Throughout the year, Newsday publishes hundreds of letters from our readers. For our year-end review, we selected letters that best captured the news and sentiments of 2019.
Life expectancy on Long Island
Jan. 7, 2019
I found your article about life expectancy on Long Island to be informative. It was intriguing to read that there are vast differences in neighborhoods and life expectancy. I was just wondering at my age of 77, would it help if I moved?
Martin Blumberg, Melville
Thank you for the article detailing where I might live to shorten my life. Despite living a thrifty life of debt aversion while staying well within my means, it has become apparent that I cannot afford to live more than 7.5 years beyond retirement. I look forward to spending my remaining years in a community where I can peacefully die before I am taxed into starvation.
Ann Rita Darcy, Huntington Station
The 2019 federal shutdown
Jan. 9, 2019
I watched the new Congress take its oath of office, which is essentially the same oath I took when joining the government 28 years ago . The difference is, I took my oath seriously. Congress has failed to pass the federal budget on time every year since 1997.
I have been through six shutdowns and four pay freezes, yet I always have performed to the best of my ability. I have gone years without taking a sick day, yet every year, federal workers like myself are treated like pawns in a political chess game that ultimately has no winners.
The money these shutdowns cost the taxpayers far exceeds the dollars the politicians are fighting over. The current shutdown will cost us all much more than the $5 billion the president wants for border security.
It is time for all of the politicians, be they Republicans or Democrats, to look up the word “compromise,” honor their oaths, start to truly represent their constituents and end the government shutdown.
Jeffrey Sussman, Merrick (Editor’s note: The writer is facility operations manager for the General Services Administration in Washington.)
Mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso
May 2, 2019
There must never be another shooting in a synagogue, church, mosque or other house of worship! We have somehow lost our moral compass. Whether it is due to inane partisan politics, the lack of ethical leaders in Washington, heated and hateful rhetoric, the breakdown of fundamental beliefs in the family, the lack of adequate mental health professionals and facilities, the gun culture. Who knows?
I suspect we are all somehow complicit in the degradation of societal norms.
What I do know for sure is that we should never again have to hear some politician or other talking head spout empty platitudes such as “the families have our thoughts and prayers.” Those are worthless statements bereft of heartfelt feeling. It is time to act. Hate is unacceptable in our society, and the time has come for all Americans to say, “Never again. Enough is enough!”
Joel Reiter, Woodbury
Aug. 11, 2019
Flags are again at half-staff because of the hate-motivated slaughter of innocents in El Paso and Dayton. I believe some politicians offer gratuitous thoughts and prayers while remaining legislatively inanimate (outside of New York State) because they are beholden to the merchants of death. Yes, it’s not just guns, it’s also a mental health issue. The insanity starts with presidential hate speech and filters downward. The blood of the slaughtered taints the hands of many members of Congress, and in the capital cities of Austin and Columbus, where many “serve” only the interests of the NRA and their anachronistic fellow advocates.
Edward B. “Woody” Ryder IV, Greenlawn
Aug. 18, 2019
I write in opposition to the Aug. 9 editorial, “Nation on edge seeks security.”
The editorial board favors red-flag laws to allow temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger and bans on semi-automatic firearms. I strongly disagree.
In an essay in The Wall Street Journal on Aug. 6, Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz warned us about the dangers of red-flag legislation. The professor ended his comments by saying, “But when government starts taking away some rights in the interest of safety, all rights are at risk.” I fully agree!
James G. Collins, Floral Park (Editor’s note: The writer is Long Island director of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association.)
Oct. 9, 2019
A reader asks “how laymen carrying guns to church and the mall and in schools are going to help us put an end to mass shootings with no risk of collateral damage.”
Mass killers want high body counts, so they attack soft targets like schools, churches, nightclubs and shopping malls. Many of these are designated gun-free zones.
I believe that the mere possibility of armed defenders being present is enough to deter most killers. That’s how laymen carrying guns prevent mass shootings without ever firing a shot.
John Schmidt, Levittown (Editor’s note: The writer is a member of the National Rifle Association.)
High taxes on Long Island
Feb. 10, 2019
I was torn between mirth and anger after reading Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s remarks that new federal tax laws are, in part, leading high-wage earners to leave the state .
Where has the governor been? Residents have been leaving for years because New York is one of the highest-taxed states in the nation. Unless you have a decent pension, it is very difficult to retire here.
Jack Pizzillo, West Sayville
April 3, 2019
The new state budget calls for increased spending for many things, including schools.
