2010-06-09 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Noise Violates Rights


A copy of the following letter was received
by the Gazette.
The Honorable Michael R. Bloomberg
Mayor of the City of New York
City Hall
New York, New York 10007
Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly
New York City Police Department
One Police Plaza
New York, New York 10038
Commissioner Caswell F. Holloway
New York City Department of
Environmental Protection
59-17 Junction Boulevard
Flushing, New York 11373
Dear Messrs. Bloomberg, Kelly, and
Holloway:

Enforcement of the noise law in New York City is not working.

When complaints are made, police usually respond after several hours, and in the meantime the violations have continued unpunished. Even if the police arrive when a violation is being committed, for reasons I can only guess at, they often report “no violation in progress”.

A restaurant that recently opened next to the building where I live has made so much noise-loud music, kitchen noise, exhaust fans, late-night garbage collection, loud conversations (and sometimes cheering and shouting) from an outdoor dining area right next to residents’ bedrooms and living room windows-that residents have actually been moving out of the building because the noise has been driving them crazy.

The police have been called many times but the offenses continue. Once, when a resident’s call to 311 failed to produce any result, she called the restaurant to ask if they would turn the sound down, and they responded by turning it up.

Supposedly the city Department of Environmental Protection can also help with noise violations. But I began trying several weeks ago, first through 311 and then through the DEP’s Web site, to get a form for requesting an on-site visit from an inspector, and I can’t even get the form.

In most parts of the United States, people have a right to peace and quiet in their homes, but not in New York City. Many people who live here have never even heard of such a right. They think it’s cool to make a lot of noise, and they have no consideration for others. As far as they’re concerned, if they have a way to make noise, they can make as much as they like, whenever and wherever they like. The notion that someone else might not like it, or might even have a legal right to stop them, is totally foreign to them. The result is a kind of Gresham’s Law of people: bad people are driving out good, and the city is doing nothing to stop it.

If regular police can’t or won’t enforce the noise law, we need to have a special unit dedicated to its enforcement. But until we get such a unit, a way to enforce the law must be found. The current non-enforcement amounts to turning the city over to the uncivilized.
Sincerely,
Jim Strawhorn
Jackson Heights

Keep School Nurse

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

Dear Mayor Bloomberg, Chancellor Klein and Commissioner Farley:

I am writing on behalf of the constituents in my district whose children attend The Douglaston School of Literature, P.S. 98Q (PS98Q), located at 40-20 235th Street, Douglaston, New York 11362. P.S. 98Q has an enrollment of 270 students.

Enclosed is a copy of the letter sent to you from Fiona Campese, President, PTA PS98Q, opposing the proposed elimination of the school nurse because its enrollment does not meet the criteria in the FY 2011 “Agency Gap Closing Programs.” [sic; no copy with this letter]

Please know that when I was serving as the City Councilmember of the 23rd District I co-sponsored legislation in 2004 which became Local Law No. 57; this law was enacted to amend the administrative code of the City of New York (Int. No 207-A; Section 1. Chapter 1 of title 17, adding a new section 17-187). This law requires the city Health Department to “(2) b.…provide on a fulltime basis at least one nurse at each public and private primary school which had at least two hundred students enrolled on the last day of the second month of the preceding school year…” For your reference, enclosed is a copy of the said law.

It is vital that government does everything possible to protect the health and well-being of our children, especially when they are in our public care during school hours. I diametrically oppose the proposal to eliminate school nurses in any school because of enrollment quotas. School nurses are not and should not be in the schools only to react to an emergency; they are also there in a proactive mode to observe the first signs of any infectious diseases among the children and the faculty. Had it not been for the nurse in a parochial school in my district, St. Francis Preparatory, the Swine Flu epidemic would not have been dealt with in the appropriate manner.

I am requesting that this above proposal be immediately withdrawn because it is shortsighted, irresponsible and appears to conflict with the current law that was passed in 2004.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Sincerely,
David I. Weprin
Member of the Assembly 24th District

(Auburndale, Bayside, Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Jamaica Estates, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Queens Village)

‘Affordable’ Housing: A Lie

To The Editor:

Affordable housing is integral to the rezoning plans for Astoria, LIC, Sunnyside and Woodside. Unfortunately, affordable housing is a euphemism right out of the The Wizard of Oz, or doublespeak out of 1984. It is subsidized payment for someone who cannot afford the true cost of his housing.

We are still suffering from sub-prime mortgages, the financial crisis caused when buyers of millions of single-family homes could no longer pay the mortgages. They did not have enough income to pay. They should not have obtained the mortgages in the first place. Affordable housing is the other side of the coin of sub-prime mortgages.

Affordable housing is sub-prime mortgages in multi-family housing. Affordable housing is not self-sustaining, needing money constantly to pay the deficit. It is a bubble, just like sub-prime. Suppose the city runs out of money, or if Fannie May/Freddie Mac run out of money. The bubble will collapse, perhaps not on the scale of sub-prime. But it will be disastrous.

