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Newsday reported on well-off retirees who have money to spend [“The age of affluence,” Business, Dec. 1].

Now do a story on the retirees I know, including me. We’re the ones who wait for a monthly pension check to go food shopping, and then wait for Social Security to go food shopping again.

God forbid, they get sick, as I did. Medical bills can wipe out your savings. I have Medicare and private insurance, and am in debt for more than $5,000.

Roberta Theissen,

  West Babylon

I read with interest the article about affluent retirees. The fact is that in many cases, both spouses in a traditional household must have paying jobs to afford Long Island’s cost of living.

It’s very nice to have a classic car or a $2,800 Peloton bike, but this is not everyone’s reality. In my experience, it is difficult to afford to pay for basic necessities in this area on less than $100,000 in total annual income.

Mike Baard,


Zoning is a blunt, inflexible instrument

A Dec. 6 opinion piece by urban planning professor Richard Murdocco was titled “A flawed view of LI zoning rules.” Unfortunately, it’s Murdocco’s view that is flawed.

Local zoning has next to nothing to do with preservation of farmland, open space and surface/groundwater. In Suffolk County, it is voter-approved environmental funding together with regional regulations that can take credit for these protections.

Regionwide requirements clashing with local codes continue to be a source of tension between zoning administrators and regional regulators. Zoning has always been a blunt instrument, a sterile and inflexible one at that. Hence, zoning codes can’t and shouldn’t be used to regulate social issues like affordable housing. Zoning boils down to size and area requirements for buildings and separation of land uses. It doesn’t do nuance well. Mixed uses sometimes can bake together when the recipe is kept simple.

If there is a “fragile balance” between social, economic and environmental needs, it is not zoning alone that maintains this balance. You need something like a three-legged stool to maintain balance: comprehensive planning, environmental review and zoning.

Stephen M. Jones,


Editor’s note: The writer is a former commissioner of planning and development for Islip Town, former chairman of the Suffolk County Planning Commission and former Suffolk planning and real estate director.

Blame Trump for lack of facts in his defense

President Donald Trump’s critics have frequently accused him of not acting presidential. That is why it is richly ironic that Professor Jonathan Turley, the witness called by Republicans at the impeachment hearing on Wednesday, said that Trump’s July 25 phone call to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky was “anything but perfect” [“Scholars clash at hearing,” News, Dec. 5].

That irony only deepens in light of Turley’s objection that the committee’s consideration of articles of impeachment is premature because the panel doesn’t have adequate evidence to substantiate the charges against Trump. In fact, any empty space in the evidence is the result of Trump’s order to withhold potentially relevant testimony and documents. What Turley considers as a flaw in the case against Trump is, in fact, just a cynical escape hatch of Trump’s own making.

Chuck Cutolo,


Outlaw naming of sites for politicians

A state lawmaker wants to form a commission to rename Robert Moses State Park [“Bill: Rename Moses park,” Spin Cycle, Dec. 2]. What is the projected cost of such a panel when we have so many more important priorities? Let’s work on our roads and mass transit.

If the park were renamed, the cost would probably be millions of dollars; it’s not just a handful of signs, but maps, documents and more. A better bill would be to outlaw naming any state property after living or dead politicians. It is done to stroke egos and is too costly. Public property should be named after first responders and people who served in the military, risking or giving their lives for our safety and freedom.

John Vogt,


Graffiti only reinforces Jewish resolve

For the second time in as many weeks, graffiti was found at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center in Glen Cove [“More graffiti discovered,” News, Dec. 6]. This time, two swastikas were found.

This occurred on Long Island, which has one of the most vibrant Jewish communities in the world. Nevertheless, there still are individuals who wish to torment Jews. Perhaps they think Jews are weak or easy targets. We are not. For millennia, we have faced the most ruthless empires and monsters the world has known, often hellbent on denying us the ability to practice our faith, throwing us out of our homes, or even trying to wipe us off the face of the Earth. Yet, we are still here.

These incidents only remind us of who we are, reinforce our resolve and make us thankful for the safety we enjoy in our communities. Moreover, we are grateful for local elected leaders who swiftly condemned these acts.

Peter Fishkind,

  Great Neck