2016-09-21 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Elevate The Election

To The Editor:

The election, for all intents and purposes, could be held tomorrow. This election voters are cemented to their choices, either by dedication and belief or by fear that the other candidate could win.

As a Clinton supporter, I must admit that Hillary could run a far better campaign. When she becomes defensive she transforms into an angry lawyer that deflates her supporters and grants Trump the ability to define Clinton as untruthful.

It is time for Madame Secretary to return to the candidate who was tearful in New Hampshire eight years ago, after losing Iowa. Her defensive shields were down when confronted with her loss to Obama. Will she only shed those tears and reveal her human side the day after the election?

It is not that the voters want an emotionally ravished candidate, male or female; when Musky was brought to tears by the attacks upon his wife he was no longer a viable candidate. But Hillary seems so stone-faced when confronted with issues that she deems accusatory that her fallback is a defense attorney arguing to a court avoiding the simple for the complex, turning off voters. Image is everything.

Playing tit-for-tat with Trump diminishes Clinton’s claim to be the rational, coolheaded, competent candidate destined to become Commander-in-Chief. Voters want to embrace a vision of the future that elevates their current circumstances. It is time to forgo white papers and internet positions. Clinton should lay out her hopes and her humanity for the America she wants to lead beginning the day of the inauguration.

If she wins using Trump’s policy of demeaning, hate-based generalizations, then Americans will know we have elected a President without a vision, but one who knows how to play in the gutter.

Edward Horn
Baldwin, L.I.

Supports Johnson/Weld

To The Editor:

The Libertarian ticket of Johnson for President and Weld for Vice President provides a huge amount of government executive experience acquired when they were governors of their states. I believe governors are the most qualified politicians to ascend to the Presidency. With this ticket, we have a former governor available to assume the Presidency.

Johnson and Weld believe in limited government intrusion while operating within the bounds of the Constitution, which places them in line with current public sentiment. They are fiscal conservatives and social liberals.

In comparison, Clinton is a liberal who is untrustworthy, is for big government and the promotion of welfare programs. Trump is an extremist who could ignore the Constitution and get us into deep trouble in the world.

We need experienced, trustworthy, and normal people leading our country. Support the Johnson/Weld ticket in the national polls so they can participate in the Presidential debates.

Donald Moskowitz
Londonderry, NH

Eagle Scout Induction

To The Editor:

The Scouts, Leaders and Members of the Committee Boy Scout Troop 268 take great pleasure in announcing that:

Having completed the requirements for, and having been examined by an Eagle Scout Board of Review, Nicholas G. Mallios was found worthy of the rank of Eagle Scout.

In honor of this achievement, we have scheduled an Eagle Scout Court of Honor for Saturday November 5th, 2016, at Sarantakos Hall, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, in Flushing, NY.

We would appreciate a letter or certificate acknowledging his achievement. We will compile it with other acknowledgments and place it in a scrap book commemorating this special occasion.

Thank you for taking time from your extremely busy schedule to help this community recognize the achievements and service of Eagle Scout Nicholas G. Mallios.

Denise Mallios, Advancement
Coordinator, Boy Scout Troop 268

Transparency Needed

To The Editor:

I am elated that there is going to be a monument constructed honoring all of the heroes of 9/11. This is a tribute to those who gave their lives and also to those who became ill as a result of rescue and recovery.

I also am in favor of our candidates giving their financial records, tax returns and their health records. It is a strange presidential campaign, and to me it is important for transparency among the candidates.

I am glad that school safety is stable but am appalled to hear that carrying of weapons such as knives, box cutters and guns are rising and prevalent in schools. It is important to continue to have scanners and metal detectors in schools.

Also it is a wise idea and I’m glad that children in NYC will learn safety about crossing the streets and walking to and from school.

I also am pleased that our President will make 5 million square miles of ocean a national monument. The oceans are important in order to keep our earth stable and alive in these times of global warming.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

$99.5 Million Short

To The Editor:

NYC Council Member Elizabeth Crowley’s recent tour of her proposed Montauk LIRR Branch Light Rail project corridor was little more than a great photo op. Receipt of $500,000 in the 2017 municipal budget to fund a feasibility study for introduction of a light rail train on portions of the old Long Island Rail Road Montauk branch (Long Island City to Jamaica) sounded great on paper. As always, the devil is in the details. Who will come up $99.5 million or more to pay for the balance of project costs?

Even with a planning feasibility study, millions more will be needed to pay for environmental documents along with preliminary design and engineering followed by final design and engineering efforts necessary to validate any basic estimates for construction costs. Crowley’s belief that it would be under $100 million doesn’t add up. New Jersey Transit’s Hudson Bergen Light Rail cost $1.2 billion and Newark Elizabeth Light Rail cost $694 million 16 years ago. Clearly costs would be far greater in today’s dollars.

There are no dollars programmed to support any work for advancement of this project contained with the approved MTA’s $27 billion 2015 - 2019 Five Year Capital Plan. Ditto for the MTA’s 2014 - 2034 Twenty Year Capital Needs Assessment Plan.

Costs estimates would have to be refined as progress proceeds beyond the planning and environmental phases into real and final design efforts. History has shown that estimated costs for construction usually trend upwards as projects mature toward 100% final design. Progression of final design refines the detailed scope of work necessary to support construction. The anticipated final potential cost would never be known until completion. Costs would be further refined by award of construction contracts followed by any unforeseen site conditions and change orders to the base contracts during the course of construction.

The proposed route will traverse several neighborhoods impacting thousands of people living nearby. How will they react to potential noise and visual impacts? There are serious legal and operational issues to be resolved with the Federal Rail Road Administration. They have regulatory jurisdiction over significant portions of the proposed route which would run on existing active freight tracks. You have to deal with light rail and freight trains coexisting on the same narrow corridor. There is no available project budget to justify key project component costs. They would have to cover a series of new stations. These will have to meet the Americans Disability Act (ADA) access standards; grade crossing, signal and safety improvements, a fleet of new light rail vehicles, land acquisition, potential business relocation along with construction of a new maintenance, operations and storage yard to support any light rail car fleet. Which neighborhood will want to step forward and host the maintenance, operations and storage yard? Other Queens elected officials, transit riders and transit advocacy groups all have their own transportation priority projects which may conflict with this proposal.

The MTA NYC Transit in 1983 conducted the Queens Subway Options feasibility study for potential conversion of this LIRR branch to a subway on the ground. Intense vocal local community opposition killed this project before it progressed beyond a planning study. The same community opposition has already begun for introduction of any active light rail as well.

You would have to wait for approval of MTA’s next Five Year 2020 - 2024 Capital Program for any chance of MTA funding. The alternative would be 100% NYC funding which is very doubtful. Rather than spend several hundred million dollars to build a Light Rail system which could take a decade or more, why not ask the LIRR to resume service on this corridor? They could run a two car scoot service, reconnecting Long Island City, Glendale and Middle Village with other communities including Richmond Hill and other intermediate stops to Jamaica. The LIRR could use existing equipment which would afford far earlier implementation of service versus Light Rail. This would provide connections east bound to the J/Z and E subway lines, Kennedy Airport via Train to Plane and Jamaica LIRR Station. Queens residents traveling to jobs and colleges in Nassau and Suffolk counties would have access to all LIRR branches except the Port Washington line. Ditto for those traveling to the Barclay Center and downtown Brooklyn via the LIRR Atlantic Avenue branch. There would also be connections west bound at either Hunters Point or Long Island City LIRR stations to the 7 subway line.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

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