2002-03-13 / Editorials

Letters

Keep St. Pat’s Day Safe

To The Editor:

As many people in New York join together on St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate Irish heritage, Anheuser-Busch would like to salute the millions who make designated drivers part of their party plans. According to a recent Data Development Corporation poll, more than 90 percent of the public endorse the designated driver concept as an excellent or good way to curb drunk driving. In fact 122 million American adults have been a designated driver or have been driven home by someone.

This St. Patrick’s Day, we and some of our retailer partners are working together to fight drunk driving and encourage customers to drink responsibly. Through efforts like these, we have made great progress in reducing drunk driving. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the number of drunk-driving fatalities has declined 37 percent in the past two decades.

We’re winning the fight against drunk driving, but more work remains to be done. So let’s remember before we make a toast and tribute to St. Patrick, to look out for one another and drink responsibly.

Sincerely,

C.A. Verdon

CA &E Coordinator

Anheuser-Busch Sales & Service

of New York, Inc.

Don’t Offend With $

To The Editor:

I just heard on Fox News that the Red Cross cancelled a performance by students prepared to sing, among other selections, "America, the Beautiful" at one of their events. The reason given for the cancellation was that the Red Cross is "a-political" and that it wished "not to offend anyone." They also added in a statement that the "Declaration of Independence was a political document and might offend someone."

Let’s all stop contributing to the Red Cross so as not to offend it with pictures of Washington, Jackson, Lincoln, etc.

Ed Konecnik

Flushing Via e-mail

Schwarz Is Innocent

To The Editor:

The news that ex-police officer Charles Schwarz was granted a new trial I feel is welcome news I had always felt that Charles Schwarz was innocent based on the fact that Justin Volpe has stated that Charles Schwarz was not in the bathroom when he violated Abner Louima in the early hours of Aug. 9, 1997 at the 70th Precinct in Brooklyn.

I was ecstatic to hear the words of the three-judge panel who stated and I quote "We hold that Schwarz’ convictions for civil rights violations must be vacated and remanded for a new trial because his attorney’s unwaivable conflict of interest denied him effective assistance of counsel, and because the jury was improperly exposed to prejudicial extrinsic information during jury deliberations".

This I feel was a good decision, although Al Sharpton has called it "hogwash" and "the most astounding reversal in our lifetime." He needs to get a grip on reality that Schwarz might very well be innocent. Granted what Justin Volpe did to Abner Louima was the most egregious and iniquitous atrocity perpetuated upon another human being. Yet the innocent should not go down with [the] guilty for the sole purpose of placating certain individuals with a different agenda other than justice for all.

So I hope in the end with a new trial for Charles Schwarz the case will be adjudicated in his favor and that justice will prevail.

And to Andra Schwarz, may the Lord be with you through your final trial and your husband be back with you.

Sincerely Yours

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.

Little Neck

Discretionary Funding

To The Editor:

The mayor’s budget proposal eliminating "discretionary" funding by the borough presidents and City Council would put an end to many programs serving families and seniors. Queens residents need to understand that this cost cutting effort threatens social programs that were instituted in response to the needs of the people living right here in Queens.

The Forest Hills Community House was founded 27 years ago in an environment of controversy around the construction of public housing in a middle-income community. Today, in addition to our main site in Forest Hills, the Community House provides programs and services in 17 other locations from Astoria to Jamaica. Approximately 20,000 Queens residents are served each year. From the very beginning in 1976, we have collaboratively designed our programs with Queens residents for Queens residents.

In the early 1980s, 30 percent of the population of Forest Hills and Rego Park was over 60 years of age and the borough of Queens had the largest aging population of any "city" in the United States with a significant number aged 80 or more. Many seniors were becoming too frail for the traditional senior center. Many were homebound or becoming homebound and needed a social environment. Working with a consortium of local service providers, the Community House developed a social program for frail older adults. Since this concept did not fit into the Department For The Aging’s funding categories, the Community House approached the borough president and City Council for support. The borough president supported this borough-wide effort with discretionary funds. These funds leveraged private and state grants and the program has expanded to provide respite care for seniors with dementia and support services for their caregivers. Today, the Community House social adult day care program is the model for similar programs across the city and country. Discretionary funding made the difference in developing and promoting this service. And it helps our program in Forest Hills keep Queens seniors at home and out of costly institutions.

This program, which is one of several at the Community House, helps illustrate the importance of city funds appropriated for discretionary use on the borough and local levels. This is a city of communities and neighborhoods. The needs for each are different and city agencies’ categorical funding streams often do not address these needs. Borough president and City Council discretionary funds allow the city to address these differences. They must be maintained in the budget.

Yours truly,

Lewis Harris

Executive Director

Forest Hills Community House

Wild Dogs In Maspeth

To The Editor:

This weekend I visited my mother on 52nd Road in Maspeth and was chased into her home by a pack of wild dogs.

I found out from neighbors that they have been roaming the neighborhood for weeks now killing local cats. A cat that I left in my mother's care fell prey to these dogs on Saturday. He was mauled for sport and left to die.

A neighbor on the block called 911 and was told to call the ASCPA. She did and was told by them that she should set up a trap and catch them. Only then would they come and pick the animals up.

This is nuts. These dogs are wild and may have rabies. We need help. The dead cats range from Calamus Avenue all the way up 74th Street with 2 killed in the driveway behind 52nd Road. The dogs appear to be living behind the RCN building in the grassy area where the freight trains pass through.

These dogs pose a serious threat. Who's next on their agenda? Smaller dogs or children? I don't know who to call but I am going to make as much noise as I can. My cat Beacon was a big loveable orange tabby. I have to speak up for him.

Sincerely,

Loreli Calabria

Via e-mail


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