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Letter: Newsday's stories on mob boss made a serious point

Reader letters to Newsday for Tuesday, April 2, 2019.

John (Sonny) Franzese and wife, Tina, leave federal

John (Sonny) Franzese and wife, Tina, leave federal court in Uniondale, where their son Michael Franzese was on trial, in December 1985. Credit: Newsday

Crime can hurt you and your loved ones

A reader asked why Newsday presented a five-page cover story about longtime Columbo crime family underboss John (Sonny) Franzese [“Why give attention to old mob boss?,” Letters, March 31].

I can see the point. The story says Franzese never talked about his crimes because he didn’t want others to suffer in prison as he did. Authorities say he killed or ordered the murders of dozens of people. Doesn’t he see the contradiction in that?

Newsday showed pictures of smiling family members taking care of him, yet I believe he must have been hurt by the fact that his son testified against him.

The facts in your story didn’t glorify him. He put his family’s safety in jeopardy. Did he ever worry about being carried out of a restaurant on a stretcher? He hated everything about prison, and he spent 35 years behind bars, about a third of his 102 years.

The story demonstrated how choosing to be a crime chieftain is a stupid decision that poisons and ruins your own life and hurts many others.

Joe Giovaniello,

  Port Jefferson Station

Fertilizer, nitrogen and groundwater

I don’t think limiting the nitrogen in fertilizer on Long Island would have much impact in protecting our underground supply of drinking water [“Cut the nitrogen in LI fertilizer,” Opinion, March 29].

Remember that 78 percent of the atmosphere is nitrogen. Some of that filters down through rain into the ground. Nitrogen can come from many sources, including human and animal waste. Do we limit them, too?

I grew up in the golf business. Back in the 1950s and ’60s, 20 tons of fertilizer would be applied to a golf course in the spring, and the same in the fall. Nowadays, far less is applied. Fertilizer is not inexpensive, so superintendents test soil extensively to get the most benefit.

To make sure fertilizer is absorbed by the grass and does not pollute the environment, Nassau County prohibits its use from Nov. 15 to April 1, Suffolk from Nov. 1 to April 1. Have these relatively recent bans had any effect on groundwater? Were studies done? Let science dictate a solution. Education before legislation.

Stephen G. Matuza,


Editor’s note: The writer, now retired, worked for 50 years in golf course maintenance and construction.

Opinion-page writer Sarah Meyland points to the unbalanced way we live within our ecosystem. But our unbalanced relationship with our environment goes even deeper.

Every fall and spring we or our gardeners clean up our yards, and leaves and branches, nature’s fertilizers, are carted away — requiring us to then use chemical nutrients that can pollute our groundwater.

Leaves and branches are only sometimes recycled through compost. We need a new way to manage properties so that the wonder and magic of nature can do what they do best — continue the cycles of life.

Suburbanites seem to be trying emulate the great estates of Europe. It might be a little messy, but they should allow leaves to disintegrate where they fall.

Janet Rudolph,

  Rockville Centre

Articles in Newsday refer to the pollution of our waters through Long Island’ fascination with fertilizing lawns, and Suffolk County’s procrastination in mandating the replacement of septic tanks and cesspools.

I have zoysia grass, which requires less maintenance and has other benefits. For more than 12 years, I have had a green lawn from late May through mid-October without using fertilizer, lime, grubicide or herbicide. Last year I watered my front lawn only once, in late June.

Arthur James,

  Massapequa Park

Pass bill to pursue carbon-free economy

Now that lawmakers in Albany have passed a new budget, we hope they will focus more on other issues [“Legislators pass NYS budget bills,” News, April 1].

Chief among them is the Climate and Community Protection Act. This legislation, which needs Senate approval after passing three times in the Assembly, would give teeth to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Green New Deal.

The bill would hold the state accountable for Cuomo’s goal of a transition to a carbon-free economy by 2050, along with a just transition for displaced workers, and full remediation for communities that have suffered disproportionately from fossil-fuel use. Otherwise the governor’s promises are just words.

Newsday’s editorial board pointed out that “Climate change is here now” [Editorial, March 22]. We need to stop using fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy right now. It’s a bonus for New York that fossil-fuel jobs here are few, and that green investment in solar and wind power, building retrofitting and green construction will create jobs.

The legislation has been on the table for three years, during which the effects of climate change have become even more terrifying from Mozambique to Nebraska. Let’s see this bill become law.

David Bissoon,


Editor’s note: The writer is a volunteer with the Sierra Club environmental organization.


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