Vacant storefronts on Main Street in Smithtown on Tuesday, Sept....

Vacant storefronts on Main Street in Smithtown on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. Credit: Newsday/Lawrence Striegel

Board members’ role is to serve public

As a lifelong Republican, I’m dismayed at the public bickering on the part of Hempstead Town Board members Erin King Sweeney and Bruce Blakeman with Supervisor Anthony Santino [“Board passes ethics bill,” News, Sept. 6].

With the recent corruption cases brought against some of our local elected officials, King Sweeney and Blakeman should commend Santino for the ethics reforms he proposed. They’re steps in the right direction.

Their biggest objection seems to be a provision to cap outside income that would affect their law practices. Blakeman labeled Santino a bully, and King Sweeney said Santino was trying to “put me out of business.”

I would advise both King Sweeney and Blakeman that they are public servants, and their business is to provide constituents with representation.

Warren Healey, Rockville Centre

Nation needs to hear opposing views

I don’t always agree with the content of Newsday’s editorial and opinion pages, but I found your Sept. 5 editorial, “Left must stop violent tactics,” to be thoughtful.

I wholeheartedly agree that neo-Nazi and white supremacy groups are deplorable and disgusting, but the recent violent tactics of far-left groups called antifa are just as bad. I also deplore American-flag burners, but that’s protected speech, and we cannot start arbitrarily deciding which speech we will allow and which speech we will silence. People need to hear opposing views in open debate so that they can decide for themselves what’s right and what’s wrong. And, as history has shown us, most Americans will ultimately make the correct choice.

Ted Kiladitis, St. James

Smithtown needs new life on Main St.

On Main Street in downtown Smithtown, there are nearly two dozen vacant storefronts and empty lots. Downtown Kings Park also has vacancies.

Despite this, our long-serving elected leaders — the same individuals whose lack of a vision or of a comprehensive plan for these communities has led to this deterioration — spend time, energy and taxpayer dollars replacing signs that advertise town concerts because they believe their names were misplaced [“Signs of council discord,” News, Sept. 8]. What’s misplaced are their priorities!

May I suggest that the supervisor and entire town board put their ongoing petty political squabbling aside and visit Babylon, Farmingdale, Patchogue, Northport, Port Jefferson, Huntington or any of the many nearby downtowns that, because of transformative leadership, have vibrant and economically thriving 21st century Main Streets? Perhaps this will remind them of what is important to the good people of Smithtown who have elected and re-elected them.

Mark A. Nocero, Smithtown

National Guard rushed in to help

It’s only when disasters and local emergencies occur, such as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, that there’s any acclaim for the otherwise unsung heroes of the National Guard [“LI Air National Guard, aviation firm help in rescues,” News, Sept. 11].

Thousands of these citizen soldiers in Texas and Florida were activated to help during these catastrophes. Even guard outfits from out of state traveled to assist.

Many of the brave men and women have families living in the paths of these natural disasters, but did their duty and put the welfare of strangers over the safety of their loved ones.

Ronald Gendron,Smithtown

Editor’s note: The writer served six years in the New York Army National Guard.

Animal centers should have open admission

The case in which a 10-year-old dog died of heat exposure after being abandoned outside the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter [“Man accused of leaving dog to die,” News, Sept. 8] is eerily similar to another case that happened last month in Port Washington: Two pit bulls also died of heat exposure after being abandoned in a cage outside the North Shore Animal League of America [“Owners charged in deaths of abandoned pit bulls,” News, Aug. 25].

The common thread in these incidents? Both occurred near facilities with limited-admission policies.

There is never an excuse for abandoning an animal, but facilities that make it difficult for the public to surrender unwanted animals — by imposing fees, waiting lists or other barriers — share the blame when these animals meet cruel, painful fates. Countless animals have been drowned, shot or dumped on the streets to starve by people who couldn’t or wouldn’t care for them any longer.

Making it hard for people to do the right thing only worsens animal abandonment. Every community needs a safe haven that accepts every unwanted, lost and homeless animal without restrictions. My organization urges shelters to be true refuges.

Teresa Chagrin, Norfolk, Virginia

Editor’s note: The writer is an animal care and control specialist for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.