Letters to the Editor
As a result of the economic upheaval, unemployed workers, 62 years of age, have been compelled to file to receive Social Security benefits. The inability of finding gainful employment has left many with no other option.
By filing early the benefits paid are substantially reduced. If able to postpone filing until 67 they would receive full benefits. Though the early filings do not cost Social Security more early retirement removes from the economy vibrancy by eliminating those who would spend discretionary income. Further, these early retirees possess the experience and wisdom that insures structural strength to businesses and institutions. This destruction of collective knowledge will prove costly.
Fear is a reality to the unemployed and those whose current employment fails to sufficiently cover the cost of living. Fear is the foundation of the Tea Party. Fox News and the far right seek power by provoking fear. They advocate that the institutions of government are a threat.
High unemployment and foreclosures promote fear. Congress and the Administration’s programs have seemingly aided only the banks who brought the nation to its knees. Fixes to address individuals are as yet unseen.
The President’s election was greeted with a great sigh of relief and hope. What Americans believed would be quick and decisive actions targeted to people turned out to be aid for those deemed “too big to fail”. Obama failed to use the political capital entrusted him by the majority of Americans by seeking consensus and bipartisanship.
The first 100 days of FDR’s administration enacted legislation that immediately responded to the needs of the people caused by the Great Depression. Obama and the Democrats earned the storm that seems to threaten their control of Congress in the upcoming mid-term elections by failing to lead decisively. Americans looking for strong leadership found only endless debate while Wall Street fought for bonuses.
Baldwin, New York
You Can’t Fight City HallTo The Editor:
They say you can’t fight City Hall and as I walked away from a meeting hosted by the Station Road Civic Association on April 21, I wondered if the expression might have some truth to it. The main topic of the evening was the Auburndale rezoning. Two representatives from the Department of City Planning, Debbie Carney and Edgar Bajana, came to address the concerns the neighborhood had on the proposal that the agency has set up for this area. Although several issues had already been ironed out between the community and City Planning regarding rezoning, one crucial area continues to be a sticking point on both sides. The community wishes to have the area bound by Station Road to the north, 42nd Avenue to the south, Utopia Parkway to the east, Auburndale Lane to the west rezoned from an M1 to an R4B zoning which would be a contextual zoning considering the surrounding areas are residential homes. The Department of City Planning wishes to leave it as an M1 citing it is a contextual rezoning based on what’s already there, which are car service dealerships who have been very poor neighbors to the surrounding community. During the course of the meeting it became quite clear that the community would not budge and neither would City Planning, who is most certainly taking its orders from the Bloomberg administration. Why is that when members of a community wish to improve their neighborhood they don’t seem to get anywhere and it becomes more and more apparent that the interests of business owners are more valuable than the interests of the homeowners? The M1 zoning needs to go. Hasn’t our area had enough problems with unscrupulous developers and inappropriate zoning that made it all possible? One thing I can say with conviction is that this community will fight to eliminate the M1 zoning, as it is not appropriate for the area. And although they say you can’t fight City Hall, this civic association has proven you certainly can.
Flushing, New York
To The Editor,
At last there is legislation in Congress to repeal the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) of 1994, the American job destroying fraud that was to bring prosperity here but instead lost 700,000 jobs and got 20 million illegal immigrants crossing our border.
NAFTA is a steppingstone to a North American Union (similar to the European Union), and then world government. Henry Kissinger described it as “the architecture of a new world system” aka the New World Order.
The seditious agenda of our power elite, who is working to destroy our sovereignty and freedom, will be deeply wounded by the passage of H.R. 4759, which will end our participation in NAFTA. Abolishing NAFTA will increase our personal freedom, secure our sovereignty, and strengthen our republic.
Write your congressman to support and cosponsor Bill H.R. 4759. For a free America.
Why Cut Teacher Salaries?To The Editor:
Isn’t it interesting that over the last several months, the crescendo has been growing for teachers to take salary freezes and cuts due to the worsening economic crisis? Just for the record, teachers everywhere are not making $90,000 dollars and we also have bills to pay, just like workers of other professions. When salaries are frozen or reduced, are rents, mort gage payments, utility and food bills reduced or cut as well? Do credit card companies reduce or freeze their fees and give customers grace periods to pay back their credit card bills? Why should teachers be the only profession asked to make huge sacrifices? What about all of the other professions? Everyone should be asked to sacrifice taking a pay raise but then again, are everyday expenses going to be frozen? We all need to be able to pay our bills, including teachers. How about asking the overpaid egotistical athletes to take pay cuts? Earning $1 million dollars less surely will not hurt their financial status. Oh, and let us not forget those idiots who run Goldman Sachs or those other large financial firms. They should take a mandatory pay cut.
Fresh Meadows, NY.
Keep, Strengthen BoardsTo The Editor:
Community boards are made up of unpaid community volunteers who consider various land use issues and other area concerns that may be occurring in the local neighborhoods that each board covers. These issues include rezonings, variances and other requests from local businesses and developers, landmarking issues and education, transportation, parks, environmental and health issues affecting the community at large. They also prioritize requests in the capital and expense budgets for projects needed in the area. All of the community board’s votes and decisions are advisory in nature. Other city agencies take those votes and decisions into account before final decisions are made.
I have been a member of Community Board 11 since 2005 and [am] a life-long resident of Bayside, Queens. I am concerned to read and hear that funding for community boards may be deeply cut by the mayor. These cuts would effectively paralyze the boards from functioning. Some suggest that these boards may be entirely eliminated by the City Charter Revision Commission. Either of these scenarios would be devastating to the people. Community board meetings are comparable to town hall gatherings, a cornerstone of our democracy. They provide opportunities for everyone to speak on the issues that affect quality of life. Usually, the Community Board can assist those having issues or concerns by writing letters or contacting the appropriate agency to try to remediate local problems. Residents may also call the community board office between meetings to ask questions and get help with neighborhood problems.
When issues come up for a vote at board meetings, I have found community input invaluable. The local community members are the eyes and ears of what is happening in their own neighborhoods and they educate board members so that appropriate votes may be cast on issues coming before us.
In order to do all of this work effectively, a paid staff and an equipped office [are] needed for each board. The money required to do that work is a minuscule amount, compared to the entire budget of the city. The benefits derived from community board activities support the need to continue their existence.
I would urge the City Charter Revision Commission to maintain and even strengthen the role of local community boards. I would also urge the Commission to look for additional ways of making other city agencies more responsive and accessible to community needs and concerns.
The decisions of the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) are final, unless challenged by a costly lawsuit. There needs to be a review and override process, probably through the city council, to re-examine BSA decisions that go against community interests. The Department of Buildings needs an overhaul as well. Community leaders and residents have long complained about the efficiency and effectiveness of that agency. Many of our elected leaders have called for reform of these and other city agencies, most notably former Councilman Tony Avella; however, little progress has been made due to a variety of reasons, many of them political in nature.
The City Charter Revision Commission should be considering changes that will strengthen the public’s rights to determine what happens in their neighborhoods. The public’s participation and representation in the functioning of our city is of paramount importance and needs to be expanded, not curtailed.