An open letter of thanks to the many volunteers of my cmpaign
An open letter of thanks to the many volunteers of my cmpaign
To The Editor:
Thank you for helping to make my re-election campaign a huge success.
Although running unopposed, I felt it very important to reach out to my constituents—new and current—to let them know my record in Albany and my desire to start my sixth term with their support and assistance. Indeed, countless times, I was asked: "Why are you bothering? We never met our elected official even when there was a race!" My response: "I just want you to know the name and the face for the one time you may need me," was welcomed, albeit with a degree of astonishment.
To be sure, as we walked the streets of my district, we were greeted warmly. We heard of local problems and shared ideas to make our community even better. I really believe that I benefited from these walks, and am convinced that ultimately, those I serve will benefit too.
Once again, please accept my sincere thanks and know that, through your efforts, we were able to "personalize" government. We shook the hands, listened to the people, and went into the homes of those who would vote to elect me as their representative in Albany. For this, I am truly grateful, and I feel energized as I approach my 11th year as state Assemblyman.
All the best!
Member of the Assembly
25th Assembly District
Solid Gates Don’t Work
An open letter to new builders, businesses and enterprises.To The Editor:
As an Astoria resident for 35 years and business man in the area, I can’t help but be amazed by the amount of new construction in our commercial areas. Yes, Astoria is a prime location and a building renaissance is under way; it seems that larger builders are building in every available situation. Two locations that come immediately to mind are the 30th Avenue and Steinway Street old Astoria movie theaters and the 31st and Ditmars Boulevard corner, the old Susan Terry, both prime traffic locations.
First, as a longtime resident I welcome responsible companies to our area; we’re sure they’ll find Astoria a wonderful neighborhood to do business in. Second, as Public Safety chair of Community Board 1 and director of the New York Anti-Crime Agency I would ask them, as responsible and responsive companies, to consider the following to keep our area beautiful and vibrant. As you rebuild the facades, please eliminate the solid roll-down gates. There are many storefront models that you can follow, such as the Gap on Steinway that uses lattice see through gates or any building by Pistilli Realty (30th Avenue and 35th Street) that uses marble and glass but no gates. The benefits are numerous, from aesthetic, practical, business and safety points of view.
To explain—safety: directly opposite of what most people think, crime prevention professionals have found that businesses that are well lit and easily viewed by emergency and safety personnel on a 24-hour basis are much less likely to be vandalized and/or burglarized. Solid gates are worse than useless in this case because burglars/vandals can operate with impunity and most entries occur from the backs, rooftops and adjoining buildings, not through the front door.
Business: most businesses would like to showcase their wares as long as possible but gates do not allow potential customers to view your stores, once closed. New York is nothing if not a 24-hour city and Astoria is certainly an integral part of that. The amount of traffic that passes down our commercials trips off-hours is mind boggling. These customers are lost to you when you roll down those gates for the rest of the day. Also, a practical consideration for landlords, when renting the property, most leave the gates up to solicit new customers, effectively leaving the store unguarded.
Aesthetically: there is no comparison. Take a ride any night down one of our shopping strips and see for yourself what looks more appealing—a shuttered, graffitied dark gate or a well lit, inviting, see-through storefront. Astoria still has a lot of foot traffic and window shopping should not be a lost pastime. Builders and/or storeowners with that old siege mentality should be educated to current common sense solutions—look at Fifth Avenue.
Any local reader of this paper that feels as we do can certainly help by cutting out a copy of this letter and sending it to these or any other buildings being rebuilt so that the companies are aware that Astorians care about their neighborhood and what it will look like in the future. Additionally, we will be working with our Councilmember, Peter Vallone Jr. who heads the council Public Safety Committee, to propose new legislation, or enforce existing laws, mandating that all new construction citywide install see-through gates. Lastly, we have been working closely with youth groups such as the Immaculate Conception Columbian Squires and local youthful offenders performing community service to clean over 120 gates in our shopping districts since June of this year. We have cleaned, literally, thousands of locations since our 2nd Chance Task Force’s inception in 1992. Sadly, over 80 percent of the graffiti we cleaned was to be found on these gates. With this letter and your help we hope to change that in Astoria and in our city.
Antonio M. Meloni
Community Anti-Crime Program
Polling Place ChangesTo The Editor:
I write to bring to your attention the curious changes in the assignment of polling places for the November 5 election. For 47 years, I have faithfully voted in every election, save those when I served in the armed forces, at a polling place exactly 170 paces from my door. This year I received notice from the Board of Elections, that should I choose to exercise my rights as a citizen, I would have to travel by whatever means I could arrange to another polling place about a mile from my home. I assumed that in the interest of economy the old polling place had been closed and consolidated with another facility. Imagine my surprise when on Election Day I saw hundreds of folk streaming past my house from parts unknown on their way to vote at the polling facility across the street.
I know a group of elderly ladies who have historically made a day out of going to vote and then to lunch. This year, they just did lunch. Their new polling place was so inconvenient that without transportation they were effectively prevented from voting other than by absentee ballot. It is inconceivable that someone living across the street from a polling place should find himself or herself in a situation where they must vote absentee if they want to vote.
I am a senior citizen, and with any luck as time passes, hope to become more so. I feel that it is a tremendous imposition for the Board of Elections to have inexplicably meddled so with the status quo and inconvenienced so many in an apparent attempt to fix something that wasn’t broken. I urge this newspaper to publicize the situation. Thank you.
Very truly yours,
Editor’s Note: We were informed that some city councilmembers made transportation available to seniors or disabled persons who wanted to vote.
Motivated By VengeanceTo The Editor:
I’ve been a liberal-Democrat for 45 years and don’t recall a time when a Democrat displayed such viciousness and sometimes animosity for Republicans as Democrats do today. They seem to be motivated by vengeance.
I left the Democratic Party for the following reasons about the time when senior Bush became president.
Republicans want to deprive seniors of their Social Security;
They want to deprive children of school lunches;
In Missouri and Arkansas there was a TV commercial that said if Republicans become elected there will be more bombings in black churches;
A cartoon showing President Bush pushing a wheelchair-[bound] senior down the stairs;
And the classic Barbra Streisand, who said that if a Republican became president she would leave the country.
I announced at the time that I would start a fund-raiser to see that she got a one-way ticket to Siberia. Of course she never left the country. And do you know why? She hasn’t forgotten where she earned all those millions. But if she should every change her mind I’d be ready to start a fund-raiser to get her out of the country.
After about 20 years with the Republican Party I left because I did not see any concrete promises. I am now an Independent voter who feels exceedingly comfortable that I’m not beholden to anyone or party.
No, President [George W.] Bush is not a warmonger as some Democrats have called him. He’s been extremely patient for over seven weeks while the UN is trying to come up with a resolution. He doesn’t want war anymore than I do [and I’ve] been a pacifist for six decades. But history has shown that every now and then rotten people surface who want to destroy our democratic way of life. We and even peace-lovers have no recourse but to take up arms and defend ourselves. We face an enemy today unlike any other in all history, who hides behind children and women to do his fiendish acts.
A word to peace-lovers: what good are your laudable ideas if you are forced to live under the iron heel of a tyrant? And don’t think it can’t happen. Despots run roughshod over the weak and ill prepared.