From the first time that some politician proposed a hate bill, I questioned his reason. Since we have so many similar bills on the books, why add another before enforcing the existing ones? The rationale is that hate bills are designed to deter the criminal because he’s motivated by gender, race or nationality. Which is false because any crime against society is based on enmity.
We can have all the hate laws in the world and they won’t stop the felon from weaving his sinister plot. For the criminal starts off with believing that he’s smarter than the authority and that he will never get caught. How can you compete with this mentality?
We should know by now that anyone who commits a barbaric act was driven by hate. And no criminal will be deterred by another hate bill.
We must accept the fact, as hard as it may seem, that there are some rotten people in our midst. But happily there are more than enough decent folks who are maintaining law and order. So adding another hate bill is superfluous and will have no impact on the criminal mind.
Steps DownTo The Editor:
It’s been an honor for me to serve Athens Square. I tried at all times to do my best.
Last year was the highlight of my tenure.
Governor George Pataki, at my request, was so kind as to compliment the cultural efforts of Greek Nights, and also referred to Astoria as "Little Athens." Now besides Little Italy and Chinatown, Astoria is Little Athens.
One of my finest accomplishments as chairman of the Entertainment Committee and chairman of the U.S. 2000 Census Hellenic Steering Committee [was when] I made arrangements with the Census Bureau to test and hire Greeks in all 50 states including many from the five boroughs and many from Astoria.
I thank everyone who supported me as entertainment chairman of Athens Square, but now is the time for me to move on and I wish the best of luck to whomever my replacement will be.
Without this newspaper’s assistance the attendance for Greek Nights at Athens Square wouldn’t have been as immense.
Athan John Christodoulou
Pataki’s letter referencing Astoria as "Little Athens" follows.
It is a pleasure to extend warm greetings to all gathered for Athens Square Park’s final Greek Night for the summer of 2000.
With its Doric columns and statues of Greek philosophers, this wonderful event imaginatively transports a small part of Athens to New York City to be enjoyed by many of our citizens. Located in the heart of Astoria, sometimes known as "Little Athens," every Tuesday night Athens Square Park brings the area to life with live Greek music, folk dancing and theatrical performances. These outdoor events are a testament to the generous spirit of the Hellenic community to share their heritage and culture with their neighbors. In turn, the community as a whole can witness and further appreciate the showcasing of Greek talent and venerable traditions.
I applaud the efforts of all involved in making this season a success, including Director of Entertainment, Athan J. Christodoulou and Assistant Secretary Anna Mallis. Best wishes for an enjoyable evening and continued success.
Very truly yours,
George E. Pataki
Governor of the State of New York
Thanks SignersTo The Editor:
Even the leprechauns are green with envy over Astoria's response to the Muscular Dystrophy Association's Shamrocks Against Dystrophy campaign. Many thanks to the thousands of people who donated to MDA and signed paper shamrocks in businesses in February and March. Their generous participation in Shamrocks will help MDA continue to provide families affected by neuromuscular diseases in our community with valuable services.
As one of many who has a loved one affected by a neuromuscular disease, I'm genuinely grateful for the caring support of customers and employees at convenience stores, supermarkets, restaurants and other retailers in Astoria.
The 18th annual Shamrocks Against Dystrophy campaign raised more than $10 million nationally. These donations help MDA fund almost 400 research teams worldwide.
On behalf of the millions of Americans affected in some way by the more than 40 diseases covered by MDA, thank you, and may St. Patrick bless you all year long!
MDA Shamrocks Against Dystrophy
Proposes ID Theft BillTo The Editor:
I would like to make your readers aware of legislation I am cosponsoring to crack down on individuals who engage in identity theft. Identity theft is a computer age version of losing your good name. The theft occurs when someone uses personal identification information about another person to apply for credit, open bank accounts or make unauthorized purchases. I have cosponsored legislation that specifically makes identity theft a crime in New York state punishable by up to seven years in prison and providing victims the opportunity to seek legal recourse.
The bill allows victims of identity theft to be repaid for any financial loss they may have incurred when a criminal steals their identity. Currently, when someone uses false information to commit credit fraud, the credit card company is legally considered the victim, making it difficult for the person who has their identity stolen to receive compensation to rebuild their credit or financial reputation. My legislation remedies that and makes, in no uncertain terms, identity theft a serious crime.
Cracking down on identity theft is part of my ongoing effort to protect New York’s consumers. Last year I cosponsored the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Protection Act to protect consumers from telemarketing practices which cost innocent people billions of dollars a year. I also cosponsored the "Do Not Call Registry" which blocks unwanted telemarketing calls.
To help protect yourself against identity theft, please practice the following safety procedures:
•Monitor your bills and mail.
•Avoid accepting bonuses or "credit" incentives from banks and credit card agencies.
•Shred "checks" from credit card companies that reflect your account number.
•Decline giving your Social Security card number or PIN number to anyone over the phone.
•Ask for the names and phone numbers of persons requesting your personal information and offer to call them back at their place of business.
We need to take new steps to combat new crimes in this high-tech world.
Mark S. Weprin
Member of Assembly, 24th District