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Main Street: A New Beginning

I am so pleased to see the historic building on Main Street being re-built, following the terrible fire last year. It now appears that it will again make Port Washington more beautiful.

Ironically, the archives in the Oral History Department of our Public Library indicate that a building on this same site on Main Street and Herbert Avenue burned down on Jan. 22, 1922.

Port News editor Ernest Simon later wrote: “It was the most disastrous fire in the history of the community.” [Read more...]

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Food Labeling Should Be Adopted

Currently a bill is being considered by the New York State Legislature that would mandate the labeling of genetically modified (GMO) foods. As consumers we should have the right to know what is in the food we eat and how it is produced. Many people want to avoid GMO foods for health and environmental reasons. However, without labeling it is very difficult to make informed decisions.

Monsanto and other corporate giants are spending millions of dollars to lobby against labeling requirements. Their reasons should be obvious to every consumer. [Read more...]

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Should Power Lines Be Buried?

Would I have preferred that the power lines had been situated underground rather than placed upon 80-foot poles? The answer is yes, that is, if I did not have to bear any of the financial responsibility for it.

I respect the rights of those individuals or organizations that are now trying to get these lines buried and the poles removed. If they have not already done so, I hope they will now be making a very strong point of advising the community that this work may have the potential to be costly to homeowners, businesses and renters, if funding from sources other than Port Washington residents has not been found, as I understand it.

If this community will have to bear the financial burden, much or any of this burden for the removal of poles, the installation of underground wiring, and perhaps maintenance issues now and in the future, how do we know that the costs will not be substantial, and I mean very substantial? [Read more...]

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Poles Are Blocking Sidewalks

Please be advised that the Long Island Power Authority and PSEG Long Island are currently installing 80- to 85-foot utility poles throughout our neighborhoods of Port Washington, Manhasset and Great Neck. These large poles are being placed in the middle of sidewalks on some of the busiest streets in our towns and make it nearly impossible for our handicapped neighbors to access the sidewalks located on the path of the poles.

The American with Disabilities Act requires that sidewalks provide at least 36 inches of unobstructed clearance so that those with disabilities may maneuver their wheelchairs without having to enter the street.

In the case of the PSEGLI Reliability Project, each pole measures 18 inches in diameter. In certain areas, the clearance space between a pole and a natural or man made boundary is 24 inches or less, forcing anyone in a wheelchair to enter onto the very busy and well-traveled roads, Port Washington Boulevard in Port Washington and Northern Boulevard in Manhasset. There is also a mound of dirt surrounding each pole, which creates a hazardous condition for anyone attempting to safely pass. [Read more...]

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Reliability Is Job One

Sometimes I wonder if people have lost their minds. It is just breathtaking that more than one person at the community meeting with PSEG actually said that they’d rather put up with power outages than look at ugly high poles.

It’s amazing how we—well, some of us, anyway—forgot what happened not even two years ago during Hurricane Sandy. Hundreds of miles of transmission and distribution wire lay on the ground tangled up with fallen trees.

There was up to two weeks or more without power. There was spoiled food, limited communications, dark houses getting colder by the day, spotty gasoline supplies limiting mobility, lost business revenue and payrolls. Figuring out how to get to work or even telecommute was a daily logistical exercise—provided that our employers were even open. [Read more...]

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Moms For Privacy & Rights Fight On

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Deborah Abramson Brooks (l.) and Allison White with their petition to stop inBloom. With all of the signatures and comments, the document runs nearly 500 pages.

In early January, I wrote about Deborah Abramson Brooks and Allison White, two Port Washington moms who had looked into the New York State Education Department’s (NYSED) plans to turn over the names and records of more than two million public school students to an outfit called inBloom. This Atlanta-based company, underwritten by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is working with state governments to get data on every American student to store, crunch, and potentially share with all sorts of other companies. As I said when I introduced Deborah and Allison, inBloom wants to make our kids’ educational careers — and basically their lives — so much spreadsheet fodder.

Of all the states, New York has been the most enthusiastic about inBloom. Despite last week’s recommendation by a governor-appointed panel that we pull out of the program, it’s definitely not over. A recommendation is just that.

This is a complicated issue that’s not easily explained in sound bites. Which is precisely why inBloom has been able to get this far. But Deborah and Allison believe that privacy and parental consent are too important to be compromised. So they wrote a petition that they posted on line and have continued to fight the Good Fight. [Read more...]

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Keep Fighting

On Monday night the Port Washington community spoke with one loud voice against PSEG bullies. An overflow polite, but angry, crowd clearly told our political leaders that the only way to permanently solve the problem of safe electric service was to underground all the utility lines.

Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington more than a decade ago convinced LIPA to underground these wires on Port Boulevard from Main Street to Campus Drive. It worked. And LIPA paid the entire bill.

We now must convince Governor Cuomo that PSEG must do the same thing. I believe that working with our town and state officials we can convince him to take action. [Read more...]

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Removing Political Corruption

Democracy is based on the concept of “one man one vote.” Today this ideal, through the influence of money, has been run into taters. Mind you, I am not saying that government ever has been free of influence.

Yet today due to the overwhelming influence of PACs, special interest groups, large donors, and defective rulings money has trumped representation and corrupted government. The corruption of government begins with the ability of money to unduly influence elections. The corruption of our system of governance has promoted biased legislation, the unequal sharing of prosperity, the erosion of rights, diminished liberties, wars for profit, and the eradication of the middle class.

The cure to these ills begins at the base where it started. The selection of our representation should be regained. The corrupting influence of money in elections should be removed and or, at a minimum, be diminished. We can begin right here at home. In the New York State Assembly, supported by the governor, there is pending legislation. [Read more...]

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Long Island Rail Road: Fare Play

Reading John Owens’ column on the Long Island Rail Road (“Cheaper Railroad Fares: That’s The Ticket”), it occurred to me that congestion pricing in general, for peak and non-peak, may make sense.

Trains in the middle of the night may be much cheaper than, say, a 9 a.m. weekday train that may be running almost to capacity. Monthly ticket holders, I guess, get to travel whenever.

— Lloyd Herman

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Poles An Eyesore

If you would take the time to look at pictures that were taken of Manhattan at the early part of the 20th century you would see thousands and thousands of wires strung all over the city. The skies were cluttered with telephone and electric wires. There were several problems with that condition. The old New York Telephone company was deforesting old growth forests. The wires were an eyesore. The poles toppled by age and by the weather and wires broke under the weight of ice. To say the least, it was an ugly mess.

New York Telephone reviewed what it had done and it wound up burying the wires. The borough of Manhattan looks a lot better with telephone and electric wires under the streets. It appears that the utility that is serving Port Washington in this, the 21st century, doesn’t have a sense of history nor has it consider how unsightly huge telephone look nor does it realize that in several European countries, their utilities have buried all their wires. It is time that our wires are also buried.

The new utility that is supposed to service Port Washington is bringing an eyesore back to Port Washington and sending our area back 100 years. It hasn’t thought through the problems faced by our area and yet it came up with a cheap and ugly way to re-wire our area. Shame on them. The utility executives should sit down with the leaders of our towns and find a way to service this are in better way. [Read more...]

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