The budget comes with a sounds-good permanent 2 percent limit on property tax increases, but it also comes with congestion pricing for part of Manhattan — which could mean higher tolls for other crossings, too — and a raise for the governor (after state lawmakers got theirs on Jan. 1).
Long Island doesn’t have among the highest property taxes by accident. Now we read that more than 1,200 Suffolk County workers made more than $200,000 in 2018.
Our officials and the highest-paid unions used to work for the citizens. It looks like we now work for them.
Gary Maksym, Massapequa
Jan. 16, 2019
Commuters complaining about the filthy conditions on Long Island Rail Road trains is the epitome of chutzpah. Do the motormen and conductors create this problem? Don’t think so. Those trains wouldn’t be so filthy if commuters had respect for public property.
Jerome J. Levenberg, Cedarhurst
Feb. 13, 2019
I encourage anyone who complains about his or her Long Island Rail Road cost to try driving into midtown Manhattan for one month and compare the cost and time with your train commute . Instead of the current monthly Zone 9 ticket of $350 and roughly one hour each way to Penn Station, I can spend more than two hours in the car each way (for me, it’s roughly 50 hours per month more; even at $20 an hour that’s $1,000 of my time). Then there’s the Midtown Tunnel E-ZPass toll of $11.52 a day ($230.40 a month), $350 to $450 a month for parking, and $60 to $80 a month for fuel, plus a percentage of my vehicle insurance and maintenance costs.
Also factor in the aggravation of traffic; the concentration necessary for a safe trip; the inconsiderate and reckless drivers; and the inevitable delays due to accidents, weather, police activity, disabled cars, etc.
Even with the price increase, the LIRR is still far and away the easiest, cheapest and best way to commute to and from Manhattan. It isn’t even close. Plus, I can use my ticket on holidays and weekends.
The only complaint one should make to the LIRR is the lack of parking at its stations. Many are full by 7:15 a.m.
Chris Liotta, Dix Hills
Feb. 13, 2019
Labor costs account for about 60 percent of the MTA’s expenses. We still have employees on the train collecting tickets. This is absurd. Many U.S. systems have a ticket booth with one employee per station (or a ticket machine) and a gate to pass through. The New York City subway and the AirTrain are that way.
It is time for the LIRR to adapt to the 21st century. Modernize stations and get rid of conductors. Think of the legacy costs in pensions we will continue to endure for the next 40 years.
Joel Russo, Merrick
Jan. 24, 2019
Why do people have to eat and drink on the Long Island Rail Road? Why does the railroad allow it? Stop the practice, and 90 percent of the garbage that slobs leave behind will be eliminated.
Carole A. Michelman, Long Beach
Immigration problems at the southern border
Jan. 10, 2019
The wall debate proves one thing. President Donald Trump is excellent at forcing conversation about what he wants to talk about. He is a great salesman; he sets an expectation and gets people all riled up. But like so many salesmen, he’s just saying whatever it takes to close the deal. Facts be damned. Nearly 4,000 known or potential terrorists coming into the country, with the Southern border the most vulnerable point? The statistics say only six were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border last year. Gen. George Patton said it best: “Fixed fortifications are monuments to the stupidity of man. If mountains and oceans can be overcome, anything made by man can be overcome.”
Alan Zollo, Patchogue
One hundred percent we need the wall. For those who think we do not need the wall, please remove your front door on your house.
Bobby Peazz, Medford
Feb. 20, 2019
The failure to get your way does not constitute a national emergency. What is an emergency is President Donald Trump’s creeping authoritarianism. The Constitution gives the power of the purse to Congress — and a bipartisan agreement on funding was just reached in Congress. By declaring a national emergency to try to obtain more money for his wall, Trump is threatening the balance of power between the institutions of our democracy and jeopardizing the well-being of military families and border communities. The president’s own security advisers made clear they do not see immigration at our Southern border as an emergency.
By separating children from their families and decreasing the legal avenues to apply for asylum, the Trump administration has created a humanitarian crisis at the border, not a national security emergency.
Our members of Congress must immediately condemn Trump’s gross overreach and pass a resolution to strike down his bogus declaration of a national emergency. Our democracy depends on it.
Al Chazin, Flushing
May 22, 2019
President Donald Trump says he wants to change immigration law to favor a system that would primarily admit people who have demonstrated “merit and skill.” What then will happen to those “poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free” who have been the bedrock of our nation for so many years?
