2001-03-14 / Editorials

Letters

Wants Tax Rollback

To The Editor:

Why doesn’t Governor George Pataki allow a $250 deduction from 2000 city and state income taxes for people who own homes to help them pay the exorbitant fuel bills for this winter?

Respectfully

Frank McCoun

Put Seat Belts On Buses

To The Editor:

A number of recent serious bus accidents in which passengers have sustained very significant injuries have emphasized the need for remedial safety legislation designed to minimize the effect of such accidents on bus passengers. Injuries caused by passengers being thrown out of their seats during the course of long-distance, high-speed bus trips, both intrastate and interstate, could have been avoided if the use of seat belts by passengers had been mandatory.

Section 383, subsection 4-a, of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law requires the owner of a bus to equip the driver’s seat on such a bus with a seat belt. No mention is made of the passenger seats. Section 1229-c of the Vehicle and Traffic Law requires that seat belts be worn by drivers and passengers of regular cars, but, according to subsection 9 of section 1229-c, buses are exempt from these seat belt requirements. According to Section 104 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, a bus is defined as a motor vehicle having a seating capacity of fifteen or more passengers in addition to the driver, and used for the transportation of passengers.

I would propose amendments to the appropriate sections of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, and any other relevant statutes, requiring the equipping of buses, other than local municipal buses, with seat belts for the driver and all passenger seats, and mandating the use of such seat belts by both drivers and passengers. Such a law would help to save lives and prevent serious, permanent, injuries. The potential for such injuries is enhanced on these long-distance trips at high speed. For local municipal buses, which operate at reduced speeds for short distances, and where overcrowding and standing are the rule, such a law would be impracticable, and not as urgent.

It is requested that our federal, state, and local legislators consider these suggestions, in the interest of public safety, and work to achieve passage of these proposals.

Joseph A. Suraci

President

Middle Village Republican Club

Where’s Sanitation?

A copy of the following letter was received by the Gazette.

The Honorable Rudy Giuliani, Mayor

The City Of New York

City Hall

New York, New York 10007

Dear Mayor Giuliani:

I am in receipt of several complaints regarding the lack of recycling collection the day after a holiday. It is especially unfair to residents whose collection is on a Monday. In the year 2000 at least five holidays fell on a Monday. This year we already had two. Why does Sanitation collect the regular trash but not the recylclables?

At the Queens Borough Consultations with The Department of Sanitation all Queens District Managers requested recycling collection after a holiday. Certainly with the budget surplus we can afford to provide this vital service to our constituents.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

Sincerely,

Mary Ann Carey

District Manager

Community Board 9

Arrogance And Term Limits

To The Editor:

Recent articles on attempts to repeal term limits illustrated how arrogant City Council members have become. After vote approval of two city-wide referendums in favor of term limits, they still haven’t gotten the message that citizens want them off the public payroll. With over 7 million residents, it is laughable to believe that only the current 51 members have the knowledge necessary to vote on legislation and help run municipal government. Other than renaming streets for famous dead people, I doubt that the quality of life in the Big Apple will be impacted when term-limited members leave City Hall’s Council Chamber on January 1, 2002.

Term limits alone will not necessarily change [the] composition of the City Council. Many current office holders believe that their seats are an inheritance to be passed on to family members, their chiefs of staff, employees of other elected officials or those who are politically connected. Even worse, every 10 years after completion of the census, the majority party (Democrats) of the New York City Council redraws the Councilmanic District boundaries. (Does anyone believe that those on the inside will draw up boundaries to encourage any competition?) Since Democrats outnumber Republicans five to one in the Big Apple, winning the Democratic Party primary is tantamount to victory in the general election.

Term limits may just result in the election of these same former City Council family members, their chiefs of staff, employees of other elected officials and those who are politically connected to the local Democratic organization. Sadly, this would continue the same old one-party bankrupt Democratic machine style government with the usual accompanying corruption and inefficiencies.

Real reform could come with expansion of the City Council to 59 members. District boundaries could be coterminous with those of the 59 New York City community planning boards. Delivery of most municipal services is based on the planning boards. They tend to better reflect neighborhoods rather than other electoral district boundaries which are gerrymandered on a block by block basis.

With smaller districts to run in, a more ethnic and politically diverse City Council representing new ideas and voices to the status quo could result. Voters would be able to look beyond the usual Democratic party monopoly to consider other alternatives besides the every shrinking Republicans to the Independence, Libertarian, Green, Working Families parties and others.

Sincerely,

Larry Penner

Great Neck

Call For Contract

A copy of the following letter sent to,Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Schools Chancellor Harold O. Levy, members of the Central Board of Education and President of the United Federation of Teachers Randi Weingartenwas received by the Gazette.

The Queens Council of Community School Boards believes that New York City’s children and the educational community are facing a crisis of ever deepening proportions. The recurring rate of teacher turnover and early retirement combined with the inability to recruit and retain qualified, certified teachers may nullify the recent strides made to raise standards and provide educational excellence and will impact upon all districts and schools.

Teacher’s salaries reflect the importance we place on the education of children and the respect we hold for educators, their years of study and their abilities. Teaching is the foundation upon which a quality education is based.Until we offer a pay scale competitive with suburban districts, we will be depriving students of an opportunity to obtain the skills necessary to build a successful future.

In 1992, Robert Jackson, then President of Community School Board 6, initiated a lawsuit which culminated in the recent decision of Justice Leland Degrasse, stating that New York City children are entitled to a "sound basic education." This cannot be achieved without the type of remuneration to attract and maintain appropriate staff.

We urge Mayor Giuliani, Chancellor Levy, the Central Board of Education and the United Federation of Teachers to expeditiously reach a collected bargaining agreement which includes a substantial wage increase for New York City’s teachers.

On behalf of the Council.

Sharon Maurer

Chairperson

Queens Council of Community School Boards

Community School Board 26


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