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Views and comments expressed in Letters To Editor are the opinions of the writer not Smithtown Matters.

Thursday
Jun292017

Letter To Editor - Alexander Hamilton Wouldn't Qualify For Trump's Cabinet

 

To the Editor:

Donald Trump’s favorite book is The Bible.  Proverbs 22.2, which states “The rich and poor meet: The Eternal is the Maker of them all,”   can be construed as meaning that the rich man usually thinks he attained his wealth because of his brilliance, while the poor are generally looked down upon as ne’er-do-wells who cannot succeed because of a lack of ability. However, when the rich and poor happen to be together, one can in most cases see that the poor man is no less intelligent than the rich one.

Research performed by Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at the University of California–Berkeley has shown that wealthy people are more likely to lie, cheat at games and even take candy from a baby.  “They are more likely to make unethical decisions that maximize their own self-interest at the expense of other people,” Keltner said, adding that wealthy people often use ideology to justify those choices. “You put a rich person in charge of the economy, and they’re going to change the tax structure to benefit them.”

When Donald Trump was assembling his Cabinet last winter, criteria for his nominees included lack of experience in their new jobs, contempt for the agencies they were to lead, and overwhelming wealth.  When Donald Trump told a rally in Iowa that “I just don’t want a poor person” running the economy”, he probably forgot, or never knew, that the mind behind the original American economic system was Alexander Hamilton, America’s first Treasury secretary, and the poorest of the Founding Fathers. Hamilton was born with almost nothing and died with so little that his family had to take up a collection to bury him.  

 When the Constitution was written, only white male property owners (about 10 to 16 percent of the nation’s population) had the vote.   In 2017, Republicans still keep trying to obstruct voting and government participation by minorities and Democrats.    They  embody this quote by  F. Scott Fitzgerald:  “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”    If, heaven forbid, they prevail, I foresee a profitable future in knee breeches, cod pieces, and wigs.

Ruth Cohen, Lake Grove

Saturday
Jun242017

Letter To Editor - Proud Of Young People

Recently I had my doorbell ring and 2 people were standing there.  The girl gave me a piece of paper and because recently people have been coming to the house selling things etc., I felt a little annoyance.

This paper had her parents phone number, the address of the graduation party for that particular night, time of the party and something saying that they would try and keep it as quiet as possible.

I was so impressed with the way they handled all of this.  The party is over now and was very quiet.  

It seems like there has and is so much trouble in our country and this made me so proud of these young people.

Susan P.


Thursday
Jun222017

Letter to Editor - Self-congratulatory missive from Congressman Lee Zeldin

To the Editor:

On June 21, 2017, my inbox was once again sullied with a self-congratulatory missive from Congressional Representative Lee Zeldin.  

He states, “I have always been willing to work with absolutely anyone to better our community, state, and nation.”  The attempted destruction of our government can be laid at the venal feet of Trump and Company, a business that refuses to work with Democrats for anything other than its own profit.  Since Zeldin is a bought and paid for Republican toady, it defies belief that he would work with anyone other than the Republican party unless Paul Ryan throws him a bone every now and then when his vote is not needed.  

Zeldin further states, “I will continue working to advance my New Era of American Strength agenda.”  The earliest mention I could find regarding this elusive agenda was when he described it in 2015 as a “goal.”  I phoned his DC office to find out if it has passed or if it is still a goal; I learned that it is still merely the latter.  

This long-suffering goal contains, among other aspirations, creating more good paying jobs, improving the quality of education, improving healthcare in America, and safeguarding our environment.  

Trump thinks he persuaded Ford not to manufacture its new Focus in Mexico, but Ford just announced that it is building a Focus plant in China.  Oops!  There go some good paying jobs.  Zeldin is satisfied with whatever health plan the Republicans want to foist on our citizens, while he and his family enjoy the best health care that money can buy.  He says he wants to improve the quality of education and safeguard the environment, but has not uttered one word against Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, whose personal goal seems to be the eradication of public schools.  He has not uttered one word against Scott Pruit, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, who qualified for the job by suing environmentalists 14 times when he was the Attorney General of Oklahoma, by shutting down Oklahoma’s environmental enforcement unit, by approving deep budget cuts to the EPA, and by dismissing half the scientists on the EPA advisory board.

If Zeldin truly believes in his goals, why has he not spoken out against these cynical atrocities being foisted on the American public?  If talk is cheap, it would cost nothing for Zeldin to state publicly that the Republican party has no intention of advancing his so-called goals.  Oh. yes, it might cost him his seat in Congress, but  he could avail himself of something more precious: a clean conscience.  


