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New York should ease ballot access

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In New York State, a political party automatically gets a line on election ballots for the next four years if it records 50,000 votes in a gubernatorial election. Newsday is wrong to suggest that this number should be increased to 150,000 [“Don’t squander chance to fix election rules,” Editorial, Nov. 15].

I believe even the 50,000 figure is too difficult. New York is among the toughest states in the country for a group to achieve automatic ballot lines. Note that between 1974 and 2017, the Libertarian Party was a ballot-qualified party at some point in 43 states, yet had never attained that status in New York State. Only in November 2018 did the party finally meet New York’s 50,000-vote test.

The last time each state changed its definition of a political party, in 36 states the change was to ease the definition, not make it harder. Texas made it easier this year, California in 2014, Ohio in 2013 and Florida in 1999.

Richard Winger,

  San Francisco

Editor’s note: The writer is editor of Ballot Access News, a monthly publication that monitors ballot access issues.

Rethink the AirTrain from Willets Point

If the LaGuardia Airport AirTrain plan won’t help most Long Islanders, then state officials need to get a new plan. The suggestion of transportation engineer and planner Mayer Horn to have the LaGuardia AirTrain go to Woodside station, instead of Willets Point, would serve all lines of the Long Island Rail Road, similar to the successful Kennedy Airport AirTrain at Jamaica station [“AirTrain plan won’t help LIers,” Opinion, Nov. 17].

If you make the LaGuardia AirTrain convenient, thousands of Long Islanders will gladly go green and take the train to the plane and alleviate some overcrowding on Long Island roads.

Laura Schultz,


The LaGuardia Airport AirTrain, as proposed, would not help Long Island. A much better idea would be to run it along the Grand Central Parkway to Jamaica station. That would give Long Islanders rail access to both LaGuardia and Kennedy airports. Stops could be added for the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and Citi Field.

No Long Islander laden with luggage will take the LaGuardia AirTrain to Willets Point, followed by the 7 subway to Woodside, then switch to the Long Island Rail Road. More foresight needs to be put into this project so it is part of an overall transportation plan that includes Long Island, not just New York City.

John Prete,

  Dix Hills

Scallop die-off needs serious attention

Newsday has done a good job presenting the many opinions of what could have caused this year’s massive die-off of the Peconic Bay scallops [“Scallop die-off still mystery,” News, Nov. 15].

But who is in charge of making sense of it all?

To resolve this problem, someone must step up to take the leadership role to put the observations of various groups together. We must critically evaluate these observations using standards of science and engineering to move us forward.

Who will that leader be?

Roger C. Tollefsen,

  Hampton Bays

Editor’s note: The writer is a past executive director of the New York Seafood Council trade organization and teaches classes on seafood safety.

As the 2019 scallop season rolled around, I heard from fishermen that prospects were dim. It was worse than imagined. Some areas saw a 100% die-off [Scallop die-off still mystery, News, Nov. 15].

The Peconic Estuary Program, the Cornell Cooperative Extension and the state Department of Environmental Conservation are working to understand whether high water temperatures or other problems might have been the cause.

As someone who is not a commercial fisherman but has fished Peconic Bay his whole life, I know that the industry is critical to our local economy. A die-off like this must wake up the community. The global scientific community says climate change is happening, but is it to blame here?

Studies, findings and mitigation all cost money. Federal aid would certainly help. So it is unfortunate that 1st District Rep. Lee Zeldin has a record on climate change that is inconsistent at best. Yet he is the sole voice in Washington whose district envelops the Peconic Estuary.

Ironically, the 2020 scallop season begins one day before we elect the next representative. We need someone willing to save our fragile Peconic Estuary from climate change.

Arthur Barnett,

  Shelter Island

Very grateful for a ride on Veterans Day

Veterans Day was such a beautiful day that I decided to visit my brother’s grave at Pinelawn National Cemetery to honor his service. I brought flowers and ordered a holiday blanket.

It was a long way from the train station to his grave site, and at age 77, I have trouble walking. On my way back, a dear guardian angel (her name might have been Jan) offered me a ride to the station.

I was so overwhelmed by this act of kindness that I fear I didn’t properly express my gratitude, especially considering the chance she took by inviting a stranger into her car.

Although I don’t have a car, I promise to pass this act of kindness forward. I’m so grateful that well-meaning people still exist.

Karin Hofmann,