2009-01-21 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Businesses Crippled

To The Editor:

The No. 7 train service interruption in Long Island City on the weekends in conjunction with the closure of the Borden Avenue bridge is crippling the local businesses here in Hunters Point. Business here is down up to 70 percent as a direct result of this double whammy. On the weekends nobody can get to the restaurants, art galleries and shops in this area. There is more to the story than just service interruptions, as many businesses may be forced to close if this continues.

As president of the Hunters Point Merchants Association, I represent over 37 local businesses who are suffering in this tough economic time and we need the city of New York to step in and help.
Thank you.
Brian Adams
President
Hunters Point Merchants Association
Long Island City
Don't Smoke To The Editor:

New York City's anti-tobacco ads are a scientifically proven, effective public health intervention that saves lives and healthcare dollars.

After several years of declines in New York City's smoking rate, it remained flat from 2004 to 2005. The city responded with an aggressive antitobacco media campaign in 2006, and the smoking rate again started to fall. Our smoking rate of 17.5 percent is now significantly lower than the national average, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have endorsed anti-tobacco media as an essential component of effective tobacco control efforts.

Yes, thousands of New Yorkers have quit, but more than one million New Yorkers are still smoking. In these difficult fiscal times, we can ill afford to cut funding for this cost-effective and life-saving program.
Sincerely,
Dimitrios Bliagos, M.D.
Astoria
Volunteer Advocate
American Heart Association
Send Us Tax Forms To The Editor:

I received in the mail today, [January 15], a postcard from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, informing me that to "save money", it is no longer mailing personal income tax forms to individual taxpayers, and that I should "visit its Web site", (whatever that is) or go to a local library to print forms.

This will supposedly "save New Yorkers $1 million in printing and mailing costs", which seems to say, we're still going to have to pay for these anyway!

The "genius" in Albany who thought up this scheme should be dismissed as incompetent, as it fails to take into account that most senior citizens, such as myself, do not have or want a computer, and even if we could get to a library in the dead of winter, wouldn't know how to use a computer the library has!

I predict that the "net effect" of this refusal to send out New York state Income Tax forms will lead to a net decrease in taxes received, as some senior citizens will forget to file altogether, (without the booklets in hand), refuse to file as a protest or make monumental errors if they "experiment" on a computer! I wonder if this whole effort is just a plan to force older residents to use professional tax preparers, when many of us have always done it by ourselves?

"Save $1 million out of the billions New York state will spend in 2009? Yeah, this is surely going to balance the New York state budget, now $15 billion short!

Bureaucrats in Albany should not make senior citizens' lives more difficult!
Respectfully,
Frank Skala
President
East Bayside Homeowners Association
Rezoning Public Hearing To The Editor:

The North Flushing Rezoning Initiative is expected to be certified this month by the Department of City Planning.

The proposed contextual rezoning plan covers a wide area roughly bordered by Union Street on the west, 25/26th Avenues on the north, Clearview Expressway and Francis Lewis Boulevard on the east, and the Long Island Rail Road tracks on the south.

It covers many neighborhoods in Flushing, including North Flushing, Broadway Flushing and sections of North Auburndale and Northwest Bayside.

After certification, a public hearing will be held as a preliminary step in getting the plan approved and enacted. That public hearing will be held jointly by Community Boards 7 and 11 on Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009, at 7 p.m., at Holy Cross H.S.located at 26-20 Francis Lewis Blvd., Flushing, entrance on 170th St.

At this meeting, the plan will be discussed and the public will have an opportunity to give input. As a civic person, I have attended several meetings where the plan was explained by City Planning officials. Councilman Tony Avella hosted some of these meetings. Several civic associations in the affected areas, including mine, invited City Planning to their meetings to present the plan to association members. The plan has overwhelming support because it will help curb overdevelopment and inappropriate development of our neighborhoods. This will help protect our quality of life and maintain property values.

Many people wonder when South Auburndale, including the Station Road and Harding Heights neighborhoods, will be rezoned. City Planning officials have assured us that that rezoning initiative is in the works and should be announced shortly. That plan will also include the communities of Hollis Hills and Oakland Gardens, two areas where rezoning had been started but never completed.

It is time for the remaining neighborhoods not yet rezoned to have that process completed. Residents have waited for years for this positive step that will help preserve the character of our communities. Other surrounding communities have been successfully rezoned and it is only fair that the remaining areas not yet done be completed without delay.

I urge all residents who live in the North Flushing area to be rezoned to come to the hearing and support this plan.
Henry Euler
First Vice President
Auburndale Improvement Association, Inc.
Keep Hospital Open

A copy of the following letter was received by the Gazette. Dear Community Member:

We, the concerned employees of St. John's Queens Hospital are seeking your advocacy in voicing your concern regarding the potential closure of our community based hospital. St. John's Hospital has been meeting the healthcare needs of our Queens neighbors for the past 100 plus years, first in Long Island City and then in Elmhurst. As we are all aware, the borough of Queens is the most ethnically diverse borough in New York. Our mission has always focused on the respect and dignity of life, rendering care with integrity and excellence.

Our employees are not only the deliverers of care, but also the consumers since many live side by side with the patients who come to us seeking help and comfort for their medical ailments. This hospital was not designated by the Berger Commission for closure and, therefore should remain open to continue to meet the needs of the community.

In 2008, St. John's Queens Hospital had 48,000 Emergency Department visits, 7, 000 surgeries, 1,227 deliveries, 14, 000 discharges and 50,245 clinic visits. Does this sound like a hospital that is not serving the needs of its community? Queens had been well documented as an extremely "under-bedded" borough. With the recent closure of Parkway Hospital an additional 125 beds have been lost. We feel that closure of another facility in Queens will overburden the remaining facilities and put the health and safety of the community members at unnecessary risk and create a healthcare crisis.

We are asking for your support in helping St. John's Queens Hospital remains open and assuring access to quality health care and continued health education for you, your family members and your neighbors. Please write and call your elected officials and express your concern.

Thank you for your concern and support. The staff of St. John's Queens Hospital

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