Letters to the Editor: February 22, 2024

Letters to the Editor: February 22, 2024

Photo by Raymond Janis

Governor’s educational proposal dead on arrival

Here on Long Island, we love our schools, teachers and students. Our education system is the reason many come to the Island to raise their families because it contributes to strong, healthy communities and a balanced quality of life.

We should all be concerned that Gov. Kathy Hochul’s [D] proposed executive budget threatens our schools by ending the so-called “hold harmless” provision, which is a backdoor approach to cut millions of dollars in school aid. If the governor’s proposal is adopted, 56 school districts on Long Island will experience an instant decline in state funding. In Suffolk County, school districts will be out nearly $33 million in aid under the governor’s proposal.

These cuts would have a dramatic impact on our schools, students and communities. Additionally, cuts of this magnitude could result in larger class sizes, reduced staff, the elimination of athletic programs, extracurricular activities and clubs for students. These draconian cuts would also place additional burdens on Long Island homeowners, who already pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation. The governor’s educational proposal is a lose-lose for Long Island and countless communities throughout the state.

Making this situation even worse, much of this critical education aid is being siphoned off to pay for the state’s astronomical and growing commitment to the migrant crisis, to which over the past two years the governor has allocated $4.3 billion. Clearly, the governor and the leadership in the Legislature are incapable of managing this crisis in an attempt to balance the budget on the backs of hardworking families and students. This cannot be tolerated. Funding must be dedicated to school services for the benefit of families who play by the rules, pay the property taxes and have the right to a quality education.

As lawmakers, parents and concerned citizens, we must make our voices heard in opposition to the governor’s elimination of the “hold harmless” provision, fight to restore education funding to our schools and put our children’s needs and education first.

Anthony Palumbo [R]

New York State Senator, 1st District

Skin cancer prevention for winter season

The winter season brings cold winds and snowy weather, but it also can bring damage to your skin. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun damages your skin year-round, not just during the summer months.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S., yet most cases can be prevented. UV radiation from the sun and indoor tanning lamps are the primary cause of skin cancer, and reducing your exposure can significantly reduce your cancer risk. Even on cold, winter days, UV radiation from the sun can cause damage to your skin, especially at high altitudes and on reflective surfaces such as snow or ice. Snow reflects up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV radiation, increasing the damage caused to your skin.

Sun protection is necessary every day, regardless of the weather or time of year. Sun safe practices such as applying sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, wearing a wide-brimmed hat, UV protective sunglasses and long-sleeved clothing, and seeking shade whenever possible, can help prevent skin cancer.

The Cancer Prevention in Action at Stony Brook Cancer Center works to build awareness about the dangers of UV radiation and promote the benefits of sun safety through education, awareness and policy support to reduce skin cancer rates on Long Island.

To learn more about Cancer Prevention in Action, visit takeactionagainstcancer.com or contact us at 631-444-4263 and [email protected].

CPiA is supported with funds from Health Research Inc. and New York State..

Cancer Prevention in Action

Stony Brook Cancer Center

Pro-life, pro-choice issue from a gender fairness perspective

Not surprisingly, in contemplating the pro-life/pro-choice debate, women as a group are pro-choice and men pro-life. This is demonstrated in multiple polls and although not absolute gender adherence, there is a statistical difference. No doubt this is because women bear the physical reality of pregnancy and childbirth and almost always of raising and paying for the child that two people created. A man’s role of planting the seed does not match their female partner — whether consensual or not. No wonder there is a clear distinction between how women feel on the issue versus men.

What if there was a way to make men share in this responsibility. Not to duplicate pregnancy, that’s biologically impossible. But to share in raising that child and paying for it. Would that change how men feel and vote? Fact of the matter there is a way: DNA identification. What if everyone had to submit a swab for DNA identification. Then every father who shared in creating a child could be held responsible to raise and pay for him/her. My point is not whether this is right. It is simply: Would this change the way men vote on the issue?

David Roy Hensen

Miller Place

Peace is possible

As Quakers, we believe that peace in the world is possible, as Mary Lord, Quaker, of the American Friends Service Committee, reminds us: “We are called to live into the peaceable kingdom, and in that living discover the joy of a better way of life — in harmony with the Earth and one another. Peacemaking is not only possible but practical every day” (Friends Journal, June 1, 2007). Peacemaking requires that we acknowledge the background of all participants, actively listen to what has been learned, then consider the elements of agreement.

Our peaceful sentiments have been called naive and even unpatriotic. However, which is the greater naivety: To believe that the difficult but productive path of using diplomacy and strengthening international law is the path of safety, or to believe that wars and their weapons of mass destruction resolve conflicts and make us safe and secure?

The path of “winning the war,” as though it were a game, is, as history shows, the more naive perspective. War brings a horrific cost in human life, in property, in cultural treasures, in the fouling of the Earth and killing of its creatures. The aftermath invalidates the notion that wars bring about resolution, as evidenced by continuing warfare in the Middle East, Ukraine, Myanmar, Somalia and elsewhere.

Because Quakers believe there is good in everyone — people always have the capacity to be their best selves — we believe it is worth the effort of taking the steps of peacemaking to avoid the horrific costs of war and to provide the hope of establishing a just reality that sows the seeds of peace for future generations.

Carolyn Emerson

Clerk of Conscience Bay Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, St. James