Letters to the Editor, Feb. 10


Public interest served by process
To the editor:
In this age of selective memory, one must remain ever vigilant of those who choose to rewrite history in defense of an indefensible position.
   In her letter to the editor (The Packet, Feb. 6), Carole Carson states that the NJ Department of Transportation "did an environmental study for the preferred alignment of the Millstone Bypass and came back with a finding of ‘No Significant Impact.’"
   What she fails to mention, and what must not be forgotten, is that the Environmental Assessment was so fundamentally flawed that then-Gov. Whitman insisted on an Environmental Impact Statement, an all-inclusive look at the environmental, traffic and neighborhood effects of the Millstone Bypass.
   The comment that "there is still no finding of a significant environmental impact caused by the original alignment" is demonstrably false. In fact, the east-side connector, were it to have been built, would have destroyed the nesting habitat of two threatened long-eared owls.
   Ms. Carson writes, "This is a tale of special interest and the New Jersey taxpayers." Indeed it is, for were the original alignment of the Millstone Bypass to have been built, New Jersey taxpayers would have subsidized Sarnoff Corp.’s full expansion and paid for upwards of 500 more cars on the already congested Penns Neck-area roads. Taxpayers would also have witnessed the destruction of the Washington Road Elm Allee and the disappearance of some of the last pristine open space in the Penns Neck area.
   Paving a road funded by public money for a private institution is catering to special interest. Protecting the habitat of rare, threatened and endangered species is the law. Building an inexpensive road that serves a corporation is catering to special interest. Spending more money on a road that alleviates congestion, preserves all east-west crossings, protects open space and threatened species, leaves archaeological sites intact and preserves historic sites is good planning.
   The Penns Neck Area EIS Partners Roundtable was an innovative, all-inclusive, painstaking process. The roundtable participants scrutinized every step of the EIS scoping process. This is not special interest. This is the community working together to solve what had seemed to be an intractable problem. And that, when selecting a memory, should never be forgotten.
Laura Lynch
Penns Neck Area EIS Partners’ Roundtable Member
Chair, Central Jersey Group, Sierra Club
Library thanks PU for invaluable gifts
To the editor:
The new Princeton Public Library is scheduled to open on or about April 1. Although we are fully immersed in hundreds of last-minute decisions and details that need our attention over the next few weeks, we want to take a moment to thank Princeton University for its invaluable gifts to the library.
   The university’s extraordinary financial contribution helped kick off our capital campaign. This gift reinforced for the community the importance of the new library. Once the university was behind our project, many other individuals and organizations contributed to our campaign.
   But the university’s gifts to the library go far beyond its capital contribution.
   Princeton University has been exceedingly generous in offering the library the expertise of its staff as well as technological resources that have enabled us to offer services that far exceed those offered by other public libraries. More than 20 Princeton University faculty and staff members contributed time and expertise directly to our project in the areas of technology, fund-raising and development, construction planning, art procurement and the establishment of our library store.
   The free high-speed Internet connections provided to our library by the university ensure that our customers have the fastest and most reliable pipeline to the World Wide Web. Purchasing this kind of service on the open market would limit the level of Internet service we could offer to the community.
   In short, we couldn’t have achieved much of what we’ve done without the university’s help. When we celebrate our grand opening on May 15, we will welcome the university community back to the new public library that they helped make possible.
Leslie Burger
Princeton Public Library
Slow-rising tax hike would be small burden
To the editor:
I would like to weigh in on the increase in the gasoline tax here in New Jersey. It seems that Gov. McGreevey has again failed to do the right thing. By not supporting raising the tax on gasoline, he has guaranteed that the future of New Jersey’s roads, bridges and transportation needs will become a whole lot worse and guarantees the cost of correcting the shortsighted views he has become awash in will be too large to comprehend.
   Here is an idea that may be easier to give gasoline consumers a way of agreeing that New Jersey needs this revenue. Why can’t the Legislature and the governor compose and pass a bill that would raise the gasoline tax 2 cents every six months for the next four years. By incorporating a slow-rising tax over four years, the tax will not be a large burden on most citizens.
   Supposing an average of 20 gallons of fuel is used per driver, the tax would be 40 cents a week. And we must remember there are a significant number of out-of-state consumers purchasing gas in New Jersey as they travel through our state.
   For those who rightfully believe that there will be large sums of this new revenue sucked up by the politically connected, this is a whole other issue that must also be resolved by the Legislature and their ethics.
Larry Brophy
Langmoor Drive
Congressman Lincoln offered sage advice
To the editor:
In 1846, President James K. Polk claimed that Mexico was (using the language of today) an imminent threat to the security of the United States. An opponent of the upcoming war, who seriously doubted the reality of this threat, Congressman Abraham Lincoln of Illinois, said: "If you allow the president to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion … you allow him to make war at pleasure." Does Lincoln’s argument fit Iraq?
   Defenders of the Bush administration might argue that Iraq is not a "neighboring nation." But Lincoln could never imagine the United States invading a nation that was not neighboring since, in 1846, we lacked capacity to undertake an invasion of distant nations. Canada and Mexico were the only nations we could have invaded in Lincoln’s time.
   But now the United States has the military capability to invade any nation it chooses, anywhere in the world. If the Bush administration is to be believed, one of those nations, Saddam’s Iraq, a nation without a navy, with an air force afraid to take to the sky and an incompetent army, was a serious threat to the "security" of the United States — a threat that needed to be nullified in a hurry before it could be activated. And not because of any acts that it had taken against us but because of acts it might undertake in the future.
   The Bush administration has repeatedly made the additional claims that Iraq was "supporting terrorism" and that Iraq was linked in some mysterious way to the attack on 9/11. But there was and is no evidence for either of these claims.
   Finally, in desperation, the administration has argued that Iraq had plans and "programs" that were potentially threatening. If such were the case, we should have used that argument, and the evidence supporting it, to persuade the Security Council to support and join our invasion of Iraq when the threat became imminent. Since it was not in 2003, there was no need to enter into hostilities when we did. Sure, Saddam and his thugs would still be in power but we would have the support of the world opinion and more importantly, hundreds of American soldiers and Marines would still be alive and thousands would be unharmed. Not to speak of the tens of billions of dollars wasted.
   Can there be any doubt which side Congressman Lincoln of Illinois would be on today’s debate over Iraq?
C. Thomas Corwin
Franklin Avenue
Court ruling leaves consumers vulnerable
To the editor:
The New Jersey Supreme Court’s recent unanimous ruling that doctors, lawyers and other professionals cannot be sued under New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act is dangerous. It leaves the health-care consumer vulnerable to false advertising and ridiculous claims.
   As a result of this ruling, only the Board of Medical Examiners has oversight on physician advertising. Unfortunately, not all health-care professions are under the supervision of this board. This creates a regulatory void that may cause great harm to the unsuspecting patient.
   The solutions are straightforward. First, the New Jersey Academy of Ophthalmology urges the state to implement a practical Consumer Fraud Protection Act. The Board of Medical Examiners must have regulatory authority over all independent health-care providers including medical doctors, optometrists, chiropractors and podiatrists. This authority should not be limited only to advertisements but also to scope of practice issues that will ensure the proper checks and balances.
   Also, the NJAO has always stressed that eye surgery, including pre-operative and post-operative care, be done under the direct supervision of the ophthalmologists. The practice of co-management, which involves the delegation of post-operative care to lesser-trained health-care providers, must be prohibited. Similar rules should apply to other specialties.
David Hoffman, M.D.
New Jersey Academy of Ophthalmology