2010-12-01 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor


A copy of this letter was received by the
Gazette.
Black Not An Educator
Hon. David Steiner
Commissioner
Department of Education
Albany, NY
Dear Commissioner Steiner:

The Queens Civic Congress is a coalition of more than 110 neighborhood-based civic organizations representing residents in every part of Queens.

Regarding the appointment of Catherine Black as the Chancellor of New York City schools, we write to urge you to withhold the waiver of the rules requiring the schools chancellor to have specific education qualifications. While Ms. Black may be a superb media manager, she has no experience as an educator. Indeed, she has no discernible record as an advocate for New York City’s public schools and her views and vision for public education are unknown.

Moreover, we find the lack of a public search to fill the chancellor’s position deeply disturbing.

At a minimum, we implore you to delay any decision regarding Ms. Black until you complete a full public review of her appointment. Sincerely,
Patricia Dolan
President
Queens Civic Congress
Flushing

Scan For Good Vs. Evil

To The Editor:

The eternal quest to determine who among us is evil and capable of inflicting death and destruction is being played out by the TSA agents at our airports.

The TSA is employing technology with the hope that x-rays and scanners will weed out the “bad” from the “good”. The reality is that scanners cannot detect evil intentions any more than they can detect the latest explosive devices. The TSA admits scanners cannot detect all available explosive components.

Humans, for eons, have interacted, bonded and judged one another based on personal contact. Our technology and digitized culture has minimized person-to-person contact and we now have come to depend on electronic circuitry to communicate, shop, date and keep us safe. We twitter™, facebook ™, chat, e-mail and avoid live personal human interaction.

We have abandoned common sense and slavishly extol the dogma of political correctness to our peril. We are of different and diverse cultures yet the human heart and its manifestations are universal. We express love, hate, frustration, anger in countless familiar ways: facial expressions, eye motions, muscle twitches, anxiety and erratic behavior.

Israel’s airport security agents rely less on technology and more on human psychology, personal contact and interaction. Their success is a matter of record.

It is a commonly held belief that our eyes are the windows to our souls yet we learn most TSA agents are too busy examining our “junk” to look into our eyes.
Ed Konecnik
Flushing

Coca-Cola Is A FAN4Kids

To The Editor:

P.S. 244, an elementary school in Flushing, will become the recipient of an integrated program encouraging healthy decision making about fitness and nutrition. The in-school program will be carried out by FAN4Kids, a nonprofit education service company, which educates low-income children of all shapes and sizes at an early age in the Greater New York and New Jersey areas, with the goal of instilling healthy living behaviors. The extension of the program to P.S. 244 is made possible through a $20,000 grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation.

The grant also allows FAN4Kids to bring its program to P.S. 75 in the South Bronx. During an award ceremony held on Friday, November 19, Coca-Cola Refreshments USA presented a check to Robert Oliver, chief executive officer of FAN4Kids.

FAN4Kids, based in Hoboken, New Jersey, is one of 16 organizations selected as part of $300,000 in Active Healthy Living grants that the Coca-Cola Foundation is giving to nonprofit organizations in New York, Texas and California. Other New York City area-based recipients include Mosholu Montefiore Community Center (The Bronx), St. Rosalia- Regina Pacis Neighborhood Improvement Association (Brooklyn) and YMCA of Greater New York (Manhattan). Active Healthy Living Grants support family-oriented physical activity and nutrition education programs.
Christian Pflaumer
On behalf of Coca-Cola
Manhattan

‘Mr. Kumbaya’

To The Editor:

President [Barack] Obama could give his supporters a much needed boost by assuming the role of leader rather than “Mr. Kumbaya”. The Republicans have staked out the political map for the next two years. In large part they have regained the upper hand as a result of Obama’s need to be a consensus builder rather than the political beast required to become president.

Frankly, Senator Mitch McConnell is [a] poor opponent when compared to the fight Hillary Clinton provided Obama in winning the Democratic Party nomination. One would think the battle with Clinton taught Obama the merits of fighting for what you believe in. Rather, President Obama has shown a mellowness that is a turnoff to red-blooded Americans who respond to a leader willing to fight for their beliefs.

As the great communicator and educator, Obama deserves failing grades. Obama achieved reforms in his first two years thought impossible. Yet the public has been turned off these remarkable achievements by hearing the loud and consistent voices of Republicans who proclaimed that the president was attacking the very institutions of the American way of life. The Republican spin on what should have been hallmarks for any administration, condemned the Democrats to [the] mid-term debacle they suffered.

Great presidents have confronted the radical wings of their own party to serve the nation. Obama has abrogated leadership in contesting the left wing of the Democratic Party further eroding national support. Unless Obama “mans up” and accept[s] the price of the office he voluntarily sought, he should only be a one-term president.
Edward Horn
Baldwin

Bloomberg Cuts In 2011

To The Editor:

Once again, Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg has announced that there will have to [be] budget cuts in all city agencies in order to bridge the anticipated deficit for next year.

It is time to cut alright, but not the workers. How about trimming the bloated overpaid executives and their staffs who are making more money than we will ever see in a lifetime. There is so much waste in this area. Why must the hardworking city employees ranging from cops to firefighters to sanitation workers to teachers have to worry about losing their jobs due to these proposed draconian cuts? To add insult to injury, the mayor has chosen, again, a person with a noneducation background to oversee the city public school system.

We, the people of this city, especially the UFT, should most definitely have some input as to whom the mayor is considering for this job. What right does he have to make this choice and decision without input from the public? We need the Wizard of Oz to help us, who probably could do a much [better] job of running our city. Respectfully,
John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Get Vets Off The Streets

To The Editor:

We are slowly the Christmas and holiday season and I believe there is much to be thankful for and preparing for this time of the year. Yet there [are] some of us who are not so lucky. I have just seen a report on television that there are now 100,000 homeless veterans. Many are from the Vietnam era but presently there are 4,000 from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These veterans suffer from mental and substance abuse problems and of this number 10 percent are women. Added to that, there is an alarming number of them taking their lives due to depression. This I find very sad and troubling. I understand what some of these men and women are going through for I was a Vietnam-era veteran who found myself homeless back in 1975. February 1975 I was out of the U.S. Navy and found myself living on the streets of Hempstead and couldn’t find shelter. My father died while I was in the military. I was divorced. My children Tommy and Bobby were in foster care and then finally adopted. My wife had left us and gone to live in Nevada. I guess I kind of lost hope, I didn’t have many friends and I guess I lost my way. This I think could be true for many veterans who are homeless today. I was one of the lucky ones and due to the kindness of a stranger I was saved. I met a man who was a native of Nigeria and he had a room for rent on Yale Street in Hempstead. The deal was I could get cleaned up and look for a job, which I did. I guess I was lucky. Now I only hope and pray that our nation wakes up and tries to help these homeless veterans who gave so much to our country. These veterans need help now.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks

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