Star-Gazette from Elmira, New York on July 21, 2003 · 7
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Star-Gazette from Elmira, New York · 7

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Elmira, New York
Issue Date:
Monday, July 21, 2003
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7
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r Editorial Board Associate Editor David W. Kubissa opiriionstargaette.com 607271-8217 7A Monte I. Trammer, president and publisher Bill Church, Executive editor David W. Kubissa, associate editor ': Wayne R. Boucher, special projects editor n Monday July21 2003 Viww.stargazetiexom ft It 3 9 IBS Editorial Graying at the wheel California fatal accident should prompt states to deal with driving rules for elderly. As well as police can piece together the facts, 86-year-old Russell Weller left a post office in Santa Monica, Calif., on Wednesday afternoon in his Buick sedan. Instead of facing a street with other cars, he was looking at several blocks that were closed for a twice-weekly farmers market. What happened next has Once again raised serious questions about how to make sure that incompetent elderly , drivers are kept from behind the wheel. ; For whatever reason maybe panic or confusion Weller stepped on the gas rather than the brake and sped through the market, ramming people and displays. When the car finally stopped, 10 people had been killed and nearly 50 injured. . Here in the Twin Tiers, some 3,000 miles from Santa Monica, last week's accident strikes an unsettling chord by recalling a June 2002 accident in which an 81-year-old driver whose license had been revoked had a heart Getting help The New York Department of Motor Vehicles will consider retesting drivers of any age if the department receives a letter ' concerning the driver's medical or mental condition. Such letters can come from physicians, police, a member of the driver's family or other sources. A re-examination can include a vision test, a written test, a road test or two or more of ? ; these tests. If the driver does not appear for a re-examination or does not pass the tests, the DMV suspends or revokes . the driver license. To report possible medical or mental conditions, send a letter that includes a name, signature, name of the driver and other information that identifies the driver to: DMV Driver Improvement Bureau, Room 220A, 6 ? Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12228. Letter writers' names are kept confidential. Source N.Y. Department of Motor Vehl- begun to face that fact are already ahead of the curve. But fewer than half the 50 states have some restrictions on older drivers, and only two Illinois and New Hampshire require that renewals by drivers 75 or older include a road test. In New York, the Zulkosky accident spurred action from the New York Department of Motor Vehicles this year when state Sen. John R. Kuhl, R-Hammondsport, got the department to change its policy regarding revocations. Zulkosky had his license revoked after he failed a road test nearly one year before the fatal accident, yet the DMV didn't revoke his license on the spot, an action the department now takes. What New York really needs to do is build in restrictions on license renewals for those who are 70 and older. . In Rhode Island, for example, drivers 70 and older must renew their license every two years. Other states enact three-year or four-year renewals. In New York, licenses normally are renewed every eight years. Another step New York should take is to start an education campaign to let the public know that citizens can make written requests, with their identities protected, asking that older drivers whose skills are suspect be given a road test. County clerk's offices often can help with this step. As of last fall, young drivers in New York have to go through a graduated licensing program before they can obtain their junior license. The new law grew out of safety concerns. With more older drivers on the road and more on the way, states should be as careful about their older drivers as they are about their younger ones. The extra precaution can save lives, i r- ONLINE POLL0J Long-distance wine: One argument against New York allowing interstate wine shipments directly to consumers is that minors could buy alcohol. Other states have controlled the problem by requiring adult signatures and verifying ages. Would direct wine sales encourage underage drinking? Visit www.stargazette.com to vote. Results will be published Wednesday. attack and caused a five- vehicle wreck. The stricken driver, Walter Zulkosky, and the driver of another vehicle, 19-year-old Kevin Cicci, died in the accident. : Whenever such tragedies occur, elderly drivers feel as though it's open season on them. They get defensive and point out, rightly so, that young drivers are more dangerous. In fact, . the fatality rate for the 16-to-20 group is about 63 per 100,000 drivers. For 70 and older, it is 25 per 100,000. Still, older drivers' reflexes and vision can impair their judgment and reaction time, factors that, as Wednesday's accident indicates, can be fatal. With extended life expectancies, the nation's roads will see more older drivers in the future, and those states that have UAflKE&SUMMeti -j , OH-GOOPR i SON '- mPPEAM. j OOOP v AfOWm 0 . m ii I M mm iitt iinu uix The New