Ruth A Cohen,
Lake Grove
Thursday
Jun152017

Letter to Editor - Zeldin Champions Healthcare Bill That Eviscerates Addiction Coverage

I read Mr. Zeldin’s op-ed concerning the opioid epidemic in wonderment.  It is hard to disagree with his view that the opiod epidemic is a crisis America needs to confront.  But, to see Mr. Zeldin pound his chest over his so-called achievements is an insult to all of us. 

He has already broken his promise to “continue working to advance legislation that helps those coping with drug addiction, by increasing treatment and recovery services to stop the tragic loss of life, family, and community as a result of addiction.”  House Republicans just approved a health care bill (of which Mr. Zeldin is still an outspoken champion) that, in the view of experts, make the epidemic even worse — by repealing Obamacare protections for access to drug addiction treatment. 

The Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) required insurers to cover ten essential health benefits, one of which is mental health services and addiction treatment. 

In contrast, the American Healthcare Act (AHCA), the Republican health care bill, allows states to get waivers to this requirement that would allow state insurers to exclude mental health services and addiction treatment from the coverage available.  

Before Obamacare, it was fairly common for insurers to leave out addiction treatment in their plans. If someone with a drug use disorder wanted coverage, she would need to find a more expensive plan that did include addiction treatment — and perhaps she wouldn’t be able to find a plan, particularly an affordable one, at all.  Obamacare solved that problem.

An analysis of Obamacare concluded that it helped 2.8 million Americans with drug use disorders and nearly 1.3 million with serious mental disorders. Under Mr. Zeldin’s AHCA, these people would stand to lose addiction and mental health coverage if essential health benefits were repealed. 

The AHCA’s waiver provision is not the only hurdle to obtaining addiction coverage.  Several other aspects of the AHCA threaten to reduce health coverage, particularly to people who rely on coverage to get drug treatment. 

Over the next few years, the AHCA would phase out the Medicaid expansion. It would pull back Obamacare’s tax credits, as well as regulations that shield older people from high premiums, effectively making coverage more expensive for older, low- income Americans.  It also cuts Medicaid by transitioning its benefits to a “per capita cap” system or a block grant system that gives states less money for the program, on top of imposing a work requirement for Medicaid eligibility. 

Obviously, losing access to Medicaid and other insurance would hurt a lot of people in general, removing access to any health care. But one of the forms of health care that is most affected here would be coverage for drug treatment. And those most affected will low-income people, for whom the cost of insurance will not be offset by the proposed tax credit plan under the AHCA.  This group simply will not be able to afford addiction-related care.  So millions of Americans with drug use disorders stand to suffer under the bill — in the middle of the deadliest drug crisis in US history. 

For Mr. Zeldin to brag about his efforts to fight the opiod endemic in the face of championing a healthcare bill that will eviscerate coverage borders on outrage.  This is just a continuation of his penchant for deceiving his constituency over his actions in Congress.  

Bruce Colbath

Monday
Feb272017

Letters To Editor - East Hampton Airport Commuter Charter Flights Endanger Health And Pollute

 

 

Dear Editor,

 

I refer to the Suffolk CloseUp column, by Karl Grossman, printed in the February 23rd, 2017 edition. 

The column highlighted the ongoing problem for many Long island residents living beneath the FAA-mandated North Shore Helicopter Route to East Hampton Airport. One of the most egregious facts about East Hampton airport’s noisy commuter air traffic is that it impacts far greater numbers of residents in western Suffolk and Nassau counties than it does in the Town of East Hampton. Far greater numbers. 

The airport is situated on the western boundary of East Hampton Town, so those impacted by the traffic are largely residents of OTHER towns. From Jan to Aug 2016 (the only data available), the airport had 20,070 operations. (In 2015, there were over 25,000 operations reported.) Noise is not the only issue, perhaps more troubling long term is the toxic fuel emission particulate matter dispersed over our communities. There is no benefit from this private travel for residents outside of East Hampton, but our quality of life, health and well-being are being compromised more and more every year. This air travel is travel for the convenience of a few, at the detriment of many and of our environment;  it is estimated that many commuter aircraft have far fewer passengers than they can accommodate and on one leg of a roundtrip to or from East Hampton many aircraft carry no passengers at all; commuter charter operators are endangering our health and polluting our air for profit. Its time our elected representatives took action to protect their constituents. 

Patricia Currie

Town of Southampton