Letters: Look to Europe to see how cars, bikes can coexist

04/26/2012 4:00 AM |


Troy is right on bikes

I liked Troy Gustavson’s ideas on a bikeway.

I’ve biked Europe, where cars and bikes must follow the same road rules. I was biking in Austria when a biker turned his head and indicated with a hand signal that he was turning left. The cars stayed back and honored his move. The same held true for right-hand turns.

On the bikers’ side, no one rode two abreast, or followed almost tire to tire with the biker in the front, so that cars could maybe get in between, if necessary. They all followed the same rules.

Holland had separate bike lanes, even over bridges and highways, and they have a lot of bikes. Cars have to be more aware of bikers and bikers have to also follow the rules of the road. Canada will ticket and fine bikers if they don’t stop at stop signs, red lights or signal turns.

In some European countries they require a bell for passing other bikes on bike lanes. I’ve seen some bike clubs riding two abreast on Sound Avenue, riding practically on top of each other, not calling out “passing on right” when passing and not following the car/bike rules.

Most bikers and cars are aware, but we are having more accidents. Middle Road where I live is a freeway. The speed limit is rarely followed and there’s no place for a biker to ride safely.

I hope someone follows through with Troy’s idea or something similar. It sounds great.

Judy Kayton


Come meet your neighbors, Mr. Klein

We were surprised to find our names invoked in Julius Klein’s Guest Spot article last week. While it may be an interesting PR effort, it actually reveals his lack of discourse with the community. Nor does it come close to the kind of civil discourse we are idealistic enough to envision. In fact, in the nine years since Mr. Klein acquired his Jamesport property he has never attempted to meet with community members, has never attempted to respond to our concerns and has never offered to engage in constructive dialogue.

Moreover, despite all the years of public comments, other than grudgingly providing a handful of parking spaces and cross-easements that the Planning Board typically requires anyway, he has never offered to work with the community to make this a better plan or to eliminate some of the aspects many find so objectionable.

He proclaims himself a member of “our community,” but his thoughts about what Jamesport needs certainly don’t match up with what we are hearing from our neighbors. He writes that he wants the so-called Village at Jamesport to become the “center-piece project that would provide a focal point for our community.” But this is precisely what most community members don’t want. We think the community already has a centerpiece. We want something that will be compatible with and enhance the historic community we have, not swallow it up.

Mr. Klein does not answer any of the community’s questions. He does not say who really owns the property or explain the foreclosure proceedings against him. He does not explain why he needs to mine so much sand from the property, or why he needs to level so much of historic Sharper’s Hill with its Native American burial site. He does not explain why the project and its bistros needs to be so big. He claims he wants a development filled with local merchants, cobblestoned walks and quaint lights, but this has never been part of the proposal.

If Mr. Klein really wants to be a good neighbor, we presume he’ll be offering to meet with community members soon for serious discussions on how to make his project benefit all of us here, not just him and whoever else owns this property.

Richard Wines
and Nancy Gilbert


Always both sides

Last week the Romney campaign jumped at the opportunity to be “outraged” by what they said was an attack on Ann Romney’s choice to be a stay-at-home mom. The comment was made by CNN commentator Hilary Rosen, a Democratic analyst who worked for Hillary Clinton when she opposed Obama in 2008. Rosen unfortunately said that Ann Romney “hadn’t worked a day in her life” and therefore wasn’t the best choice to advise her husband on the plight of the millions of poorer women who don’t have the economic luxury of staying at home. Politicians from both parties immediately went on air and distanced themselves from this remark, and the commentators on Fox News tied themselves in knots trying to link Ms. Rosen’s comments to the Obama campaign when there was no connection.

Now it will come as no surprise to anyone that Mitt Romney, who has taken both sides of every issue during his political career, attacked stay-at-home moms himself for not working before he was for them.

