Newsday reported that millennials are leaving the Island due to high cost of living [“Squeezed out of LI,” News, Sept. 8]. We can rectify this, but no politician will try.
Read your tax bill. Money paid to the county general fund is negligible. The bigger-ticket items are taxes for schools, police, fire protection and garbage. Not one politician will take on the public-sector unions because they want their support and votes. This is how we spiraled out of control in the first place.
Schools are top-heavy with administration. I believe Suffolk County needs only three superintendents: east, west and central. Schools need just one principal and one vice principal. Students should raise money for activities.
Many of our politicians do not have fiscal knowledge. They don’t know how to handle money wisely.
This year, voters in Nassau and Suffolk counties will elect their legislatures, and Suffolk voters will elect a county executive. Voters can vote out those who are not getting the job done. Do this until we get good people who will actually do their jobs. If we don’t, young people and seniors will continue to leave; in addition, we will lose our middle class.
Editor’s note: The writer served for 32 years for the Suffolk Department of Public Works, retiring as an assistant facilities space manager.
In “Squeezed out,” Newsday interviewed a 29-year-old freelance photographer and community college graduate who lives with her father and stepmother in Freeport because she can’t afford to rent her own apartment and has $20,000 in credit card and student loan debt.
I’m a baby boomer who joined the Navy at age 18, served my country, got married, had a child, worked a full-time job and lived within my means.
Later, I worked two jobs as a single mom to put my son through St. John’s University without a loan. I know freelance photographers who work full-time jobs and supplement their income doing photography on the weekends at weddings, church events, holiday gatherings, etc. Baby boomers do what it takes to survive. It seems that millennials feel some sort of entitlement. Sorry, I can’t relate.
There is no denying a marked need for more affordable housing options on Long Island. Our solutions have fallen woefully short in addressing this long-vexing problem.
For more than a decade, the desire to retain millennials has shaped development policies in Nassau and Suffolk counties, and we have little to show except luxury apartments in downtown hubs and pressure on local municipalities to further loosen zoning restrictions.
While many developers have argued that our region has a brain drain, planners have long contended that we’re experiencing a birth dearth, or a decline of birthrates. As such, retention of millennials shouldn’t be our goal, but instead we should craft a cohesive approach to housing that caters to all demographics, young to elderly.
Most important, we must ask whether our region can sustain the intensive growth that many are advocating. The quality of our ground and surface waters continues to degrade, and our infrastructure networks are overburdened. If we don’t think holistically and realistically about the future of our region, we’ll see population numbers across all age groups drop.
Editor’s note: The writer is an adjunct professor of economic development and planning at Stony Brook University.
Newsday’s story about the exodus of millennials from Long Island left out an important cause: the exodus of desirable corporate employers.
In the story, a millennial woman left because she didn’t like her job prospects on Long Island after college.
In the past, large defense contractors such as Sperry and Grumman employed tens of thousands. In the private sector, the headquarters of Avis, the rental-car company, provided work for a variety of occupations. A new owner in 2001 moved Avis’ headquarters from Garden City to New Jersey, and along with it, some 700 jobs. When employers leave, the work and workers follow.
Brian T. Wrynn,
I believe that historically, people on Long Island fought construction of apartments because they believed that multiple-family housing would bring people of color. Many people thought that Long Island was supposed to be a white haven for the post-World War II generation to escape the increasingly nonwhite populations of Brooklyn and Queens.
Biographer Robert Caro wrote that master builder Robert Moses designed bridges on the Southern State Parkway to be too low for buses from the city to pass under. Builders of Levittown and other developments had covenants that forbid selling to people of color.
So, millennials, when you can’t afford to live on Long Island, look to your grandparents and your great grandparents for the reasons. Ask your parents and their neighbors whether they ever acted to cause a town board to deny a permit for a local apartment building. Go ahead, ask.
Gloria Hanna Mason,