Readers Write: Mr. Marlin has questions

The Island Now

Mr. George Marlin has asked several questions in his current piece. I will try to cover his points, but to address his last question first.

“Do you agree that our democratically elected local government officials are unfit to make decisions regarding zoning laws?”

After 18 years of NIFA, and on the heels of another botched reassessment, where did Mr. Marlin get the idea this county has been competently governed in the past 40 years? Of course, they’re unfit. They stink on ice.

Mr. Marlin favored former County Executive Mangano’s and the LIA’s preposterous incentives for Amazon to locate here and provide 25,000 jobs. Which leads us to his question, “Do you agree that single-family homes should be demolished to provide space for multi-family housing?”

Where were these 25,000 workers going to live, Mr. Marlin? Ithaca?

You can’t advocate for job creation without providing housing for the jobholders, but this is precisely the incoherence of current policy by the “business community” of Long Island while freezing housing stock at 1975 levels.

Indeed, in the Times article Marlin references, it pointed out that some communities only replace housing on a “one for one” basis. What are we supposed to do? Stop procreating?

If you have any pretensions to knowing how an economy works, you do not get growth without more population density. That is why American cities generate close to 75 percent of the GDP of this country, while places like Upstate New York are economic wastelands. If Mr. Marlin is such a cheerleader for free markets and growth, he may want to think this thing through.

“Do you agree that single-family homes should be demolished to provide space for multi-family housing?

The answer is “yes,” when feasible, appropriate, and in proper scale.

The four-bedroom single-family home is an anachronism, and I say that having lived in one for most of my life. They don’t fit the demographics of our time.

A better model of housing could be attached duplexes, which don’t add as much density as apartment buildings but aren’t such enormous wastes of resources.

We have completely shut out our young and our old by giving them no other housing options. When you look at your two-car garage and realize it is the size of a studio apartment by itself, the absurdity of the construct begins to sink in.

Mr. Marlin seems to be under the impression that the demographics of this country haven’t changed since WWII. Nothing could be further from reality.

To answer another question, “Do you agree with The Times’ demand that the state override local zoning laws and impose the construction of apartment buildings?”

The answer again is “Yes,” and again, in proper scale.

Great Neck is filled with apartment buildings. Anyone have a problem with the density level there? It’s time to take the keys away from these people. They are no different than anti-vaxxers who put their paranoia above the well-being of everyone else’s and they need their wings clipped.

Bill the insurance agent and Martha the dress shop owner shouldn’t be handling critical policy like this. The percentage of young adults living with their parents has jumped to 52 percent. In cities where new construction has been deliberately blocked by these nihilists, homelessness has exploded. This isn’t tolerable.

Mr. Marlin states “Second, ownership of single-family homes, particularly on Long Island, was encouraged and codified, not by racists, but by New Deal Progressives who authored the GI Bill of Rights that included FHA/VA home loans with no down payments.”

Actually, as a matter of record, there were racial exclusionary clauses at that time. The joke here is that someone who has been in public life as long as Mr. Marlin has believes that a policy that originated in the late 1940s should be maintained 80 years later.

Last question: “Do you agree that the MTA is squandering money to improve and expand the LIRR?”

I’ve got news for you, Yankeleh: they squander money even when the trains aren’t moving.

“Democracy,” The Times concludes, “is no defense for the behavior of these local governments. There are no citizens of Garden City; its residents are New Yorkers.”

The Times is right. You don’t get the privilege of freezing out a huge slice of the population from their right to a decent life. And that is precisely what is happening across the country.

Donald Davret


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