Treatment availability

key to heroin battle

Regarding the April 1 story, "Ocean County's Heroin Warrior/Tackling a repeat killer/Prosecutor's drug initiative enters second year," about Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato:

All that is great, but if an addict can't get treatment, all your work is for nothing.

Recently in Atlantic County, Pleasantville officials objected to bringing to the city a clinic for addicts - addicts who were already in recovery.

How are addicts to stay clean if treatment for their disease is so hard to get?

HEATHER SCARELLA RHOADS

Galloway Township

N.J. charges too much

just to go to the beach

We're ready to leave this state and we just moved here.

We have lived near Daytona Beach, Fla., in Port Orange. Our beautiful beach and beach parks have free facilities including showers, toilets, picnic pavilions, grills and parking. Going to the beach costs nothing unless you want to drive and park on it, then you pay $5 for the day. As residents, we paid $25 for the season to drive and park directly on the beach.

New Jersey charges to drive here via the Garden State Parkway and the Atlantic City Expressway and charges for parking. Then if you go to the beach in Cape May, Avalon, Stone Harbor, etc., you pay per-person daily, weekly or for the season.

Where does all the revenue from beach fees, the casinos, property taxes, the state lottery, vendor fees, bridge tolls and highway tolls go?

ANNIE GERSTENFIELD

FRED GERSTENFIELD

Villas

U.S. starting trouble

with Cuba twitter feed

Recent news events could send anyone into a deep funk: shootings again at Fort Hood, the continuing search for the identity of a mudslide victim in Washington state, the report on torture by the CIA, etc.

But the most chilling recent story was the plan by the U.S. Agency for International Development to set up a messaging network online to reach hundreds of thousands of Cubans under the guise of news about soccer, music and hurricanes. The actual intent was to introduce political content aimed at inspiring Cubans to organize "smart mobs," mass gatherings that might trigger a "Cuban spring."

Is this the role the United States is playing, to foment more trouble in the world? Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said the USAID should be applauded for creating a flow of information to a closed society. As a son of Cuban parents, it seems he has a personal ax to grind.

There are thousands of satisfied citizens of Cuba who are doing us no harm. Do we need a U.S. agency or a U.S. senator to start more problems?

ALICE DENIZ

Linwood

2 percent cap unfair

to recent police hires

Regarding the March 24 editorial, "Police, fire salaries/Keep arbitration cap":

I offer a different perspective. The April 6 story, "Pricey N.J. rent strains residents," detailed the high cost of living in New Jersey. You may have missed it.

Public employees have sacrificed along with those in the private sector. We now pay more toward our pensions and medical benefits. We pay taxes and face minimal raises. Remember, we are also residents affected by rising costs.

Our pension plan is underfunded because politicians have not kept their end of the bargain. They have also "borrowed" from pension funds. Gov. Chris Christie's recent recalculation to avoid making the state's full mandated pension contribution only exacerbates the problem.

The editorial refers to the high salaries of law enforcement officers in North Jersey. What you don't mention is that newer hires start at considerably lower salaries, and it takes years of steps to achieve full pay- anywhere from five to 12 years.

The 2 percent cap increases that time substantially. The cap pre-empts step raises and freezes employees at a lower pay rate for an indefinite period.

As far as high North Jersey salaries, look at the astronomical cost of housing in that area. How would an employee be able to live there without comparable pay?

DAN McNEILL

North Cape May

Doctor, hospital changes

leave policy holders stuck

In October, my wife and I were forced to change health insurance providers because the policy we held for eight years was canceled. After much research we went with a United HealthCare HMO. All of our doctors and our local hospital were part of the network. Or so we thought.

In April, we received new medical cards with different doctors listed. We contacted our doctors and were informed that as of April 30 they would no longer accept our insurance. We have been with these doctors for more than 12 years.

In addition, Southern Ocean Medical Center, our closest hospital, would also not be accepting our form of insurance.

We contacted United HealthCare and asked which hospital we would have to go to. We were informed that the closest hospital was in Hamilton, 50 miles from our home in Little Egg Harbor.

All the research we did was a waste of time because doctors, hospitals or insurance companies can change the rules after you buy a policy.

Now we are between a rock and a hard place with new doctors we do not know who are 15 miles away plus questions about other doctors in the network. Are they really in or have they opted out?

PHILIP SMITH

Little Egg Harbor Township