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Newsday letters to the editor for Friday, May 4, 2018

Rep. Tom Suozzi, left, tours the Veterans Affairs

Rep. Tom Suozzi, left, tours the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Northport on April 23 with director Scott Guermonprez. Credit: James Carbone

Confusing set of minimum wages

The April 18 business story “Wage hike’s impact,” on the effect of the $15 minimum wage, touched on only some of the issues.

If someone asks what the minimum hourly wage is in New York State, you must ask that person about the county, the number of employees and the industry.

Is the question about the fast-food industry? Fast-food restaurants have an $11.75-anhour minimum wage (but $13.50 in New York City).

What about for industries other than fast-food on Long Island and in Westchester County? The answer is $11, but $10.40 in the rest of the state outside of New York City.

How about in New York City? If a company has 11 or more employees, the minimum is $13 (rising to $15 next year). If it’s 10 or fewer, the minimum is $12 (but $13.50 next year and $15 in 2020).

Confused? Ask one of your state senators or Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to explain it. I bet that 75 percent of them would not understand the law they approved.

Tom Spero,Stony Brook

Editor’s note: The writer owns four Wendy’s franchises in Suffolk County.

See the things we have in common

Racist, sexual and anti-Semitic graffiti was spray-painted on walls, sidewalks and windows in Westhampton Beach [“High School vandalism probed as hate crime,” News, April 7]. A Remsenberg teenager was charged with the crimes a few days later.

I wonder how the school, the boy’s parents and the authorities will handle such immature actions.

When I was growing up, if anything like spray-painting graffiti took place, young people were disciplined seriously with the hope they would never do it again.

Never mind ordering an offender to clean up his mess. Teach this suspect to be a man by helping him understand that he has no one to blame but himself. He obviously needs guidance to travel the right path.

We all need to accept that we are part of the same family and to acknowledge the things we have in common. With love, we will conquer hatred on all levels.

James B. Calfa, Mastic Beach

Sell naming rights to fix VA hospital

It is reported that six publicly traded banks are avoiding $3.59 billion in taxes [“Big Wall Street banks saving billions in taxes,” News, April 23]. We will need only $300 million to fix up the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

How about selling naming rights so banks can finance these repairs, and so our president can say we take care of our veterans without taxpayer money?

How about: “The Northport VA Medical Center maintained by Chase, where we believe taking care of our veterans is an important duty”?

Take a page from the 1993 film comedy “Dave,” in which an imposter president applies common sense and gets some good done. We need to take care of veterans who fought for us.

Bob Greenstein,Commack

Don’t produce more Long Island sprawl

As a region, Long Island is falling behind its neighbors in a disturbing number of ways, from population growth to housing to poverty [“The first suburb is falling behind,” Editorial, April 26].

The editorial said the Island has 8,300 underutilized acres in downtowns and around rail stations, according to the Long Island Index. “A staggering 52 percent of that land is used for surface parking lots,” the editorial said. “Using just half of that space for development, the Index found, could result in 90,000 new townhomes and apartments.”

So progress would be more population, more apartment buildings, more cars and less parking?


I moved east long ago to get away from what felt like Queens sprawl headed for the Suffolk County line. I define progress very differently.

Henry Doll,Port Jefferson Station

Editor’s note: The writer, now retired, was a regional operations supervisor for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Brownfields are being made usable again

A letter writer stated that a large impediment to growth is the lack of open land [“New York needs to lead economic growth,” April 25]. But the real issue is whether the old model of sprawl is still needed, and whether Long Island should depend on that model.

New York City, Columbus Ohio, and many other central urban nodes have little vacant land, but are revitalizing or repurposing old neighborhoods or obsolete industrial areas to encourage growth. New York City is a booming tech hub as a result — and is seeing an immense construction boom.

In Suffolk County, revitalization of decayed central downtowns is booming. A core mission of Suffolk government is to open growth opportunities for rental housing, retail and downtown life, especially if linked to transit corridors.

The Suffolk County Landbank Corp., headed by Sarah Lansdale, is bringing brownfields back into useful status, providing land for reuse. Revitalization will lead to economic growth and might indeed replace sprawl as the leading economic generator.

Michael Kaufman,Nissequogue

Editor’s note: The writer is a member of the Suffolk County Planning Commission.