Stop pumping sand to plump up rich folks’ N.J. beaches | Letters

© Advance Local Media LLC.

Star-Ledger letters to the editor

In reference to the recent story “Beach replenishment hurts the environment, subsidizes wealthy homeowners, group argues:”

After throwing away $1.5 billion pumping sand on our beaches since 1989, the New Jersey coast is worse off than ever, with no end in sight. The sand pumping creates unsafe conditions, destroys coastal ecosystems, and benefits mostly a few ultra-wealthy beachfront property owners. In most cases these are the summer homes of the super rich, who are actually trying to keep the public off these same beaches. Why are we spending billions to protect their investments?

Meanwhile, surfers, swimmers and anglers suffer the consequences of damaged beaches, increased rip tides and larger waves breaking on the shoreline. And, they must pay more every year for the privilege.

This is not right. As the sea level rises, we can longer view more sand as the answer. It has always been a very temporary Band-Aid, and wasteful of our scarce tax dollars. The state Department of Environmental Protection has outlined better options in its 2021 New Jersey Draft Climate Change Resilience Strategy. It’s time we paid attention.

Yet, a bill before the New Jersey Assembly (A-639) and already passed in the Senate (S-1071) would double state spending on this wasteful practice to $50 million a year.

How about it, Gov. Phil Murphy? Will you finally follow the recommendations of your own agencies?

Someone needs to step in and stop the madness.

Make big enemy of ‘Big Pharma’ fear mongering

Recent articles in the Star-Ledger have focused on the elected politicians who oppose reforms to lower prescription drug costs.

One specific reform being considered is to allow traditional Medicare to negotiate prices with suppliers. “Big Pharma” is spending millions of dollars not only to lobby Congress against such a measure, but also tobuy advertising that attempts to make Americans fearful that proposals to lower prices could result in fewer medicines for patients.

I have just one personal experience that proves to me the need for our politicians to pass reforms into law now. Being a senior citizen with Medicare, my Part D drug plan has a monthly premium of $27.70 per month. After a merger involving the plan provider, it raised my monthly premium to $64.80 for 2022.

I strongly recommend that all voters contact their so-called “public servant” representatives and advise them that in order to continue winning their support, they expect meaningful changes to the drug programs to lower costs. I also suggest that any politician who does not support drug pricing reform be sent looking for another job.

Cancel IRS snooping plan for bank accounts

In the Oct. 7 Star-Ledger, there was an article with the headline, “Proposal would give IRS a better chance to track down tax cheats.”

This refers to the proposal, under the so-called reconciliation bill (Build Back Better), requiring that the amount of all bank transactions over $600 be reported to the IRS.

The headline implies that this is a good thing. After all, who doesn’t want to catch tax cheats. But, think for a moment: You give $1,000 to your child or family member to help buy a car, house, appliance or anything. If that money goes into bank account, the transaction must be reported.

The IRS, at its discretion, can then investigate that transaction. Of course, we’re assured that won’t happen in the example above because the agency is only interested in big tax cheats, not little ones. Bologna! Then why set the threshold at $600? Why not $6,000, $60,000 or, better yet, $600,000?

Why? Because truly wealthy people have an army of lawyers and accountants and they are difficult to go after. The average individual is an easy target. Think of all the aggravation you will experience when the IRS targets you to explain an innocent transaction.

Kudos to U.S. Rep. Van Drew, R-2nd Dist., for introducing a bill to block this proposal.

Hear heartbeat coming from the womb

Texas lawmakers have passed a wildly unpopular abortion ban that is addressed in the recent op-ed article “N.J. needs to learn from the abortion horrors in Texas,” by state Sen. Vin Gopal , D-Monmouth, and Anjali Mehrotra, president of NOW-NJ.

The Texas Heartbeat Law imposes an abortion ban at around six weeks of pregnancy — when an ultrasound can detect the early pulse of a primitive embryonic heartbeat.

The embryonic heartbeat is a very pivotal timeline for the developing human life in utero. A recognizable trait of humanity is the heartbeat, and I believe that’s why abortion rights advocates are in a panic over this Texas ban.

To the abortion industry, embryos are simply products of conception, as Planned Parenthood would have us believe. When Planned Parenthood uses ultrasounds, it’s not to reveal the heartbeat of humanity in utero, but to guide the procedure as an abortion is performed.

Laws affecting abortion rights or instituting abortion bans should return to the judgment of the states. I’m waiting to see if the U.S. Supreme Court will weaken the Roe v. Wade decision when they rule in the near future on Mississippi’s abortion ban, a ban that goes into effect at the 15th week of pregnancy.