2001-08-15 / Editorials

Letters

Spend Rebate Wisely

To The Editor:

The environment is threatened with global warming and over development, a significant percentage of US children go to bed hungry, seniors are overburdened by exorbitant prescription drug costs and hand guns continue to obliterate the lives of thousands of Americans each year, yet the President has sent me a check for $300 so that I can go out and spend it on "stuff". I say: no way. The money is better spent. If the President doesn’t know how to do it, I do.

My tax rebate is going to a number of things that Bush doesn’t think are worthy: environmental defense, handgun control, women’s rights, peace and justice issues and my elderly aunt. Looking at all my mail begging for good causes, I now see the positiveness of the rebate. I only wish that Bush would abandon the costly and cold-war igniting Star Wars missile program and send me more. But no, he has to repay his corporate campaign contributors with our remaining tax dollars while programs benefitting ordinary Americans suffer. So much needs to be don and, unlike the President, I cannot ignore it. I join with other conscientious Americans and urge people of goodwill to do likewise: Don’t spend the money, redeem it. Make the world a better and safer place. Donate your "dirty Dubya dollars" to good causes. (You might consider doubling your pleasure by telling him: The President, The White House, Washington DC 20500.) Thank you.

Most sincerely,

Kate Brennan

Sunnyside

Via e-mail

No Ballot Access

To The Editor:

As a City Council candidate who has been denied ballot access in the Democratic primary, I have been asked to comment on the experience.

The petitioning of party enrollees to show support for a candidate is fair, though made difficult by the domination of signature gathering by the party organization. It is the nitpicking and adversarial process of invalidating petitions that is unfair and needs to be changed. Better, more equitable systems exist in other states.

It has been said that our system of elimination is necessary because by not satisfying the arcane rules and surviving the costly litigation, candidates prove themselves unfit to serve the people. The facts paint a different picture. The county endorsed candidates are so privileged by staged exposure, strings-attached dollars, paid "volunteers," job seekers and political families, and a pre-existing team of election law attorneys and county-loyalist judges, that they couldn’t make a mistake if they tried. In other words, everything is done for them to protect them. Does this make for a desirable public servant? No wonder so many eventually fall from grace.

Then there’s the NYC Board of Elections. I don’t want to be mean, so let me just say non-communicative at best.

Rather than defend my petitions, I chose to put my limited time and resources into my third party endorsement. I’m happy to be running on the Green Party line in November. Ironically, one of my campaign promises has been to expose dirty politics and oppose the status quo. It seems the party machinery has allowed me to deliver on that promise even before taking the oath of office.

Jeanette Evans

City Council Candidate

District 29 Queens

Offer Drinking Advice

To The Editor:

Whether they are going back to high school or college, children and young adults face a lot of pressure away from home. That’s why Anheuser-Busch Sales & Service Of New York, Inc. is offering two booklets to help parents cope by offering tips for open communication.

Family Talk: How to Talk to Your Kids About Drinking was developed by an advisory panel of education, family counseling, child psychology and alcohol treatment professionals, and is now available in five languages (English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese). Family Talk was developed in 1990 and has been distributed to more than 5 million families nationwide.

Last year, Anheuser-Busch began distributing a companion guidebook for parents of college-age students. College Talk: A Parent’s Guide on Talking to Your College Bound Student About Drinking was developed by an advisory panel of authorities, as well as through conversations with parents and students.

Readers can download a free copy of these publications at Anheuser-Busch’s consumer awareness website, www.beeresponsible.com. You can also call (800) 359-TALK to request free copies by mail

Sincerely,

C.A. Verdon

Consumer Awareness & Education

Coordinator

Anheuser-Busch Sales & Service

Of New York, Inc.

Tanks Pose Problem

To The Editor:

There has been a very serious and critical situation ongoing for sometime at the City Gas gasoline station on Astoria Boulevard between 83rd and 84th Streets.

They have 11 tanks which provide both diesel and unleaded gasoline to the public. Ten of these tanks are leaking into the ground and homes of the homeowners on both 83rd and 84th Streets. This condition has been going on for some time now and causes very serious health problems and danger of explosion if the fumes build up in the sewer system. The Fire Department has several times had to come and flush the sewer system by turning the fire hydrant on full blast. The smell of gasoline is unbearable, but, when flushing is completed we do have a small period of relief with clean, fresh air.

Numerous agencies were called regarding the extremely strong, choking smell of gasoline by several residents. Among the agencies called were: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA-Federal), the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP-New York City), Senator [Ivan] Lafayette’s office, [Giovanna] Reid of Community Board 3 and anyone else who would listen.

In response to our many calls the [State] Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) launched an investigation, headed by Ms. Jennifer Rommel, Spill Supervisor (Case #0100070). It was determined that the 11 tanks on the property had been upgraded but not properly and that 10 of the 11 tanks are leaking both into the ground and into the sewer system. The DEC gave the proprietors 30 days to submit a proposal as to how they were going to correct the situation.

Although there has been some digging, placing pipes from a temporary (makeshift) "tank filtering system?" into the ground and into the street, covering and digging up and burying pipes, etc., over and over again, we still have the strong smell of fumes, albeit not as frequently as before. However, there is still the danger of exposing residents to the danger of explosion and illness from the fumes which are not only seeping into the ground but into the homes, and many residents are experiencing various health problems, such as: nausea, dizziness, headaches and chronic coughing together with breathing problems.

The deadline for submitting the proposal has passed and all we can see being done is the aforementioned filtering system. The gas station is still operating, even with orders to remove the product from the 10 leaking tanks. It seems impossible for them to still be in business with only one gasoline tank remaining.

Now residents are wondering:

1. How could this gas station still be in business without a variance since 1999?

2. Why are they allowed to continue business and not be closed?

3. How long have the tanks been leaking?

4. All gasoline tanks were to be upgraded to meet the laws pertaining to preventing tanks from leaking. Who inspected these tanks?

5. If tanks actually were inspected, how could 10 of 11 leaking tanks pass inspection? Was there some funny business going on here?

The owner(s) of this and several other stations is well known by these agencies, and you too will recall several years ago, the scandal of the public being ripped off with pumps giving less gas than the meter showed. This owner, who is now in jail for murdering 11 of his employees, has put up all his holdings in his wife’s name, and it seems she is following in her husband’s footsteps and could care less for the neighbors around her.

Mrs. Reid of Community Board 3 has been helpful, but she too is shocked that this problem continues after so many agencies, etc., have become involved and had their voices heard. We are hoping that you will hear our collective cries for help and assistance in cleaning up this mess and giving us back our healthy, clean neighborhood.

In the meantime, myself and my neighbors sincerely appreciate any help you can give us in returning our block(s) to the condition it was when we moved here.

Name Withheld On Request

Jackson Heights


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