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OpinionLetters

Newsday letters to the editor for Friday, June 16, 2017

Newsday readers respond to topics covered.

Erica Lam of South Hempstead holds her monthly

Erica Lam of South Hempstead holds her monthly Baldwin-Penn Station LIRR ticket on a westbound train Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

‘Unlimited’ LIRR ticket was a bad bet

Everyone knows that the Long Island Rail Road’s service has been less than stellar due to infrastructure issues at Penn Station. While Amtrak addresses these issues at Penn, the LIRR will reduce service over the summer. Unlike NJ Transit, however, the LIRR will not offer monthly commuters a discount [“The LIRR braces for hard summer,” Editorial, June 13].

If that’s not bad enough, the LIRR charged monthly ticket holders $7 one-way — $12 round-trip — to ride from Jamaica Station to the Belmont Stakes this past weekend, deeming it a special service, not part of the monthly commutation fee. Given all the hardships riders have faced in the past few months and will endure this summer, the least management could do is to let riders use an unlimited monthly pass for what it is intended to be: unlimited.

Michael Hillsberg, Sayville

Septic plan is really about tax revenue

Suffolk County’s Reclaim Our Water Initiative claims that we must protect our waters from nitrogen pollution by replacing old septic systems with advanced treatment systems [“$10M OKd for septic program,” News, May 17]. There’s no doubt that nitrogen is a problem in some locations, but these complicated systems are not the answer. They will do nothing to reduce nitrogen from acid rain or fertilizers.

I’m concerned these systems will encourage construction. New construction in watersheds increases nitrogen from stormwater runoff. The long-term solution is to limit population density and development, not increase it.

The fact that the environmental community has jumped on board shows what a great job county officials have done to promote an economic stimulus package as a pollution solution.

Chris Clapp of The Nature Conservancy gave a talk saying that this new industry will create 7,500 jobs to replace the 209,000 septic systems in critical areas. The engine of the Suffolk economy has traditionally been construction, real estate development and related spending. This is the underlying reason for the program: to help plug the hole in the county budget by creating jobs and increasing sales tax revenue.

Peter Akras, Wading River

Editor’s note: The writer is retired as a senior public health engineer from the Suffolk County Department of Health Services.

Utility towers ruin view on County Road 51

The drive along County Road 51 from Eastport to Riverhead used to be a scenic 6.5-mile ride [“$31.7M power project nearly done,” News, June 6]. One passed farmland, forests and broad vistas that reminded me of Big Sky Country out West.

Our big sky views are now gone. PSEG Long Island, in its effort to improve power reliability in the area, has installed many 80-foot steel towers along Route 51. In so doing, the utility has disturbed the very nature of this beautiful area. This is not progress.

David Slackman, Eastport

Sifting the issues in Chelsea Manning case

At the end of his presidency, Barack Obama commuted all but four months of the remaining sentence of Pvt. Chelsea Manning, who had served seven years of her 35-year sentence for leaking highly classified military documents [“Chelsea Manning released from Fort Leavenworth,” News, May 18]. Those documents revealed what many consider to have been atrocities by the U.S. military in foreign countries, including against civilians.

There was really no question concerning the criminality of Manning’s exposure of that secret information. She certainly knew she was violating U.S. law and would face severe punishment if she were convicted. I suspect she knew that was likely, considering her position as an Army intelligence analyst.

Was Manning’s sentence appropriate, and was Obama’s action inappropriate? Although Obama had the right, many have been critical of his exercise of that power in this case.

What about Manning? Should her motivation for committing her crime have been considered with respect to her sentence and its commutation? Of course, some will consider her to have been a traitor to her country, some a hero, and some will have mixed thoughts.

I can’t help but suspect that Obama had mixed thoughts, and that his conscience prevailed.

Robert Wilson, West Islip

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