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Newsday letters to the editor for Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018

Wreaths were placed at Merillon Avenue in December

Wreaths were placed at Merillon Avenue in December 2000 to honor victims of the 1993 shooting. Credit: Newsday / John Keating

On the 25th anniversary of the Long Island Rail Road massacre of 1993, we remember the lives lost and the heroes who stopped the shooting [“When the shooting was here,” Editorial, Dec. 2.].

Around each anniversary, wreaths are placed on the platform of the Merillon AVenue station to remember the passengers who were killed.

Although a memorial plaque to the victims was placed several blocks away at Mineola Memorial Park, I believe a memorial should be incorporated into the design of the Merillon Avenue station when it is renovated during the third-track project.

Despite being one of the darker moments in Long Island history, the tragic shooting was an important event that cannot be forgotten. We can move forward in life and as a society only if we remember the past and apply its lessons to create a better future.

Mitchell Schwartz, Roslyn

Base local property taxes on income

While I appreciate Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s attempt to clear up misconceptions regarding our property tax assessments, she leaves much for property owners to contemplate while not really reassuring us that her system will be fair [“Report notes likely effect of reassessment,” News, Nov. 29].

According to a letter I received, my home’s new assessment is $444,000. For many years, it was $392,000.

I have no idea how either figure can be considered anywhere near what I would receive if I tried to sell my house tomorrow. We are told the figures are somehow based on the sale of comparable homes in our neighborhood. If this is true, I don’t think this is a reality-based method, since every house is vastly different inside and out. A reassessment of this sort will only increase the number of grievances filed.

If Curran wants to be fair, why not base property taxes on the homeowner’s income? If someone lives in a house whose value has grown tremendously over decades, he or she might no longer have the ability to pay the taxes.

Judith Kelsey, Merrick

How to decide which songs don’t offend?

How long before we see a list of songs that radio stations stop playing because they offend not just the #MeToo movement, but various races, religions, creeds and many other movements [“#MeToo nixes ‘Baby It’s Cold,’ ” News, Dec. 2]?

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” banned recently by an Ohio radio station, was written in 1944! Times were different then. The lyrics were based on romance more than being sexually offensive.

So what do you do with songs that are worse? What about “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People (“All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you’d better run, better run, faster than my bullet”); “Brown Sugar” by the Rolling Stones, about the rapes of African slaves; or “Island Girl” by Elton John, about a Jamaican prostitute in New York City (“What you wanting with the white man’s world?”)? What about songs about killing cops?

Where does it end? How do you pick and choose when the First Amendment applies?

Tony Antonelli, Islip

NY State is acting to stop illegal dumping

Illegal dumping on Long Island is a serious problem that New York State is working to solve [“Get tougher on dumpers,” Editorial, Nov. 29].

At Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s direction, the Department of Environmental Conservation launched Operation Trashnet in 2017, the largest-ever construction and demolition debris enforcement blitz in state history. DEC environmental conservation police officers and staff are partnering with state and local law enforcement and district attorneys’ offices on dozens of undercover details, surveillance, transfer station inspections, and thousands of hours of forensic investigations across Suffolk and Nassau counties, New York City and the Hudson Valley.

And it’s working. Trashnet has resulted in hundreds of arrests, the discovery of at least 80 dump sites, the confiscation of dozens of trucks, the levying of significant fines and the seizure of millions of dollars in assets.

We’ve also strengthened the state’s waste disposal regulations. These new regulations improve tracking for materials generated in New York City, require analysis of all fill material leaving construction and demolition debris processing facilities, and mandate registration for the transportation of such debris statewide.

As the DEC continues our enforcement blitz, we need the public’s help. We encourage anyone who sees possible illegal dumping to call DEC’s 24-hour hotline at 1-844-332-3267.

If illegal dumpers don’t already understand, they are learning — arrest after arrest and mugshot after mugshot. New York State is dropping the hammer on illegal dumping.

Basil Seggos,Albany

Editor’s note: The writer is commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation.