Once again underage drinking has been given short shrift by the federal government in its drug prevention efforts.
A survey of drug use released last year indicates that the rate of first-time drinkers between the ages of 12 and 17 nearly doubled from 117.6 per 1,000 kids in 1989 to 216.8 per 1,000 kids in 1997. That means that twice as many kids are at risk for getting into trouble with alcohol.
Yet our children aren’t seeing any underage drinking prevention messages in the anti-drug campaign now costing taxpayers $195 million. Described as the "largest multicultural advertising and communications effort ever undertaken by the federal government," it ignores alcohol.
How much longer are we going to tolerate such a misguided policy? After all, the most likely cause of death for a 16-year-old is alcohol-related.
Dr. Martin H. Levinson
School District 30 Project Share
Hail Spy Plane CrewTo The Editor:
The Jewish War Veterans (JWV) of the USA recently issued a statement welcoming the return of 24 American servicemen and women from Chinese captivity on Hainan Island. Their return was hailed by JWV National Commander Ronald Ziegler, who congratulated the United States government for its refusal to deliver the type of apology demanded by the Chinese government.
"We know that the pressure on the President and Secretary of State was enormous," Ziegler said, "and we’re pleased that they stuck to their guns and enhanced our standing in the international community."
Ziegler also referred to a letter JWV sent to the President, calling for the United States to cancel a contract with the Chinese for berets to be worn by members of the American Armed Forces. "We should, of course, tell them we are ‘very sorry’ to cancel, but the American public is distressed at importing products from China which could be produced in the United States with more benefits for our society," Ziegler said.
JWV, the oldest active veterans’ service organization, is dedicated to America’s veterans. Through its hospital, rehabilitation and veterans’ service programs, JWV assists the veterans’ service offices in major cities throughout the country. JWV supports the underprivileged, homeless and handicapped of the nation through a variety of civic betterment projects, including low-cost, federally subsidized senior citizens housing.
The Jewish War Veterans of the USA represents a proud tradition of patriotism and service to America. JWV is known as the "Patriotic Voice of American Jewry."
Very truly yours,
Sara S. Berger
Queens County Jewish War Veterans
Replies To Landmarking
A copy of the following letter was received by the Gazette.
Mr. Bob Singleton
Greater Astoria Historical Society
Astoria, NY 11106
Dear Mr. Singleton:
In August of ‘78 when I saw the Lawrence family mansion being demolished on 20th Road/36th Street I was shocked. I thought it was landmarked but found only the cemetery and the keeper’s house were. I immediately organized the Greater Astoria Historical Society in order to educate and promote the historic significance of our community. We had bus tours to historic sites and even worked with Vincent Seyfried to write the book 300 Years of Long Island History . In 1975 Historic Preservation proposed to landmark the Steinway workers’ houses on 20th Avenue and 41st Street. These were built in 1870 for the Steinway piano factory workers. The Community Board hearing was held in P.S. 141. I was there. Homeowners showed up in force to object, fistfights broke out at this meeting. We had to have police break up the meeting and disperse the crowd.
In 1984 Mr. Sweeney, who lived on 12th Street, proposed to downzone 12th Street from an R-6 (high density zone) to an R-3 (lower density zone) in order to preserve the historic houses on this block. Mr. Sweeney said, "Let’s keep out development." It all sounded good until one property owner who was offered $1 million for their property then, was told by the same developer he would not want their property if downzoned to an R-3 because he could not develop it. At our community board meeting every homeowner spoke against downzoning and even presented us with petitions. When Madeleine Gillis was president of the Historical Society we spoke about preservation on 12th Street and were met with strong opposition. I was supportive and spoke on behalf of the landmarking of the Moore/Jackson Cemetery and the Terracotta Building in Long Island City. I personally proposed to landmark the house where Carlton invented the copier in 1938. Landmarks refused it. The owner of that property even refused to let me put a historic marker on the house.
When I recently spoke to the New York Times reporter, I was speaking from my experience about landmarking in this community, only. I am not against landmarking. Property that can be developed is extremely valuable in this community. Rents and homes have skyrocketed to the point where property is often worth more than the house that is on it. Builders will easily pay a million dollars for any property on which they can build four or five new homes and then sell them upward of $700,000 each. That is the reality today.
Incidentally, I did what I did as a community person, not as a district manager. Please stop attacking my title. Since you’re so aggressive about historic preservation, I suggest you approach the homeowners on 12th Street about it. I tried, so did Madeleine Gillis. See what happens. You and Jeff Kessler’s verbal attack on me at the historical society meeting was uncalled for. In a democratic society everyone has the right to express an opinion. You should respect others and not try to force yours. Property owners have rights also.
You and Debra van Cura are doing a great job at the society. Keep up the good work and avoid personal confrontations that have caused our society to breakup in the past. Be constructive and kind you will accomplish more.
CC: Alice Havelina
Poison Power Plants
A copy of the following letter was received by the Gazette.
Hon. Maureen O. Helmer
N.Y.S. Public Service Commission
Three Empire State Plaza
Albany, N.Y. 12223-1350
Dear Chairman Helmer:
As President of the United Community Civic Association based in Astoria Heights, and a resident of the affected community, I wish to make U.C.C.A.’s position crystal clear on the power plant issue.
We have never questioned the need for more electric power. We do, however, question the location of all the proposed plants, mini and large, old, repowered [refitted] or hi tech—which will again be in our backyard of western Queens—already home to three huge, dinosaur pollution spewing electric power plants, home to LaGuardia Airport, home to the doorway to Rikers Island and its power plant, home to the Bowery Bay Sewage Treatment Plant and home to the Astoria Industrial Park—all belching their own deadly cocktail mix of chemical pollutants—nitrous oxide, lead, soot, particulate matter, formaldehyde, jet [fuel] fumes, sulfur diesel fuel, carbon monoxide and all poisoning our air and escalating the asthma, emphysema and cancer numbers.
We are not concerned with any one area in western Queens or its development, but all of western Queens, as it relates to the location of additional electric generating plants since air pollution drifts and we’ve got more than our share of toxic air blanketing our communities.
Responsible government and the Siting Board should be aware of the end result of their decisions and should not overload and oversaturate any one area with multiple, dirty,noxious facilities that will ultimately adversely impact on the health, well being and quality of life of its residents.
With all due respect, it’s time for the governor (who created the Siting Board) to be responsible to his constituents, "we the people" of Queens County. It is time for him to step in and select another borough in which to build additional electric generating plants or mandate the upgrading of the existing, old plants to make them environmentally and community friendly.
It is time for the learned members of the Siting Board to visit the Astoria community and take a deep breath of its dirty air, consider the cumulative impact of all these toxic facilities on the health of its residents and realize that allowing any additional electric power plants to generate in western Queens would be unconscionable and morally irresponsible, environmentally abusive and a death knell to an already overburdened hundred thousand souls who reside here and are crying out for justice.
It is past time for the governor (and the members of the Siting Board) to stop discriminating against the people of western Queens, stop giving power to the power people, stop the dumping of poisons into the air we breathe, absorb the reality of our critical situation and select other areas of this city and state to service the electric needs of its citizens.
We have had enough and demand equal consideration under the environmental laws of this state.
Very truly yours,
cc: Congressman Joseph Crowley
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney
[State] Senator George Onorato
Assemblyman Michael Gianaris
[City Council] Speaker Peter Vallone, Jr.
Queens Borough President Claire Shulman
Peter Vallone, Jr., Counsel, U.C.C.A.