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Newsday letters to the editor for Monday, Oct. 9, 2017

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Mandel Ngan

Flexibility is needed to lure big employer

Columnist Joye Brown asked why Nassau County would change a formula in sewer hookup fees that would bring the county less revenue [“Fees cut despite cash crunch,” News, Sept. 21]. The answer is that a sewer hookup fee is a one-time charge that can easily be made up in a few years from tax revenue generated by a given property.

Flexibility in sewer hookup fees can incentivize economic development, which not only generates sustained property tax revenue but can increase sales tax revenue and job creation. If we hope to attract companies like Amazon to our region, we will need every advantage.

The sewer hookup fee for Amazon’s proposed 8-million-square-foot headquarters would be costly by anyone’s calculation. In Suffolk, there would be no negotiation. In Nassau, negotiating that fee would be part of the incentive package to attract this international megacorporation. Rather than characterize Nassau’s policy as a conspiracy, we should debate whether flexibility or inflexibility brings the best rate of return for Long Island’s economic growth.

Kyle Strober, Hauppauge

Editor’s note: The writer is executive director of the Association for a Better Long Island, a business advocacy organization.

N. Korea-U.S. taunts could bring disaster

Much has been written about how President Donald Trump was swept into office on a rising tide of resentment felt by millions of Americans, for whom official Washington represented a useless enclave of power and privilege. Not enough has been written, however, about the virulent strain of anti-intellectualism that accompanied this populist uprising and that still predominates among many of Trump’s most ardent supporters.

The latest example can be found in blindly supporting the provocative name-calling exchanges with North Korea’s leader [“Trump: Don’t talk to N. Korea,” News, Oct. 1]. I don’t see the reason other than the vague sense that Trump’s hurling of schoolyard insults somehow upholds the honor of America and satisfies a childlike need to lash back at a despotic and unpredictable regime.

Little thought seems to have been given to the risk of nuclear miscalculation that can result from this type of impulsive, emotionally cathartic, but chillingly dangerous behavior. What might armed conflict on the Korean Peninsula mean for the lives of millions of Koreans and Japanese — or the tens of thousands of U.S. troops stationed there?

This abandonment of reason in the service of personal grievance is not merely selfish, but also dangerous.

Geoffrey R. Kaiser, Muttontown

The anthem and the meaning of America

Maybe we shouldn’t be talking about whether it is appropriate to sit, stand, or kneel at the playing of our country’s national anthem at the beginning of sporting events, but instead ask whether our anthem should be played at all [“Star-spangled controversy,” Sports, Oct. 1].

To me, singing the anthem is about patriotism. Legend says the tradition at sporting events began during the seventh-inning stretch at a World Series game in Chicago in 1918. This was during World War I, and there was tension in the populace. When the band played the anthem, the crowd began to sing and there was a great outpouring of relief and positive energy.

This is a time in our country’s history where many of us are examining and questioning our values and institutions, what we stand for individually, as a country and as humans. What does it mean to be proud of our country? Can we be frustrated, angry or embarrassed about our leaders and government and still be proud of our country?

It’s time for Americans to try to be the better America we expect to be, and that starts with open minds and open hearts.

Innis O’Rourke III, Oyster Bay

There has been quite a lot of misplaced angst over football players who kneel during the national anthem. People forget that the United States has a long history of nonviolent protest.

From the Boston Tea Party to the civil rights movement to today, nonviolent protest is in our DNA. Our flag is a symbol, not an idol. We should not worship it like a golden calf. It represents our national values, values that deserve our respect and awe. When the flag is gone, our values remain.

I don’t believe the players mean any disrespect to American symbols and values. Instead I like to think that the players are genuflecting in honor of the values our flag represents.

Thomas Sobczak Jr., Westbury