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Keep Queens in LI's business loop

A prototype of the opening page of a

A prototype of the opening page of a promotional insert for the new issue of Site Selection Magazine highlights LI business diversity. Credit: Site Selection Magazine

As an Astoria native raised in Nassau County, I understand that our region succeeds and fails together. That’s why I was so disappointed to learn that an effort is underway to lure businesses from New York City to Long Island during this difficult time for all New Yorkers [“Pitch to lure city businesses to LI,” Business, Aug. 28]. The pandemic has had a devastating impact on businesses throughout our area, but I believe Queens was the epicenter of the epicenter. Rather than exploiting these difficult circumstances, this group should be working with its business partners in the five boroughs, Westchester and all of Long Island to attract out-of-state and international companies to our region, retain the companies that are already here, and call on our elected leaders to make it easier to do business in New York. When Amazon had announced that it was coming to Queens, this was celebrated by business and political leaders in Nassau and Suffolk counties because they understood what it would mean for the region. That is the spirit we need going forward. Rather than fight over who gets the largest slice, let’s make a bigger pie.

Tom Grech,


Editor’s note: The writer is president and chief executive of the Queens Chamber of Commerce.

Differing views on Pelosi salon jaunt

I confess to being an ardent believer in small government and no changes to the Constitution. Truth is absolute, and I’m not sure correctness can have degrees. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in office for too many years for me to count, supposedly did not know she shouldn’t be in her local beauty salon [“Hair-raising hypocrisy by all sides,” Opinion, Sept. 3]? It’s insulting to readers and, worse, insulting to blame her longtime beauty shop owner and throw her under the bus. It puts a new meaning to the song, “That’s What Friends Are For.” Morals, truth and ethics don’t change, but people will try. Lane Filler’s last sentence is good one, saying the best way to stomp out tribalism is by starting with one’s own behavior. I say it should be a mantra for the media.

Carole C. Lucca,


After reading Lane Filler’s “Hair-raising hypocrisy by all sides,” I offer a slightly different point of view: Put aside some 190,000 people dead from COVID-19, high unemployment, racial inequity and the need to improve police-community relations, voter suppression, disdain for our precious environment, threats to withhold much-needed money to the states, incivility, and what I see as the cruel stoking of hatred and violence from the White House. Instead, we are told to focus on the speaker of the house, who recently went to get her hair done. This must be monumental. Was she packing stolen uranium? Was she trading intelligence with a foreign adversarial stylist? Was she buying black-market shampoo? Who knows what conspiracy theory can be hatched from this seemingly innocuous adventure? It makes for a wonderful distraction from all that really matters to the American people, and it’s not styling gel. But here’s a true news flash: We are smart, we love our democracy, and want to keep it. We wear masks to protect one another, and we have a voice — it’s called our vote.

Susan Scalone,


Water article misses some points

I believe the article “NY adopts water standard,” about a potential government takeover of water systems on Long Island, missed the mark on some key points that could lead one to think water companies aren’t properly supporting the communities we serve [News, July 31]. First, important lessons can be learned from other condemnation battles that have played out across the country. The long and complex legal process almost always results in higher costs for residents and communities. To me, the initial cost estimates made by condemnation activists rarely, if ever, pan out in the end. And it is taxpayers who end up with higher costs.

Another lesson comes from Edison, New Jersey. After the local government took over its water system, residents were immediately faced with skyrocketing rates and a utility that admitted it was ill-equipped to handle routine challenges. The article fails to mention that 31% to 55% of water bills paid by New York American customers are taxes, including a special franchise tax, which should be eliminated. The obvious answer to Long Island’s water rate challenges isn’t getting rid of New York American Water but getting rid of the unfair special franchise tax that places an undue burden on residents.

Robert Powelson,


Editor’s note: The writer is president and chief executive of the National Association of Water Companies.

My New York American Water bill for July was $188. In July 2012, it was $65. In July 2011, for two months, it was $87. Please explain the soaring price [“Feeling tapped out,” News, Aug. 19]. First they separated it into monthly payments and raised the price. Now it just skyrocketed. I think we are owed a huge refund. Normally, I would want cash, but I will gladly take the refund in water itself. It seems like a good investment.

Randy Perlmutter,