To The Editor:
I wanted to thank Richard Gentilviso for the excellent article he wrote for the May 31st edition of the Queens Gazette on my presentation to the Long Island City Business Development Corporation. He did a great job of capturing the Port Authority’s vision for the New York Region’s airports, the scope of our implementation agenda and the wholehearted enthusiasm with which we are carrying it out. He also provided a fair and balanced airing of ongoing privatization efforts being explored by the city of New York. It is always a pleasure to be quoted by a reporter who can capture not only the words but also the essence.
Director, Aviation Department
Port Authority of New York
and New Jersey
A copy of the following letter was received by the Gazette.
Mr. Athan J. Christodoulou
Chairman, U.S. Census 2000
Hellenic Steering Committee
of New York State
Dear Mr. Christodoulou:
As the Vice President of the Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) and Coordinator of the N. & S. America Region, I congratulate the U.S. Census 2000 Hellenic Steering Committee of New York State for its tireless efforts to inform and mobilize the Hellenic community of the New York area on the U.S. Census 2000.
I received the material you sent me informing me of your accomplishments and I thank you. Your initiative was truly commendable, not only because it was directed to the Hellenic community, but because you also involved the Federal Government, making it more aware of the presence of the Greek Americans, their role and their potential in the American society. Just the fact that the questionnaire was also translated into Greek, is proof of the effectiveness of your effort.
SAE has also dedicated time and resources for this cause, because it believes that the true strength of the Hellenic community is grossly misrepresented by the 1990 Census. Your effort went a step further on the grassroots level and I am convinced that it will bear results.
Congratulations to you and to the entire Committee for your effort.
Chris P. Tomaras
SAE Vice President
To The Editor:
For years now many parents like me have been advocating aggressively for charter schools, vouchers and tuition tax credits in the hopes of providing concerned parents with a greater amount of choice and control over their children’s schooling. The hope has been that these measures would also interject some aspects of competition and choice into an otherwise ossified and in many ways inflexible and bureaucratic system. Indeed luminaries like former Democratic Congressman Floyd Flake have lent considerable energy and intellectual vigor to this effort.
As someone who was educated in new York City public schools, as a father and as a husband (my wife is a public school teacher) I know there are so many fine, dedicated, concerned educators taking care of our children.
The fact that there are systemic problems in education is certainly not their fault. It is partly a function of a top-down system that doesn’t have the capacity to ensure either adequate academic standards or that the resources make their way to the classroom, the children,and the teachers.
We can do better! We simply must. The [Mayor Rudolph] Giuliani administration put forward a vouchers pilot program that would not take any money away from public schools. In fact it would be a boon to the budgets of participating schools providing significant increases in funds. It should be given a chance to succeed. If it works it should be expanded. In other states such programs have actually served to empower parents, raise participation rates and grades.
Charter schools are not a magic elixir but the added flexibility and focus can often revitalize a school. There are enough success stories to warrant doing more of them
Finally, the Assembly Minority has proposed an Education Tax Credit of up to $1,500 per student or $3,000 per family that could be used for nearly any educational expense, including tuition, tutoring and computers. To date the Assembly Majority remains hostile to this proposal. I urge them to embrace it as a means of empowering middle class families to take control and responsibility for their children’s education. If it prompts any appreciable increase in parental participation in the educating of their children we all win. We can do better but if we are afraid to try.
Vince Tabone, Esq.
Disaster Waiting To Happen
A copy of the following letter was received by the Gazette.
Hon. Rodney Slater, Secretary
U.S. Dept. of Transportation
400 Seventh Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20590
Dear Secretary Slater:
The United Community Civic Association has been vehement and steadfast in its opposition to any increase in flights at LaGuardia Airport.
As we have said many times before, this airport is a disaster waiting to happen. Case in point—the near miss that took place on June 12, 2000. Furthermore, if the present direction of Queens County remains unaltered by immediate, positive action, this county is destined to go down in history as a victim of environmental pollution. Pollution which is made up in great part by its two airports, where noise and toxic fumes are emitted simultaneously from jet aircraft and, therefore, must be considered part and parcel of the same environmental problem.
In this age of high technology and scientific achievement, residents who live in close proximity to LaGuardia Airport, in particular, exist under a shroud of deadly toxic fumes, and are relentlessly bombarded by an ear-splitting, heart pounding din, that marks the arrival and departure of over a thousand planes each and every day.
Our residents awake in the morning and retire at night to the deafening, teeth grinding roar from LaGuardia Airport’s departures from runway number No. 4, starting with warm ups between 4:30/5 a.m. All too often, windows must remain closed in good weather, to prevent the onslaught of noise and toxic, gaseous fumes from seeping into our homes. There is no relief from this assault on our lives, which is continuous, each morning through the middle of each night.
We are outraged by those federal officials, both elected and appointed, who have made and continue to make irrational, irresponsible and life threatening proposals and decisions, such as allowing waivers to the high density rule by the U.S.D.O.T. At this point, the HDR is a facade. Even though its life has been extended to the year 2007, it continues to be manipulated at will. It is crystal clear that any additional flights at LaGuardia, no matter how small the planes, will further erode our already diminished health, safety and quality of life.
In this new millennium, we the people, over 150,000 of us, in close proximity to LaGuardia Airport…can look forward to the misery and agony of increased toxic jet fumes and unbearable noise, the escalation of asthma, emphysema, heart conditions and hearing problems plus a compromise of our safety, due to the deluge of unlimited flights into and out of this airport which sits smack in the middle of our residential community.
In closing, we say again, LaGuardia Airport "IS A DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN" and we strongly request that you rethink your policy of allowing unlimited flights, no matter the cost—the cost being the health, safety and survival of Queens County residents.
cc: Senator Charles E. Schumer
Congressman Joseph Crowley
Congresswoman Nita Lowey
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney
Senator George Onorato
Assemblyman Denis J. Butler
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani
Speaker Peter F. Vallone
Queens Borough President