Severe beach erosion from an April 3 storm destroyed most of...

Severe beach erosion from an April 3 storm destroyed most of the dunes on the Town of Oyster Bay’s Tobay Beach and damaged the pavilion in Massapequa. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

County militia is a dangerous proposal

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman is planning an armed volunteer group of “special deputies” for emergencies at his discretion [“Nassau ‘militia’ plan appeal,” Long Island, April 16]. Nassau has a large, highly trained police force that is prepared for emergencies.

Blakeman’s plan initially had little publicity. Why the relative secrecy? Blakeman’s definition of emergency is not limited to natural disasters. There are gray areas — perhaps demonstrations not to his liking. Would people be afraid to express their political views? Calling out his armed militia seems like he is pushing the county toward a fascist state.

In 2011, a robbery occurred in a Seaford pharmacy. A 23-year veteran of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was in the pharmacy. As he tried to subdue the robber, a retired Nassau County police officer entered and tried to assist but fatally shot both the robber and ATF agent.

I can envision this tragedy happening again with Blakeman’s militia. During an “emergency,” things happen quickly. Let’s leave emergencies to the people who are highly trained and prepared to handle them: active members of the county police department.

 — Phyliss Grodofsky, Merrick


I have objections to Bruce Blakeman’s armed militia. No one should be allowed to carry a firearm in dangerous situations unless the person is a police officer. About 2,500 trained police officers and well-equipped volunteer firefighters are enough to handle any emergency.

The county executive would rue the day that one of his militia deputies uses a gun to injure — or worse — someone perceived as deserving to be shot. We don’t need more people carrying guns.

 — James Patterson, Massapequa

Nursing homes need more ombudsmen

I was distressed but not shocked by the editorial “Expand oversight of nursing homes” [Opinion, April  12]. AARP New York knows all too well how state government fails those in nursing homes by refusing to adequately fund the ombudsman program designed to mitigate problems before they reach the crisis level you so painfully described.

The federally required Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) is supposed to send trained advocates into the state’s nearly 1,400 adult-care facilities weekly to respond to the most basic and most egregious issues. But according to the state Office for the Aging, which houses the program, just 12% received an ombudsman weekly visit from January-June 2023, reporting 5,791 cases of mistreatment, mismanagement and abuse.

We can only imagine what that number would be if Gov. Kathy Hochul and the State Legislature had provided resources for weekly visits. Instead, Hochul proposed no additional funding in the 2024-2025 budget as the Legislature has filled only a portion of the fiscal gaps.

The LTCOP needs an additional $15  million to hire and train more professional ombudsmen. As it stands, the program is balanced on the backs of volunteers who cannot meet the demand.

 — Bernard Macias, Merrick

The writer is a senior associate director for AARP Long Island.

Over the long run, save with renewables

If Gov. Kathy Hochul and State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie had come around to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins’ point of view on the New York Heat Act, we wouldn’t be suffering continuing gas rate hikes [“Gas rate hikes sought,” News, April 16]. Those three years of hikes will total about $62 a month by 2026. Because of expected pushback by oil and gas producers, Cousins said backers of the climate change law must advise everyone that even with short-term pain, a renewable energy economy would be less expensive.

Gas-bill inflation results from state regulations that subsidize gas companies to offer a “free” hookup, for example, to a development of all-electric homes, or run a new pipeline good for decades, long past when renewables will be powering our homes. Gas users pay for that, and every one of us who takes the smart way out and gets heat pumps leaves fewer in the pool to cover the cost of supplying gas.

The Heat Act also would have allowed a neighborhood at an end-of-life section of gas line to choose a non-polluting alternative paid for with savings from avoiding exorbitant pipe replacement. The Heat Act is about making life easier, more manageable and healthier for New Yorkers — and more democratic.

 — Bridget Nixdorf, Islip Terrace

If taxes pay for repair, open the beach to all

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino is requesting the federal government pay for the replenishment of the Tobay Beach sand lost in a recent storm [“Latest coastal storm brings more erosion damage,” Long Island, April 5]. Isn’t it fair that, in exchange, the town drop the residents-only requirement and permit all taxpayers access to that beach.

 — David Cepler, Baldwin

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