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Letter: Convicted official doesn't inspire trust

The exterior of Hempstead High School as seen

The exterior of Hempstead High School as seen on July 10, 2018. Credit: Danielle Silverman

After reading the Sept. 13 op-ed, “Defying odds in Hempstead,” I wonder how its writers, five members of the Hempstead school board, can expect to be trusted by the public.

One of the writers, Randy Stith, remains on the board despite having pleaded guilty to two crimes, one concerning his wrongdoing in the Hempstead Village Police Department and the other in the Hempstead Village Fire Department.

Without the plea deal that reduced his 13-count indictment to two misdemeanors, a felony conviction would have precipitated Stith’s removal from the board [“Ex-Hempstead police officer gets probation,” News, April 10].

That the board has refused to vote out Stith impugns members’ credibility as stewards of the public fisc.

Even as the board cries poverty, how much money has it spent in its war with Shimon Waronker — the superintendent it placed on leave in January 2018 and then replaced with an interim administrator this year — that otherwise might have been used for the admirable purposes the board espouses?

Paul Landaw,

  Bellerose Terrace

Ideologies differ in the Catholic Church

The idea that there are not liberal and conservative wings in the Catholic Church is laughable [“No wings, right or left, in Catholicism,” Letters, Sept. 6].

To understand the ideological differences, one should compare the priorities of Pope Francis with those of the previous pope, the conservative Benedict XVI. One also could read articles in various religious journals to understand the liberal-conservative conflict. Read Commonweal for the liberal view, or First Things for the conservative view. Even Catholic colleges reflect this division.

Joseph J. Malone,


Student’s plate design is beautiful

Wow! I predict a great future for Nassau BOCES student Aaron Lu!

I would have voted for his license plate design, which showed the New York City skyline on an apple, in a heartbeat [“Creative license,” Opinion, Sept. 14]. It’s beautiful.

Kathleen Ledford,


Union members are building a better LIRR

The Sept. 5 ribbon-cutting for the new railroad overpass at Urban Avenue in New Cassel provided good insight on how the third-track project will provide safer rail and road movement while reducing noise [“New path to safety,” News, Sept. 6].

The public needs to know that this project cannot succeed without the hundreds of unionized workers who make it happen. Long Island Rail Road workers removed old track bed, prepped the area and tied in new rail and stone between rails to meet federal guidelines — all over the span of a few weekends to avoid inconvenience to our riders. Workers labored overnight and through weekends to deliver the results needed for the continuing LIRR expansion. They remain dedicated to our riding public to ensure safety and improved service.

At a time when LIRR workers are needed to step in with their experience and overcome obstacles faced by contractors to meet project goals, we need to remember their efforts and sacrifice before the next time our members are criticized for working overtime when asked.

Anthony Simon,


Editor’s note: The writer is general chairman of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, Transportation union, representing 3,500 LIRR employees.

Unhappy about honor for Jane Fonda

I do not know why actress Jane Fonda was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame on Saturday [“An honor for women,” News, Sept. 15]. Soldiers who served in Vietnam cannot forget that she was photographed atop an anti-aircraft-gun vehicle in North Vietnam.

My husband, Robert Vilcko, who served in the Marines in Vietnam, died a year and a half ago from pulmonary fibrosis at age 71. He believed his disease stemmed from his exposure to Agent Orange, a defoliant used in Vietnam.

After all those who served, suffered and died in that war, I do not understand why Fonda would be honored. There are probably many women who are more deserving of this honor.

Fortune Vilcko,


Jane Fonda had the right to disagree with President Lyndon Johnson’s war. She had the right to protest it at home. But to go to North Vietnam and be photographed cheering with North Vietnam soldiers at an anti-aircraft battery that had shot down U.S. airmen? This was an act of treason.

The United States lost 58,000 young men in that war, and now she is in a hall of fame? Outrageous!

Gary Smith,

  Island Park