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Newsday letters to the editor for Monday, June 25, 2018

Gov. Andrew Cuomo poses with students at Hebrew

Gov. Andrew Cuomo poses with students at Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns & Rockaway in Lawrence after announcing funding for security against hate crimes on June 13, 2018. Credit: Jeff Bachner

On the surface it seems great that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo came to the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns & Rockaway in Lawrence to announce a state grant that makes $25 million available to protect private schools from hate crimes [“Private schools win security aid,” News, June 14]. But reading further we discover that of the 45 private schools which have been awarded $2.1 million thus far, all but two are Jewish organizations; the other two are Roman Catholic.

This, to me, reeks of selectivity and favoritism of one group over others. Once again we are told it is to combat the ubiquitous and growing threat of anti-Semitism from white supremacist groups. Why haven’t any Muslim or African-American organizations received money for their protection? Maybe Cuomo’s real motive was political, to win back some Jewish voters in this conservative district.

Harry Katz,


Key concerns about legal marijuana

Maybe I’m misunderstanding something. We crucify tobacco smokers — no, I have never smoked — but now New York State’s health commissioner is recommending legalization of recreational use of marijuana [“Backing legal marijuana,” News, June 19].

Will it be OK to be subjected to secondhand pot smoke? We tell kids to, “Just say no” to drugs, then we say, go for it!

Nancy Zappala,Farmingdale

With all the money spent on ads and free cessation medications offered by New York State to prompt smokers to quit cigarettes, I find it ludicrous that this state is considering legalizing recreational marijuana.

Yes, cigarettes threaten smokers’ health and those nearby, but they do not alter one’s thinking, make anyone high by their use, or cause contact highs to those within the proximity of the smoker. Where will pot smoking be allowed? At the wheel of a car? At home with babies and children? On the street? In theaters, clubs and bars?

Our government is opening another can of worms for the sake of collecting more tax dollars while jeopardizing the lives of users and nonusers.

This government should put the health and welfare of its people above its quest for their hard-earned money via another sin tax. Someone needs to wake up and realize all the negative effects that legalization will have on this state and country.

Lorraine Maggio,Oakdale

The pursuit of legalization of recreational use of marijuana seems to be driven by political and financial gains and has little to do with science and protecting public health.

Science has clearly demonstrated that the chronic use of cannabis and exposure to the high-producing tetrahydrocannabinol compounds have many short- and long-term health consequences: anti-social behavior, reduced thinking ability, impaired memory, slowed reaction time, male infertility and cardiac arrest.

To argue that cannabis is like any other drug is also misguided. Approved prescription drugs are prescribed in response to a medical diagnosis. Drug therapy is always a risk-to-reward process and patients are appropriately monitored. A review of the science regarding marijuana use is critical to the decision regarding legalization. To not do so endangers the public health of the state residents.

Michael Torre,


Editor’s note: The writer is a retired clinical professor of pharmacy at St. John’s University.

Litmus test for 1st CD Democratic hopeful

The corruption of the current administration, Congress and the system of lobbying has shifted the focus of our democratic institutions from the best interests of the people to that of corporations. In Long Island’s 1st Congressional District, our nation needs an unbiased Bernie Sanders-style progressive without ties to political action committees, Wall Street or other selfish special-interest groups [“Progressives eye races for Congress,” News, June 10]. I believe that this style of progressive would be a strong force in the reform of campaign finance, gun laws and immigration.

I urge Democrats in the 1st District to keep in mind that a district won by Donald Trump in 2016 cannot be won by a Democrat with an anti-Trump stance alone. The candidate selected to face Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin must have innovative, progressive policies on the issues that matter most for Long Islanders: stagnant wages, the rising cost of living and the economy.

Andrew Stange,St. James

Keep your eyes on the bigger issues

A letter called “absolutely disgraceful” a cartoon that depicted President Donald Trump celebrating a booming mortuary business in Puerto Rico [“Editorial cartoons were in poor taste,” June 13].

A study published in May by the New England Journal of Medicine projected that 5,000 U.S. citizens died during and after Hurricane Maria. What I find disgraceful is that our president did next to nothing to help the island. In the age Of Trump, we need to save our outrage for things that deserve it.

Erik Bresnihan,Coram