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Newsday letters to the editor for Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018

Newsday readers respond to topics covered.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, meets with Evelyn Rodriguez,

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, meets with Evelyn Rodriguez, mother of victim Kayla Cuevas, at Central Islip High School on Sept. 13, 2017, where he spoke about gangs and new legislation he will propose in the fight to eradicate them. Photo Credit: James Carbone

Community has a role in fighting MS-13

In response to “Gang fight needs multifaceted plan” [Editorial, Dec. 19], which praised Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s plan to combat MS-13 recruitment and violence, yes, a multifaceted approach is needed, but not one that coddles criminal behavior.

First, many members came here illegally. Second, they joined a ruthless street gang. Third, they committed felonies. Then the brilliant governor says we need to provide after-school activities and further education, because the gang provides a sense of family they were missing.

I’ve worked in politics and corrections. To combat MS-13 recruitment and violence, you need the support of the immigrant community from El Salvador.

When I worked as legislative aide to then-Assemb. James D. Conte, there was an MS-13 gang problem in Huntington. With the Family Service League and Tri-Community Youth Agency, I worked with the Suffolk County Police Department’s Gang Intelligence and Community Oriented Police Enforcement units.

These groups formed a multicultural community task force that met weekly. The law-abiding El Salvadoran community is threatened by MS-13 and needs to know it can trust the police — that residents will remain anonymous when calling with a complaint. That trust can be built only though something like the task force, with weekly communication between police and residents.

Mark Petrone, Huntington

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s plan is a critical first step to recognize that the challenges Long Island faces on MS-13 — and any gang with a history of recruiting children — cannot be solved by arresting our way to safer streets [“Cuomo’s $11.5M LI gang-thwarting plan,” News, Dec. 17]. Any successful effort must be built on prevention and coordinated partnerships between social service organizations, nonprofit organizations, law enforcement, schools and communities.

The painful reality is that basic survival needs are not met for many children and families. Couple that with the climate of fear many immigrant children and their families face, and we must recognize that connecting people with services can be challenging.

After-school programs, counseling, basic care and opportunities to secure stable, integrated housing must be advanced to reduce the appeal of gangs.

Rebecca Sanin, Melville

Editor’s note: The writer is president and chief executive of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, an umbrella organization for nearly 200 nonprofit organizations.

The right dog for the president

President Donald Trump thinks owning pets is “low class” [“The president needs to get himself a dog,” Opinion, Dec. 23].

Has anyone mentioned this to Queen Elizabeth II, who has owned Pembroke Welsh corgis, or the 73 percent of Americans who own a dog or cat.

Let’s just jot down a quick list that might be suitable for the president. Any Russian breed is just too obvious. Chihuahuas come from Mexico, so they’re out. An Arabian greyhound might do; he has friends there.

He’s bullheaded, so perhaps a pit bull would be nice. He might like a dog made in China. Small, yappy dogs probably remind him of Steve Bannon.

But let’s be honest, no dog deserves Trump. The only dog he deserves is a watchdog.

Leslee A. Lewis, Merrick

Associations, acts of Zeldin raise concern

In Roy Moore, the voters of Alabama rejected a very divisive candidate for the U.S. Senate [“Voters send GOP message,” Editorial, Dec. 14].

Moore’s candidacy was promoted by Steve Bannon, the chairman of Breitbart News and architect of some of the worst aspects of the Trump candidacy. On Dec. 14, my congressman, Lee Zeldin, attended a fundraiser hosted for him by Bannon.

This was not the first time Zeldin chose to side with extremists. He supported legislation that would require every state to recognize out-of-state concealed-carry permits, he voted for a bill that would have blocked federal payments to Planned Parenthood, and he supported the legislation to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

Mary Negra, East Setauket

Trade mean-spirited deeds for kindness

Thefts of holiday packages from front porches [“Delivery driver held in thefts,” News, Dec. 8]. Stolen identities. Bogus phone calls telling us we owe the IRS money. Emails that demand personal financial information. Robocalls soliciting donations to phony charities. Hate messages. Facebook bullying. Internet access to bomb-making instructions.

Why are so much time and energy invested in attempts to harm other people? Where and when will it all end?

Can you just imagine how different the world would be if every one of these mean-spirited deeds were replaced by an act of kindness?

Robert Gerver, Kings Park