2010-08-04 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Wants More Cops

A copy of the following letter was received by
the Gazette.
Hon. Raymond Kelly
New York City Police Department
1 Police Plaza
New York, NY 10038
Dear Commissioner Kelly,

Thank you for your efforts and your dedication over several years that have succeeded in driving crime to historic lows.

I write today regarding a serious situation affecting the safety and security of residents in Western Queens.

Recently, our neighborhood has experienced a rash of violent crimes, including a murder by strangulation and two shootings in the Ditmars Boulevard area. This year, the 114th Precinct has reported an increase in robberies, burglaries, grand larcenies and, most alarmingly, a murder rate almost double last year’s total.

Unfortunately, while crime increased, the number of officers assigned to the 114th Precinct decreased.

A hallmark of your tenure as Commissioner has been an effort to flood neighborhoods experiencing increased crime with additional officers to make those neighborhoods safer. It seems to me that the people of Western Queens deserve no less than such an effort at this time.

Accordingly, I respectfully request that you inform me of the steps being taken to combat the recent increase in crime in our area and provide me with any plans in place to ensure that residents of Western Queens will be protected in a manner commensurate with the professionalism and competence to which they have grown accustomed in the 114th Precinct.

Thank you for your unyielding efforts to keep our city safe. I look forward to continuing our work together to make Western Queens an even better place to live and work. I anxiously await your reply.
Sincerely yours,
Michael N. Gianaris
Member of Assembly
36th Assembly District

Backs Maloney

To The Editor:

As a former U.S. Congressmember, I can tell you that passing laws takes more than a good idea–it takes hard work, ceaseless dedication, and great skill to navigate the maze of the legislative process.

In my career in public service, I have known few who can match Congressmember Carolyn Maloney’s record of legislative accomplishments. When it comes to shepherding important bills through Congress, she’s in a class of her own.

After the Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, some of our Democratic colleagues threw up their hands in defeat. Not Carolyn. In 2004, she secured the passage of the Debbie Smith Act, expanding funding to end the backlog in rape kit testing and helping to put rapists behind bars. As a former DA, I know how vital to women this is.

Sometimes, it’s not just politicians who stand in your way. In 1998, Carolyn pushed back against the CIA to pass the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act, which called for the declassification of U.S. secret files on Nazi war criminals both during and after World War II. Particularly impressive was Carolyn’s ability, despite growing partisanship, to work in close partnership with a key Republican Senator to get the bill passed and enforced. Thanks to her tenacious effort, more than 8 million pages of previously classified documents were made public.

Getting even the best bill passed can sometimes feel like going to battle. But let me tell you, when you’re in a legislative fight, Carolyn Maloney is the one you want in your foxhole. Sincerely,
Liz Holtzman
Former U.S. Representative for New York’s
16th District
Former New York City Comptroller
Former District Attorney of Brooklyn

Cease And Desist Rule

To The Editor:

After prolonged efforts by the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association [WRBA] and the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation [GWDC], Woodhaven has been named one of only seven Queens neighborhoods in which homeowners can choose to prevent solicitations from real estate agents.

New York’s Secretary of State renewed Woodhaven’s status as a cease-and-desist zone, meaning that Woodhaven homeowners can be placed on a list to ensure that they receive no real estate solicitations—including phone calls, mailings, and door-to-door visits to sell their properties.

To be placed on the list, the required form can be submitted electronically at www.dos.state.ny.us/lcns/cdform.asp.

“This represents a real victory for the people of Woodhaven,” said WRBA Director Maria Thomson. “Cease-and-desist zones protect property owners from intense real estate solicitations. With Woodhaven now covered, we are a step closer to ensuring that avaricious real estate agents do not target Woodhaven and spoil its character.”

Through the work of the WRBA and the GWDC, Woodhaven had previously been designated a cease-and-desist zone. The designation expired after five years, however, thus requiring renewal by the Secretary of State for another five-year period.

The WRBA urges all homeowners to fill out the very simple form, so that they can enjoy the benefits of Woodhaven’s cease-and-desist coverage.

Woodhaven residents who would like a paper copy of the form mailed to them should call the WRBA office at 718-296-3735 or email their request to info@woodhaven-nyc.org.
Maria Thomson
Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association

No Garbage Pickup Fee!

To The Editor:

Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg recently floated a trial balloon by suggesting the city may begin to charge for garbage pickup. When is “enough – enough”? As city residents we already pay the highest taxes in the nation and still the state has a $9.2 [billion] deficit. City taxpayers pay for their garbage pickup in their ever escalating property taxes. The Bloomberg plan would charge buildings a flat fee or base it on the amount of garbage produced at each residence. I can already see people illegally placing their garbage in front of other people’s homes. This crazy policy will lead to dumping loads of garbage, furniture and debris on roadways and highways. These types of crazy policies and ideas must be shut down immediately before the politicians see it as another way to get inside your wallet.

As president of Glen Oaks Village, I work very hard trying to maintain an affordable community for our residents and seniors. This is just another example of the continuous battle we face as civic leaders with city and state bureaucrats who have no shame reaching deeper and deeper into the pockets of those who can least afford it. As a candidate for the NYS Assembly in the 24th AD, I will do everything possible to make sure that policies like these never see the light of day.
Bob Friedrich
Candidate for Assembly, 24th AD

Throw Out Party System

To The Editor:

The New York City Charter Revision Commission is considering whether to change our way of electing city officials to a non-partisan approach. I believe that this is an excellent idea, and will give more people an opportunity to run for public office without having to be beholden to either major political party.

What I have noticed over the years is that the same group of people control the same city elected offices, in large part due to political party power. Oftentimes, we even see staff members of elected officials or family members running for office. most of these people are not bad people and they try to do the right thing; however, if you are not part of the in group, your chances of being nominated and therefore elected are very low.

