Aaron Gay, 8, of Hempstead, speaks Monday in front of...

Aaron Gay, 8, of Hempstead, speaks Monday in front of nearly 75 people in Bethlehem Judea Baptist Church in Hempstead during a celebration of the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

Opposing views of teachers’ salaries

It is upsetting how Newsday represented the salaries of our hardworking teachers ["LI educators rank high in wages," News, Jan. 9].

Instead of reporting on the regular salary of teachers, required education and years of service that are needed to reach a decent salary, this article used retiring teachers’ salaries, which included payouts for unused sick days and the salary of a teacher who received a settlement in which she most likely received back pay for the time she was wrongly terminated.

The public should understand that teachers have a pay scale that starts with a moderate salary for a four-year degree. Only after additional schooling (obtaining a master’s degree or more) and service time do teachers climb to a professional, well-deserved salary.

Some contracts are stretched to 30 years of service and 76 credits above a master’s degree to reach the top salary. Before then, many teachers retire. At a time where we are losing teachers to a pandemic, we should be thankful to those who remain working. And Newsday should, too.

— Karen Ferguson, Glen Cove

The writer is a retired teachers union president.

The article explained the $766,000 salary paid to a teacher who got ill from mold and apparently went out on sick leave. It did not mention the teacher was also collecting workers’ compensation. Her union won a lawsuit against the district (school taxpayers) that got her years of back pay despite little or no time in the classroom. It is sad that such a story is not unusual.

Last year in East Islip, our salary flyer listed a number of extraordinarily highly paid teachers — the result of a similar lawsuit by the East Islip teachers union. On Long Island, the teachers union always wins lawsuits. The taxpayers’ money is there for the "gaming."

Blame the "Triborough" contracts, which guarantee that workers continue receiving benefits after a contract ends and before a new one is reached. Blame the politicians beholden to the public unions. Blame the powerless boards of education and a gullible electorate.

When no one you know is living here, blame yourselves for the taxes you willingly have overpaid. And blame the media for its lack of curiosity in hunting the reason for our obscene school taxes and what needs to be done to lower them.

— Andrea Vecchio, East Islip

The writer is president of TaxPayers Action Committee.

Acts, not speeches, would honor MLK

The parades and celebrations in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. celebrating his day are nice ["MLK speakers call for action on voting rights," News, Jan. 16].

What would be nicer would be to enact national voting laws guaranteeing the right to vote for all Americans, regardless of race, creed and political beliefs. What would honor his legacy more would be to stop removing uncomfortable historical facts and instead teach history as it occurred, so we can learn from it and not repeat it. Honor his actions and beliefs not with speeches but with actions.

— Fern Summer, North Bellmore

Former cop outraged by DA’s directives

As a former police officer, I take exception to the reckless memo sent by newly elected Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg ["Manhattan DA’s memo on crime sparks criticism," News, Jan. 5].

It’s egregious that he is directing assistant DAs to not prosecute crimes such as prostitution, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, trespassing, fare-beating and other minor crimes.

But the most egregious and dangerous part of his memo is his directive of not prosecuting anyone for the crime of resisting arrest. Making arrests is a dangerous part of police work, and now it has become even more dangerous. Despite what people see on TV or in the movies, when police say, "You are under arrest — put your hands behind your back," most of those arrested do not comply. And now, in Manhattan at least, there is no reason for them to comply.

Just when I thought police work couldn’t get more dangerous with the bail reform law, along come Bragg’s directives which will surely make Manhattan the most dangerous city borough and get many police officers injured.

— Jim Kiernan, Holbrook

The writer is a former lieutenant in the Hempstead Village Police Department.

Let’s see a cartoon that suggests unity

Matt Davies’ Jan. 9 cartoon throws fuel on the fire of a broken country, and it doesn’t help America heal. The elephant and donkey should be standing together protecting democracy. We are one country. Showing one party intent on shooting the other is irresponsible. And the next cartoon likely will show the victimized party aiming a cannon at the other party. Yes, people on both sides are far away from the middle. How about a cartoon showing the American flag falling off a building and both parties reaching to save it?

— Jay Cotler, Plainview