Letters to the Editor
Recently, Irish President Mary McAleese announced she would not serve as grand marshal for next year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in Manhattan. President McAleese’s staff announced that a scheduling conflict prevented her participation. Given her longtime support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights, her decision should not be surprising. The Manhattan parade excludes openly LGBT marchers. LGBT groups here and in Ireland have voiced their concerns to President McAleese that this parade does not reflect Ireland’s long road to becoming a more inclusive society.
Regardless of her motive, President McAleese, a devout Catholic, has, in her decision not to attend, honored the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic’s promise of “cherishing all children of the nation equally”. Her commitment to this principle has been the hallmark of her career. Fighting for the decriminalization of homosexuality and the legal recognition of LGBT families, President McAleese has been at the forefront of expanding the rights of all Irish. With the recent passage of civil unions, Ireland has far surpassed New York in its commitment to equality. Notably, Irish legislators overwhelmingly passed the measure, another reflection of how far Ireland has come.
Indeed, Ireland has come a long way in many respects. The Irish peace process has demonstrated a consensus not only for peace but for healing the wounds inflicted by years of secular and religious leadership that often disregarded the dignity of other lives. President McAleese represents a new Ireland where challenging the injustices of the past is the norm.
Irish Americans have similarly made great strides in all areas of American life. Our City Council Speaker, one of the most powerful people in the city, is Christine Quinn. She has made no secret of both her fight for LGBT rights and her equally strong ties to her Irish heritage.
As a vibrant city built by immigrants, New York has a long history of welcoming groups from all around the world. Leaders of these groups have, in turn, come to embrace the myriad identities within their respective communities, even when their home countries lag behind in the recognition of human rights. Two notable examples of public cultural displays that include openly LGBT participants are the India Day parade and the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration. For inclusive St. Patrick’s Day parades, one has only to look to cities and towns in Ireland, including Dublin, and in the United States, including Chicago and Queens. As the openly gay, Irish American Chair of the Immigration Committee of the New York City Council, I am especially interested in making sure the St. Patrick’s Day parade showcases a New York of which we can all be proud.
I dream of the day when all Irish American New Yorkers, including LGBT Irish Americans, can march down 5th Avenue together with President McAleese and the parade organizers. Parade Committee Chairman John Dunleavy has described the parade as a celebration of, “Irish faith, heritage, and culture”. I agree that it should be. Today, LGBT individuals and their many family and friends, including President McAleese, are an essential part of this faith, heritage, and culture. Without them, the Irish story is incomplete. And so is the 5th Avenue St. Patrick’s Day parade.
City Councilmember, 25th District
Chair, Immigration Committee
Against Liquor License
A copy of the following letter was received
by the Gazette.
Dennis Rosen, Chairman
New York State Liquor Authority
80 South Swan Street, 9th Floor
Albany, New York 12210
Dear Chairman Rosen:
I am writing in strong opposition to GLC Entertainment Corporation’s application for a liquor license. They are currently proposing an adult establishment located on 42-50 21st St. in Long Island City, Queens. This establishment will be adjacent to NYCHA/Queensbridge houses, home to many young families in my Assembly District.
The proposed club will have a negative effect on the quality of life in our neighborhood. As seen from the enclosed articles and correspondence, the proposed establishment is ardently opposed by residents, community groups, our local community board and my colleagues in government.
This is not an establishment that will positively impact our society. Additionally, the [Long Island City] business community is very vibrant and this will have a negative impact, both on existing industrial areas and the emerging residential area. I urge you to oppose this liquor license. I look forward to your prompt response and am available to meet you to further discuss this issue at any time. Thank you. Sincerely,
Assemblymember, 37th District
Check Facts, Then VoteTo The Editor:
The contentious rhetoric and widening ideological divide have raised the stakes in the upcoming election. The myths, fables and distortions heaped upon us by the media only serve to confuse and not enlighten. Now more than ever it is imperative that we stay informed, check facts and search for the truth.
Falsehoods and half truths have become so pervasive we no longer question the premise on which they are based. When someone claims that all students have a right to a free education and a free lunch, the reality is that public schools are not free but are funded by tax dollars, which must be extracted from taxpayers. We should all have learned by now that “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”. We are constantly told that Social Security is secure and that it is a form of savings and an investment for the future. The facts are that it is neither a savings account nor an investment but a Ponzi scheme, a crime for which Bernie Madoff went to jail. Google “Galveston Social Security” and compare benefits and results.
The media’s “blame game” consists of comparing the so-called Bush deficits with Clinton surpluses. Most people are not aware that presidents cannot create either a deficit or a surplus. All spending bills originate in the House of Representatives and are voted into law by Congress. Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress before Barack Obama became president. The deficit President Obama inherited was created by a Democratic Congress, of which he was a member. The truth is that President Clinton’s budget surplus, the first surplus in over 25 years, was the result of a Republican controlled House of Representatives.
