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Newsday letters to the editor for Wednesday, July 11, 2018

LaGuardia Airport could get AirTrain service from Willets

LaGuardia Airport could get AirTrain service from Willets Point in 2022. Above, the AirTrain at Kennedy Airport. Credit: Bloomberg / Scott Eells

Voter indifference hurts democracy

A startling statistic in your June 28 news story “Gershon hails turnout” is that 20,303 of 144,470 eligible voters — 14 percent of the potential electorate — participated in the Democratic primary for the 1st Congressional District. And somehow that’s considered a success because 7.9 percent voted in the 2016 primary.

In contrast, Iraq’s first election since the defeat of the Islamic State this past May resulted in 44.5 percent of voters casting ballots.

I suggest that voter indifference within the Democratic Party in the 1st District serves as a microcosm as to why Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, and that indifference poses as much a threat to American democracy as Russian forces meddling in the electoral process.

Larry Jaffee,Kings Park

Editor’s note: The author teaches journalism at the New York Institute of Technology and at St. Joseph’s College.

PSEG should treat customers better

Thanks to reporter Mark Harrington and Newsday for covering the fight of my mother, Marian Goldstein, to obtain reimbursement for damage to her home from a PSEG power surge [“PSEG to pay $5G in outage damage,” News, June 3].

His articles spotlighted PSEG’s unfair claims reimbursement practices and customer safety. Harrington reported that she was one of about 2,400 Long Islanders each year who file claims against the utility. Only about 15 percent succeed. For the 85 percent whose claims are denied, a lawsuit like my mother’s is the only recourse.

Her fight ended with PSEG’s decision to withdraw its appeal of her victory in small claims court. When PSEG told Newsday it would have won my mother’s case on appeal, it served no purpose other than to discourage future lawsuits.

PSEG should understand that those who are unfairly denied claims are customers who pay their bills expecting safe, reliable service.

PSEG said it was not responsible for equipment failure that caused more than $7,000 damage to my mother’s home and similar incidents because, in part, rates would rise for all. Would you fly on an airline that says, “Our fares are low because if our equipment fails, we are not responsible?”

PSEG needs to change its claims process so customers are treated with respect, not as adversaries.

Mark Goldstein,

Chantilly, Virginia

LaGuardia AirTrain is misguided and foolish

An AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport would be amazing [“AirTrain to LaGuardia would give travelers a lift,” Editorial, July 3].

Benefits include no dependence on buses, which carry fewer people and subject to traffic, and a smooth transfer to the terminal. But an AirTrain is expensive: $1.5 billion is the current (and optimistic) forecast.

A more comfortable ride is wonderful, but worthwhile only if it saves time. With most mass-transit travelers coming from the west, it would not make sense to send people three miles east to Willets Point to go west on the AirTrain. The Port Authority claims this would be a 30-minute trip, yet it would depend on taking the more expensive Long Island Rail Road.

Currently from midtown Manhattan, the trip to LaGuardia via the N/W subway and M60 bus, or the E/F/7 subway and Q70 bus, can take 30 minutes. Spending $1.5 billion for an AirTrain that takes as long, or longer, is misguided and foolish. Just because it is the easiest solution does not make it the best. Consider an AirTrain from the Roosevelt Avenue station in Jackson Heights, or along the Grand Central Parkway from the Astoria Boulevard N/W station. Until then, the Port Authority should invest in projects such as upgrading its main bus terminal. Taxpayers want our money used responsibly.

Avi Smolen,Harlem

Plan for Fort Salonga road will hurt values

How is it possible that when someone wants to build 98 new townhomes, the residents near the property have to suffer [“At a crossroad,” News, June 22]?

Northwind Group proposes to build on a golf course at the north end of Bread and Cheese Hollow Road in Fort Salonga, in Huntington. A truck company is expanding at the south end of the road, in Smithtown. Suffolk County engineers say they might turn the road into a thoroughfare. That’s outrageous. It would drive down the values of the homes near this road, including mine.

Would Smithtown, Huntington or Northwind reimburse homeowners for diminished values? Would homeowners get a tax credit for the 98 homes added to the tax rolls? And who would pay for the new road, taxpayers? Why must residents and taxpayers suffer while a developer gets rich?

Bread and Cheese Hollow Road has to be one of the worst-maintained roads in the county. Smithtown, Huntington and Suffolk County should be embarrassed at the lack of responsibility they take for this road. Maybe that explains all the unfilled potholes along the center of the street.

Richard Modica,Fort Salonga