At his Senate confirmation hearing, Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden’s attorney general nominee, provided deeply thoughtful and profoundly well-informed responses to questions and concerns from the Senate ["Garland vows sharp focus on Capitol riot as attorney general," News, Feb. 23]. To his credit, Garland didn’t blink while listening to comments made by Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn. Both Texans had the audacity to warn Garland about attempting to "politicize" the office of attorney general — after both had spent four years applauding former Attorney General William Barr’s blatantly political coziness with former President Donald Trump. Just when it seemed that Cruz had put his worst foot forward in abandoning Texas in its time of need, he managed to one-up himself in putting his hypocrisy and lack of integrity on display for Garland and the rest of us to see.
Michael Blitz, Hicksville
Editor’s note: The writer is a professor of interdisciplinary studies at The City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Transit upgrades needed first
I question the wisdom of expanding Penn Station ["Penn Station expansion being eyed," News, Feb. 20]. The tunnel between New York and New Jersey, as reported numerous times, needs major repair and upgrading, and a new tunnel to supplement the existing one has been proposed for years and was in preliminary design until former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey unwisely stopped work on it. The Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River, which also had many delays, has also had talk of replacement. These structures are part of the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington, Amtrak’s highest revenue producer. If the tunnel or bridge were to suffer a major failure, railroad traffic on the corridor to the south of New York would be seriously affected if not altogether stopped. If that happened, any expansion at Penn Station would be useless. With the opening of East Side Access, hopefully in the near future, and the diversion of Long Island Rail Road trains to Grand Central Terminal, more tracks should be available for Amtrak and Jersey Transit trains. This by itself should reduce the need for the Penn Station expansion.
Lewis Damrauer, Dix Hills
Socially distancing hard on LIRR line
I write this letter on the 6:11 evening train to Port Washington, exiting at Bayside, where, according to Long Island Rail Road app "Train Time," this car is 35% to 50% capacity. People are standing by doors because everyone is trying to socially distance. Every aisle and window seat is taken. How are passengers supposed to be socially distant if a car is this crowded? I have found most cars are usually this crowded. Same in the morning. I suggest the LIRR rethink its schedule, at least on the Port Washington line.
Kathleen Mardiguian, Bellerose
Wind development has drawbacks, too
While developing wind resources off Long Island can provide renewable energy for the Island and is better than oil, gas or nuclear energy, it still creates issues that must be resolved ["Wind developers eager for LI," News, Feb. 10]. Windmills on our horizon are better than smokestacks in our backyard. The concern of our fisheries must be taken into consideration. The existing infrastructure needs substantial upgrading to accommodate the huge number of megawatts of power. The substations are designed to send power out to the grid, and the reverse can create challenges. Many substations have reached capacity due to the large solar farms that have sprouted up. PSEG Long Island denies further interconnection to those substations of smaller solar arrays that a business may want to invest in. When a large wind project sends its power to a substation, it will totally incapacitate that substation to allow for smaller solar arrays. Then there is the financial impact. While wind farms create job growth, the bulk of developers are from Europe. We, the ratepayers, pay PSEG for that power, and it pays for that power to those overseas conglomerates, just like paying for foreign oil. All renewables are good, but some, like solar, are better.
Mike Bailis, Oakdale
Editor’s note: The writer is co-founder of SUNation Solar Systems in Ronkonkoma.
A better way to set up vaccine appointments
Why aren’t there two lines on registration applications, for married seniors and others in the qualifying levels ["Record 132,000 doses administered in 1 day," News, Feb. 13]? Many of us have spent hours and days trying to get appointments. Married people have had to sit side-by-side and press the keyboard simultaneously to secure a COIVD-19 vaccine appointment for the same time. The single-line registration ensured that one of us would be advised that no appointment is available.
Arthur J. French, Wainscott