Readers sound off on classroom phone bans, earthquake experiences and subsidizing rents

Kids get smarter without smartphones in class

Huntington, L.I.: Re “Expel smartphones from schools” (editorial, March 31): You poignantly and prophetically provided a much needed reminder and silver lining of hope in what too often feels like a sea of despair, disrepair and discontent in the pillars of our communities and schools. It was a clarion common-sense call that will unequivocally save and serve a generation of children, “and it doesn’t involve investing billions of dollars.”

It’s our obligation, especially in post-pandemic times, to restore a sense of stability and boundaries in the classroom. Ideas, dialogue, curiosity and conversation lifts minds and spirits without the shackles of smartphones endlessly distracting children. Our kids desperately need a haven, a sanctuary, to learn in. Far too many don’t have that space at home, making it that much more significant and meaningful to their lives.

As you pointed out, even the surgeon general acknowledged that “harm to young people’s mental health” is having a disastrous effect on our teenagers, who “are online almost constantly.” We must do something, and do it now. It is an epidemic in schools across our country, and thankfully, “thousands of schools nationwide are saying no” to smartphones in class. Your point was so spot-on: “Before cell phones, parents and children managed to connect when needed.” Kids can still bring phones to school, but when on school grounds and in class, kids “need to be present, be together, and be on — which means keeping the phone off and out of sight.” Bravo. Brilliantly and simply said! Chris N. Karalekas

Nature calls

Bronx: At 10:23 on Friday morning, I was having sex with a beautiful lady friend of mine and she said, “Wow! Jimmy, that was great. I never felt anything like that before.” I did not have the heart to tell her that it was not me, baby, it was an earthquake. All ended well and life goes on. Jimmy Durda


Greenburgh, N.Y.: It started as a rumble underground. I thought I was insane, thinking it felt like the subway but in the suburbs. Then our windows and doors started rattling and things fell off of shelves in our dining room. This shaking continued for almost an entire minute. My dog Nugget went nuts. Nicole Bamber

Surreal stampede

Garden City, L.I.: That wasn’t an earthquake the other day, that was the sound of the Republican Party running away from reality. Paul Falabella

Bad vibe

Whiting, N.J.: To Voicer Ralph Manente, who wishes “losers” like Democrats and Voicer Regina Rossi a speedy demise: All I can say is: typical deplorable. Bill McConnell

Spare me

Spotswood, N.J.: I am near retirement. I can’t afford higher grocery prices, higher gas prices, higher mortgage rates, and I don’t want more crime and definitely no more war! Please don’t reelect President Biden. Thank you. Tom Scott

A gathering cloud

Brooklyn: The devastating storm on April 3 was another reminder of the costly impacts of climate change. So, why is Gov. Hochul refusing to back legislation to require the oil and gas industry to help pay for the damage caused by burning fossil fuels? The Climate Change Superfund Act would raise $3 billion a year from big oil companies to repair infrastructure and safeguard our communities from catastrophic weather events and deadly heat. At a time when the fossil fuel industry is reaping record profits, Hochul must ensure that taxpayers don’t foot the entire bill for its greenhouse gas pollution. She and legislative leaders must include the act in the state budget, expected any day now. Eric Weltman

Rain or shine

Fresh Meadows: As detailed in “Rain, winds batter city” (April 4), New York was walloped by torrential rains, high winds and flooding last week — yet carriage drivers still cruelly forced the horses to pound the pavement while a citywide travel advisory was in effect. City agencies have the power to suspend operation of horse-drawn carriages; the law states that horses must not be allowed on the streets during “adverse weather,” yet we see them out in all manner of unsafe weather conditions. Everyone fails these horses, including their owners. We can shut down horse carriage rides and show mercy to the 100-plus horses who no longer deserve to be our beasts of burden in 2024. Edita Birnkrant, executive director, NYCLASS

Disturbing take

Bronx: Apparently, Voicer Peter Sulzicki believes that Angel Reese deserved to receive death threats because she talked smack and made hand gestures when her team (LSU) was winning. In his world, then, it is appropriate to send death threats to a 21-year-old young woman because she did what many athletes, young and old alike, have been doing forever. Mr. Sulzicki, you are one sick puppy. Bruce D. Campbell

Winning team

Manhattan: Shoutout to Michael Strahan for going to Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx and donating $50,000 to the young men. Having won the state championship last year against St. Francis Prep, coach C.J. O’Neill deserves credit. Keep those young men focused and disciplined. Most live in single-parent homes. I grew up in the Bronx — Sedgwick Ave. projects — and went to Hayes in September 1981. I kept off the streets. I’m 56 and doing well, working security at Tiffany’s. Mayor Adams should honor these young men’s accomplishments. The Yankees should invite the team to a game. Donate $1 million to the school and have players meet Aaron Judge! Sean Felder

Charter challenge

West Hempstead, L.I.: To Voicer John A. MacKinnon, who thinks the UN broke its charter by dividing Mandatory Palestine in 1947: You are correct, but not for the reason you wrote. The UN allowed the indigenous people, the Jewish people, to have a small part of their land. However, the UN was obligated by its charter to respect the League of Nations decision and give the entire British Mandate to the Jewish people as their homeland, not part of it! The Arab states ruined it for their fellow Arabs (who didn’t consider themselves Palestinian) by starting a war. Please know history before writing false facts. Samuel J. Mark

Cold calculation

White Rock, British Columbia: Re “Biden warns Bibi: Back off on Gaza” (April 5): While President Biden has now finally called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, it appears to be for reelection purposes (where’s morality and humanity?!). Progressive voters who are adamantly against Israel’s unrelenting bombing of Gaza are credibly threatening to abandon Biden at the ballot box. The administration and too many Democratic politicians have wanted it both ways: to unconditionally and heavily arm the Israeli state and to keep anti-war voters actively onside come election time. Could it be that Israel and Westerners in general, including our news media, have been getting too accustomed to so many Palestinian deaths over decades of violent struggle with Israel? Frank Sterle Jr.

Subsidize it

Huntington, L.I.: Christian Browne (“New York State’s courts and the housing crisis,” op-ed, April 5) laments: “Our highest court’s review of the treatment of land use cases, matters… that also relate to the fundamental constitutional right to own and use private property, is long overdue.” This constitutional right was taken away long ago by the implementation of rent control and rent stabilization. The Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause states: “Nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” If liberals want to have below-market rents, then they, not property owners, should pay for it. The city’s rent laws should be revised to emulate the national Section 8 laws. Property owners would charge market rents and taxpayers would pay the difference between the amount the tenant pays and the market rent. Tom Saracco

Pure fantasy

South Richmond Hill: To Voicer Richard Meneely: A storefront open 24/7 where guns are turned in? Remember the quote allegedly said by Willie Sutton when asked why he robs banks? “Because that’s where the money is.” Why would you arm yourself to rob that storefront? Because that’s where the guns are! Turn in 50 and you get an all-expense paid trip to Disney World! Turn in your legal guns so you will have no way to protect yourself! Lots of music and entertainment! Have a get-together with rival gangs to discuss matters over a cup of hot cocoa! A Jerry Lewis annual telethon, indeed — and why not bring him back to host it? Joseph Napoleone

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