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Give DiNapoli praise for pension decision

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in 2019.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in 2019. Credit: Jeff Bachner

Kudos to State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and his staff for their decision to cease investing state public-pension funds in fossil fuel companies ["DiNapoli’s green move," News, Dec. 10]. The rebuke by E.J. McMahon of the fiscally conservative Empire Center think tank saying DiNapoli is engaging in "political virtue-signaling" would probably make Adam Smith, theorist of capitalism and markets, roll over in his grave. In "The Theory of Moral Sentiments," Smith pointed out exactly the need for such "virtue-signaling" interventions in the operation of markets; standard "bottom-line" calculations leave out pesky and costly concerns about the polluting byproducts of industry. A singular focus on cost/price/profit turns a short-term blind eye to "what we have wrought." Acting upon science, global warming and public health concerns clearly is required of public officials at this crucial point. How uplifting to read some good news. Thank you, Mr. DiNapoli.

Marjorie Harrison,

Merrick

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s decision to end the state pension fund’s investments in all fossil fuel companies by 2040 frees up $2.6 billion of the fund’s current fossil fuel holdings for reinvestment in less financially and environmentally dangerous holdings. As a young person, I am relieved to see that New York State is once again taking leadership in protecting our people from the threat of the climate crisis, and protecting my right to a livable future. The next step, in my view, must be divesting the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System (NYSTRS), one of the nation’s 10 largest public pension funds, from fossil fuels. As a student, I find it perplexing that the fund supporting the teachers preparing me for my future is simultaneously invested in the destruction of that future. NYSTRS leaders need to realize that it’s financially responsible to take immediate action. Seeing that the fallout of food systems, increasing natural disasters, droughts and deadly heat waves will cost us dearly — both in dollars and in lives — I do not see how it is fiscally or morally responsible to wait.

Erin Zipman,

Brookhaven

Mall conversions a great idea

The pandemic is exposing the ugly truth — a lot of empty malls and storefronts and a lack of adequate, affordable and plentiful housing. Finally, politicians see a solution. Convert empty space to affordable apartments ["Pitch for apartments," LI Business, Dec. 5]. Bravo! We get great jobs for construction and all of our wonderful trades, and we get housing. Now, make sure you have ample sewers to handle the waste. Then take the next step: Allow every homeowner to have one legal apartment built to town code with a certficiate of occupancy and, of course, some increased tax revenue. Now, every homeowner, many of them seniors, can remain in their homes. Their new rental income pays their taxes. Our young people can now remain on Long Island, if they choose, and build a wonderful life here. Why are there such easy solutions never used by our local politicians? Maybe, we should be grateful for this crazy pandemic. We are finally using our common sense.

Alan H. Cohn,

Nesconset

The article about converting vacant shopping centers to apartment complexes raises the question of overbuilding without any new infrastructure or changes to any preexisting roads. I know this problem too well in my community. Two experts in the article have vested interest in the building and labor trades and, I believe, are not necessarily worried about the communities these new complexes will be built in. New complexes means hundreds, if not thousands, of extra cars in a community. I’ve seen overbuilding, without additional road expansion in my community, the Setauket and Port Jefferson Station area, causing Route 347 to have traffic pretty much 12 hours a day, seven days a week. I say that Suffolk County needs to plan a balance between apartment building complexes and road use. Quality of life is too important to our residents.

John Roche,

South Setauket

Mangano’s new job isn’t big news

Your obvious and transparent dislike of former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano is once again showing ["Mangano’s new job at Oheka Castle," News, Dec. 5]. Is it really front-page news that he got a job? The reporting makes no allegation of nefarious motives but, to me, the implication is there by the big headline and "Exclusive" label. Oheka Castle owner Gary Melius has been cozy with Republican and Democratic politicians for years. There is nothing wrong with employing an out-of-work friend. With all the serious events occurring daily in this country, I think it is time Newsday reassessed its journalistic priorities.

Faith Harper,

Elwood

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