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OpinionLetters

Letter: A cheap rail could stop overpass crashes on highways

Reader letters to Newsday for Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

A wayward tractor trailer heading east on the

A wayward tractor trailer heading east on the Belt Parkway in Queens on June 18, 2015, got jammed under a Long Island Rail Road overpass in Laurelton. Photo Credit: Lou Minutoli

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo proposes spending $25 million to install infrared beams, bells and flashing beacons to warn drivers of trucks and buses that they’re heading for bridges too low to clear [“Gov: Add to low-bridge alerts,” News, Feb. 21].

This suggestion, in addition to being very expensive, could be sensitive to outdoor elements that would hurt reliability. Electric warning signs might not work any better.

Instead, install a rail across the entrance at a height equivalent to the clearance height of the overpass. The driver of a truck or bus would see the rail and realize the need to stop before the overpass. A vehicle hitting the rail would incur the cost of repairing it. Simple and cost effective.

Rick Volpe,

  Melville

Ill-timed cartoon on Israel, anti-Semitism

As American Jews feel fear and pain over the anti-Semitic comments of Rep. Ilhan Omar, Newsday cartoonist Matt Davies reminded Jews that anti-Israel criticism isn’t necessarily anti-Semitic. His “False alarm” cartoon [Opinion, March 8] depicted an “anti-Semitism” fire truck encountering a critic of Israel.

The thing is, Omar did make multiple anti-Semitic statements. So Davies piles on with a point not germane to the issue.

However, even if it weren’t off-topic, we again see the special lowly status Jews get in the acceptable bigotry spectrum. Do people who oppose same-sex marriage get a pass for not necessarily being anti-gay? Do people who oppose affirmative action get a pass for not necessarily being racist? Of course not.

The fact is, most of the loudest critics of Israel are silent about nations that commit atrocities every day. Their unique standard for and focus on Israel is the result of anti-Semitism almost always, as is their reluctance to really have the open debate about Israel that they claim to seek.

Davies’ cartoon is only theoretically true. But it is hurtful and ill-timed. And by leaving Omar out of the picture, the cartoon rubs salt in the wounds of Jewish readers.

Jake Novak,

  Merrick

Chef Maroni made dining out fun again

Many on Long Island were stunned by the loss of Michael Maroni, hands down the best chef on Long Island, a man who made dining out fun again [“Michael Maroni, 57, esteemed chef, dies,” News, March 9].

When I dined at Maroni Cuisine in Northport one night 12 years ago, the chef approached our table. We had just finished his exquisite lobster bisque, and I blurted out, “Do you put lemongrass in your bisque?” He shook his head no, and said, “Follow me.”

Maroni led me past the curtains that separated the dining room from his kitchen and showed what he used in his bisque. He then gave me a tour of his kitchen, and was open and eager to talk food and answer questions.

As dynamic as his food was, chef Maroni had it all — creativity, personality and dining room presence. At the same time, he was humble and willing to help.

Being the best is more than just cooking food. It represents consistency, leadership, ability to change with the times and innovation. His meatball hot pots were ingenious. For 18 years, we joyfully enjoyed his consistent excellence, and that of his wife, Maria, and their staff.

R.I.P., chef Maroni.

Michael Heinlein,

  Centerport

Editor’s note: The writer, a chef on Long Island for 18 years, is executive chef of Whiskey Down Diner in Farmingdale, opening in May.

ID cards for disabled people not full solution

The March 10 news story “New ID cards may help those with disabilities” said New York State is issuing cards that people with disabilities can present to law enforcement and other authorities to prevent dangerous encounters. As the parent of a young man with intellectual disabilities, I have some serious concerns.

The prospect of a situation in which my son must follow directions quickly from law enforcement or to understand exactly what he is supposed to do has been a recurring nightmare for our family and other families I know with children of similar abilities.

The Suffolk County police officers who confronted Dainell Simmons, who was nonverbal, in Middle Island in 2013 knew they were in a group home for people with disabilities, but they still used a stun gun and pepper spray to subdue him. What good would an ID card have done? They were in a facility for the very people this card would identify, and the young man died.

In addition, at what point is it safe for an individual to reach into a pocket, purse or wallet for the ID card? If a person is nonverbal or has a speech impairment, how can that individual explain that he or she is reaching for an ID card and not a weapon? The police, quite rightly, cannot assume that what is being reached for is not dangerous.

I don’t have a good answer, except that more training for police is necessary.

Roseann Forziano,

  Calverton

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