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USPS Long Term Debt

Dear Editor:

The United States Post Office proposal to raise the price of a first class stamp going up by five cents from 50 cents to 55 cents effective January 27, 2019 is no surprise. Part of the problem is that Congress in 2006 mandated that the Post Office fully fund 75 years of retirement benefits for employees. This has contributed billions to the Post Office’s long term debt. While many private and other public retirement plans are under funded, the Post Office is vastly over funded. It is time for Congress to amend legislation and afford the Post Office ability to fund its retirement plan at a more reasonable level.

There are other initiatives which could assist the Postal Service in avoiding frequent postage stamp increases. The Post Office should continue with more joint business ventures like Amazon in expanding Sunday delivery. This could be the start of something big. Using underutilized assets and facilities on Sunday could generate badly needed revenues. This would assist in developing alternatives to the periodic increasing frequency of raising the price of a first class stamps every few years.

Why not consider going after other available untapped potential revenue streams? Consider these untapped sources to reduce operating deficits and perhaps even turn a small profit. The US Postal Service could sell advertising space on the sides of mailboxes, inside and outside the post offices along with the small jeeps, regular trucks and heavy-duty long-haul trucks. Sell off some of the valuable real estate and move to less expensive locations.

Why not join banks and fast-food restaurants that sublet space at Wal-Mart and other big box stores to open smaller post offices? Generate both revenue and customers by subletting excess capacity at underutilized post offices to other village, town, county, city, state or federal agencies along with private sector businesses. License corporations to sponsor stamps for a fee.

Have members of Congress, State Legislatures and other elected officials pay the real, full costs for their annoying frequent bulk rate mailings to constituents. They are nothing more than free re-election campaign brochures subsidized by taxpayers. Charge the full price for all junk mail. Future increases in the price of stamps should be directly tied to inflation.

The Post Office should apply free-enterprise solutions including working with Amazon and other private sector businesses to provide a more cost-effective product, reduce deficits and prevent more branches from closing thus keeping its commitment to serve the public well

Sincerely,

Larry Penner


Concerned About Nursing Home Abuses

Dear Editor,

You ran a story recently about a report showing that the number of elderly nursing home residents who are being given intensive therapy in the last weeks of their lives has climbed by 65 percent, which of course raises ethical concerns about looking out for the best interests of the patient.

These residents, according to a Bloomberg News report, are being “subjected to potentially unnecessary therapy that reaps significant financial benefits for cash-strapped facilities, a study shows.” One type is ultrahigh intensity therapy.

The findings raise questions about financial motives. For-profit nursing homes were more than two times as likely to use high to ultrahigh intensity therapy than were nonprofit homes. This story struck a chord with me because my late grandma lived in a retirement home during her final years. She enjoyed her time there and actually rediscovered herself. She lost her husband, a veteran of World War II, to cancer, and continued living in Florida, alone. We were very thankful for the life she was able to have at the home, but we had to constantly push the home to follow through with requests, all while being charged a lot of money. She even had her legs swell up from the food being too salty, and the home wasn’t quick and compassionate in fixing the problem.

I’ve heard far worse stories, so my own experience through my grandma was just a window into the world of nursing homes. We need more oversight of these places and better options too so people can live out their golden years gracefully and without such a financial strain. The elderly are one of the groups most often taken advantage of, and that has to end.

Sincerely,

Keith Schulte


Loves Coney Island Real Estate Boom

Dear Editor,

Your article “Catsimatidis Eyes Property in Coney Island for Luxury Towers” was really interesting because I wondered what this project was when I passed it by bike not too long ago. It was impossible to ignore because of what may have been the loudest drilling sounds I’ve ever heard. Knowing that this property isn’t the first Catsimatidis has in Brooklyn has me excited. I love going to the Brooklyn beaches, and it’s cool how when you go or when you pass through the waters by ferry, you can see some of the towering apartments by the sea. I always know where the beach is because of those buildings, which can be seen from some of the elevated subway platforms as you get closer. I’ve gone to Borough Park so many times to get bakery goods and wound up continuing on to Coney Island when I got up onto the platform and got excited from seeing how close the beach is.

I look forward to seeing this building come to fruition next summer so I can get used to seeing another landmark. I can’t wait to go to Sandy Hook beach across the water in New Jersey and see if the new tower is visible! I know I’ll at least see it on the ferry ride.

It’s still hard for me to fathom how neat it is that you can live in the city of New York and be by the beach. For the rest of us, it’s a nice city escape from midtown to go look out

Inspired by Miami Beach’s sleek residential towers, he is currently working on developing a project entitled Ocean Dreams, which is slated for completion next summer. The luxury rental complex will have a duo of 21-story towers at 3514 Surf Avenue, overlooking the Atlantic. The development will house a total of 425 market rate apartments. While the prices have not yet been set, a two-bedroom unit will likely be priced at $4,000 to $5,000 per month, “depending on the floor”. It will be his fifth property acquisition in Brooklyn in less than a decade. Still, Catsimatidis says he is “itching to build” more in Coney Island.

Sincerely,

Donald Newton

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