In our search for the truth and competent honest representatives, let’s question with boldness, listen carefully, apply reason, check the facts, check the premise. We must re-establish the supremacy of the Constitution; it is not “We, the Congress” but “We, the People” who are in charge.
I urge you to read the Constitution, then go out and vote!
It’s ‘Industrial’ WWTo The Editor:
The article in the September 22 edition of the Queens Gazette recapping events reported in the Long Island City Star- Journal of September 1911 by Al Ronzoni, Trustee, Greater Astoria Historical Society, contained the following:
“The year saw a number of strikes and militant unions like the International Workers of the World, also known as the IWW or ‘Wobblies’. Queens was not immune to the trend. On September 2 the Star reported on a strike by Ravenswood marble workers that was ‘beginning to develop some interesting incidents’.”
The IWW are the Industrial Workers of the World, not International Workers of the World (“International” and “World” are redundant). See http://www.iww.org/culture/official/interna tional
The IWW still exists, by the way, and the union’s Web site is http://www.iww.org/.
Yours for the One Big Union,
Cast Vote With CareTo The Editor:
The position of New York state Comptroller is one of the least talked about, yet most important positions in government, even more so during this time of fiscal crisis in the state. The role of Comptroller includes conducting audits of state agencies and overseeing the fiscal affairs of local governments, including New York City. The Comptroller’s office also administers the New York state and Local Retirement System for public employees.
Harry Wilson, the son of Greek immigrants from Upstate New York, and Thomas DiNapoli, who currently holds the position, are the candidates for this office. They held a lively political debate on Monday night [September 27]. Mr. Wilson was extremely impressive and I believe he has the financial acumen, independent thinking and strategy for implementing tight controls and oversight of the activities that greatly affect taxpayers and the integrity of the state’s operations. The fact that his focus is on the spending side of the equation, which is where so much of our financial ills reside, is reassuring.
It is important that New Yorkers take an interest in this position at election time, do their homework and cut through the noise to make an informed decision to elect the best candidate for the job.
Wants Island Evaluated
A copy of the following letter was received by the Gazette. Maura McCarthy, Borough Commissioner Department of Transportation 120-55 Queens Boulevard, Rm. 285 Kew Gardens, NY 11424 Re: Traffic Island Installation at Little Neck Parkway North of the Long Island Railroad Dear Commissioner McCarthy:
I have been inundated by telephone calls from local residents pointing out the traffic problems that this median will cause. School buses will not be able to make a left turn going north to pick up their students.
There is also the possibility for vehicular accidents when making a left turn into the back road.
The curbing is approximately 7 inches high, we were wrongly told that it would be no more than 3 inches high which would permit emergency vehicles such as ambulances to go over the median.
I would really appreciate if you could evaluate this entire situation in order to remediate this condition at your earliest possible convenience.
State Senator, 11th District
Fare Hike Is OutrageousTo The Editor:
The MTA Board has voted to raise the fares for public transportation effective this coming December 30. What an outrage! People are struggling enough already in this very unstable economy to make ends meet, many are unemployed, and now the MTA has just decided that they need to raise fares. Well, how about dramatically improving service? Trains and buses and rail lines are overcrowded enough, and conditions certainly will not improve with the continuing cutbacks in service.
If anything needs to be reduced, how about reducing the way overbloated [sic] salaries of the MTA executives and reduce the overstaffed executive offices? Let them experience what all of the rest of us have to deal with each and every day-overcrowding and lousy service. John Amato Fresh Meadows
Recognize Slaves’ WorkTo The Editor:
In July, I attended a ceremony honoring the contributions of the enslaved Africans who built the United States Capitol building in Washington, D.C. in the 19th century. My Congressman, Gary Ackerman, also honored me in July by presenting me with a letter of recognition for my efforts in identifying the role that the enslaved Africans had in our American history. This letter was read into the Congressional Record.
There is something else that must be done to honor these courageous people who were not recognized as human beings, who were leased by their owners for $5 dollars a month, and who were treated with disdain and disrespect. I believe that many of the enslaved Africans who worked on the Capitol building are buried on or near the Capitol grounds and I am calling for a scoping of the site in order to find the resting places of these unsung heroes of America. They should be honored and their resting places must be identified as the historic sites that they are. It is only just for these victims of racism and abuse.
The history of these people must be taught in the schools. It must be spoken about in the media. We must never forget their sacrifices nor their inhumane treatment by the powers that were. Many died during construction they suffered through frigid winters and steaming summers. These people built an icon of America without the modern equipment that is in use today.
I am appealing to President Obama, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Congressman Ackerman and all of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus to help in properly honoring the resting places and the accomplishments of the enslaved Africans.
As co-chair of the Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground Conservancy, I know that it is possible to identify resting places from long ago. It is possible to restore old cemeteries and treat them with the dignity and respect that they deserve.
When I think of the blood, sweat and tears shed by the enslaved Africans who built the Capitol building, it motivates me to do all that I can to see that these departed souls are remembered in perpetuity.
Mandingo Osceola Tshaka