The president would like to depart from the approach that allows immigrants to bring in their parents, even though it appears that people who have a family structure in this country have a higher level of success. I suppose he has forgotten that his naturalized wife reportedly sponsored her parents to emigrate from Slovenia and become U.S. citizens.
Connie Leo, Massapequa
May 23, 2019
Our nation was built by immigrants who came here legally. They learned the English language and were proud to do so, worked hard by bringing their trades with them or by learning one to support their families. They had pride in what they did and learned.
The current influx of immigrants who are here illegally and the acceptance of them insult and dishonor those who came legally. I agree with the writer of the May 22 letter “Wary of Trump immigration proposal” that parents of immigrants should be allowed in to keep the family structure, but only if done legally.
Karen Byrnes, Bethpage
June 7, 2019
I am appalled and angered to read that over several years, thousands of migrants have died of starvation and dehydration on our soil. And to add to this horrific situation, our government is prosecuting U.S. citizens who try to save the lives of migrants.
While I am a staunch supporter of controlling immigration, I find this to be inhumane and unacceptable. It is the equivalent of the Nazis killing their own citizens for harboring Jews to save lives.
It does not matter what anyone’s political affiliations, religion or beliefs are; this should never happen in America.
George Bleimann, Old Bethpage
June 19, 2019
Why don’t our government representatives pay any attention to the facts about why people are coming from Central America? That area is experiencing a yearslong drought in the “dry corridor” from Panama to southern Mexico. Nothing can grow in the sunbaked ground there.
If people around you were starving, wouldn’t you leave for a better place? America’s genius could help solve this problem. Send them food for now until our engineers solve their problem (canals?). We don’t need a wall; they need water! Our members of the U.S. Senate, House and the silent media should do something. Let’s help these people help themselves, and the border problem is solved!
Irene J. Pendzick, Riverhead
July 2, 2019
It is important to keep in mind that migrants are people and not just numbers. People who are desperate to save their families from violence and poverty in Central America are behaving in the same way as any of us would do under similar circumstances.
I believe that to claim you are a religious person and not be able to understand another human’s dilemma is hypocrisy in its most blatant form.
Diane McGuire, Northport
July 25, 2019
As a Christian, I want to respond to two letter writers who brought religion and Christianity into the discussion of providing health care to immigrants in the country illegally.
Their premise is that if you are a true Christian, you will support this insane idea. Let me ask you this my benevolent friends. If every night of the week 40 immigrants here illegally forced their way into your house through your broken kitchen door, demanding food, clothing, medical care and a bed, and the law of the land said you had to house them, what would you do? Then the next night, if 40 more show up and every night thereafter, what would you do?
I know that many of you would reject this idea and demand that this travesty be stopped by the government. Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” In other words, follow the laws of the land and pay your taxes. In assisting others, it doesn’t make sense to destroy yourself in the process.
Gayle Palmer, Williston Park
Soccer player Megan Rapinoe
June 26, 2019
The U.S. women’s soccer team should remove player Megan Rapinoe. She stood during our national anthem at the World Cup, but as a protest to inequality in the United States, she did not put her hand over her heart. At one time in the past, she even knelt during the anthem.
She’s a great player, but the World Cup is about representing your nation, and if she cannot put her hand over her heart as other players do, she should not be on the team.
Al Zanone, Elmont
July 7, 2019
What makes America great is that you do not have to stand for the national anthem. You do not have to hold your hand over your heart, and you do not have to be intimidated by windbag egomaniacs. Even they are protected by our Constitution. Isn’t America great?!
Ronald Zoia, Massapequa Park
June 20, 2019
My daughter invited the family to a 3 p.m. barbecue at her home in Garden City for Father’s Day. The noise from the airplanes flying low to JFK Airport disrupted our outdoor party. The planes continued every two minutes for more than four hours. Can’t something be done about this problem, which seems to be ongoing?
Joe Giacoponello, Garden City
June 21, 2019
I also live below an apparent landing pattern for Kennedy Airport, and I don’t understand what people are complaining about with the noise.
I don’t concentrate on it. The planes, just like the Long Island Rail Road trains that run a half-block from my house, make background sounds. I ignore them. If anything, when harsh weather causes JFK to shut down, the silence is deafening. The sounds of planes mean the world is functioning again.
People question how to stop the noise. Do they want to reduce passenger safety by choosing more dangerous landing patterns? Perhaps if people stopped traveling by plane, flights would be reduced. Start a movement not to travel by air.
