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On our minds: Wild meetings, soccer players, LIRR mess

Newsday's editorial board spends all week striving to be a reasoned and pragmatic voice for Long Island and its values through our editorials and columns. We debate local, national and international issues and write on those we think will impact our readers.

Some topics come up that don't turn into longer pieces, but are part of the national conversation and worth bringing up. Here's how we're telling you about them.

This is a great sign

Civic activism is alive and well on Long
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Civic activism is alive and well on Long Island. Thank goodness.

More than 100 people in a crowd three times that size spoke at a hearing in Huntington Town Hall last week. The topic: a proposed senior housing complex on Elwood Road in East Northport. Supervisor Frank Petrone said the number of speakers -- split roughly evenly between supporters and opponents -- was a town record.

Nothing draws crowds to public meetings like controversial development proposals. Huntington has had its share. Both sides last week were organized and passionate as adherents brandished placards and took turns chanting, "Yes! Yes! Yes!" and "No! No! No!"

We have been on record as supporting this particular plan. But we're even more excited to see so many people participate in the process.

America needs more soccer players

12 -- That's the number of players on
Photo Credit: AP

12 -- That's the number of players on the U.S. soccer team -- more than half the squad -- born outside the country or to immigrant parents in the United States.

As you cheer during Sunday's World Cup match against Portugal, remember that the roiling debate over illegal immigration overshadows the need for changing the legal immigration process as well. Too many people capable of making valuable contributions -- students, engineers, scientists -- are kept out. We need more than soccer players to keep this country strong.

Think twice about that LIRR monthly ticket

After two federal mediation panels have failed to
Photo Credit: Newsday / Danielle Finkelstein

After two federal mediation panels have failed to bring about a labor contract, it's anyone's guess whether a strike will shut down the Long Island Rail Road in late July. So commuters just might want to flip a coin about buying monthly passes.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has already started sending out about 31,000 Mail & Ride tickets to passengers who have signed up for automatic renewals. A monthly ticket can cost upward of $300, so if you don't want to risk laying out the money upfront, return the mailer unopened.

If you decide to keep the pass and the LIRR unions strike -- which could happen anytime after July 19 -- the MTA says it probably would make a refund at a later date. But if there is a strike, dealing with MTA paperwork will be the least of your problems.