Letters to the Editor


Another job-killing move by Albany

Right now New York needs to do everything it can to help businesses create private sector jobs if we are to reduce high unemployment and end the recession.

Unfortunately, the governor and the Democratic majority in the New York State Legislature decided to end the Empire Zone program, which provided tax breaks in the form of tax credits and incentives to attract businesses to the area. EPCAL, downtown Riverhead and Gabreski Airport were all Empire Zones and served as economic engines creating jobs on the East End. Ending the program makes little sense and will only hurt employment efforts in Suffolk County.

Instead of reforming the program to ensure Empire Zone businesses are held accountable for job creation, the Legislature eliminated it, reducing the state’s investment in job creation by more than 90 percent.

This state needs sound public policy that encourages businesses to expand, locate here and create jobs. Ending, instead of reforming, the Empire Zone Program will only drive more businesses and jobs off Long Island.

Ed Romaine

Suffolk County legislator


Ending Empire Zones no way to save

We have all heard the sayings, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” and “Penny wise, pound foolish.” Well, those bits of life advice seem to be lost on Governor David Paterson.

The governor’s budget eliminates a long-term economic revitalization program called Empire Zones and replaces it with a new program called Excelsior. About all the two programs have in common is they both start with the letter “e.”

Excelsior is a wet noodle program that will not create jobs as its beefier cousin Empire did. Excelsior cuts economic development dollars from $500 million to $50 million. Excelsior takes away tax benefits for those seeking to build new businesses in New York State and forces more taxes on New York businesses, something we can ill afford as our state already has a tough enough time competing with other parts of the country and the world to attract new jobs and grow our economy.

I can cite at least a half a dozen companies that have proposals into the Empire Zone program to develop businesses and jobs in my hometown of downtown Riverhead. That much needed-job creation and economic stimulus will fall by the wayside now that Empire Zones have been eliminated.

Locally, about the only person who seems concerned about this choking off of economic growth is state State Senator Ken LaValle, who spoke out forcefully against the governor’s plan and has had the temerity to continue to press for a return to Empire Zones.

Governor, old clichà s may be a bit tired, but they contain truth, don’t spend so much time trying to save money that you stop good programs that make money. Return Empire Zones as a tool for economic growth and thank you, Mr. LaValle, for your efforts to bring common sense to Albany, a place not usually known for it.

Anthony Coates


What’s behind those signs?

If you’ve been driving around the region, you’ve undoubtedly seen political signs sprouting up on the sides of the roads. This caught my interest because it seemed too early in the political season for such signs. So I did what I urge all voters in the First Congressional District to do: I checked these candidates out on the Internet.

The first signs that appeared were for Chris Nixon Cox, the 31- year-old grandson of the former U.S. President whose main connection to the First Congressional District seems to be spending summer vacations behind a hedge in the Hamptons. From what I’ve read, he received the support of the local Republicans based upon his famous name and the fact that his father now heads the New York State Republican Party. He compensates for his apparent lack of qualifications with a very substantial war chest stocked primarily with his own money.

But his wealth is no match for the other candidate whose signs are everywhere. Randy Altschuler, endorsed by the Conservative Party, made millions from the sale of his company, Office Tiger, a company he created to outsource American jobs to India. Call me old fashioned, but I think that American jobs should go to American workers. I also think that it’s an insult for someone to use a multi-million dollar fortune made exporting American jobs overseas to finance a campaign for Congress. Altschuler moved into the First Congressional District only a couple of years ago and almost immediately started running for Congress. He, amazingly, has even fewer roots planted here than Chris Cox.

By contrast, our current Congressman, Tim Bishop, was born and raised on the South Fork by middle class parents who worked hard right here on Long Island to put five kids through college. His dad worked for the phone company and his mom worked, among other jobs, at Little Flower Children and Family services. He attended a local public high school (Southampton) and had a life-long career of public service in the First Congressional District before entering politics. I urge readers to do the research themselves and figure out which candidate for Congress really cares about Long Island. I think you’ll find that he’s already representing us.

Jerry Silverstein


Sound and fury

As the frantic election season approaches, it’s getting ever crazier.

State and national electoral competitors from nowhere are pushing out many respected names from both sides of the aisle. They are doing it by railing against the bailouts and the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and predicting deficit doom.

The bailouts and TARP came with backing from the Bush supporters as well as Obama’s. Bailouts were enacted in Europe also. The TARP program was supported by university professors and economic experts as well as business people.

The newly minted politicians are boiling with heat and invective and gloom and doom and gaining a following of citizens in distress. At the same time, the Wall Street firms are feeling optimism and increasing hiring.

It seems that those in finance with their fingers in the borrowing and lending that affects Main Street are hiring and gearing up for increasing business. This is a very good sign. A productive economy is a perpetual motion machine. When running it keeps running, but when stopped is very hard to start. It is starting now, but slowly and delicately.

There’s another serious concern. Are the current anti-everything positions being shouted from the rooftops really the result of analysis and thought? Or the result of the simple and selfish calculation; “what can I say that will get me elected”?

If candidates lie to get elected, why should we assumed truth will follow?

When you find the candidate that touches your truth nerves and talks actual programs and policy, there’s your vote.

Howard Meinke


More baseless claims

In response to issues raised about the residency qualifications of Regina Calcaterra, Democratic candidate for the state Senate, I am reminded of the baseless claims some right wing extremists continue to make questioning the legitimacy of President Obama.

Despite repeated proof that these allegations are totally baseless, the so-called birthers believe that if they continue to spread lies and distortions, eventually the lines between truth and fiction will be blurred. In the same way that the birthers’ claims are based on shreds of factual information (Obama’s father was Kenyan and he did spend time in Indonesia), Gregory Fischer’s allegations about the residency qualifications of Ms. Calcaterra are distortions of the facts.

Ms. Calcaterra is a Long Island native and spent most of her life living and working here. As most reasonable people have discounted the distorted claims about our president, the truth about Ms. Calcaterra’s legitimacy to represent us will prevail.

Her vibrant campaign to bring change to Albany will not be derailed through lies and distortions.

Paul Kalb


She gets it

There have been few candidates for office in recent years who have so clearly spoken to my issues as a Suffolk County resident as Regina Calcaterra.

I’ve had the opportunity to know Regina for nearly a decade, as a friend and as a candidate, and find her to have intelligent and thoughtful ideas about how to address issues like our property taxes, crime and the local economy. She gets it.

Nobody could speak as eloquently about the issues we face in our communities without having spent almost all of her life here. I will be voting for Regina Calcaterra for state Senate this year because I know she will represent me in Albany very well.

Roberta Passalacqua


Treat job applicants with respect

With the high unemployment rate and the hundreds of applicants applying for a single job, I feel that a letter needs to be written.

With unemployed workers’ weekly benefits running out, if they were fortunate enough to be able to get them, there are certainly more people looking for work than there are jobs available.

This letter is geared to all employers and/or human resource people that have the responsibility for hiring employees.

Employers should offer to mail or e-mail an application to prospective employees or have it available on their website.

They should be required to have a phone number and/or e-mail, not just a fax number, in their help wanted ads.

After a person completes the application and submits it and is not chosen, the employer should have the common courtesy to e-mail, phone, text message, something, to notify the applicant that the position has been filled.

If the position applied for required more than just an application (resumà , reference letters, certificates, diplomas, professional licenses), it should be mailed back to the applicant, not just tossed in the trash or shredded. It costs money, which the unemployed do not have, to make copies and for postage.

A little professionalism is needed by employers in these tough economic times.

Brenda Brust