Residents knew what they were getting into when they purchased homes in an area with major airports. If they don’t like it, no one is forcing them to stay.
Francine M. Scuderi, Stewart Manor
July 13, 2019
Is anyone concerned about the plane noise that residents of the Riverhead area have to listen to on a daily basis?
There are jet planes heading to and from Long Island MacArthur Airport. And there is air traffic at Francis S. Gabreski Airport north of Westhampton Beach. And how can any person living in the Riverhead area forget the constant stream of float planes and helicopters heading to East Hampton Airport?
But as we’re for the most part just middle-class homeowners, it seems that no one cares about the constant noise we are forced to endure.
Thomas W. Smith, Riverhead
Nuisance phone calls
Feb. 22, 2019
I read the letter “Nuisance phone calls are an assault” and feel the same way!
Oddly, every February, the virus patrol calls me. “Joe Brown” with an accent not like mine warns that my computer has eight viruses. Worried that he wants to get into my computer and financial accounts, I say the owner of the home and the computer itself are in Europe. After more than three weeks, the “infected” computer has not crashed.
Next time, I will tell “Joe Brown” or his co-workers that the owner of the computer is in his/her country and maybe they could meet up to discuss the problem.
After writing my first draft of this letter, the phone rang and it was “Frank” telling me my computer has eight viruses. I guess it was “Joe’s” day off.
Anne Mateer, East Northport
Aug. 20, 2019
I received a phone call on my cellphone with a caller ID of “Social Security Administration.” I was food shopping on a Saturday at noon. The message said that if I did not call back, a warrant would be issued for my arrest.
OK, here are my conditions for surrender:
1) I’m in aisle three. Come and get me — and be ready to restock everything in my cart.
2) Obviously, since I am now public enemy No. 1 (a k a Jimmy Cagney: “Come and get me, coppers!”), there must a bounty on my head. I want a 90-10 split — 90 percent to me. How else can I pay for my groceries?
At least when I’m in jail, I won’t have to worry about food shopping!
Lillian Baum, Long Beach
New New York license plates
Aug. 22, 2019
Now New York’s governor wants to raise $75 million by forcing New Yorkers to pay a $25 replacement fee for license plates — and $20 if you want to keep your old plate number.
I suppose the current $175 billion state budget is not enough! My recommendation is that none of us should vote on which license plate is best. We should keep the plates we have now.
Enrica Bilello, Bellmore
Aug. 22, 2019
The term “excelsior,” which means ever upward, is perfect for New York’s new license plate. The taxes keep going that way.
Bob Andreocci, Huntington
June 24, 2019
When I am driving my car at normal speed and I approach an intersection that has a red-light camera, I speed up if the light is green. I do this because I am afraid the light will turn red before I cross the intersection, and I will get a ticket. The camera causes me to cross the intersection faster than normal. This is not safe. But safety isn’t the real reason for these cameras, and we all know it. The real reason is revenue. Nassau County needs money, and its leaders are afraid to raise taxes and too incompetent to save money in the budget.
Ralph Daino, Wantagh
July 28, 2019
I thought red-light cameras were installed to prevent accidents and save lives. Whether you are rich or poor, all you have to do is be patient and follow or learn the rules of the road. If you can’t afford the fine, then it will be best to take your time.
Richard Bunger, Valley Stream
Seven friends and I — all grandmothers, as it happens — were having lunch at a restaurant in Bethpage on May 13. When I collected money from everyone to pay for our meal ($163, including the tip) and signaled our waiter, he said, “Your bill has been paid by a young gentleman who was having lunch with his mother.” The other diner said he wanted to pay for our lunch in honor of Mother’s Day.
What a remarkable young man! I’m sorry I didn’t ask for his name. We all hugged and thanked him, and told his mother that she has raised a wonderful son. God bless them both.
Patricia Considine, Bethpage
President Donald Trump
Jan. 8, 2019
The Democratic nominee for president in 2020, whomever it may be, already has the perfect campaign slogan: “Make America great again!”
William Cadel, Greenlawn
March 31, 2019
Like him or not, Donald Trump was elected president. Now until the end of his term, let him do the job unencumbered by the petty party nonsense that hinders the safety, security and welfare of this greatest nation we all share.
Michael Haroldsson, Wading River
May 5, 2019
With the release of the Mueller report and all its damning information on President Donald Trump and allies who helped him get into office, it’s time to fully consider impeachment. This is a president who each day acts more unprofessional and whose actions repeatedly don’t represent the country he’s supposed to be the face of.
