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Letter: 'Land of No' should prioritize

I agree with columnist Lane Filler's views on the Sonic proposed in Smithtown ["Longing for a burger in the Land of No," Opinion, April 23]. But as a region, we must tread lightly when it comes to allowing growth.

As it stands, our wastewater and transportation infrastructure is significantly overburdened, and yet, development proposals that increase density are still pushed without accompanying open-space preservation efforts.

Residents in Smithtown and beyond must realize that with each proposal they protest blindly, their credibility is eroded when serious development projects are poised to affect their communities. Traffic is blamed so frequently, and without merit, that valid traffic concerns often unfairly get grouped with a CAVE (citizens against virtually everything) mentality.

It's a local government responsibility to present a cohesive vision for an area, and the responsibility of the applicant to demonstrate why a project fits in that vision. Residents should be included in the planning process.

Rich Murdocco, Syosset

Editor's note: The writer operates a website,, about land use.

Beware estimates of power plant costs

So we have a proposed new power plant, Caithness II, that allegedly will cost $1.09 billion -- or maybe up to $3 billion when all of the financing costs are added in ["Price of power: Proposed Yaphank plant's costs could hit $3B," News, April 22].

I recall another power plant that was to cost $75 million. But by the time Shoreham was done and producing no power at all for Long Island, Gov. Mario Cuomo stuck Long Islanders with a nearly $6-billion bill that we're still paying off.

Is it possible the costs of this new power plant are understated? Maybe it's déjà vu all over again.

Richard H. Staudt, Mount Sinai

McCarthy's legacy still disputed

Cathy Young's column misses the point of why Sen. Joseph McCarthy was censured ["History's distorted view of McCarthy," Opinion, April 25]. It wasn't because of his finding communists in the entertainment industry and the State Department. They were there all right. McCarthy's downfall was caused by two related matters: his unprincipled tactics in attacking anyone who did not agree with him, and his attacks on Protestant religions.

I was in high school then and could see the sharp rift between the Catholic students, who generally idolized McCarthy, and the Protestant and Jewish students, who loathed him. He quickly became so wrapped up in his own power to destroy people that he failed to realize the power of the forces that were lining up against him.

When Edward R. Murrow of CBS castigated McCarthy on television, his fate was sealed. He quickly lost power after the Senate censured him.

Bob Boos, Plainview

I was disturbed by Cathy Young's column. Joseph McCarthy and the era he is associated with were an ugly mark on American democracy. It's perfectly legal to express your thoughts and to believe what you want, short of spying or reverting to violence.

Why is one ideology, capitalism, deemed untouchable, while socialism or communism are considered evil? It's not the ideologies that are evil but previous foreign governments' applications of these ideologies, which were neither true communism nor socialism.

Under capitalism, 400 people in this country have more wealth than the bottom 50 percent. That fact to me is more alarming than someone in the past believing in another method of organizing the economy.

Suzanne Stone, Centerport

Correction officer in no-show job?

The case described in "Pay-theft charges: Correction officer allegedly paid without working" [News, April 27] stinks in so many ways.

First, if an employee was collecting wages for hours he wasn't working for 21/2 years, county officials should have stopped it after a few months. They should have told the officer and a supervisor to cut it out. Just think of the thousands of dollars that could have been saved.

Second, based on the charges, there must have been several people involved. Co-workers would have had to know. A supervisor would have had to know. If the charges are proved, all of these people should be fired, lose their pensions and be prosecuted for stealing taxpayers' money.

Randy Perlmutter, Oceanside

LIRR must address pensions

As the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Long Island Rail Road continue union negotiations ["Talks get tough," News, April 26], I believe it doesn't matter if the raises are 11 percent or 17 percent over six years. What's killing taxpayers and commuters are the pensions and how they're calculated, including overtime, unused sick leave, etc.

People's pensions should be less than 100 percent of their base salary.

Ed Kollar, Lindenhurst