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Letter: Port Authority help needed on LI

In proposing a series of sweeping changes at the Port Authority, former executive director Peter Goldmark has neglected several points ["This economic engine can rev up our region," Opinion, Feb. 2].

While New Jersey's "Bridgegate" scandal compels reforms, the Port Authority has been the only government agency capable of tackling regional infrastructure projects.

Completing 1 World Trade Center, pouring hundreds of millions into the airports or putting together a public-private partnership to build a $1.5-billion replacement for the nearly 100-year-old Goethals Bridge, the Port Authority has demonstrated a core competence vital to our economy.

In addition to outside audits and independent review, the Port Authority's charter should be amended to allow it to support Long Island initiatives where a fractured, balkanized political structure prevents little governments from addressing big problems.

First on the plate would be assuming management of the Long Island MacArthur Airport, which will never fulfill its potential until there is an agency capable of positioning it as an equal when negotiating with the airlines.

The reader is compelled to wonder why the list of Port Authority reforms Goldmark mentions was not proposed when he was executive director of the agency, as these institutional flaws have been self-evident for generations.

Michael J. Polimeni, Locust Valley

Editor's note: The writer is a board member of the Association for a Better Long Island, a real estate lobbying group.

Breaking up is hard to do, but sometimes necessary.

For decades, the Port Authority generated toll revenues for non-transit-related projects such as the original World Trade Center and other economic development projects.

All had nothing to do with the Port Authority's basic mission. These funds should have been used for maintenance, upgrades and safety projects for Port Authority bridges, tunnels, airports and PATH.

Larry Penner, Great Neck

Rounding up grades a typical practice

In my long career as a teacher, the practice of bumping up a grade of 63 or 64 to a 65 was common .

Just as Julius Brown claims, administrators always emphasized that failing a student by one or two points would only invite a confrontation with parents.

Was this academic mercy or good public relations? Who knows?

For more than 30 years, that's how it was in my district. And according to educators from other districts, that's how it was in theirs.

So the Hempstead school board's outrage at Brown for admitting to this policy makes me wonder, did the board really not know what was going on? And if so, isn't that a more serious indictment?

Joseph Governale, Holbrook

Editor's note: The writer is retired from the Brentwood school district.

MacArthur airport doesn't sell itself

As a frequent user of Long Island MacArthur Airport, I am disappointed to see that the number of daily flights is decreasing and that the interest of airlines to enter this market has diminished ["MacArthur needs these flights," Editorial, Feb. 2].

These trends have obvious risks for the future prosperity of our regional airport. I believe that one reason for the reluctance of our community to use this airport is the lack of advertising. I don't see advertising by the Town of Islip, which runs the airport, or Southwest Airlines, the dominant carrier.

There is also minimal signage on the major roads leading to the airport, and the one, small sign on the Long Island Expressway is partially hidden by trees. On Route 454, the airport signs are poorly situated.

In other counties, local airports are clearly identified, with large signs, directions, public transportation information and parking instructions.

If our population were aware of this great asset and the advantages it offers, usage would surely increase. Its advantages include a central location, accessibility, ease of parking, infrequent delays, quick security clearance and great efficiency, which far exceed those of any other airport in our region.

Richard Nattis, Woodbury

A 'rotten egg' in policing job

The Suffolk County police officer accused of targeting and robbing Latinos is just another example of a rotten egg in public service ["Sting catches cop," News, Feb. 1].

Was he not satisfied with a salary of close to $150,000? This is most likely more than victims of such theft could ever hope to make.

During his 25-year "career," how long did he allegedly do this? And, of course, no matter the outcome of this investigation, he will collect a hefty pension for his "public service."

Such crimes are despicable, hateful and ignorant.

Rita Gardner, Astoria