Readers Write: Mayor tries, but fails to convince on LED lights

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This is a follow-up to my previous letter to Mayor Bral of the Village of Great Neck.

Immediately after receiving my letter, the mayor contacted me and asked if I would like to meet with him to discuss the LED street light issue.  I accepted and met with him at the village office for about an hour.

 During that time, the mayor responded to most of the issues I raised in my letter.  

Being a true New Yorker, I interrupted him at times to question him and to comment.   Overall, I found him to be extremely intelligent, and it was obvious he had spent a great deal of time and effort researching questions about the safety of the lights and was totally convinced that they were completely safe.    

He backed up his views with many concrete facts, including studies.

 I asked if the mayor had also met with any of the people who have been complaining of the potential health hazards of the LED street lights following their research, or the invited experts who presented their findings at Board meetings.  

He replied that he had asked to meet with them, but they had declined.

Due to my lack of a scientific background and expertise, it should be clear that my opposition to the lights is not based on scientific evidence that I have read due to recommendations and found to be evidence of potential harm.  

My major objection, which I explained to the mayor is as follows: 

This is an issue that has the potential to affect the health and welfare of everyone in the village.  

While other health decisions can be made by individuals, this is a decision that has made for all of us and the Mayor informed me that it is impossible to opt out.  

In such a case, it would have been prudent and respectful to notify every resident of the village about this issue before the lights were ordered, either by mail (which has been done many times in the past) or through robocalls (which are currently in use.)  

A full explanation of the lights should have been presented so that any village residents who wanted to look further into the lights and their possible harmful effects would have had the opportunity to do so and then write to the mayor and the board and/or come to a Board meeting to express their opinions prior to the decision to order them.  

I  am certain that due to the time constrictions of board meetings (which I do not regularly attend), the mayor would not have the amount of time he spent with me to explain his views.  

Despite his assurances, I would still like to opt out of this conversion and do not want an LED light in front of my house, which is on a small, dead-end street where the current lights are more than adequate.  I was told this was not possible.

 Over many years of residence in the village, I have found that the vast majority of people I speak with do not read the local newspapers, attend board meetings or take much of an interest in local affairs, except when it affects them directly.  

Many do not even bother to vote and have no idea who is running for office or when election day is.  Since I was raised by parents who always stressed the importance of voting at all elections and making yourself familiar with the candidates and major issues, I find this hard to believe and sometimes even shocking.  

Politicians may choose to take advantage of this fact and pass legislation when the people most affected are not aware of it; or they can make efforts to make sure that everyone who is affected has the opportunity to know about the issue, form an opinion through some research, and speak up if they wish before any action is taken.

Therefore, despite his much appreciated efforts, I find myself remaining opposed to the installation of these lights until more people in the village have a chance to participate and voice their wishes.  

Otherwise, this decision seems to be more dictatorial than democratic, since I believe it remains possible that over time, people may suffer adverse health effects from these lights.  

At the very least, people like me who object due to possible health concerns should not be forced to have one in front of their homes.

 I do hope that those who remain opposed to these lights will make an appointment to talk with the mayor and have a peaceful and mutually respectful conversation about the issue.  I found it very valuable and was quite impressed by him, even though we disagree.  

If any of the information they are presenting is correct, it would seem sufficient grounds to cancel the order altogether, which now appears the wisest thing to do.

Finally, I was told that my previous letter was posted on Facebook and that there were a number of comments.  

I am not on Facebook or any social media and do not wish to be, so all the people who addressed me there should know that I have not seen their comments, but appreciate their reading the letter and giving it serious thought. 

Diane Coffield

 Great Neck

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