LIRR passengers board a train at Penn Station in Manhattan...

LIRR passengers board a train at Penn Station in Manhattan Friday, March 3, 2023.  Credit: Craig Ruttle

Suffolk blowing smoke with lawyer

The Suffolk County Legislature voted to hire an unknown attorney, for an unknown amount of tax dollars, to give advice about an unknown number of migrants who, rumor has it, will be sent to Suffolk County to unannounced hotels and towns [“Suffolk seeks plan to block migrants,” News, June 2].

New York City had not contacted Suffolk to say it is sending asylum-seekers. If, by chance, the rumors prove to be true, we don’t know whether it’s one migrant or 1,000.

Despite all these unknowns, some legislators committed taxpayer dollars into the wind while rhetorically creating a political bogeyman to inspire their voters to hail them as champions for defending “us” against “them.” The Suffolk Legislature already has an attorney, so they appropriated tax dollars to “lawyer shop” for an attorney who will give them the opinion they want.

If, in the end, no migrants come to Suffolk, will those tax dollars be refunded? We all see this as a typical case of blowing smoke about a non-situation designed to accomplish nothing but to inflame xenophobic emotions.

We must remember that they did not take similar actions when Suffolk County rightfully welcomed Ukrainian and Polish refugees with open arms and open hearts. Could this double standard be more obvious?

 — Phil Ramos, Brentwood

The writer, a Democrat, is state deputy Assembly speaker.

LIRR overcrowding: Are my eyes lying?

Thank you, John McCarthy, for informing us that overcrowding is not an issue on the Long Island Rail Road [“MTA: There’s little crowding on LIRR,” Letters, May  29].

It’s comforting to know, as I stand on a crowded platform with no safety barriers between me and the weighty train arriving late, there is no issue with service.

I take solace in knowing my train is not being “crowded” as I push past people standing in the vestibule, so I can enjoy the extra legroom the aisles offer.

Leaving work, I rack my brain trying to figure out why anyone would rather brave rush hour in traffic. Why not experience the convenience of the LIRR as I do, deciding which station to go to from downtown, since choosing the wrong one means I’ll be waiting an hour for my next train.

And why wouldn’t the Metropolitan Transportation Authority get rid of timed transfers? Doesn’t the threat of missing a connection generate the adrenaline rush that we all crave at 7  a.m.?

 — Paul Porcello, Douglaston

Mandate a quorum for school elections

Another school budget and board of education vote has come and gone for the more than 100 Long Island school districts [“Teachers unions flex in board victories,” News, May  18].

It has become apparent that despite the state centralizing statewide school budget votes on the same day in May, the desired participation rate in voting is still abysmally low.

Obviously, the vested interests in promoting the school districts’ agendas have a decided advantage that can only be balanced by a greater awareness and participation from its taxpaying residents.

It is time that the State Legislature force every school district to prove that a quorum of voters in their district cast their ballots in order for their votes to count. I suggest at least 20% of each district’s registered voters must vote for that election’s results to be valid.

 — Bruce Bennett, Centereach

Assessment winners are grievance firms

It’s simple. The more new property tax reductions granted means others in the taxing districts pay more [“Nassau County’s reassessment aftereffect,” News, May 21]. Many who pay more taxes because of those reductions will protest that increase and likely will file for and get reductions in the next cycle. This cycle will continue ad infinitum.

One group of losers are taxpayers who successfully protested their assessments because they must pay their tax grievance company and because they’ll pay more taxes again when others win protests. The other losers are taxpayers who do not file a grievance.

The big winners are the tax grievance companies.

 — Danny Dutton, Williston Park

Photo of dog on flag an act of desecration

This year, as in the past, Newsday has published photos of dogs being placed upon American flags [“Reporting for duty,” Reader Photos, Pets, exploreLI, May 30]. This unintentional act of flag desecration is prohibited by the U.S. flag code, which states that the flag should never have anything placed upon any part of it.

 — Kevin J. Clark, Manorville

The writer is a Vietnam War veteran.

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