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LIRR overtime, crowded trains and turning the clocks back

An essay about banning gas-powered leaf blowers drew

An essay about banning gas-powered leaf blowers drew a response. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Hold LIRR bosses accountable in thefts

About every couple of years, it seems I read a story in Newsday about how several Long Island Rail Road employees were caught stealing overtime pay ["Accused in OT theft," News, Nov. 8]. Isn’t it time that these public servants be held to the same standards as a private sector employee, including immediate termination and prosecution? How is a short suspension and restitution an effective deterrent? These same employees were allowed by LIRR management to triple their base salary in overtime from 2018 to 2020. In the past 20 years, LIRR fares have   doubled. When will LIRR management be held accountable?

Barry Knepper, Plainview

While reading about the LIRR workers accused of overtime theft, it is easy to see why LIRR ticket prices are among the nation’s highest. Three foremen nearly tripled their individual salaries and yet were only forced to pay back $11,625. One worker, paid $362,799 in 2018, had a base salary around $80,000, and all three were allowed to keep their jobs. It is also more than likely it's just the tip of the iceberg. What about the employees working under these foremen?

Someone must pay for these fraudulent practices, and, unfortunately, the buck will be passed on to commuters, who already are paying exorbitant prices. In addition, the LIRR is eliminating some grade crossings, a project whose price will also likely trickle down to commuters. Where does it end?

Charles J. Brown, Levittown

When are taxpayers going to demand that all public servants must be honest? Maybe if we demand that any public workers found guilty of doing anything illegal on the job for their own benefit -- and therefore hurting taxpayers -- should lose their pension and benefits. If these workers understood that their families would be faced with these consequences, they would think twice before doing anything illegal. Oh, and this should go for our elected officials, too.

Bob Krauss, Plainview

Train crowding serves as petri dish

LIRR President Phillip Eng summarized that LIRR trains had room for accommodating ridership and riders were "all getting used to sharing space again, to being in groups again. That’s part of this process" ["LIRR rebuts space gripes," News, Oct. 21]. Clearly, he hasn't been on the Port Washington line recently. For those of us who commute daily, the issue is not sharing space or "mass transit," but that space is so limited during peak commute times, when people stand in the aisles throughout the train car. Moreover, the lack of mask enforcement, close proximity with people and notable absence of conductors during these peak crowded times create a petri dish for potential escalation in COVID-19 cases. You know it is overcrowded when the conductor remains in his or her quarters. You know it is overcrowded when the conductor remains in his or her quarters.

Kostas Katsavdakis, Williston Park

Why we turn back the clocks in the fall

Every year on the first Sunday in November, we go through the same thing; why are we turning our clocks back? Yes, like everyone else, I like when it’s light later in the day ["Let's stop turning back the clocks," Letters, Nov. 10]. But there are reasons why we do it.

When I was in school in Maryland in 1973, we didn’t change the clocks because of the oil embargo. After two weeks, parents were protesting that their children were waiting for buses in the dark, so they changed back. Now imagine not changing the clocks. By late December, it wouldn’t get light until 8 a.m. Doesn’t this pose a greater threat of children being hit by a car because they can’t be seen?

People claim that the change to daylight savings time may have ill effects on our health because of the hour of sleep we lose. If true, what about the tens of thousands of people who cross time zones each day? We make the change on Sunday so that we don’t lose sleep on most people's workday. Is it any different than if we happen to get a poor night’s sleep?

Robert Broder, Stony Brook

The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind

Will we soon be using only handsaws to build homes, backyards decks and fences ["Time to ban gas-powered leaf blowers," Opinion, Nov. 8]? Batteries sometimes cost more than the tools they power and don’t last long. This sounds like one of those deals that could gain momentum and the "loud minority" rules the day.

By the way, on my block today, someone was getting a new gas line. I've been listening to a jackhammer for hours. They don't make them with batteries.

John Schreiber, Freeport