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OpinionLetters

Newsday letters to the editor for Friday, Aug. 18, 2017

Newsday readers respond to topics covered.

Residents question New York American Water Co. about

Residents question New York American Water Co. about her high water bills at a civic association meeting at North Shore Middle School on Aug. 9, 2017 in Glen Head. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Already a way to amend constitution

Your Aug. 8 news story about the upcoming vote on a New York State constitutional convention cites a potential cost of $300 million [“Rewrite constitution?”].

There’s already an existing mechanism to amend the state constitution through the legislature. Those who do not want to waste taxpayers’ money will vote no in November on a constitutional convention.

Max Strieb, Huntington

Editor’s note: The writer is a member of New York State United Teachers, which opposes the convention.

Two leaders could start a nuclear war

With all the problems our country and the world face, none is as scary as two colossal egos without conscience who have the potential of precipitating a nuclear war [“Echoes of 1945 and North Korea,” Editorial, Aug. 8].

Trude Hassberg,Flushing

Don’t dismiss the benefits of solar

I read about the one-time plan to install solar panels in the Ronkonkoma train station parking lot [“Suffolk: $7.8M claim denied,” News, Aug. 8]. It was put off because it might interfere with the Ronkokoma Hub project.

Suffolk County also had a plan to have solar panels installed at Gabreski Airport that fell through. Meanwhile, Brookhaven and Riverhead have large solar projects finished or under construction.

I’m beginning to think that the Democratic-led administrations of New York State and Suffolk County are downplaying solar power in the interest of establishing offshore wind power. I hope I’m wrong, because solar-power systems are faster to install and don’t kill birds or disrupt marine fish or mammals.

Larry Penny, Sag Harbor

Editor’s note: The writer is the former natural resources director for the Town of East Hampton.

Bail is not a punishment

The writer of the Aug. 14 letter “Bail for arrested driver was only $100” seems to think that bail should be a punishment for something a person is accused of doing. Not so!

Bail is to guarantee the accused will appear in court. If there is no reason to think that a person will not appear, then there should be no bail required.

William J. Van Sickle, Brentwood

Outraged over paying for water — plus taxes

I went to a meeting conducted by the advocacy group Long Island Clean Air Water and Soil to see what I can do to cut my water bills [“Water bill shockers,” News, Aug. 10]. Boy, did I learn a lot.

I didn’t realize that half of my water bill goes to pay New York American Water’s property taxes — a tax that people who have Town of Hempstead water do not pay because public utility properties are tax exempt.

I wholeheartedly support the lawsuit that the advocacy group plans to bring to fight a decision by the Public Service Commission to allow American Water to pass 100 percent of its tax obligation to ratepayers. The company also has the right to profit from any tax refund it might get when it grieves its taxes. This is totally outrageous.

Gene Pines, Merrick

The fact that New York American Water profits from what I pay for water angers me.

Not only does the Public Service Commission allow American Water to pass all of its $36 million property tax obligation on to customers, but it also lets the utility keep up to half of tax refunds it might get by grieving its taxes. Half my bill pays the taxes on water utility properties — a tax that 90 percent of Nassau County, which is on public water, does not have to pay because public water utility properties are tax-exempt.

I’m tired of being a cash cow for American Water. The only way to end this injustice is to take it to court.

Susan Melnick, Merrick

Teach safety by showing a gun’s power

Referring to “Gun owners must act to protect kids” [Letters, Aug. 14], the BeSMART safety program represents nothing more than another lecture on gun control.

When I was a child, my best friend’s father, a police officer, took us to an open field and fired his off-duty revolver at a pumpkin. We watched in awe as, after just a few rounds, the pumpkin disintegrated.

For the rest of our childhood we played just feet from where my friend’s dad stored his guns. I cannot tell you if they were locked, because we would not go near them.

Tell a child not to touch a gun, and he or she likely will. Show a child why, and offer adult-supervised safe shooting, and you will have a totally different outcome.

Vincent Cristiano, Ronkonkoma

Editor’s note: The writer is a member of the National Rifle Association.

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