks, trails and natural features that mark this area, not far from the site of the 1781 Battle of Fort Slongo.

A light-rail line along the Long Island Expressway would be a better way to ease congestion and improve the infrastructure and the economy.

Mark Seratoff, Commack

Regent’s use of ‘zoo’ was misinterpreted

State Regent Roger Tilles has absolutely no reason to apologize for describing the Hempstead school district as a zoo [“Ire over Regent’s ‘zoo’ remark,” News, Feb. 20].

Aside from the definition in various dictionaries regarding animals, the secondary definitions include: a place that is hectic and lacking order; a place, or the people in that place, variously regarded as lacking order, discipline, refinement, etc.

If those definitions don’t describe the Hempstead school district, and especially the school board, I don’t know what does. They should stop trying to deflect and distract from their own antics and think about the kids who are suffering because of their power plays.

Susan Wall, Lynbrook

Students should register to vote

I congratulate the students who are doing their best to ignite a fire under our legislators to get them to act on gun control [“Trump: Let ‘adept’ teachers carry guns,” News, Feb. 23]. These students should be supported in every way to accomplish their goals. No more kids should die in our school halls.

My generation put enough pressure on a president, Lyndon Johnson, that he decided not to run for re-election. We also worked very hard toward ending an unpopular war in Vietnam, a war in which we lost more than 58,000 young American lives. We marched against the opening of the nuclear power plant in Shoreham. We did what we could, and, for the most part, were fairly successful.

These kids should make sure they are registered to vote. Next, they should go door to door and make sure their neighbors are registered. Then, when the midterm congressional elections come in November, offer to take the registered voters to the polls. This way, we can get rid of the National Rifle Association-backed politicians and put more sensible people in office.

Gary Schaefer, Manorville

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