Deeper reasons for Hempstead’s woes
The Hempstead school board’s power wrangling, stretching back years, is symptomatic of the giant elephant in Hempstead’s room: decades of overloading one district with needy students [“Problems have NY’s attention,” News, Jan. 21].
Nassau County is 71 percent white, yet Hempstead High School is 63 percent Hispanic and 35 percent black. Hempstead’s public school students disproportionately qualify for free or reduced lunch.
This racial and socioeconomic concentration is not happenstance. Our village has absorbed burdensome quantities of low-income housing units for decades. Needy people with no roots in Hempstead get steered here, and their children have no choice but to attend long-overcrowded schools.
Impose so high a proportion of struggling families, and problems inevitably arise, with competition for control among the village’s groups. These groups end up crammed into one district because of the NIMBY treatment they have gotten for decades from predominantly white districts.
Middle- and higher-income Hempstead residents of all races choose to educate their children privately, increasing socioeconomic disproportion in the public schools.
When will New York State stop focusing only on school boards, and instead reconfigure our balkanized school districts? School board accountability is desperately needed, but we need common-sense regional support even more.
Reine Bethany, Hempstead Village
Editor’s note: The writer is the Hempstead Village historian.
Musings on the troubles of the LIRR
As a frequent commuter on the Long Island Rail Road, I heartily agree with your Jan. 21 editorial, “The LIRR is off the rails.”
Immediate action and a change in leadership are needed to fix the rapidly expanding problems of the LIRR.
However, I would like to point out that no candidate was nominated, and that I might have a solution that would effectively solve all of the issues raised by the editorial board while requiring no additional funds from Albany.
The LIRR should be merged into the New York City Housing Authority.
Timetables would become perfectly accurate, because all trains would become permanently stationary. Overcrowding would be overcome because the cars would be small. The new agency could charge more per ticket and double the number of passengers.
Trains would be maintained at the same poor level as NYCHA housing, so no changes would be necessary. Passengers would not be able to ride the train to a destination, of course, but they can barely do that now anyway.
Adam Camiolo, East Northport
It’s not new to have bad weather [“LIRR was ‘terrible,’ ” News, Jan. 23]. We’ve had bad weather for years. So now, everyone wakes up and says bad weather is the reason for LIRR delays? That is no excuse.
We fought World War II and the Korean War in very bad weather and that did not stop us.
Go back 30 years, and we had the same problems and delays for rail repairs and maintenance — broken switches and derailments.
I should know, I have been riding the LIRR since 1970, and nothing has changed except the chairmen and the presidents.
Mark Cassuto, Dix Hills
Shameless attack on Italian-Americans
We believe that the shameless attack by New York State Republican chairman Edward Cox, portraying Italian-Americans as corrupt, is indicative of his true feelings toward Italian-Americans [“Trial begins for governor ex-aide,” News, Jan. 24].
This type of rhetoric has no place in the political arena, and we, the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America, do not support this type of behavior.
Cox has insulted the entire Italian-American community in the state and owes us an apology.
Robert Ferrito, John A. Fratta, Bellmore
Editor’s note: The writers are the state president and the chairman of the commission for social justice, respectively, of the Grand Lodge of New York, Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America.
The rise and fall of the Y chromosome
Michael Dobie’s column about the rise of female power and the shriveling of the male Y chromosome resonated with me on a personal level [“If women ran the world . . . ,” Opinion, Jan. 21].
While our male genes and testosterone make us brave and strong, they can also fuel our worst behaviors.
Women are out in force even in “male” sports like weightlifting and powerlifting, where female athletes have really boosted the ranks.
At my lifting club, I often share the bar with a young lady lifter who can beat me on some moves. I’m older than 60, but it makes me question Mother Nature!
Thomas Tedesco, East Meadow