The protests at Tiananmen Square in Beijing 30 years ago stand as a time in history when members of one of the great populations of the world, with a history dating millennia, made demands of their government and were denied the basic human rights they deserved [“Silence on Tiananmen anniversary,” News, June 5].
Such a moment calls on us to both cherish the rights and freedoms they called for and to ask ourselves what we are doing to fulfill the promise that the protests held those 30 years ago.
In terms of our own freedoms, we should continue to remember that while some of our liberty-preserving institutions face strain today, we retain our enumerated rights that permit dissent.
But what are we doing to help the people of China to enjoy a facsimile of the rights that we could hardly imagine living without?
China heavily censors internet content, acts aggressively abroad to spread its influence, traps countries into unpayable debt, and even forces Muslim Uighurs in the western Xinjiang province into concentration camp-like conditions. What are doing to stop it?
Spend money to fix LIRR switches
I’d like to tell Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to please spend his beautification money for Penn Station on new signals and switches instead [“Penn renovation set to start,” News, May 17].
Monday morning’s commute saw signal trouble at Jamaica Station that caused westbound delays of 30 to 45 minutes through the area.
How can this still be happening? I can promise the governor, no one wants a prettier entrance to Penn Station. Commuters want to get in and get out easily, with trains on time.
After Sandy money, Long Beach pays
The City of Long Beach increased taxes by a total of 16.2 percent in the past two years when the combined deficit was $6.2 million [“Long Beach budget to take effect by default,” News, June 1]. The deficits were “masked by an influx of federal funding after superstorm Sandy.”
What does this mean?
It means Long Beach used tens of millions of dollars in disaster relief funds to cover the cost of years of unsustainable expenses. City management, with the blessing of elected representatives, knowingly used cash earmarked for other purposes to pay for personnel costs for which there was insufficient revenue.
This does not mean the storm recovery bills were not paid. But it does mean that City Hall officials knew that when the disaster relief funds ran out, a combination of borrowing and tax hikes would be needed to make up for the difference. Rather than make tough budget decisions, they kicked the can down the road.
The city just hired a firm for $160,000 to advise it on finances and long-term recovery. To advise what? That budgets with unsustainable expenses padded by emergency funds should never be passed? That personnel costs must be reduced when there are skyrocketing deficits?
There, I saved you $160,000.
A political farce on an international stage
And so, a president of the United States, the leader of the world’s most powerful nation, attends a gathering in his most stable, long-lasting and supportive European ally [“Smiles, slights in London,” News, June 4].
In the past, he had criticized its prime minister’s handling of Brexit, saying, “I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn’t listen to me.” Before his visit, he called the granddaughter-through-marriage of the queen “nasty” because a few years ago she said he was a divisive figure in U.S. politics. He called the mayor of London a “stone cold loser.”
And yet, the show must go on to complete the farce that has become politics — a grand gala to celebrate a relationship devoid of substance because the two leaders wear crowns, one of gold, the other a red hat.
Port Jefferson Station