2007-11-14 / Editorials


Russia Remains The Same To The Editor:

Ninety years ago today [Nov. 7, 1917] the Bolshevik Revolution converted autocratic and tyrannical Russia into a communist gulag. The world, and particularly the Russian people, paid an awful price. The advent of Stalinism resulted in over 12 million Russians sacrificed to one-man rule.

Amazingly, today the Russians long for a dictatorial strong man. [Vladimir] Putin, a graduate of KGB theology, has a popularity rating in excess of 80 percent. He may circumvent constitutional restrictions by selecting a puppet president who would be subservient to Putin as premier or head of the parliament. Few Russians would object to Putin holding onto power.

The stresses in the Russian-American relationship are real. Putin has objected to the U.S. placing missile defenses in the former countries of the Soviet Union. Putin has restricted the free press, seized privately owned corporations, nationalizing them, ended elections by citizens for governorships and has used oil as a tool of foreign diplomacy.

Russia is dwarfed by the Chinese economic explosion. Indian expansion will manifest itself within a generation. The U.S. maintains enormous advantages that Russia has little hope of matching. Russia, whose history is replete with fear of foreign intervention and domination, has only limited resources to counter the threats it imagines on its borders.

The West must recognize that Russia intends using oil as a weapon. With nuclear arms and a population devoted to the leadership of one man, Putin seems to be moving Russians to a Cold War mentality. Comprehending the potential for controversy, it is imperative for the West to come to terms with this Russian reality. It demands tough balancing between holding to our foreign policy objectives while we reach out to the Russian people, proving our good intentions. Edward Horn Baldwin, New York

Not A Sparrow Shall Fall To The Editor:

I came into my office at Queens Borough Hall on Monday, November 5 and was startled to see two sparrows trapped between the window panes. One was lying on its side, the other was hopping frantically around, looking for a way of escape. My staff and I attempted to free them but were afraid we would kill the one still showing some life. We thought it best to contact someone who would know what he was doing, and so I began my search to find someone to help.

You would think with all the contacts I have, it would be easy. Not so. My staff and I called Custodial Service At Queens Borough Hall, 311, 911, the Humane Society, ASPCA, the New York Animal Rescue, the 102nd Police Precinct, New York State [Department of] Environmental Conservation, Fish and Wildlife, Bobby and the Strays. Finally I contacted the Fire Department, Engine Co. 270 in Richmond Hill, who gave me a contact at Ladder 151 located at 111-02 Queens Blvd. We were told they would stop by when they completed their run. They were here in less than an hour. I was anxious because my window faces south and the sun was shining in the window. It must have been unbearable for those two little sparrows.

Our five firefighter heroes arrived and began the rescue effort. They gently removed the two sparrows, to our relief. It was touching to see these firefighters in full gear, heavy coats, boots, helmets, tenderly removing these hapless sparrows while I covered my eyes in the other office.

We want to publicly thank Ladder Company 151 and our heroes who had to rush to their next run before we could get their names. Thank you to our heroes. Mary Ann Carey District Manager Community Board 9 TNR For JFK Feral Cats

An Open Letter from ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Commission. Dear Commissioners:

As the country's oldest animal welfare organization, and one that was specifically founded as a law enforcement agency, I and my colleagues at the ASPCA cannot understand why, when we in New York are making great strides in setting an example for the rest of the country on being a humane community, local officials are unwilling to do the same in our own backyard.

Last month, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey commissioned a trapper to evict the feral cat communities located around J.F.K. airport; a decision that was made against the advice of the ASPCA. As news reports show that the entrapment of the cats continues, we are forced to publicly state our disappointment and dissatisfaction with the Commission's solution to decrease this stray cat population, both for its insensitivity and inadequacy.

Earlier this year, the ASPCA offered the Port Authority the use of its Mobile Spay/Neuter truck, which helped to spay and neuter more than 12,000 companion animals as well as feral cats last year, to accommodate the many cat colonies at the airport. The Port Authority declined the offer.

The ASPCA supports the management of feral cat colonies through Trap-Neuter- Return (TNR), whereby all the cats in a colony are trapped, sterilized, and returned to their colony, ideally to be managed by a caretaker who monitors the animals' health and remains vigilant that any newcomers are immediately sterilized. This stabilizes the population of the colony and, over time, reduces it. Otherwise, as long as there is food and shelter, new cats take the place of those who are removed.

Historically, most attempts to eradicate feral cat colonies around the country have failed, largely because alternatives are unsuccessful. The ASPCA believes TNR is the most humane and effective way of controlling feral cat colonies and, at the same time, eliminating the objectionable spraying, vocalizing and fighting behaviors of the colony.