Sometimes, the present system works well for us when we elect people of the caliber of a Frank Padavan or a Tony Avella who not only are dedicated, but who exhibit an independent streak, taking stands on issues that do not always go along with the powers that be. But under a nonpartisan approach, electing more outstanding people would be possible because people running would be more free to say what they really believe, without the fear of offending the party leadership or the special interests.

Of course, many of those in power oppose nonpartisan elections. They want to maintain the status quo. They claim there will be those who are very wealthy who will try to buy themselves into an elected office. That may be true, but doesn’t that already exist in our present system? Mayor Bloomberg spent approximately $100 million of his own money to win last year’s election. To control this problem, the City Charter should be revised to limit the amount of his or her own money a candidate or his or her family can spend on an election.

The voters of our city are very savvy. They will carefully evaluate those running for office under a nonpartisan system of election. They do not need to have the crutch of a party label to choose their representatives.

With a nonpartisan approach, sensible runoff election procedures and controls on campaign spending, even the least wealthy of candidates could run for office. And isn’t that what democracy is all about?
Henry Euler

BP Owes Us, Big time

To The Editor:

BP owes the United States a lot more than just the costs for cleaning up the oil spill they created in the Gulf of Mexico. BP owes its very existence to the United States. Here’s the reason why.

In 1951, Iranian Prime Minister Mossadegh roused England’s ire when he nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and threw the English out of his country. Mossadegh argued that Iran should begin profiting from its vast oil reserves that had been totally controlled by the British-owned company. Incensed at this reasoning, the British government appealed to President [Harry] Truman to overthrow Mossadegh but Truman said no. President [Dwight] Eisenhower however was sympathetic to the Brits’ request.

In 1953, Eisenhower ordered the CIA to orchestrate a coup and depose Mossadegh, which was successfully done. The Shah was put back on the throne and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, which was renamed British Petroleum Company (BP), went back to generating hundreds of millions of dollars for its shareholders. Fifty-seven years later, the company we saved from extinction has repaid our nation by creating an environmental disaster of historic proportions. Talk about ingratitude.
Martin H. Levinson
Forest Hills

He’s No Angel

To The Editor:

An article in the July 28 edition reporting on the Queens murder of John Giampetruzzi, 41, of Glen Cove, Long Island (“Cops Seek Suspect In Biker’s Murder”, Liz Goff), incorrectly identified him as “a member of the Hells Angels”. I am the attorney for the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and Mr. Giampetruzzi has never been a member of that organization.
Ronald L. Kuby

Refutes Maloney

To The Editor:

Our campaign would like to set the record straight on the baseless characterizations made in your July 14 editorial, “Truth in the Maloney Race”.

First, Reshma’s campaign has been consistently positive–and Reshma has spent a large portion of her time in Queens articulating her vision for the borough, meeting with small business owners and holding meet-and-greets with residents. She’s drafted Congress-ready legislation that will create jobs, reform our immigration system, and implement new ethics rules for members of Congress. She’s kept her campaign focused on positive ideas, proposals and solutions to address the array of problems our district and country face.

You claim that Reshma is running a negative campaign. But you point to a single mailer noting that [Congressmember] Maloney held two fundraisers while serving on the conference committee that was negotiating financial reform legislation. One of those fundraisers was at the home of a financial services lobbyist. Eight House members are currently under investigation for similar conduct. Yet your editorial makes no mention of the inappropriateness of Maloney’s actions or the fact that those actions were reported by the non-partisan Sunlight Foundation.

Second, it is completely inaccurate to claim that “nearly 60 percent of Saujani’s campaign contributions come from people with ties to the financial services industry”. There is no source for that claim–and it sounds very similar to Maloney campaign talking points. The Wall Street Journal analyzed our campaign’s financial contributions and concluded that figure to be one-third–half of the false figure you printed. In fact, public records show that 75 percent of our contributors are not affiliated with the financial services industry in any way. We appreciate the chance to correct the record.

Finally, it’s important to note a key distinction between the two candidates: Reshma will never compromise her principles for political gain–which is all too familiar in New York politics. We deserve better.
Kevin Lawler
Campaign Manager
Reshma for Congress

Millstones Belong Here

A copy of the following letter was received by
the Gazette.
City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer
City Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.

I am a direct descendant of the Payntar/Skillman Family, who once owned most of the land in and around what is now called Queens Plaza, formerly Dutch Kills.

The historic Payntar millstones were used to make flour for Washington’s Continental Army and [are] indeed a treasure and worth preserving. The Millstones are priceless and played an important part not only in the Revolutionary War but the old way of life in Dutch Kills. They are now languishing on a Queens Plaza construction site.

The Greater Astoria Historical Society has done much research on these Millstones. My family and I really feel that these two colonial era millstones should be moved to an exhibit space within the Greater Astoria Historical Society Building, where they can be exhibited and studied. They care about history, and you should, too. They are not just two pieces of stone.

It is my hope that our families’ millstones will find a home with the Greater Astoria Historical Society.
Yours truly,
William Henry Payntar Sr.

Shame On Congress

To The Editor:

I am outraged and appalled that Congress failed to pass the James Zadroga Act that would have provided $7.4 billion to people sickened by 9/11 World Trade Center dust which included the first responders who are suffering health conditions. These people gave their all to come to the aid of their country in a time of need and helped search for survivors and helped clean up Ground Zero. Now Congress is not coming to aid these brave Americans in their hour of need and all because of political differences. I only can say that I’m ashamed of Congress [which is] suppose[d] to be representing the people who elected them into office. Whatever happen[ed] to that [one] nation, of the people, by the people and for the people?
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

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