York Times has different policy when it comes to its welfare Threatened move out of city appeased by $400 million. The New York Times, unrelenting champion of the underprivileged, mighty battler against all corporate evils and vehement opponent of Republican tax cuts for the "rich and powerful," lives by a far more self-serving motto: All the corporate welfare that's fit to collect. You won't see it reported on The Times' front page, so here's the scoop: The Gray Lady is a greedy leech, siphoning off millions of dollars in state taxpayer subsidies for private real estate development disguised as a public good. Now, the company stands to benefit from a federal tax-exempt bond program intended to help businesses devastated by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It was revealed last week that The Times Co.'s development partner for the headquarters project has asked city officials for $400 million in federally financed "Liberty Bonds." The federal program was meant for rebuilding in New York City's Sept. 11 disaster zone, not for subsidizing a private newspaper's long-planned palatial ambitions. While small business owners near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan struggled to pick up the pieces after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, all the midtown Manhattan fat cats at The Times had to do was throw a tantrum to obtain public funding for a new building. After the newspaper's executives threatened to move their workers out of town, city and state officials coughed up a vast tract of land on the edge of Times Letters: Bush covers his old lies with new ones How did Germany, the best-educated nation on Earth at the time, come under the spell of Adolf Hitler? Now I ask why has our great nation come under the spell of George W. Bush? It happened because they both used the same basic techniques. Hitler told big lies and repeated them over and over. People will believe big lies. It worked for Hitler and it is working for Bush. Bush and his warhawks lied about the urgency to attack Iraq. He keeps lying about tax cuts. A few super rich are getting tax cuts. The rest of us are getting tax increases because federal money is not funding state and local programs. The Iraq war is not making a safer Art Square for' a shiny, new 52-story headquarters. One minor glitch: The land that government authorities proposed to give away and the 11 buildings and 30 businesses located on it Michelle Malkin wasn't theirs for the taking. No matter. The corporate welfare conspirators invoked two magic words: eminent domain. Eminent domain powers were originally intended only for "public use" projects, such as highways or bridges. But with the wave of a pen, the Empire State Development Corp., a "public benefit corporation," condemned the coveted private property on Eighth Avenue between 40th and 4lst Streets for The Times' new digs. Opposed to special tax breaks for everyone else, The Times' project comes lined with a handy $26.1 million in sales-tax exemptions on equipment and materials used for construction, a waiver of the mortgage-recording tax and a discount on electricity rates. Although the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (you know, that pesky old piece of paper that The Times' editorial writers only seem to rediscover when it's needed to justify a right to sodomy or abortion or downloading porn from the Internet) bars the use of eminent domain without "just compensation," the newspaper is required to pay only $85.6 million for the land. That's at least a 25 percent discount, according to Massachusetts Institute of Technology real estate The president, escapees America, as the president keeps saying. The money we are spending in Iraq, along with the money that is given to the super rich, would help put people back to work. And hundreds of Americans and Iraqis would not be dying. . Bush has made the same strategic mistake that Hitler made. Hitler thought communism and Joseph Stalin were so bad that the Russian people would welcome his German armies. A few did, but most fought and died to repulse the invasion. Now, Bush has made the same mistake in Iraq. Now Bush invents new lies to cover the old lies. We need a regime change in Washington very badly, very soon. DONALD ROE Horseheads AP YOU SURE HIRING RUSH LMBMS6lWS- K GOOD rev? T n professor W. Tod McGrath. In addition, the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice noted in a recent report on eminent domain abuse, The Times and its developer will recoup any cost of acquisition that exceeds $84.94 million in rent concessions, a figure The Times itself estimates may come to $29 million. Buried in the 99-year lease agreement is an option provision stating that after 29 years, The Times may buy the site in exchange for $1. This cozy arrangement is "legalized theft," plain and simple, as New York Libertarian Party official Richard Cooper has noted from the beginning stages of what he and the party have dubbed "TimeScam." It's also an example of The Times' sky-scraping editorial hypocrisy. The paper's opinion pages have been filled for the past two years with liberal rants from the likes of Nicholas Kristof and Paul Krugman decrying corporate welfare schemes and accusing President Bush and Republicans of "crony capitalism." Kristof called a Texas Rangers baseball stadium