04/04/13 6:00am

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | While income for the top 1 percent continues to skyrocket, many others are left struggling.

To the editor:

When did we decide that 40 hours of menial work do not deserve a living wage? Why do we fight against lifting the minimum wage to at least $10 per hour, tied to inflation?

How did we determine that making wild bets in the Wall Street casino was worth millions, while working a 40-hour perspiring and tiring day means poverty? How did we decide to fight worker unionization so that working people have even less chance of improving life?

Today we have great income inequality. The top 1 percent received a 275 percent increase in income over the past 30 years. The next 19 percent received a 65 percent income increase, compared to 18 percent increase for the bottom 20 percent of households. This is a result of the politically connected working the system and the basic workers still thinking that hard work is the path to success. That is, of course, the mantra of the rich and well connected and they’ve done a good job of brainwashing.

While they get increasing profits they rave over the ability of a hard worker to move ever upward. Investing in lobbyists and clever advertisers has made their position of increasing wealth a very comfortable fact of life.

The United States has the highest level of wealth inequality among the civilized nations. This leads us right into arguments about the cost of Medicaid, food stamps, health care and other social support programs. We must face up to the snow job of the wealthy and fairly reward honest work. This will reduce many heavily argued government costs while making large improvements in our quality of life.

This is a humane and decent approach. I hope we’re up to it.

Howard Meinke, Laurel

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02/21/13 6:00am

To the Editor:

Over the past number of years Peconic Bay has been subject to a number of brown tide events. These brown tides are examples of HABs, or harmful algal blooms. 

The brown tide is an explosion of algae that reduces the light penetration through the water and causes sea grass and other bottom-growing organisms to slow down or die off. This was a part of the scallop loss, among other things. Importantly, though, human health was not threatened. This past summer there was a new harmful algal bloom in Peconic Bay, a “rust tide” or possibly the start of a red tide. I saw this “rust” tide myself for the first time in many years of bay watching. It was rusty streaks in the water and not yet widespread over the bay.

This is an algal bloom that is very different from the brown tide. Is it preliminary to the red tide? We don’t know, but I certainly worry. The red tide can kill fish and cause floating carcasses to create a horrible smell up and down the beach as well as litter the beach with dead fish. I witnessed this mess in Sarasota, Fla.

These HABs are directly tied to pollution of our surface and groundwater. Our out-of-control septic discharge and cesspool waste are a large part of the problem. This is not nature running amok, it’s us.

It would behoove us to pay attention to these HABs and to be aware that going from our brown tide and rust tide to the very damaging red tide may not be a large leap. The old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure applies here. Let’s pay attention and act now and save the bay before it is too late.

Howard Meinke, Laurel