We should stop it.
Very truly yours,
Al Volpe
Woodside

Budget Is A Circus Act

To The Editor:

Since last year, the New York state legislature and Governor Paterson have been locked [in] battle over ways to formulate a state budget that everyone will accept. Well, here we are, in June 2010, and still, there is no budget, and there seems to be no imminent solution to this very serious problem which affects everyone in the state of New York! The governor and the politicians of this state better put aside all of their petty differences and work as one for the benefit of the people of New York state, and work to come to a consensus about the state budget. We cannot afford any types of layoffs of any workers anywhere in this state. Let’s get our act together up in Albany–we do not need any more clowns performing in this circus!
Submitted by:
John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Shares Her Thoughts

To The Editor:

There are several items read in this week’s Gazette and heard on television that are worthy of sharing with my fellow Gazette readers in the Editor’s Letters column.

I am really disgusted that the Co-Op City 32 BJ unionists are on strike and thus jeopardizing the life and safety of the residents in the largest co-op complex. There is hot weather; garbage smelling terribly and the spread of disease may be possible.

I think that for good will and in good faith, the union should sit down with management and go back to work and negotiate while working. As a unionist, the safety and health of the public unionists serve are foremost.

In this time of recession, work is important and jobs are scare so those who have the greatest coverage from the union of 32 BJ should be thankful and set personal feelings and egoism aside and help the public.

I am also dismayed that there were raises in the MTA and cutbacks to be planned on buses and subways. This is not justice in any sense of the word. As I had mentioned before, the unions must realize that the public they serve are important and the jobs they have are to serve the public.

Also, I am glad that the mayor will try to forego the raises of the teachers to avoid the layoff of 4,700 teachers.

Again, unions are great, but the public that the unions serve comes first in times of recession.

I applaud [City Councilmember] Peter Vallone Jr. for his work of dedication in rezoning and his caring for all people really make him a stand up person, a mensch in Yiddish and now an English word.

We are proud to have him as our 22nd Council District councilperson and head of committees. He is an asset to all.

I applaud the 114th [Precinct] police officer of the month for his detective work and he is an inspiration to all as well as the awarding of heroism to a firefighter in Ozone Park for saving lives. These people go far beyond the call of duty to make this a safer and better city for all. Kudos to these brave men.

Lastly, what happened to Memorial Day and its presentation [per] an article in the Gazette? We must really treasure that day, not for sales but for promoting freedom and safeguarding our liberty.

God bless the memory of those who served and cared enough to give their lives so we may bask in liberty’s golden glow.
Cynthia Groopman
Long Island City

Clear The Air

To The Editor:

As school children ready for the summer, with homework and tests replaced by days of fun in the sun, I am concerned about secondhand smoke, which is often disregarded as a danger in the outdoors. With 25,000 tobaccorelated deaths in NYS annually, and 15.5 percent of Queens residents being smokers, including an estimated 6,000 children—1/3 who will die prematurely!—we must be concerned about the air our youngsters breathe. Parents tell their kids to “get some air” and surely, during these summer months we’ll hear more of that. But are we putting children at risk when the beach blanket next to theirs has smokers? Young people are exploited by flashy advertising, provocative packaging and readily available store displays of cigarettes which make them think smoking is cool. In addition, nothing spoils the bucolic setting of our parks or the majestic beaches on our shores more than cigarette butts, not to mention the negative impact that they have on our environment. Clearly, nothing is less “green” and environmentally friendly than a brown, burnt-out, discarded filter tip.

With a healthier, cleaner summer in mind, the Queens Health Coalition is joining Queens Smoke-free Partnership in its efforts to rid our outdoors of secondhand smoke, especially where it impacts children. We urge everyone to do the same. The “great outdoors” can only be great if we can breathe the air and enjoy the sights, without [their] being compromised by tobacco. We need to protect the vulnerable segments of our population, such as our children, so when mommy says, “Why don’t you go out and play?” she is not inadvertently placing her child in harm’s way. Sincerely,
Phyllis S. Shafran
Executive Director
Queens Health Coalition

Melting Pot Vs. Salad Bowl

To The Editor:

America has been known as “the great melting pot” for as long as I can remember. People from every corner of the globe combined as Americans to make our country great. They took advantage of opportunities that existed here that did not exist in their native lands. Opportunities to reap the benefits of their own hard work, opportunities to worship God in their own way, opportunities to speak their minds freely, and opportunities to raise their families in peace and safety. People from many countries became a homogeneous mass that loved our country enough to honor her, to respect her, and to fight and die for her.

My maternal grandfather, who came from Italy, insisted that English was the language his children spoke at home. “After all,” he said, “English is the language of America and we are Americans.” He never failed to remove his hat and place his hand over his heart when the flag passed by and insisted that his children and grandchildren do the same. He loved his native land and never forgot her, but he loved the land he adopted and that adopted him even more.

Why does it appear that so many of the more recent immigrants refuse to be assimilated into American culture? No one is insisting that immigrants forget their native lands or cultures. All that is asked is that they pledge allegiance to the country they chose to immigrate to and become Americans first. They should love our country, honor our country and respect her laws.

The fact that we were a “great melting pot” gave us the strength to endure because, first and foremost, we were all Americans ... each adding their own flavor to the blend in the pot. Are we certain that changing from the “great melting pot” to the “great salad bowl” will result in the same magical and delicious blend of flavors or might that change result in flavors that insist on maintaining their uniqueness to the point of spoiling the taste of the whole? The important thing is that we understand that our neighbor may have come from a different background, religion, culture or country but he or she is an American...a brother or sister in arms when we are set upon, a friend and supporter in times of need, and someone you tell, “Don’t worry, I’ve got your back,” and mean it with all of your heart.
Respectfully yours,
Robert M. Collinsworth
Harrisville, New Hampshire

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