Firefighters from the Blue Point Fire Department remove branches from...

Firefighters from the Blue Point Fire Department remove branches from a downed tree on Pleasant Avenue during Tropical Storm Isaias on Aug. 4. Credit: Newsday / Steve Pfost

Once again, we look for scapegoats to blame for the power outages from Tropical Storm Isaias instead of looking at our own culpability.

While the editorial focused on the results of the power outages, I did not read about a major cause of power outages, our own downed trees. The Long Island dream of living on a tree-lined suburban street is right out of Norman Rockwell, but how practical is it when we’re along the path of Atlantic storms, summer and winter? Asking utility companies to prepare for storms with a tree-trimming program is pointless to me since the remaining trees keep growing, and new ones are planted beneath utility lines.

I propose utilities begin a program to remove large roadside trees, paid for by PSEG Long Island, the Long Island Power Authority, Optimum and Verizon. While some will invoke NIMFYism, I believe many will happily join the program to get a more reliable power supply — and fewer front yard leaves to rake! It’s like wearing a mask in public to prevent the COVID-19 spread; we do it for the sake of others as well as ourselves.

Jim Engeldrum,

Islip Terrace

This letter in no way excuses PSEG Long Island from, as I see it, the incompetent way it responded to Tropical Storm Isaias. However, where does personal responsibility start? My neighbor’s tree, with many roots already protruding due to age and neglect, fell over within the storm’s first 20 minutes, knocking down our power lines. Since mine was the only house without power, those live wires remained on the ground for seven days until a Texas crew restored our power. If a sidewalk is cracked or lifted, the property owner receives a summons to fix it himself, or alternatively, the town or county takes care of it. Why is it not the same for trees? There isn’t constant incentive for personal responsibility for trees because if it falls on a neighbor’s property, the neighbor is responsible for the removal of the tree and any damage caused. There must be a way to report trees that have been neglected or need to be pruned before causing damage to electrical wires. Perhaps this type of preventive maintenance could reduce the number of fallen trees during storms, taking down power lines.

Devora Stiefel,

Valley Stream

I believe the recent problems from Tropical Storm Isaias could have been less of a problem if tall trees were replaced with dwarf trees. Dwarf trees grow eight to 12 feet high.

We need to educate homeowners to grow dwarf trees. I don’t believe it’s PSEG Long Island’s fault that tall trees fall on electrical, phone and internet lines. PSEG Long Island can only restore power lines after these tall trees are removed. Removal of trees take a very long time.

Michael Whitty,

No. Massapequa

Democrats, GOP show convention contrasts

A reader called last week’s Democratic National Convention “a week of celebration”. I say he couldn’t be further from the truth. The Democrats used their convention to put out their platform for moving this country forward, not back to the 1950s. It wasn’t about any one person. It was about every American, because we all count in this country.

In contrast, the Republican National Convention has not put forth any platform. Instead, their convention has been all about praising President Donald Trump. It’s always been all about him. Democrats still believe in the three-branch government, while I see Republicans as giving up on that quaint idea and picking the “monarch rules” version. You know, the one where the ruler tells the legislative and judicial branches what to do. As you’ve seen in their respective conventions, Republicans are all in on authoritarian government, while Democrats strongly prefer following the Constitution. There is a stark difference in what people are willing to accept from their government. Since the Constitution is still the rule of law, it only seems right that we follow it, don’t you think?

Bob Bascelli,


Former Vice President Joe Biden was not in the top five of my preferred candidates in the Democratic primary. I disagree with him on many issues. Put politics aside. After watching the Democratic National Convention, I am convinced that Biden is a genuinely decent and kind person who truly cares about regular people.

There were too many stories told by regular folks about their interactions with him for those stories to be fake. Like the workers on the train he took every day from home to Washington and back to be with his family. They told us how he learned their names, asked about their families and called to find out how they were surviving problems. And the woman he met who told him about her grandmother, and said he insisted she be called and spent a half-hour speaking with her. And the 13-year-old boy who stuttered, describing, with difficulty, how Biden encouraged him. Genuine. Kind. Caring. Decent. To me, these are important qualities. I wonder whether President Donald Trump’s supporters see those qualities in him.

Jesse Siegel,



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