Fomer Nassau County Executive Thomas Gulotta along with dozens attend...

Fomer Nassau County Executive Thomas Gulotta along with dozens attend the memorial service for Joe Margiotta at St. Brigid's RC Church on December 4, 2008 in Westbury, New York. Credit: Howard Schnapp

As I write, I am looking at a newspaper photo of Tom Gulotta, then the Nassau County executive, cutting a ribbon at the dedication of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center in Glen Cove in August 1994.

We are saddened by the news of his death [“Thomas Gulotta, ex-Nassau County exec, dies at 75,” News, Aug. 6].

Boris Chartan, founder of the center, and I, on behalf of many, want to pay tribute to his memory. Tom encouraged us and inspired our efforts.

In the picture is Msgr. Donald Beckman, representing then-Bishop John McGann of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Chartan, Gulotta, then-Glen Cove Mayor Thomas Suozzi and me in a somber, yet celebratory mode.

Without the county executive’s help, the center never would have been established at the Welwyn Preserve, which by then had fallen into a shabby state. Today, it is an outstanding example of Holocaust remembrance.

Tom Gulotta is remembered as a hero among us, and we shall never forget his enthusiastic participation.

Rabbi Myron Fenster,


Editor’s note: The writer is rabbi emeritus of the Shelter Rock Jewish Center of Roslyn.

On April 27, Tom Gulotta called to congratulate my wife, Ratna Bhalla, on her birthday — as he had unfailingly done each year for nearly two decades.

She had served in his administration as deputy commissioner of consumer affairs. The former Nassau County executive would never forget the date, because April 27 was his own birthdate, too. Each year, instead of a card, he would mail a congratulatory letter in his own stylish, perfect handwriting. We preserved them all as mementos of his friendship.

When he was appointed county executive in 1987, not many in the Indian community knew him. But with his frequent appearances at our cultural events, and ever ready to help, he soon became very popular, and from then on, ruled the hearts of the Indian community until he retired.

Ratna and I had planned to meet the Gulottas for dinner in coming days. Alas, he passed away, leaving us heartbroken, but with an indelible impression of goodwill and fond memories to cherish for life.

Varinder K Bhalla,


Adopt a no-first-use policy to save planet

At one of the recent debates, presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren was asked about her proposal to “make it U.S. policy that the U.S. will never use a nuclear weapon unless another country uses one first” [“The progressives spar with moderates,” News, July 31].

I believe the United States must adopt a policy that we will never use nuclear weapons first. Failure to do so will only increase the chance of nuclear war, which could devastate life on the planet. This is more true as nations fail to renew treaties to limit nuclear weapons.

Our leaders should do everything they can to reduce the likelihood of annihilation. A no-first-use policy would be a step in that direction.

John Norman,


A no-first-use policy would simply state that the United States will not initiate a nuclear war. Debate followers could easily have gotten a skewed impression from CNN moderator Jake Tapper, who said such a policy would force America to “tie its own hands.”

Right now, arms control treaties that reduce the amount of nuclear weapons in the world are falling apart, and a new generation of nuclear weapons — ones I believe are more likely to be used — are being built. I believe we’ve never been closer to a miscalculation that could lead to nuclear war.

Americans and the media should press all presidential candidates and representatives to commit to not use nuclear weapons first. Seventy-four years after the first use of nuclear weapons in war at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it’s clearer than ever that we must do more to prevent the use of these dangerous weapons and re-energize the public movement to eliminate nuclear weapons.

Michelle Santantonio,


Editor’s note: The writer is chair of the South Country Peace Group, an advocacy organization.

Never been easier to become a vegetarian

As a 30-year vegetarian, I read the feature article “Meatless patties that offer promise” with interest [Food, Aug. 1]. I would like to add to the list two of my favorites: Cheesecake Factory’s veggie burger, and Chili’s bean burger.

Your meatless burger review demonstrates how it has never been easier to eliminate animals from one’s diet. Whether it is out of empathy for fish/sea life, and gentle farm animals slaughtered by the billions every year, or concern for the environment and all life on Earth, there never has been a better time to become a vegetarian or vegan.

Meryl Bissick,



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