A copy of the following letter was received by the Gazette.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
Office of the Mayor
New York, NY 10007
Dear Mayor Bloomberg,
The city must reverse its move to roadblock community boards by cutting off their access to city agencies and forcing them to resolve complaints through 311. This is a direct threat to local community governance and it’s outrageous.
The 311 system may be a useful resource for members of the general public who do not know how or where to file complaints, but it will only serve to hamper the much-needed work of community board district managers to ensure prompt and sufficient resolutions to often complex service delivery issues.
Community board district managers rely on their knowledge of the community and their working relationships with city agency service chiefs to resolve resident and district-wide complaints. As the experience of my office illustrates, constituents often try to get their service problems resolved through 311 first, but when their complaints go unresolved for weeks and months, they turn to other sources, such as community boards or the Office of the Public Advocate. The advocates in my office rely on their knowledge of city government and contacts with agency liaisons to resolve complaints.
The role of district managers was established by the voters of the city in 1975, when they approved changes to the city charter. It is important that the will of the electorate and the provisions of the Charter be respected. Community boards as well as this office must retain our Charter-mandated right to access information and communicate directly with agency officials.
While I recognize the necessity and benefit of tracking citywide problems and streamlining operations, it is just as critical that communities, represented by the city’s 59 community boards, continue to have an opportunity to participate effectively and at the local level, in service delivery decisions. That includes regular contact with agency officials to resolve local concerns. 311 is not the answer to a community problem that requires collaboration with two or more agencies. Nor can it replace the value of a community knowing it has a direct voice in communicating its concerns.
An overly centralized government does not serve the individual constituent. Community boards were organized to give local constituents a voice, to encourage civic participation, to play a role in the decisions that affect the quality of service delivery. An effective complaint process at the local level is a vital part of this effort. don’t destroy it.
Faith Under Attack
To The Editor:
Although the pediment on the east facade of the Supreme Court Building depicts Moses and the tablets of the Law, another depiction of the Commandments is ordered out of an Alabama courthouse.
The stealth war by our government against the Christian faith is becoming less and less stealthy as judges appointed by our representatives continually cave in to militant atheists, and our culture is systematically sanitized of everything biblical.
Every state constitution affirms God as does our Declaration [of Independence], which clearly states that our rights and freedoms come from our Creator. Unique to America, this concept set us apart from every nation in history, and allowed a new civilization to prosper and become the envy of the entire world.
Thomas Jefferson’s letter referring to separation of church and state has deliberately been misinterpreted and applied antithetically to its context so often that Americans now believe our Constitution demands atheism in government, thus destroying freedom and tradition.
Because of the biblical foundations of our nation, people of all faiths are free to believe, worship and prosper. Where else is this true? "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."
Why are our courts robbing us of our precious, blood-bought heritage? We need to be biblically correct, not politically correct. Stop the intolerance and treason against God and country. God save our republic.
Roslyn, New York
Pedestrians Obey Laws!
To The Editor:
This is in response to the letter, "Queens Boulevard Left Out" by Estelle and Norbert Chwat about the Boulevard of Death (Queens Gazette, Oct. 29, 2003).
I am new to Forest Hills.
I have lived here three years.
I am so confused as to why the drivers are held responsible for irresponsible pedestrians.
I have a simple solution that seems to escape all—1. Cross at the green and not in between. 2. Look both ways when you cross.
I learned these rules when I was a child. They don’t seem difficult.
P.S. This goes for the litter and filth on the streets. It’s the animals—oops—pedestrians that should be held more accountable.
Supports Vets’ Laws
To The Editor:
I must write and comment in laudatory terms about the coverage and writeup that appeared in the November 19 Gazette concerning the favorable legislation concerning veterans benefits. I am glad that you published this in your paper because our veterans deserve full disability benefits that are untaxed and they deserve all of the VA hospital benefits, as well. These brave men and women, our true heroes, gave their limbs, health and have suffered physical and emotional disabilities so that our country and other nations in our world are afforded the opportunity to cherish the fruits of freedom and liberty which are birthrights of all members of the human family.
I agree with [Congressmembers Joseph] Crowley and [Carolyn] Maloney in sponsoring these very important pieces of legislation and urge all people to call their congressional officials in order to have these legislation bills become the law of the land.
We celebrate Veterans Day with parades, ad sales and a day off from work and school, but in the enactment of these two pieces of legislation we shall be truly honoring our veterans and giving them their just reward, free health care and nontaxable disability income
Their rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness lie in our hands through the passage of these two pieces of legislation and let us make it a better life for the heroes who performed many great sacrifices for us.
Long Island City