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Newsday letters to the editor Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Newsday columnist Jimmy Breslin talks with Gov. Bill

Newsday columnist Jimmy Breslin talks with Gov. Bill Clinton at the Stage Deli in Manhattan on April 6, 1992. Credit: Newsday / Ozier Muhammad

Local pols should respect press freedom

In response to a “Twist in Croci’s path to war zone,” a March 12 news story discussing the circumstances of then-Islip Town Supervisor and Navy reservist Tom Croci’s voluntary decision to mobilize to Afghanistan in 2013, Rep. Lee Zeldin and Croci took to social media. Zeldin called the story an “unfathomable hit job.” Croci, now a state senator, accused Newsday of trying to “trivialize deployment to war overseas” and blamed the media for “push[ing] the limits of journalism.”

This rhetoric is dangerous. It undermines the legitimacy of our free press. Journalists serve the indispensable role in our society of reporting the truth and holding government accountable. If Americans lose faith in the press, where can they turn for the facts?

This rhetoric shares obvious parallels with that employed by President Donald Trump, who has called the media the “opposition party.” We cannot afford this position to be normalized by our representatives on the local level.

John De Vito, Mastic Beach

Editor’s note: The writer ran unsuccessfully against Croci in 2016.

Breslin sized up Trump years ago

Years ago, I enjoyed Jimmy Breslin’s column every day [“Hundreds honor Breslin,” News, March 23]. I had forgotten his unique writing style, and I reread some of his columns online.

Now I remember, as a lifelong New Yorker, how I formed my early and lasting opinions of President Donald Trump. I remember why I wasn’t fooled into voting for him. Breslin had him completely figured out by 1988.

His 1990 characterization of Trump using “reporters to create a razzle-dazzle” is amazing. It could just as well have been written in 2016.

New Yorkers did not turn out for Trump because they knew him better than the rest of the country, which mostly knew him from “The Apprentice.”

Sal Castro, Elmont

Police overtime shows mismanagement

Public safety is a pillar of modern society. No one can dispute the importance of an effective professional police force.

However, how can anyone read the March 17 news story “Suffolk police OT over budget again” and not conclude that it’s anything other than opportunistic public employees managed by incompetent elected officials?

Newsday reported a nearly two-fold increase in overtime for a force of roughly 2,350 officers in the last four years. In 2016, overtime totaled almost $47 million.

If this ridiculous mismanagement of tax dollars continues, more and more young, hardworking families will choose somewhere else to raise their kids.

Chris Dillon, Centerport