Letters to the Editor for Sept. 1
Brandywine isn’t the only corridor that needs help in Sch’dy
Re Aug. 21 editorial, “First steps to bringing back Brandywine Ave.”: The first part of the editorial of reads “Twenty years ago, Brandywine Avenue between I-890 and State Street was a place people wanted to go to, with a couple of diners, hardware store, a family-owned drugstore and an auto parts store. But one by one those businesses closed and the corridor became a seedy-looking, crime-ridden place that most people just wanted to get through.”
Replace the word Brandywine with Crane [Street], Van Vranken [Avenue], Albany [Street] or Broadway, all business corridors that have seen dramatic decline. The condition of Crane Street brings tears to my eyes when I remember the bustling family-owned businesses such as kora’s and White Eagle Bakery.
Yes, it is important to have our gateways/business corridors look great for transients, but viable gateways/business corridors are also of major importance because there are neighborhoods that surround those gateways. As each gateway dies so do the neighborhoods!
You mention Broadway, but admit the improvement is limited to a few blocks in downtown between I-890 and State Street where you state that there is heavy traffic. The rest of the Broadway corridor, which extends from I-890 southwestward through the Bellevue neighborhood to the Rotterdam town line, is not mentioned and appears, also, to be forgotten by the powers that be. It is an important corridor for auto traffic. The traffic count there is also in the thousands.
On Broadway, we are seeing an increasing number of closed businesses and derelict buildings. Is the city going to wait until Broadway/Bellevue is so far gone that the solution will require even more money, time and effort to repair? The spreading blight does not wait. Do we delay until the whole neighborhood is diseased? Where are the actions from the 20/20 plan that was so highly publicized a few years ago?
There were positive suggestions by the Alliance Party last year on how we can approach problems. Solutions can come from many sources. We, absolutely, need our city, county and Metroplex principals, along with citizen leaders, to expand their vision, to work together to come up with plans and answers to address different areas of the city simultaneously. The city should be the focus. There is not enough time to do things piecemeal.
The writer was an Alliance Party candidate for City Council in 2011.
U.S. should at least let farmers grow ‘hemp’
I believe the Aug. 21 article, “For law enforcement agencies, it’s time to harvest the marijuana,” withheld important facts for cannabis in the United States. In particular, the report did not mention recent developments in the U.S. Congress that may complicate all such anti-marijuana action.
Soon, farmers in New York and every state could be legally harvesting entire fields of cannabis plants.
In early August, a bipartisan group of senators introduced an amendment to the federal Controlled Substances Act. The amendment would establish a legal distinction between cannabis “hemp” and “marihuana.” It was titled the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, based on a companion measure in the House of Representatives.
If approved, the amendment would allow farmers to grow cannabis hemp for profit. It only permits crops with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of 0.3 percent or less “on a dry weight basis.” (Cannabis flowers with higher THC amounts are commonly known as marijuana.)
The Industrial Hemp Farming Act is unlikely to pass before the presidential election. Political leaders remain gridlocked on most issues.
For their part, voters continue to support existing laws that prohibit “pot.”
Yet there are huge annual costs associated with arresting and imprisoning marijuana offenders; with perpetual helicopter flights over our communities; and with the related prohibition of domestic hemp farming.
Taxpayers also deserve to know the price of this war on cannabis, and precisely when it’s going to end.
DOT won’t take no for an answer on PLA
Kudos to Mark Galasso, president of Lancaster Development, for again bringing litigation against the state DOT [Department of Transportation] for its blatant refusal to re-bid the Route 17 project without a PLO (Project Labor Agreement) [Aug. 25 Gazette].
Despite [Supreme Court] Justice Joseph T. Teresi’s ruling that DOT had not justified the need for a PLA in Orange County, instead of re-bidding the project in compliance with Section 38 of the Highway Law (lowest responsible bidder), DOT paid their consultant even more money to rehash and rejustify the need for a PLA on this project.
Since a legitimate PLA requires proof of a long history of disruptive labor unrest in the project area, and no such labor unrest existed or exists in Orange County, this exercise is a phenomenal waste of taxpayer money. Had DOT awarded the project to Lancaster the first time, it would have saved us $4.5 million in construction costs, the PLA consultant’s fees, and the project would be partially built and on schedule.
But if the governor’s office has ordered DOT to use a PLA despite the extra costs and despite Judge Teresi’s decision, then of course DOT must fall in line.
Good luck Mr. Galasso. We can only hope this one lands back on Judge Teresi’s desk!
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