Letters to the Editor — March 23

Letters to the Editor — March 23

Pixabay photo

I want to hear from you 

The political campaigns have started for the November 2023 elections. In the next few months, you will be inundated with flyers, phone calls and literature about those of us who are running to represent you in some office. 

We will be telling you who we are, why we want to be elected, what we support, what we don’t support and everything in between. And yes, I will do all these things so that you will know who I am, that you will recognize the name Dorothy Cavalier. 

But now I want to know who you are, what your concerns are, what your issues are — what is important to you and in your life?

My name is Dorothy Cavalier and I am asking you to send me emails, visit my Facebook page, stop me in the street to let me know your name, what your life is like, what you need to make your life better, what you support, what you do not support and everything in between.

So, email me at [email protected].

Visit my Facebook page and comment at Dorothy Cavalier for Suffolk Legislative District 6. I want to hear from you.

Dorothy Cavalier

Democratic candidate for Suffolk County’s 6th Legislative District

Mount Sinai

Waiting for Rinaldi to be made LIRR president

Just over 12 months ago, Long Island Rail Road President Phillip Eng retired effective Feb. 25, 2022. Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Janno Lieber immediately appointed Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi as interim LIRR president.

After 12 months on the job, she has developed a good working knowledge of the agency organization, staff, operations, facilities and customer needs. She is familiar with ongoing capital projects in the LIRR portion of the $51.5 billion 2020-24 Five Year Capital Plan. 

If Lieber is happy with Rinaldi’s performance to date, why hasn’t he made her the next permanent LIRR president? Is there something we don’t know? 

Remember that Lieber, just like his predecessors, will need the blessing of the governor. Just like past history, Gov. Kathy Hochul [D] will play a behind-the-scenes role in the selection of a permanent LIRR president.

Larry Penner

Great Neck

New York State’s bail reform is a success

Under the law, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Under the law, every person is guaranteed the right to a speedy and fair trial by jury. These tenets are the bedrock of our justice system.

Unfortunately, our system has too often failed to live up to these premises. In New York, almost three out of every four people incarcerated are people of color, which is disproportionate to the population. Many of these people are poor, and until the 2019 bail reform law, too many sat in jail awaiting trial because they could not afford bail. 

The most tragic example is that of Kalief Browder, who as a teenager was incarcerated at Rikers Island for three years, two of those years spent in solitary confinement, for allegedly stealing a backpack. His family could not afford to bail him out. He committed suicide after his release. The young man’s story, and the families who are impacted by the overlap of incarceration and poverty, are why the 2019 bail law was enacted. The criminal justice system failed Browder and countless others.

As soon as the 2019 bail reform law was enacted, before there was even any data on the impact of the law, the Republican Party began a campaign of fearmongering. Former U.S. Congressman Lee Zeldin [R-NY1] made this the theme of his failed 2022 gubernatorial campaign, and other candidates like freshman Assemblyman Ed Flood [R-Port Jefferson] followed suit. It was a campaign that was deeply racist in rhetoric, never addressing the root causes of crime and how to correct these causes.

A recent study refutes the lies of the Republican Party. The results of the two-year study show the opposite of the Republican talking points to be true, with recidivism and re-arrest rates dropping. “Fundamentally, we found that eliminating bail for most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies reduced recidivism in New York City, while there was no clear effect in either direction for cases remaining bail eligible,” said Michael Rempel, director of John Jay College’s Data Collaborative for Justice, in a statement. 

The data is clear: Bail reform is a success. The tragedy is that too many elected Democrats refused to push back against the Republican lies and fearmongering. In that vacuum of leadership, misinformation has taken hold. 

We must demand leaders and candidates who will stand up for justice. We must also call out politicians like Zeldin and Flood who built their campaigns on lies and ensure they never hold elected office again. We deserve a system of true justice with moral leaders, and Republicans have utterly failed the electorate on the issue of public safety.

Shoshana Hershkowitz

South Setauket


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