2003-04-16 / Editorials


WillFight For Education

A copy of the following letter was received by the Gazette.

Nicole B. Albergo

Astoria, NY

Dear Ms. Albergo:

Thank you for contacting me regarding Governor [George] Pataki’s proposed budget cuts to the community colleges and to the TAPprogram. Please be assured that I share your concerns and will fight to restore funding to the budget for these important higher education items.

Higher Education continues to be an important priority for me. I firmly believe in giving allNew Yorkers a chance to achieve their educational goals.That’s why I am committed to passing a budget that will include appropriate funding for higher education programs.

Like you, I remain unconvinced that the governor’s approach to education aid is the direction we should be taking.The upcoming budget negotiations will prove to be an arduous process for everyone, but I am dedicated to making the right choices for New Yorkers.

Thank you for taking the time to inform me of your opinion on this important matter.

Please feel free to contact my office if you have further comments or questions.

Sincerely yours,



Keep Engine 261 Open

To The Editor:

For the past 100 years Engine Co. 261 has diligently served and protected the Long Island City area.

Now, with the impending budget cuts on the horizon, this engine company unfortunately will be the victim of the axe and is slated to close.

I am writing this letter with trepidation upon hearing about the closing of this engine company. The area which 261 serves is a huge one, a diverse one, both racially, ethnically, age wise, and not only [includes] residential areas, but also commercial areas as well.Many schools and senior citizen centers and senior housing will be affected.Response time will be severely cut and the lives of so many people will be endangered as a result.

Also, since we are living onCode Orange alert, with the threat of terrorism looming,Engine 261 has a role that is more significant to play and that is to protect us in times of danger of terrorism.September 11 was an example of how the fire department performed heroically in saving people and property. Without Engine 261, we will be left more vulnerable and frightened.

We are living in frightful times.

Our Engine 261 is our rescuer.

I urge all of our public officials who read this article and all citizens of our area to lobby, use our political muscle and convince our mayor and city council leaders and people that Engine 261 must be saved from the budget cutting block. A safer, more secure Long Island City lies in our hands.

Cynthia Groopman

Long Island City

Immigrants Over Fire Houses?

To The Editor:

The spectacle of the city government shutting down the firehouses of the men who saved so many lives from the illegal immigrants who attacked us on 9/11 is not to be believed.

This is particularly ironic, since the city government continues to offer special consideration to illegal immigrants in the city budget.

The city’s homeless shelter are serving thousands of illegal aliens daily in this recession, people who have no right to be here, at a cost of millions—more than enough to save the fire houses.I urge city officials and the media to investigate.

The City University of New York offers in-state tuition rates to illegals. But citizens of the United States from other states must pay extra [for] out of state tuition. This is a degradation and insult to all citizens, and it is costing us millions—enough to pay for our fire houses.

I urge city officials and the media to investigate.


Ed Price


Avoid The Bunny Trap

To The Editor:

As sure as the sun rises every Easter morning, many moms and dads give in to "Easter bunny" temptation and buy a rabbit for their kids, vastly underestimating the care bunnies require. Weeks later, when "bunny fever" has subsided, many will consign now unwanted bunnies to outdoor hutches, dump them at shelters, or simply set them free outdoors, where they will starve or be killed by predators.

If your kids are begging for a live Easter bunny, ask yourself:

1) Are you ready to shell out between $50 and $180 to get bunny neutered or spayed? Bunnies sexually mature at three months of age. Left intact, they often chew, spray, bite, smell, and make more bunnies.

2) Are you looking forward to more potty training and bunny-proofing? Bunnies must be litter-box trained, and they find wonderful things to chew on, like electrical wires, house plants, or a new IKEA chaise or oak table.

3) Is the child planning to take bunny to college? Bunnies can live to be 16 years old, so this is a commitment that will last for many Easters to come.

4) Have you stocked up on rubber gloves? Scent glands near bunnies’ rear ends smell when they become clogged and must be cleaned by hand.

5) How about papaya tablets? Rabbits must be brushed regularly because they shed like crazy and are susceptible to hairballs; if they get one, they need to be treated with enzymes.

6) Do you like playing beauty shop? Clipping nails is no day at the beach, especially when Thumper tries to thump you in the stomach with his back legs!

If you answered, "No way!" to any of these questions, please pass up those cute animals in store windows this Easter and choose stuffed animals instead.


Liz Welsh

Staff Writer

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

Don’t Close Engine 293

A copy of the following letter was received by the Gazette.

Honorable Michael Bloomberg

Mayor of New YorkCity

City Hall

New York, New York 10007

Dear Mayor Bloomberg:

I write you to urge that you reconsider the closing of Engine Company 293 in Woodhaven, Queens.The hardships that such a closing would place on this community far outweigh the financial savings it might bring.

As a legislator,I fully understand the need for fiscal responsibility in these troubled economic times. But as a long-time resident of Queens—a county dominated by two airports, and the largest number of one- and two-family homes of any borough, I fear accountability will be obscured in the name of a balanced budget.

Indeed, the last time an Engine Company was closed in our adjoining community of Richmond Hill, 31 lives were lost in fire-related incidents where response time had been compromised.With heightened fears of terrorist attacks and an aged housing stock, the potential for problems or the perception of imminent peril, has a net result of area residents feeling unsafe and unprotected in the very place their sense of security should be prime—in their homes.

Finally, for the firefighters of Engine Company 293, who have worked to safeguard this community for nearly 100 years, the closing is a severe blow.Their tireless efforts should be applauded, not punished. They have been a stabilizing force in this community, offering peace of mind and comfort. While we all understand that our city and state are suffering through fiscal times, the tough decisions of what to cut in our budget should not include essential services, whose diminution could have a colossally adverse effect in the lives of so many.

It is with this mind that I offer my assistance and support in developing alternative plans to closing Engine Company 293. I am certain that working together with my colleagues inAlbany and the city council, we can identify other revenue streams– untapped or unexhausted, which would not jeopardize the safety and well-being of our citizens.

Thank you for taking into consideration the people of Woodhaven and Richmond Hill.Their lives and the life of their community depend on maintaining this Engine Company. I urge you to abandon the closing plan and not the local residents. We must be vigilant in seeing that this is not a community at risk.


Brian McLaughlin

Member of the Assembly

25thAssembly District

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