Despite what Trump and his attorney general have claimed, Mueller indicated that there was enough to indict the president if it weren’t for Department of Justice policy against doing so.
Alexa Dickerson, Middle Island
May 5, 2019
We have a huge problem at our Southern border, mass shootings and measles outbreaks of a magnitude we haven’t seen in 50 years.
So, yes, let’s continue spending heavily to investigate President Donald Trump in the aftermath of the Mueller report.
We have serious problems. Enough of this. To all of our representatives, start doing what you are paid to do.
Janice Kwas, St. James
April 21, 2019
Donald Trump is not perfect. He was elected president by the people because we knew he was a successful businessman, and we wanted change from the last horrible eight years of stagnated growth. The great hoax is over. Look how much Trump has done despite constant harassment these past two years. Let the man do his job.
Kenneth Cetin, Massapequa Park
April 21, 2019
“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.”
President Donald Trump’s claim that he is completely exonerated and the Mueller investigation was a hoax is typical of his searing duplicity. It is matched only by the baffling cluelessness of his supporters who have no problem with the fact Russia wanted to aid the Trump campaign, and the Trump campaign was more than happy to receive such support.
Can the Russian government pull off a repeat victory? I am scared. Approximately 40 percent of the country is adamant. They’re gone. Reversing their blind allegiance is hopeless. It will take every Democrat, sane Republican and independent to rescue the country I love.
Nicholas Santora, Roslyn Heights
April 21, 2019
Donald Trump most certainly did attempt to obstruct justice multiple times, according to the Mueller report. His aides just ignored their marching orders from the president. The report said, “Our investigation found multiple acts by the president that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations.” Trump, as he was venting to Jeff Sessions after learning Mueller had been appointed as special council, “ Oh my God, this is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m [expletive].”
Trump’s own words should tell you all you need to know.
Ed Miglino, Central Islip
Sept. 29, 2019
The memo about President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s leader is hardly a wet water pistol, let alone a hot smoking gun.
I believe it shows no unconstitutional or criminal behavior. But Republicans should use the Democrats’ impeachment proceedings as an opportunity to investigate whether Vice President Joe Biden played a role in his son’s company’s lucrative business deals in Ukraine and China.
Richard Reif, Kew Gardens Hills
Oct. 13, 2019
With all of the impeachment talk, I was just wondering, am I the only person who would like to know how Hunter Biden got the job with the Ukrainian company?
Richard Corso, Oceanside
Oct. 11, 2019
I am for the first time in my life ashamed of my country. Our abandonment of the Kurds is a shameful act.
Thousands of Kurds died or were wounded in fighting to defeat the Islamic State. Now President Donald Trump is throwing them to the wolves.
Trump should release the transcripts of conversations he has had with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is the type of authoritarian strongman our president admires. Erdogan has turned his country away from being a secular democracy, and won reelection in part by imprisoning thousands of his citizens for supposedly taking part in the failed coup. This is the same man whose embassy security forces attacked and beat peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C., and allegedly attempted to kidnap from Pennsylvania a refugee cleric he accuses of leading the coup. These behaviors won him a White House visit.
It is even more disheartening to see that Turkey’s action against the Kurds stands to strengthen Russia’s influence in Syria. This from a member of NATO.
Joe Squerciati, Hicksville
Oct. 20, 2019
It was a breath of fresh air to read columnist Lane Filler throw a little bone to Donald Trump, the embattled president.
Many Democrats typically vilify Republican presidents as warmongers. But wait, here is a Republican president who promised to put an end to endless wars in the Middle East and is following through with his promise to remove U.S. troops, yet he gets criticized by Democrats. If this does not tell you how hypocritical these Democrats are I do not know what will.
The Kurds helped us successfully fight the Islamic State. That fight was mostly over, so it’s time to bring U.S. troops home.
David Duchatellier, Elmont
Nov. 17, 2019
It is clear to me that President Donald Trump tried to shake down the new Ukraine president in July by demanding dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden in return for military hardware.
The machinations of Reps. Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan at the impeachment hearings were a sight to be seen. Jordan, brought in to do the dirty work for Republicans, was nasty and rude to a pair of decent public servants who, with no ax to grind, obeyed a subpoena and put themselves out there to tell the truth as they knew it.
Joan Nelson, Ridge
Jan. 15, 2019
When I opened Newsday on Jan. 10, I was reminded why I’m proud to live on Long Island, and why the United States always has been great! Fifty-three students were honored by the Regeneron Scholars research competition. They represent what this country is all about.