land grab supported by Bush an "avaricious bruising of the public interest." Krugman carps about subsidies to the energy industry. The Times' editorial board lambastes government loan guarantees to special corporate interests as "pork-barrel politics" that have no honest economic justification. All have been silent on their own employer's avaricious feasting at the public trough. Who wants to oppose "crony capitalism," after all, when a corner office with windows in the new publicly financed headquarters may be at stake? Michelle Malkin writes for Creators Syndicate. Her e-mail address is malkincomcast.net. Roadblocks were staffed in a professional manner I thank all the law enforcement officials for their hard work and capture of the two escaped convicts. I was impressed by the roadblocks and by the professionalism of the officers conducting them. The same officers were there on my way home. It was 94 degrees, and they were as polite and professional late in the day as they were earlier. Thank you for protecting us, our families and the community. Thank you for the roadblocks and the long hours you spent away from your own families to help protect us. May God bless you and continue to protect you. RHONDA STEPHANI Millport To express your opinion Letters to the editor, opinion and editorial columns, and articles submitted to the Star-Gazette may be published or distributed in print, electronic or other forms. ' LETTERS: Please sign them J and print your name, address and phone number. Send to: Opinion Page, Star-Gazette, P.O. Box 285, Elmira, NY 14902. Letters are subject to editing. No poems, please. ; LENGTH: Letters of more than 250 words may either be condensed or returned to the writer. ''' : McGovern j ! wonders about labels I GOP likes to invoke j Democrat's name to I brand someone a liberal. WASHINGTON What exactjy is a "McGovern Democrat?" The man himself wants to know. . I . "I'm being held up as some kirjd of warning to Democratic candidates," 1972 Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern wrote in a guest column this month in the Los Angeles Times. "Don't be tx liberal. Don't be too outspoken." ; "It may not surprise you," the former South Dakota senator wrote, "that I regard this as political baloney." Well, what else is he supposed to say? It has been more than 22 years since McGovern was in the U.S. Senate, a period that spans Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, Chuck Raasch Ollie North and ; Iran-Contra, "Read my lips, no new taxes" and "It's the economy, stupid." ; A period that has seen one cori-servative, Bob Dole, propose wiping out the federal Department of Education and another conservative, George W. Bush, expanding its power. An era of "I did not have sx with that woman, Monipa Lewinsky," impeachment and; a Senate trial. An era of terrorism and, of course, Sept. 11. ! Third-party comet Ross Peifat burned hot for a moment but quicjk-ly faded. Back when McGovern left office after his 1980 defeat, Jesbe Ventura was just starting to wekr feather boas. The pro wrestler shfcd them for a governor's suit and ncAv is back to pitching products. Since McGovern left office, Pitchfork Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader came and went. So did Michael Dukakis and the first George Bush. j The point? Labeling someone a McGovern Democrat in 2003 may be about las relevant as labeling someone; a Hoover Republican. Both are wicked political slams, thick wilth negative history. But each is as relevant to current events as Ho Cjhi Minli or FDR's fireside chats. j Yet the name McGovern is being invoked by Republicans and even some moderate Democrats, directed at Howard Dean and othjer Democratic candidates attempting ". to differentiate themselves frqm George W. Bush. i The world is far different from the one McGovern left in 1980, when he was defeated for re-election to the Senate by Republican Jim Abdrjor of South Dakota. It is even further in light years, politically, from 1972, when McGovern was wiped out by Richard Nixon in a 49-state presidential landslide. ; The Cold War no longer divides the world into East, and Westor does it anchor the political dogma of the two major political parties oflhe United States. Sept. 11, 2001, prrjjed that great oceans no longer prqjfct the "arsenal of democracy" asjhe United States became known during World War II. S Social policies have entirelySif-ferent contours. Democrat Jill Clinton signed a massive overlgiul of the welfare system; Republican George W. Bush wants to doShe same with prescription drug bflie-fits for senior citizens. Ideological opposites McGovern and Bob Dole have, as old men, teamed up to push global school lunch programs. I McGovern has often said that if everyone who has since told him they voted for him actually had, his '72 election wipeout may have turned out differently. Invoking lis name is clever political semantics, but it no more informs the debati of 2003 than putting flowers in yCiur hair. ! Chuck Raasch has been chief political co-respondent for Gannett News Service since 1990. E-mail: craaschgns.gannett.com. I i i . FAX: Please sign and print your name, address and phone number. Send to our fax line: 607734-5614, Attention: Opinion Page, Star-Gazette. E-MAIL: opinionstargazette.com I I I i

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