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Don't be timid in face of racism

Brookhaven Fire Department officials have apologized after one

Brookhaven Fire Department officials have apologized after one of the department's trucks displayed a Confederate flag. Credit: James Carbone

As your editorial "An ugly display in Brookhaven" [Sept. 2] said, there’s now nearly universal understanding that the Confederate battle flag is a symbol of hate. The most charitable explanation for the Brookhaven Fire Department incident is a sad lack of awareness. I believe that all public servants should regularly receive training on diversity, equity and inclusion so this does not recur. More troubling to me is that my congressman, Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), has, at this writing, failed to condemn the incident. Assuming the most charitable explanation, he is afraid that if he criticizes this incident, he will lose some support. He also has failed to call for reforms in public service training despite countless racially charged incidents around the country. Well, I don’t want to be represented by a politician too timid to challenge racism.

Robert Garisto,


Two members of the Brookhaven Fire Department had to resign, and the state, county and NAACP are starting investigations ["2 resign from Brookhaven fire unit over rebel flag display," News, Sept. 3]. Also, there was a demonstration of approximately 100 people. I presume none of the politicians or investigation members ever made a mistake regarding "racism or division." The two men in question answered many alarms without asking whether it were a Black person’s house, white or any other color. After all the talk, the department’s firefighters will answer the alarms when all of the above people are sleeping in their beds. But they will be doing it without two experienced, dedicated members who made a mistake.

Bill Livingston,


Privacy factor in mail-in ballots

My concern about mail-in voting is the inherent loss of privacy of the secret ballot ["Three ways to vote in this year’s election," News, Sept. 17]. In-person voting requires a voter to sign his or her name on the ledger in front of a poll worker who authenticates the signature. This worker then hands a blank ballot to the voter, who in semi-privacy marks his or her choices. The voter brings the marked ballot to a privacy sleeve and feeds it into an impersonal machine that tells you your ballot has been accepted. This is all done with no overtly prying eyes. A completed mail-in ballot contains your verified signature and your choices for each candidate. It then apparently is opened and perused by who knows whom. These people then know that I voted for Minnie Mouse rather than Mickey Mouse and can blab this vital information to whomever. No thanks.

Chuck Darling,

South Setauket

Wearing masks is common sense

As I travel around Long Island, I am pleased to see almost universal use of masks. However, many men seem to think that it is OK to cover only their mouths and not have their mask cover their noses. Women do not seem to have this problem. Gentlemen, cover your noses, too. If the ladies can do it, so can we.

Patrick Long,


Common sense should prevail. Wearing a mask to prevent other people’s sudden, unexpected sneezing germs is not rocket science. Neither is wearing a seat belt in a car to prevent injury in a collision. Yet it took law and fines for many who did not wear a seat belt. After seven months of COVID-19, moving to mandatory wearing of a mask and a fine (so far only in public transit) sounds like reasonable prevention of a possible devastating illness. If you want to gamble with your life, do it in the privacy of your home. I do not play a COVID-19 chicken game. Just do it. It’s common sense.

Viviane Koenig,

Port Washington

He’s one who wants to defund NYPD

A recent White House memorandum states: "My Administration will not allow federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones." In other words, President Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed "law and order" president, will make the determination which cities "allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones." And because Trump cites New York City as one of those cities, allow me to paraphrase an infamous 1975 headline: "Trump to NYPD: Drop Dead." The next time the Republicans say the Democrats want to defund the police (which is nowhere in the Democrats’ platform), voters should remember who actually wants to defund the police.

Ray Boivie,

Kings Park

The center seems to have it just right

It seems more than ever that politics in America is an example of life imitating art. The right claims that the state of affairs is nothing more than "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," while the left claims nothing less than "The Manchurian Candidate." Perhaps it’s the center that’s got it right with "The Emperor’s New Clothes."

Martin J. Rosenthal,