2009-01-28 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Wind Power Won't Work To The Editor:

Congress and the Administration are touting alternative energy sources to replace power production derived from foreign oil. They want to generate 10 percent to 20 percent of the U.S. energy needs from alternative sources.

Most of the alternative energy would have to be generated from wind power systems. If we assume 10 percent of the U.S. energy requirements consists of 100,000 megawatts, and each wind turbine produces approximately 2 to 3 megawatts, it will take about 40,000 wind turbines to produce the 100,000 megawatts.

The siting of 40,000 wind turbines around the country could be a monumental task, since an average wind speed of about 12 mph is needed to efficiently operate a wind turbine. Hilltops, mountains, canyons and some coastlines are candidate locations for the wind machines, but these locations pose logistical, noise and aesthetic obstacles. The generation of power from the wind turbines is dependent on weather conditions, and we all know how unpredictable and varied the weather can be. Furthermore, we would need an electrical grid system spread out around the country to tie in the wind turbines to the national grid.

Approximately 50 nuclear power plants with two units per site, providing a total of 2,000 megawatts per site, will generate 100,000 megawatts of clean, reliable, operationally cost-effective and continuous power.

Nuclear power plants, domestic oil production, wind energy systems and other alternative energy sources are all viable components of a comprehensive energy program. Donald A. Moskowitz Londonderry, New Hampshire

Getting Somewhere To The Editor:

The late financier J.P. Morgan once said that, "The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you're not going to stay where you are." In light of the fact that Democrats are now in the majority in the New York state senate for the first time in 43 years, and given the efforts we are now undertaking to reform the operating rules of the senate, it's clear that senate Democrats are taking those first steps to get away from where we have been and to create a more transparent and accountable state government for the people of New York state.

Just days into the 2009 legislative session, senate Democrats proposed and adopted a series of rules reforms to improve the operations of the senate and provide more openness in deliberations. These included actions to reverse old rules that limited the ability of senators to call for immediate action on bills being held in senate committees, that squelched debate on legislation, and that denied the public an opportunity to see where their representatives stood on such efforts to bring bills to the senate floor for a vote. In addition, we adopted new rules to permit all senators, regardless of party affiliation, the opportunity to co-sponsor legislation, and to bolster committee review of bills affecting more than one issue area. We will also seek to increase the use of technology to make the democratic process and legislative deliberations more accessible to all New Yorkers.

But above all, the senate Democratic Conference proposed and adopted these rules changes in a very important context: that they are just the very beginning of reforms to help obliterate our state government's reputation as the most dysfunctional in the nation. For the first time ever, the senate rules will expire in one year, at the end of 2009, to allow for more reforms. And also for the first time, a bipartisan Temporary Senate Committee on Rules and Administration Reform was established to hold public hearings, take testimony and devise new ways to improve the way the senate does the people's business. This nine-member committee includes both Democratic and Republican senators- led by co-chairs of both political parties- and is expected to report back to the senate with its preliminary findings in April.

As one who has long sought institutional changes in the senate- and in state government as a whole- that would more fully involve individual lawmakers and the public in vital budget and policy decisions affecting all of our lives, I am looking forward to taking additional steps to achieve these goals. With a tip of the hat to J.P. Morgan, we are definitely going to "get somewhere" in terms of government reform because we owe it to the people of New York state not to stay where we have been. Sincerely, George Onorato State Senator, 12th District

No Real Change To The Editor:

"Change has come to America" is the victory chant of President [Barack] Obama and his minions, but his proposals and appointments to his administration are déjà vu all over again. President [George W.] Bush oversaw the greatest increase of discretionary spending in our history. President Obama's proposed stimulus packages, plans for subsidizing health care and nationalizing financial institutions are not "change", but merely sequels to that legacy.

The election's historical significance and the attendant good will offered up a unique opportunity to engage America with real "change". Instead, the president's nominations constitute a recycling of Clinton era characters in search of rehabilitation: for Attorney General, a man who recommended pardons for fugitive Marc Rich and convicted killers and terrorists, for Treasury Secretary, a man who has difficulty understanding and filing his tax forms, for Secretary of State, a former First Lady whose husband's personal foundation is the recipient of unaccountable millions of dollars from foreign leaders, ministers and despots.

President Obama seems unmindful of the words of wisdom of his favorite president, Abraham Lincoln: "The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew." So far, he has not acted anew and has instead become a doorman at the White House for the Clintons and their cohorts.

So…what's new, pussycat? Ed Konecnik Flushing

Closing Gitmo Is Wrong To The Editor:

President [Barack] Obama issue[d] orders to close the Guantanamo Military prison [Ed. Note: nicknamed "Gitmo"]. This I find rather disturbing and troubling. This prison houses terrorists and the plotters of the 9/11 attacks. As Congressman Peter King(Seaford-R) said, "Obama's actions embrace a soft-on-terror agenda."

Well[,] I agree, but [sic] also a most dangerous one as well. This decision makes me feel terribly unsafe and should make most Americans feel unsafe as well. There might be those who might say how does that [a]ffect those of us in Queens? Well[,] quite simple, there were many in Queens that died on 9/11 like firemen, police officers and civilians[,] not to mention those first responders who are dying and are suffering the aftereffects of the clean-up. Now let's look at ex-Guantanamo detainees like al-Shihri who is now a [sic] Al Qaeda commander in Yemen. Also according to the Pentagon, at least 18 former Guantanamo detainees have returned to the fight and another 43 are suspected of resuming terrorist activities. Added to this, what happens to the 245 detainees that are there? You need to remember one of the detainees is Sheik Mohammed, who was the mastermind of 9/11. If they end up in federal prison, they must be tried in our court[s] of law. Yet if there is a question of waterboarding torture or any other form of torture to get information, they could be released. Which could mean a return to killing innocent men, women and children. I think I made my point. That being the case, I think President Obama ought to re-think his decision for the good of America and of the free world. Frederick R. Bedell Jr.

