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Letter: Less public access to shoreline

I certainly hope that the people on the Nassau County Planning Commission consider the public interest when reviewing the developer's plans in East Rockaway ["Developer clears 1st big hurdle," News, Jan. 14].

The developer wants to replace a marina with 84 condos and at least 65 boat slips. This could be another instance of the public losing access to the shoreline.

This has been a trend on Long Island for 30 years. Marinas, docks, beaches, marshlands, boatyards, boat ramps, fishing piers and bait shops have been replaced by private McMansions, condos, bulkheads and fences blocking off access and views of the shoreline. The public has a right to access under common law.

Long Island is rapidly losing its maritime culture and quality of life to suburban sprawl. I hope at least they set aside room for a public boat ramp for launching sailboats and other small craft. I haven't found any places in Nassau County suitable for that.

John Eastlund, Wantagh

Editor's note: The writer is a retired marine geologist and nautical archaeologist. He moved back to Wantagh after living in Texas for 31 years.

Opposed to new driver's licenses

The article "Renewing push for driver's licenses" [News, Jan. 10] talks about giving licenses to people in the country illegally.

An advocate from the Central American Refugee Center is quoted as saying that a driver's license is needed "to take their kids to school, to go to church . . . or to visit family members."

What he forgot to mention is that this would allow people here illegally to drive to jobs or to have jobs requiring a driver's license. It is illegal for these people who knowingly broke our laws to enter and stay in this country and to have jobs. For every job held by someone in this country illegally, that's one less American who has work. At this time when millions are without work and President Barack Obama has asked to extend unemployment benefits, do we need more workers here illegally?

Having a driver's license is not a right but a privilege, even for citizens, let alone immigrants. A driver's license has become a de facto form of universal identification, used to get on airplanes and apply for government benefits.

To proclaim that immigrants here illegally should have the same privilege to a driver's license as an American citizen is a travesty. If immigration rules were enforced, we would not have this problem, and more Americans would have jobs.

Robert F. LaPorta, Dix Hills

Allowing immigrants here illegally to obtain New York State drivers' licenses defies all logic. How can one be here illegally and legally drive a car?

Ronald Enners, West Babylon

Oversight of jailed mentally ill

I applaud the decision by Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco to appoint a six-person, community-based advisory board to provide outside oversight of the jail ["6 join Suffolk sheriff civic advisory board," News, Jan. 17].

As a mental-health professional who has been working at the jail for 12 years for a private, nonprofit agency, assisting mentally ill and disabled inmates, I fully understand how the jail needs some outside voice and oversight.

The public would be shocked at how we treat disabled and mentally ill inmates, many of whom have not been convicted of a crime or may be in jail for a minor misdemeanor. Inmates who are unstable and out of touch with reality are often put into hand and leg shackles with a restraining face mask.

As a society, we need to take a long, hard look at how we treat disabled and mentally ill people in the criminal justice system. I wonder how we as a society would react if a disabled blind person were mistreated after being arrested and incarcerated?

Jerry Bilinski, Riverhead

Disappointed in JP Morgan decision

I read where JP Morgan Chase & Co. graciously agreed to pay $2 billion for turning a blind eye toward the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme ["JP Morgan to pay $2B in Madoff case," News, Jan. 8].

Well, that's not enough. This money, in the end, will be paid by the stockholders.

What about the bigwig corporate executives who received multi-millions of dollars in bonuses while this was going on? Shouldn't they be made to forfeit and return that money? They certainly did not earn it.

Ed Fremer, Sound Beach

Traffic agencies piling on the fees

Regarding "Administrative fee rankles driver" [Letters, Jan. 15], I hear you. Having been the recipient of at least three red-light camera violations, I question the need to tack on an "administrative fee."

What is that all about, and what exactly is being administered? True, I wouldn't have to question this practice if I had had the good sense to stop at the yellow light on Long Beach Road in Oceanside.

Beth Rose Macht, Long Beach