Just last January, campaigning in New Hampshire, Romney touted his support for the TANF program (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), which is designed to tie job training and mandatory work to welfare assistance primarily for single moms who fall below the poverty line. Romney bragged that this program, which “reformed” welfare, most importantly gave recipients the “dignity of work.” It’s clear that Romney believes that staying at home and raising your kids only provides the “dignity of work” for mothers who can afford to stay at home. But now Mr. Romney and all those irate Republican legislators will have the opportunity to back up their outrage. The WORK (Women’s Option to Raise Kids) Act is being proposed in the House to allow mothers raising children younger than 4 years old to count their child-rearing as work under the TANF program so that they can stay at home to raise their children, like Ann Romney did, and still receive benefits for doing so.

So far no Republicans have come out in support of the bill.

Jerry Silverstein


On running for school board

My name is Robert Rose. I am 45 years old and have lived in Wading River for a little over 10 years. I am currently running for the Shoreham-Wading River Board of Education. I am married with three children: one at Briarcliff, one at Prodell Middle School and one at the High School here. Having a child at every level, and as a taxpayer, I appreciate the concerns of the entire community.

I am employed as an assistant principal for Smithtown High School East. I am a volunteer coach for Father Joe Soccer, Sound Beach Soccer and Shoreham-Wading River Little League. The main reason I am running for the board is because I believe I can offer skills that will benefit both the community and schools. I feel that my background in education will add a unique perspective to the board on opportunities for cost savings, without cutting programs. Changing the way we do things in schools will require expertise, not just good ideas.

My interest in the SWR schools is broad in scope. I feel the children of the district should get the best education they can from the schools, and it is our responsibility to get them to become “college and career ready.” I think the school board should be the voice for the community. Taking into consideration everyone’s ideas and points of view is a charge the board cannot take lightly.

The Shoreham-Wading River school district is not alone in the struggles Long Island schools are having. The 2 percent tax cap, as well as unfunded state mandates, are a great concern to the taxpayers. I hope to become a part of a team that is able to develop solutions to these issues. Please remember to vote on May 15, 2012, for Robert Rose for SWR Board of Education.

Robert Rose


To everyone at Maureen’s Haven

For all that you have done, not only for me but for all those you have helped, counseled, sheltered and, most of all, showed genuine caring and concern for at our times of need. I personally appreciate all that you unselfishly do. It takes a special kind of people just to be you. Know that I never forget. God bless you always.

Patrick Bennett


He’s not to blame

Some Republicans and some super PACs seem to believe that the president of the United States has a magic wand when it comes to gas prices.

Newt Gingrich says that if he were president gas would be $2.50 a gallon. How could this happen? No one knows, including Newt, but Republicans in general want to blame the problem of $4 gas on Barack Obama. They want more drilling and fewer environmental protections, but more drilling has almost nothing to do with the daily price.

Gas prices are based on a complex market of supply and demand, speculation by Wall Street investors and OPEC. A recent report by the Senate special investigations committee suggests that speculation in oil futures may add 56 cents to the price at the pump.

Neither Republicans nor Democrats have had creative ideas about how to control the market, although a stricter application of the Dobbs-Frank bill could reduce the impact of speculation. Under George W. Bush gas also went beyond $4 a gallon. In reality, gas is more expensive everywhere else in the world. In Australia it is about $6 a gallon. In Europe it has been over $7 a gallon.

Americans love big cars that use lots of gas. They are expensive to own and expensive to fuel up.

President Obama has reached an important agreement with automakers to raise fuel efficiency. That will bring down the cost of gas per mile by roughly 20 percent and it will contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Under the Obama presidency a higher percentage of the oil used by Americans is produced in the United States, which helps reduce our dependence on foreign oil and reduces the balance of trade.

Under both Republican and Democratic presidents, gas prices have fluctuated significantly since the embargo of the mid ’70s. In 40 years precious little has been done to address the basic problem that we consume too much oil. At least President Obama has tried to support alternate energy and reduce dependence on foreign oil.

The oil industry doesn’t mind high prices. Look at their profit margins and cash flow. In the meantime, as profits soar, the CEO of Exxon-Mobil got a 17 percent increase in his compensation package and the oil industry as a whole gets a $4 billion handout from the U.S. Treasury every year.

Steve Curry