Build a wall? Fortunately, these students are building something much more important.
Mark Gold, Lynbrook
Sept. 10, 2019
The public school scores reported in Newsday continue previous patterns for the Bellmore-Merrick school district — high percentages of students opting out of the annual spring tests in math (68.1 percent in 2019) and English (67.7 percent). Among the top school districts in Nassau County were Jericho, Manhasset, Great Neck and Herricks, where the opt-out percentages were significantly lower and student performance was generally higher than in my district.
Life is a series of tests; students should not be sheltered. Living in Merrick for more than 50 years, I’ve seen school taxes rise almost every year. If the district continues its high opt-out percentage, I want the privilege of opting out of my high school taxes by the same percentage. I am 89 years old and have paid my dues.
Harold Duchin, Merrick
Jan. 29, 2019
Evidently, a reader who was unhappy about more state aid for public schools has never been a teacher .
Let me explain about this noble career. After starting out, public school teachers in New York City need to get a master’s degree for their licenses to be validated. That can amount to costs (and loans) of tens of thousands of dollars.
Teachers typically spend three to five hours a night writing lesson plans or marking papers. That makes it a 12- to 15-hour day, every day. Third, we have to control 25 to 35 children, many coming from broken homes or single-parent homes, some who have severe learning disabilities beyond reading, writing and arithmetic.
Several times a year, we meet with parents, well into the evenings, and then go home and prepare for the next day.
And not all teachers have summers off. Many go to school to update our skills, or teach summer school to help repay student loans or take care of our families.
And yes, we do vote — for smaller class sizes, more material and better equipment so we can teach your child how to survive in an ever-demanding, ever-evolving society.
James DiGregorio, Garden City (Editor’s note: The writer, now retired, taught in New York City public schools from 1974-2006.)
Feb. 1, 2019
In response to Michael Dobie’s column “Mo can be found all around us,” I loved watching Mariano Rivera. He was an outstanding Yankees pitcher who got his job done without fanfare. His most expressive acknowledgment after spectacularly saving a game usually was a soft smile that seemed to reflect his pleasure more at the team’s win than his own part in it.
I appreciated Dobie’s comparisons with people in other fields who similarly get their jobs done with “quiet dignity.” Thanks, Michael, for highlighting such positive examples.
Jane Gilroy, Merrick
Feb. 5, 2019
The letter from Dr. Lionel U. Mailloux regarding the lack of organs available for transplant spoke volumes .
My wife, Neila Farber, suffered from kidney disease for many years, including five years of dialysis, and passed away recently from other health issues. She did, however, receive a kidney transplant 11 years ago that enabled her to enjoy life again without being tethered to a machine. She was active, traveled freely and enjoyed her children and grandchildren. However, the transplant did not take place in New York.
Dr. Mailloux, her nephrologist, made us aware that it might be wise to try another state. We were fortunate enough to have the means to opt for Florida, where she was interviewed and, six months later, received a transplant. Without it, those 11 years of healthy life would not have been possible.
Shame on New Yorkers that we are not as generous about signing up for organ donation.
Martin J. Farber, Port Washington
Sept. 3, 2019
As recounted in your editorial “Healthier plan for kidney disease,” a new initiative against kidney disease is increasing the number of organs available for transplant.
In February 2018, I donated a kidney anonymously. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done. It was not difficult or painful, and I was back at my job a week later. It did take some time for testing and hospital visits beforehand but I could handle it.
Now, a man from Staten Island is walking around with my kidney. I met him and his family the day after the surgery at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center in Manhattan. I lived in Massachusetts until my early 30s and am a Red Sox fan. The recipient strongly supports the Yankees. He now jokes that every time the Sox come to town, he has a “strange pull” for Boston.
I sometimes think that if I’m in my final hours looking back on my life, my donation will go on the plus side, for sure. I hope more people consider kidney donation.
Mark Brady, Dix Hills
Feb. 17, 2019
In this struggling generation of people looking for great-paying jobs, we had one of the largest corporations on the planet looking to plant roots in Long Island City, and the Democratic politicians of New York overstepped and chased them off for their own political agendas.
Thank you for absolutely nothing. You just cost 25,000 people jobs paying $150,000 on average. Hopefully, voters will show how thankful they are the next time you are looking for their support. I am unbelievably disgusted with Democrats and will remember come polling time.
