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LETTERS: Heroin problem, LIPA, MTA and more

Heroin epidemic sign of larger problem

Bravo for your coverage of the heroin epidemic . The "troubles, sadness and social anxiety" our children face is of our own doing.

Americans over 60 need only recall the bowling lanes, amusement parks, malt shops, drive-ins, roller rinks and hobby shops in their youth. Odds are, there's a mega shopping mall or boarded-up gas station there today.

No wonder youths get involved in drugs, alcohol, violence and other anti-social activities. There's not as much for them to do, and their parents work three jobs to pay the taxes that go to things like providing housing for sex offenders.

Paul Manton



LIPA, Kessel respond on Caithness delay,

Your article regarding the Long Island Power Authority's decision to postpone the commercial operation of the Caithness plant did not accurately reflect LIPA's resource planning decisions, nor the decisions' corresponding customer benefits.

LIPA's decisions to pursue and then, in 2006, postpone the Caithness project were not the result of a "miscalculation." To the contrary, LIPA intentionally sought the flexibility to change the start date to obtain the best deal for its customers. The postponement enabled LIPA to negotiate more favorable pricing for the Caithness fuel supply over the 20-year term.

Also, the adjustment to the contract value was not a "fee" paid to postpone the project, but was based on the developer's actual costs incurred for postponing construction, which LIPA reviewed and verified for accuracy.

While postponement resulted in a $102-million increase in contract value, LIPA was able to achieve an estimated $200 million net benefit to our customers, due to favorable pricing we achieved from our gas transportation arrangements. This information was not previously provided to Newsday.

Customers should rest assured that LIPA is actively planning its future energy resource needs and will continue to provide safe and reliable power to our customers in the most cost-effective manner.

Paul A. DeCotis


Editor's note: The writer is LIPA vice president for power markets.


Newsday's article on the Caithness power plant takes a narrow view of the Long Island Power Authority's planning process. When I served as chairman and chief executive of LIPA, we installed more than 2,000 megawatts of supply, including Caithness and two major transmission lines to keep the lights on. How quickly people forget that Long Island came within 100 megawatts of blackouts several times in the early 2000s. Had we not built the small fast-track units, Caithness and the Cross Sound and Neptune cables, the lights would have gone out, devastating the Island's economy.

While there's no question that today's recession has lowered demand for electricity, Caithness will be around for the next 20 years. When the economy recovers and electricity use soars, it will be here to keep the lights on while other parts of the state and region struggle. Having sufficient supply will make Long Island the envy of the rest of the state. Merely looking at one year is simplistic and not relative to the ultimate values of the cleanest and most efficient plant in the state.

Richard M. Kessel


Editor's note: The writer is president of the New York Power Authority and former chairman of LIPA.


Support for MTA's effort to cut costs . . .

In the face of declining state funding and revenue shortfalls, bold measures are necessary to preserve the train, bus and subway service that the economies of Long Island and the region depend upon .

The Long Island Rail Road Commuters Council supports Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Jay Walder in his desire to make every dollar count for the MTA and the Long Island Rail Road.

The MTA's mission is to transport the people of the region on time, efficiently and safely. Every dollar spent on unnecessary overhead is a missed opportunity to advance this mission.

Maureen Michaels


Editor's note: The writer is chairwoman of the Long Island Rail Road Commuters Council.


. . . and a question

The LIRR spent millions on an extravagant Flatbush Avenue terminal and now has to cut service to it. What's wrong with this picture?

Bruce Kanin

North Merrick


State of the Union did not impress

In his State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama said nothing he hadn't said before. As for not explaining health care reform, he did not want you to know what was in the bill. He promised to have committee hearings on C-SPAN, but the negotiations were behind closed doors. As for giving college students a break, the ones that will get the biggest break are those that will go into "public service," making government even larger.

And let's not forget, until Scott Brown got elected in Massachusetts, Obama's party had an overwhelming majority in the House and the Senate and could have gotten a bill passed at any time. People in his own party don't like the bill as written.

I especially liked the part about building nuclear power plants and offshore drilling. His party has stood in the way of both of these avenues of energy for years.

His kind of "change," I really can't believe in.

Aldo Cimino



Obama's first year full of strong actions

The American people seem to have very short memories, and even "instant gratification" appears to take too long for them. President Obama has been in office for exactly one year, and he inherited immense problems on every possible front.

During his first year in the White House, he has:

n Saved our nation from falling into a depression.

n Extended unemployment insurance for millions of Americans.

n Put in place a stimulus package for car buyers, thereby helping the auto industry.

n Put in place a stimulus package for home buyers, thereby aiding the housing market.

n Come up with a health plan to cover all Americans. But hey, it's only an idea that's been around for more than 100 years (proposed by Teddy Roosevelt, Truman, Nixon and of course, the Clintons).

I'm still waiting to see the Republicans' plan. Maybe House Minority Leader John Boehner can give us a glimpse?

Now I'm sure President George W. Bush did something to help Americans cope but nothing springs to mind. . . . Oh, wait! He did give us seniors the doughnut hole, which most of us agree costs us more for our prescriptions.

But I don't blame people for not trusting the Democratic Party; after all, it was the party that gave us Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Irene Barrett

Huntington Station