2001-04-18 / Editorials

Letters

Show No Respect

To The Editor:

Today is Good Friday (Apr. 13). I went to St. Joseph’s on 30th Avenue to meditate, pray and light candles on this holy, sad day.

But to my amazement, there were young children running around and screaming—playing as if in a park. Why?

You couldn’t even think or pray. What’s wrong with people? This is a Holy Day. Take the children to a park or, better yet, teach them to behave.

Thank you and Happy Easter.

Mrs. Anthony Capurso

Astoria

St. Pat’s Parade

To The Editor:

I’ve always loved the Fifth Avenue St.Patrick’s Day Parade. My blood gets going just to hear the pipes and drums from blocks away.

But our little Queens parade blew me away. In addition to uileann pipes, there was the Asian performance group Falun Data, the Sunnyside Drum Corps, and the spirited jamming of De Jimbe from a flatbed truck, accompanying the Niall O’Leary dance school. There were stiltwalkers, Native Americans and community garden groups.

This is not a parade solely for the outcasts of Fifth Avenue. This is an outlet for Queens, our part of the world, to celebrate the spirit of freedom and community as St. Patrick himself proclaimed it.

Justine Freitas

Woodside

Tax Cuts For All

To The Editor:

Extreme measures meant to stimulate this Republican-led economy may also cause a bigger gap between the haves and havenots, as well as undermine public confidence.

The dominant side of Congress appears unwilling to see Americans on the right, who are-beyond their wage earning years and Americans on the left, who are yet to achieve the level of earnings necessary to be a substantial payer of income taxes. What, no refunds? No tax cuts? Congress seems centered in wanting to help wealthy taxpayers of today. Many other former and current workers, rural people, consumers, as well as taxpayers yesterday, also helped to build and nourish today’s great American surpluses.

Pay down the national debt, then let’s reward each person, including each child, who has a Social Security identification number, with one simple windfall early this year, and (the) next years when surpluses reappear. Besides providing far-reaching help in obtaining: food, energy, clothing, medicine shelter, transportation, entertainment, etc, a spontaneous stimulus now will encourage a greater public confidence in this American program, today and tomorrow. Lets actually act now, as President George W. Bush says so often, "leaving no child behind".

John Bauer

Martinez, California

Why Not God?

To The Editor:

My 12-year-old grandniece has the following printed on her t-shirt: "They allow violence in the schools but won’t allow God in." I would amend that a bit: "They allow every controversial subject in the schools but won’t allow a harmless reference to God."

Which made me do some checking when I noticed how sad and upset my grandniece was over the exclusion. I went to the first written constitution in the New World, the Mayflower Compact, and in four short paragraphs God was mentioned four times.

Now it’s because of those daring, fearless pioneers that we celebrate religious freedom. The choice is ours without coercion. If it was okay for those early settlers, why isn’t it okay for us today?

As a matter of fact, the First Amendment reinforces that precept. It leaves it up to the individual to decide. The Founding Fathers were more concerned with Congress that it "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The "Establishment Clause," which the Supreme Court ruled on is neutral, allowing you to worship or not to worship.

So why all the fuss about permitting God in our schools? God is allowed in all three branches of government. And presidents are sworn in on God’s Holy Book.

Sincerely,

Mary Simanovich

Flushing

Genie Gets Loose

To The Editor:

Recent articles on the battle to save historic homes on 12th Street in Astoria ("One Piece of Antebellum History is Going With the Wind" New York Times, April 1,2001, "CB1 District Manger Provokes Citywide Historical Debate," Queens Chronicle, April 5, 2001) has let the genie out of the bottle on landmarking in Queens.

The eyes of the borough, and indeed, the entire city are on district manager George Delis of Queens Community Board 1 as he struggles with supporting his allegation that landmark designation devalues property. That statement is not only foolhardy, it’s downright damaging to communities. To perpetuate this tired myth runs roughshod over every law of common sense about preserving neighborhoods.

First, let’s set (the) record straight. Ask a resident of a landmarked district if designation brings down property values. No district once landmarked, has ever asked to be removed from the rolls.

To make such a statement by a public official not only slanders the work of a New York City agency, the Landmark Preservation Commission, but puts him at odds with a growing list of community boards, elected officials, and civic organizations from across the city. For a community board’s district manager to tell constituents that their property, in his eyes, is more valuable if they and their homes are removed, not only does a disservice to the public, but is downright shameful.

After each success story (think Jackson Heights, Hunters Point, Ridgewood, Douglaston), arguments against historic preservation in Queens begin to topple like a flimsy house of cards. This reinforces the public’s perception that they are not getting the full picture of landmarking communities in the borough.

Our focus, then, should not be on ill-considered sound bites that only provide further fodder for those looking to make a quick buck at the expense of our borough’s past or a homeowner’s naiveté. Give the public information and they will make the right decisions every time. The only enemy is ignorance.

While Queens does not have as many brownstones as other parts of the city, no place has a higher concentration of planned 20th century communities. The fruit of the best and brightest minds of 20th century reformers and urban planners saw the light of day in Queens.

It is our job as public citizens to ensure that the light is never snuffed out.

Sincerely,

Bob Singleton

President

Greater Astoria Historical Society

Beg Pardon

The article "Passover Celebrates Triumph Of Freedom" in the Apr. 11 edition of the Gazette listed incorrect dates for Passover 2001. Passover began on Apr. 7 and 8 and ended Apr. 14 and 15.

The article "Easter is a Movable Feast" incorrectly listed Easter as occurring on Apr. 25 and failed to note that this year Orthodox and western Easter coincided on Apr. 15.

The Gazette regrets the error.


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