Scott Thomas, Islip Terrace
March 8, 2019
As one of the voters who supported the recent Democratic takeover of the State Senate, I am concerned that Albany’s Democratic majority may have shifted too far to the left. I am a lifelong Democrat: a centrist, moderate in most of my views, fiscally conservative, liberal on social issues, and willing to compromise.
The recent Amazon bashing that cost the state 25,000 high-quality jobs is a warning sign. The ultra-progressive agenda that forced Amazon to kill plans to build HQ2 in Long Island City makes New York a laughingstock. And for good reason. Other markets will fight to get Amazon’s blessing. Meanwhile, New York taxpayers will get zero benefit as we continue to lose population due to our high tax burden. This dismal failure is thanks to an overly zealous left-wing group of Democrats who don’t understand finance.
We need our representatives in Albany to limit future damage caused by these extremists.
Daniel Carazo, Syosset
April 9, 2019
Beware of unintended consequences. Tolls to enter the area of Manhattan below 61st Street will force people out of cars and into the already overcrowded mass transit system. The toll revenue officials expect to raise for mass transit will not materialize, and we will end up with more crowded trains and no money to upgrade anything. It’s a great plan.
Kevin McGrath, Northport
April 9, 2019
After all these years, we are finally going to tackle traffic congestion in lower Manhattan with tolls. Can someone please tell me why tolls were not charged on all crossings going into Manhattan years ago? It seems to me that would have been the first option to raise revenue.
Steve Pryke, Long Beach
April 11, 2019
Congestion pricing is initially aimed at reducing traffic below 61st Street in Manhattan, but if people reading this don’t think that it will quickly expand through all sections of the city and suburbs, they are kidding themselves.
Once our revenue-thirsty state and local legislatures see how easily and invisibly E-ZPass makes it to add to public coffers, the tolls (I call them a tax) will pop up all over the state.
So buckle up, folks, it’s a new dawn and your ever-increasing payments to New York State will expand yet again.
Apparently, there is nothing we can do to stop it short of packing up and joining our former neighbors in Carolina and Florida.
Richard Doyle, Lake Grove
May 14, 2019
The report from the United Nations on the loss of biodiversity and animal life confirms that the Earth is in deep trouble.
Climate change, globalization, overconsumption and urbanization are causing dramatic changes. Drastic solutions are needed. Political leaders show little initiative to address the problem.
I believe Earth is the most remarkable planet in the solar system, in the galaxy, and probably in the universe. NASA should lead the way in waking up the world. It should spend half of its $21 billion budget to study the impact of climate change. Satellites and space stations should be used to analyze the environment. Time is running out. What good is it to observe other planets if we lose our sacred planet?
William Lemmey, Astoria (Editor’s note: The writer, a retired history teacher, is a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists, an advocacy organization.)
July 9, 2019
I am writing concerning your very interesting July 5 news article “Cheapest climate fix? A trillion trees.” A photo caption said officials in Milan, Italy, plan to plant 3 million trees. Suppose every Newsday reader plants one tree in his or her backyard this year. That would be an amazing start!
William Morse, East Patchogue
Young adults leaving Long Island
May 15, 2019
In 1991, my parents were able to buy a house on Long Island despite the fact that neither went to college. Nearly 30 years later, I would be unable to buy a house here today, despite making $120,000 a year. This is partially due to student loans and the need to save for a few years.
Years of baby boomers fighting back against any kind of affordable housing on Long Island are starting to hurt the ability of the next generation to live here. I’ll feel no sympathy for boomers when they don’t live near their grandchildren.
Guy Smith, Commack
May 17, 2019
Two recent articles explored a crisis that Long Island has been unable to address in any meaningful way.
The story “Many young adults plan to move off the Island” came as no surprise. Our children are the greatest beneficiaries of our property taxes, with nearly two-thirds of the money going to the public schools. But after high school, the brain drain starts. Many of our students who attend college off Long Island never return. The nextLI survey generated by Newsday found that 67 percent of adults between ages 18 and 34 said they plan to leave in the next five years.
The “Wage battle” article discussed the debate over prevailing wage and development costs. This is an issue local government cannot ignore. Many developments built under the label “smart growth” set aside only a few affordable apartments. Local governments have been painfully slow to legalize accessory apartments without penalizing empty-nest homeowners. Guidelines for developments eligible for industrial development agency tax breaks should set aside a greater number of affordable units for the younger generation trying to establish itself.
Long Island has invested heavily and wisely to generate a pool of educated men and women. We have not made the investment needed to keep them here to ensure the future prosperity of Long Island.
