Uber driver Cris Lepurage at the wheel near his home...

Uber driver Cris Lepurage at the wheel near his home in East Meadow on Feb. 14, 2018. Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

Plan solar carefully to save land, water

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s willingness to revisit a bill introduced by Sen. Ken LaValle and Assemb. Steve Englebright is good news for Long Island’s environment [“Barrens plan omits Mastic site,” News, Jan. 23].

This bill would have protected pine barrens forest from being cleared for a solar project in Mastic, but Cuomo vetoed it in December.

There is no need to compromise pine barrens woodlands in Mastic for a solar project that can and should be sited elsewhere. We do not have to compromise land preservation and water quality protection for much-needed solar development. With proper planning, we can have both.

David Reisfield, Middle Island

Editor’s note: The writer is executive director of the Long Island Environmental Voters Forum, an advocacy organization.

George Washington’s treatment of slaves

Reading William F. B. O’Reilly’s Feb. 19 column, “Bring back Washington’s birthday,” felt ironic.

I had just heard a story on WNYC radio describing how George Washington rotated black cooks and servants between the executive residence in Philadelphia, which was in use while the White House was built, and his Mount Vernon estate.

He made sure they didn’t stay in Philadelphia longer than six months. The reason? Under the gradual abolition law of 1780, if you were an enslaved person on Pennsylvania soil for longer than six months, you were automatically free.

Do we really want to honor an individual who engaged in this practice?

Suzanne Mueller, Great Neck

Let market decide who wins taxi wars

Thanks, Newsday, for the insightful article on how Lyft and Uber are changing transportation on Long Island [“Uber’s impact,” Business, Feb. 18].

Local taxi services were overdue for a shake-up. Lack of competition had resulted in slow service and decrepit vehicles. Something as simple as installing credit card readers in taxis took years for many local firms.

Ride-sharing services have faults, as well. When I’ve needed to resolve a billing or service issue with Lyft or Uber, I had a hard time finding a human who would listen to and understand my issue.

Both the ride-hailing and taxi companies advocate for laws and rules that give them an advantage over the other. The obvious answer is for government to create a level playing field that allows the free market to pick winners and losers. That approach would give Long Islanders the final say in who provides better service.

Shaun Barry, Rockville Centre

Russia should let suspects stand trial

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dismissed the FBI indictments of 13 Russians as “just blabber” [“Indictments draw Russians’ ridicule,” News, Feb. 18]. If that’s so, Russia should let us extradite the indicted individuals and let them stand trial for trying to disrupt the 2016 presidential election.

If it’s truly blabber, they’ll go free.

Rob Shepard, Lynbrook

The one question everyone is dancing around is this: Did the alleged Russian interference change the outcome of the election?

How many of the 150 million Americans who saw the anti-Hillary Clinton propaganda on Facebook (and that is just part of Russia’s alleged efforts) were influenced to vote for Donald Trump? He can claim without evidence that Russian interference did not influence the election, but if so, why did Russia bother? Does it like to waste money on futile projects?

If negative ads don’t influence elections, then why do so many candidates spend money on them? Why did Donald Trump Jr.’s email say, “I love it,” when Russians offered dirt on Clinton?

Considering the narrow vote margins in a few key states cleverly targeted by Russia, no American can be sure that our president, chosen by a minority of us, would be in the White House without Russia’s acts.

Having the legitimacy of the U.S. president remain an open question is simply not tolerable. The election became official when Congress certified the outcome. It must decertify it, recall President Barack Obama temporarily, and call for a new election.

Patrick Flynn, Ridge

Encouraged by young gun-control activists

While one might view the recent school shooting in Florida as a reason to despair, I find a reason to hope as I watch those brave students create a movement [“Fla. survivors push for laws,” News, Feb. 21].

Many of these young people will be eligible to vote in the 2020 elections, and gun control will be their issue. I hope they will make a huge impact. Hopefully, Florida will change from red to blue. I’m in my 80s, but I plan to join these kids on March 24 in Washington.

Joe Squerciati, Hicksville

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