Glen Oaks Village

Wants No Bus Cuts

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

Elliot G. Sander, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer

Metropolitan Transportation Authority, State of New York

347 Madison Avenue

New York, New York 10017-3739 Dear Executive Director Sander:

I am writing to you in opposition to the proposed cuts in service to public transportation in Queens County. The people who live in Eastern Queens have no subways and few buses available within the community. Having long suffered from a severe lack of public transportation, Queens riders simply cannot afford to be disenfranchised by a reduction in service. While I recognize that the MTA is facing a severe budget shortfall, it is unfair to balance the books on the backs of those who already have the fewest transportation options at their disposal.

First, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has proposed the elimination of weekend service on the Q79 bus, which runs north-south along Little Neck Parkway. The Q79 provides the only north-south service in the area; there are no alternate routes. Residents of Eastern Queens use the Q79 bus to access the Long Island Rail Road, the Samuel Field Y, the Deepdale Gardens Community Center Pool, Little Neck Nursing Home, Brandywine Assisted Living at The Savoy, and the Queens County Farm Museum. The bus provides access to major shopping centers at Horace Harding Expressway and on Union Turnpike. Residents of Eastern Queens who want to travel to Shea Stadium or destinations in Western Queens can now do so by taking the Q79 to the Long Island Rail Road's Little Neck station on the Port Washington line. Without the Q79 on weekends, riders would have to take circuitous routes, such as traveling into Manhattan and then catching a bus or train back to their destination in Queens.

Similarly, the MTA has proposed the elimination of weekend service on the Q76 bus, which runs north-south on Francis Lewis Boulevard. The Q76 provides service to downtown Jamaica, Cunningham Park, St. Francis Preparatory School, and the College Point shopping centers. Again, there are no other north-south routes in the area, so the elimination of service would mean that riders would have no alternate route to use.

Next, the MTA's proposals call for the discontinuation of weekend service on the Q31 bus, which runs from Jamaica to Bayside. Like the Q79 and the Q76, the Q31 serves the people who live in the district that I represent, which has extremely limited options for public transportation users. Many of the riders on all three routes are students, seniors, and the disabled; they have no options for transportation other than local bus service.

In addition, I am deeply concerned about the proposed elimination of weekday service on the Q26 and Q75 local bus routes. The Q26 provides the residents of Flushing, Auburndale, and Fresh Meadows with connecting service to the No. 7 train. Without that service, many students will be unable to travel to school, and adults will have difficulty getting to work. The Q75 serves the neighborhoods of Jamaica, Jamaica Estates, Fresh Meadows, and Oakland Gardens. Riders use the bus to access the F train on Hillside Avenue. Both the Q26 and the Q75 allow individuals who do not live in close proximity to the subway to make use of it via connecting bus service. Eliminating that service cuts off Eastern Queens residents from the rest of the city.

For all of the aforementioned local bus routes, the MTA has claimed that low ridership justifies the service cuts. I suggest that the MTA consider using smaller buses instead of eliminating service. Smaller buses cost less to purchase and use less fuel, so introducing them will result in cost savings, but without the serious disruptions that service eliminations cause.

Finally, there is a proposal to eliminate offpeak half hourly service on the Port Washington line of the Long Island Rail Road. As you know, that line supplies the only train service available to Northeast Queens, which has no subway stations. The Port Washington line keeps many drivers out of Manhattan and Western Queens by providing them with quick, regular access to Penn Station. Decreasing service on the line would likely lead to increased traffic congestion, which the MTA has been trying to prevent.

I urge you to modify the proposed service cuts so that they do not represent such a severe burden on the residents of Eastern Queens. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely, Mark S. Weprin Member of Assembly 24th District

Thanks For Gardens Visit To The Editor:

I very much enjoyed Alan Stark's ride down memory lane ("Sunnyside Gardens Lives On In Memories", January 21) and his reference to the many vanished "landmarks" he once encountered on his trips to Sunnyside. I, too, have fond memories of the Gardens. Besides wrestling, it was also a great boxing venue. Sometimes, though, the fights that occasionally broke out in the audience were better than those in the ring.

Sincerely, John J. Cox Woodside

Hails Wagner School To The Editor:

My name is Elizabeth Puscasu. I am a public middle school teacher at I.S. 291 Bushwick, and a mother of two public school students. I am writing this open e-mail to salute and thank teachers and staff of Robert F Wagner for their tireless efforts to educate and empower our children.

Parents and siblings of Robert F. Wagner students like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank Oscar Sarasky for a wonderful, thrilling and on the edge of the seat performance of his drama students on Friday, January 16 at LaGuardia Community College. It was a magnificent play, a Broadway-worthy performance from the witches, Duncan, Macbeth, his wife and the rest of the characters; bravo, and encore!!

Congratulations to all of you for this outstanding performance and sincere thanks to Peggy Jayne, Assistant Principal, and Bruce Noble, the Principal, and to all involved in our children's education and enlightenment. Sincere thanks, Elizabeth Puscasu Sunnyside

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