Letter to the Editor: It’s Time to Remove Trump’s Name From the Taconic Parkway and Parks

Last week, the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer were indicted for tax fraud and other illegal practices. Yet Yorktown residents and all of New York’s residents still must endure the embarrassment of seeing him recognized and honored for donating undeveloped land as parkland, as we commute from our community.

This year, the state Senate passed legislation which would empower the state commissioner of parks to determine whether renaming the parks is legally feasible. Although this did not mandate a renaming, it did make a first step that could enable a change. Unfortunately, the Assembly did not take similar action before it adjourned.

I urge people to contact local Assemblymembers Kevin Byrne and Sandra Galef and get them to commit to advancing and voting for similar legislation during the next legislative session. We should not honor a President who attempted to undermine the democratic process and seize power as an unelected autocrat.

A few reminders as to how all this happened. In 2006, Yorktown and Putnam Valley residents successfully defeated an attempt by the Trump Organization to build a golf course on 436 acres of undeveloped land. To cut his losses, Trump donated the land to the state for the future development of a state park in exchange for tax benefits and having his name prominently displayed, at least at each entrance. In 2015, many state legislators began proposing that the park be renamed, to which Trump responded, “If they want, they can give me the land back.”

It is time to call Trump’s bluff. I believe he has other legal issues that will take precedence. The last thing he wants right now is to be saddled with property that will be difficult, if not impossible, to develop. If he takes it back, will he be responsible for the tax deductions he claimed in 2006?

The time has come for New York State to act boldly to remove this disgrace.

Melvyn R. Tanzman
Mohegan Lake

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