James P. Kelly, Huntington (Editor’s note: The writer is an adjunct professor of political studies at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue.)
May 19, 2019
The term “affordable housing,” and putting all the blame on the cost of homes, are just foolish. Can anyone define affordability in a region that has become unaffordable for every age group?
I bought my home in 1977 at a price and taxes I could afford 42 years ago, but if I were the same young man today, I could not afford to buy the same home — largely because of state income taxes, school taxes, property taxes and a list of other taxes and fees. How does anyone buy an affordable home with all the fees and taxes here?
Most of us seniors are stuck in our homes because there is no place to go locally. If we want to move, our only alternative is to move out of state for lower taxes and housing costs.
Neighbors have told me that they have had difficulty selling their true single-family homes because buyers want and need apartments in the houses. Think the young generation has it hard? Think again. It’s very hard for every age group.
Patrick Nicolosi, Elmont
July 14, 2019
Every Friday, Newsday’s home section has a feature called “Why you should buy my house.”
It should be renamed “Who can afford my home?”
The latest one on July 11, for a six-bedroom home in Shoreham, had property taxes of $18,956, which equates to about $360 a week.
What an island! Keep it up, elected officials, and price us not out, but in. What buyer in his or her right mind would take that plunge?
Anthony Tanzi, Mastic Beach
Sept. 11, 2019
Newsday’s story about the exodus of millennials from Long Island left out an important cause: the exodus of desirable corporate employers.
In the story, a millennial woman left because she didn’t like her job prospects on Long Island after college.
In the past, large defense contractors such as Sperry and Grumman employed tens of thousands. In the private sector, the headquarters of Avis, the rental-car company, provided work for a variety of occupations. A new owner in 2001 moved Avis’ headquarters from Garden City to New Jersey, and along with it, some 700 jobs. When employers leave, the work and workers follow.
Brian T. Wrynn, Deer Park
Sept. 18, 2019
A reader writes that in the 1970s, “a minimum wage job could pay rent on a modest studio apartment. A person could support him or herself while continuing his or her education.”
How was this possible? Yes, the cost of living was much lower, but so was the minimum wage. The minimum wage in New York in 1974 was $2 an hour. It gradually rose to $2.90 by 1979.
I do have empathy for millennials because I faced the same problems in my youth. It always has been challenging for the young to get ahead.
Peggy Humanick, Aquebogue
College cheating scandal
Sept. 22, 2019
A reader questioned whether sending actress Felicity Huffman to prison in the college admissions cheating scandal was the best punishment. The reader said a donation of time and money to a community organization for underprivileged students might be better.
I disagree. If you levy only a monetary fine or require a convict to donate time, then all you are doing is giving him or her a slap on the hand, especially for someone with personal wealth. But giving up personal freedom not only teaches someone a lesson but will also, hopefully, give other would-be felons food for thought. Do the crime, do the time.
Michael Seewald, Manorville
Abuse of referees
Nov. 26, 2019
I have been a volunteer photographer on the sidelines of Oceanside High School football games for 15 years. Yes, spectators and people on the sidelines have become more expressive, mostly on the varsity level. Rules need to be updated and enforced, but the notion that we need the assistance of the New York State Legislature is absurd.
At the beginning of every varsity game, the home team announces the rules governing spectator behavior. I see plenty of security personnel and supervisors from both schools to enforce the rules.
We don’t need our state government to pass laws to stiffen penalties for spectators and coaches who abuse referees. We just need to eject unruly people without first giving them a warning. Bad behavior will stop the next week.
Tommy Gregoretti, Oceanside
Dec. 1, 2019
A letter writer stated that immediate ejection of spectators or coaches who abuse referees at school football games would solve the problem, and that state legislation is unneeded. This is incorrect.
The abuse occurs not only on the field, but also while officials are off the field, and even in the parking lot after games. We have documented incidents of parents in cars making threats and following as officials in their cars or on foot in parking lots.
If this continues, we cannot expect to attract new officials or retain good ones. You will never change bad behavior by simply ejecting people from games; it has got to go further.
Yes, we officials fully support legislation that would make it a felony to physically attack a referee and carry a maximum seven-year prison term, or make it a misdemeanor to threaten to attack a referee — or spit on them during a verbal attack — and carry a three-month jail term.
We deserve this protection on and off the field so we may go home thinking only about the game just completed.
Bob DeThomasis, Bethpage (Editor’s note: The writer is president of the Long Island Association of Football Officials.)