I call on you to hear the thousands of New Yorkers who have raised their voices in protest, and reconsider your feral cat management plan. As a founding member of the Mayor's Alliance for New York City's Animals, we once again request you to do what's right by our city and its homeless animals, and consider a humane solution to this issue. Sincerely, Ed Sayres President & CEO

Lights Need Retiming To The Editor:

In the neverending saga of the construction of the Steinway Street Bridge, we must add one more ridiculous chapter. Although we have seen more progress with this new firm, we called the DOT this past October 10 because there seemed to have been a retiming of the traffic lights over the bridge that is causing major traffic backups and havoc in the general area surrounding the bridge.

When the lights, which were timed fine prior to this last stage, were retimed, the traffic proceeding north and south on Steinway Street has been held up every day for a good part of the rush hours, morning and evening, and sometimes most of the day. The reason for this is that the lights stay green only for approximately 15 seconds a cycle and that they are not sequentially timed for the traffic. This leads to lines of about 30-40 cars, trucks and buses lined up- and down Steinway Street all day long- for no good reason. We have traffic tieups extending all the way to 23rd Avenue and 28th Avenue, a distance of about a quarter mile.

Traffic by itself is not the only problem, but the pollution by all these idling trucks, people making illegal and dangerous U-turns out of frustration at the ridiculously long wait, pedestrians almost being run over by understandably impatient drivers and the unnecessary clogging of a major shopping and business thoroughfare is asinine. We're certain that the Q-101 bus line that travels Steinway has something to say about all this.

This can all be fixed very easily and at no cost to anyone. All we ask is that the lights be accurately retimed to reflect common sense traffic patterns as they currently exist. Lengthen the green light phase on Steinway by only 5-10 seconds and allow a reasonable number of cars to pass per cycle. Coordinate the two lights on the span so that both are green simultaneously as they used to be so that traffic isn't needlessly held up on the span itself. Also, the light on 25th Avenue and Steinway should also be given 5-10 more seconds on the Steinway cycle so that the traffic can continue to flow unimpeded.

Although, as you can see by the enclosed copy, the DOT did answer quickly to our call, their answer was less than satisfactory. We don't feel that waiting 3-1/2 months just to retime a traffic light 5 seconds is necessary or bright, especially since Steinway Street's busiest season is coming up and this is already [a] dangerous situation as outlined above. The increased traffic and inclement weather can only serve to exacerbate an already untenable and unnecessary situation.

Thanking you for your time and effort in this matter, Sincerely Antonio Meloni Director, New York Anti-Crime Chair, Community Board 1 Committee

October 16, 2007 Mr. Anthony Meloni New York Anti-Crime Agency 24-40 Steinway Street Astoria, NY 11103 Dear Mr. Meloni:

This is a confirmation that your October 10, 2007 telephone message, requesting traffic signal timing adjustment on the Steinway Bridge, has been received by the NYCDOT Queens Borough Commissioner's Office and has been forwarded to the appropriate division for their determination.

For your records, the request number is QBC#07-1512 and some determination is due by mid January.

Thank your for your attention in this matter. Cristy S. Vanterpool Clerical Associate Queens Borough Commissioner's Office New York City Department of Transportation

Mailer Remembered To The Editor:

A man's reputation is neither great nor small nor is history what it is unless the writer of such makes it so. Norman Mailer was such a writer and who will be missed most dearly. Norman portrayed the way we are and the way we were in his books and what men and women struggle with in their daily lives. That in my book is the quality of a great writer.

I myself had the great privilege of meeting Norman Mailer in 1980 at a Ted Kennedy fundraiser when Ted was running for president. I had just finished dancing with Pat Lawford Kennedy and had walked over to the bar and there to my surprise was Norman Mailer talking to another man and I could not help but say hello. He didn't brush me off but invited my opinion on something I knew little about but respected my honesty. Meeting Norman Mailer was like reading a good book, but to meet the author of that book is better still.

Remember this: a man's life ends in this physical plane but a writer's words live on so future generations can know the way we were. Norman Mailer, you will live on and hopefully inspire future writers to greatness as you achieved in your lifetime, and so you will not be forgotten. Sincerely Yours, Frederick R. Bedell Jr. Bellerose

Comments On News To The Editor:

Several news items that I have heard on the radio or were presented on television, are worthy of my commenting upon and sharing with the readers of the Gazette.

I agree with our governor to charge fees to any state or company who emits greenhouse gasses and carbon dioxide. By so doing, the emissions will decrease, our state will be less polluted and the price of electricity will decrease. This measure is important in the preservation of our environment and to prevent global warming.

In addition, I am in favor of the City Council's idea of recycling technology and electricity equipment. This is also an environmental enhancing measure.

I am also in favor of the NYPD taking over the security in our public schools, since there will be a centralized well-structured and well-organized and well-trained law enforcement unit on the scene that will competently handle emergencies and safeguard our children and school employees.

I am also appalled at the new shelter program. So many homeless families with small children will be eliminated from the system and thus endangered. This is cruel, especially in light [of the fact] that a cold winter is approaching. Poverty stricken New Yorkers should be placed first. Cynthia Groopman Long Island City

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