2011-02-23 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Reduce U.S. Deficits

To The Editor:

The Obama administration is spending our money at unprecedented levels and it is projected to continue for years into the future.

Our annual federal deficit is approaching 1.5 trillion and will probably hit $2 trillion before long.

Our national debt is projected to go from $14 trillion now to $25 trillion in five to eight years.

As of Nov. 30, 2010 the following are the top 10 countries holding U.S. Treasury securities:

China $896 billion;
Japan $877 billion;
United Kingdom $512 billion;
Middle East & Venezuela $210 billion;
Brazil $184 billion;
Caribbean countries $146 billion;
Hong Kong $139 billion;
Canada $135 billion;
Taiwan $131 billion;
Russia $123 billion.

We are indebted to some countries who are potential adversaries and might be unfriendly to us in the future. They could decrease their purchases of U.S. Treasury securities, which would increase interest rates; or they could sell their U.S. securities, which would hurt the dollar and significantly increase inflation.

The U.S. administration and Congress have to reign in our current spending spree and reduce our deficits and the money we owe to foreign countries.

Harold Myerson, editor-at-large of American Prospect and the L.A. Weekly [who said] in his article, “Think bigger, Mr. President” has it right. He stated, “We need to either raise tariffs on unfair foreign competition or reduce taxes on companies that keep, bring or create jobs at home.”

Donald A. Moskowitz
Londonderry, New Hampshire

Penny Wise?

To The Editor:

Before Governor [Andrew] Cuomo and Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg initiate the layoffs of thousands of employees, perhaps both should think about some of unforeseen consequences.

How will Cuomo’s proposal impact the ability of state employees to manage the billions of dollars in regular formula federal aid supplemented by billions of dollars more in American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) stimulus funding? Ditto for Mayor Bloomberg.

In many cases, federal agencies provide funding to state and city agencies for staff to administer their respective programs.

Will state employees continue to be able to travel in order to provide proper oversight of federal aid to local municipalities? Adequate state staff is needed to review and approve vouchers from recipients. There is also the need for dedicated employees to process financial reimbursements and provide periodic progress reports for respective federal funding agencies to review.

Without sufficient staff, will various state and city departments be able to continue submitting grant applications?

How will current federally funded programs continue being completed on time and within budget?

Will they avoid having unspent funds being carried over year after year?

Can they provide proper oversight to ensure there is no waste, fraud or abuse?

How will they ensure all change orders for construction projects are fair, reasonable and documented?

Doesn’t it make more sense to exempt any state or city staff positions, travel or training funds currently available under existing federal grants from any layoffs or hiring freezes to fill vacancies?

At the end of the day, what cost savings can be found by not spending increasingly scarce available federal dollars?

When it comes to laying off anyone whose salary is paid for by expenditures of available federal aid, it may be penny wise and pound foolish in the long run.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

Who Has The Power

To The Editor:

Power has ended Republicans lock stepping as one. The Tea Party members of the House demand reducing government spending regardless of the consequences. The Republican leadership knowing their limits is attempting to rationalize the political realities with those who are dedicated to an ideology.

Absent consensus within the party, congressional action will be stalled and become a “do nothing” Congress. The differences between the radicals and the conservatives of the party are such that one can foresee Republican members tearing at each other. This would be a nightmare scenario for the Republican Party and a boon to the Democrats.

To govern successfully and having a chance to retain control of the House the Old Guard led by [House] Speaker [John] Boehner will be compelled to reach across the aisle. Strangely the Tea Party may compel bi-partisanship. Surprisingly, the nation may benefit as a result of the internecine Republican warfare.

The objective stated by Senator Mitch McConnell, ensuring that Obama is a one-term president, is jeopardized as a result of the party’s internal conflicts. The unresolved question is who has the power between the two groups. To members of the Tea Party, the GOP is a dependent child that would be powerless without it.

The contest which determines the future of the Republican Party will be played out in the House. Compromise does not appear a consideration by Tea Party members. Neither is forfeiting future political gains to the ideology of the Tea Party garnering Republican leadership support. One side is trying to walk a tight rope while the other side is all in regardless of the cost.

Edward Horn
Baldwin

Egypt’s Revolution

To The Editor:

The Egyptian people’s revolt was inspired by the Tunisian overthrow of their President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The Obama administration dropped the ball at the end of 2010. U.S. intelligence warned that Mubarak’s administration [would] be threatened with unrest and violent protests. This information was published by the Israeli news Web site HAARETZ.com.

Washington could not figure out who would be the coup leaders, and what would be the issues that would spark a revolution.

The Obama administration is keeping an eye on the Muslim Brotherhood. It is true that they have publicly renounced violence and will not put [up] a candidate for president. They claim, they are for democracy and freedom.

From Mubarak’s perspective, he does not believe them. He feels that the Muslim Brotherhood will let the liberal secular leaders take power and when they cannot deliver what the Egyptian people want, the Brotherhood will be asked to join a new government which the Muslim Brotherhood will control. His fear is they will try to [enforce] strict Sharia, the Islamic law, the law of the land.

In conclusion, Mubarak hopes that the military will put restraints on the Muslim Brotherhood if they try to introduce a religious theocracy. Only time will tell. Respectfully submitted,

Nicholas J. Golegos
Flushing

Schools Programs

To The Editor:

As a parent of a second-grade student in District 25, I have observed some disturbing trends over the last several years in schools citywide and in the school my daughter [attends]. Our wonderful, veteran teachers are being forced into early retirement by abusive administrators. These teachers were such an asset to our schools, with their educational expertise and experience. They were often the teachers you turned to for educational advice. Many of our schools are now filled with inept and inexperienced principals, many from the Leadership Academy, and novice teachers who are not lasting more than a few years. The turnover rate for principals and teachers is alarming and detrimental to our schools.

In addition, there is the widespread use of a balanced literacy reading and writing curriculum, also known as Teachers College, and a fuzzy math program known as Everyday Mathematics. At best, the programs are lacking in many ways and need to be supplemented with other programs because of their deficiencies. My daughter spends the majority of her day working with a partner, reading on her own or sitting in the meeting area just listening to her teacher. Little, if any, content is taught. Hallway bulletin boards are loaded with “Published Works” which contain misspellings, incorrect grammar and incorrect punctuation. Phonics and grammar instruction is frowned upon and teachers [are] even punished by these new principals. It doesn’t get any better in the upper grades and I’ve learned that proponents of balanced literacy believe that focusing on those things stifles creativity. But how can you be a successful writer when you haven’t mastered basic writing skills?

Math experts from all over the country have analyzed the Everyday Mathematics program and have stated that the program is [also] lacking; it should never be used in elementary schools because it does not prepare students for higher math. But administrators are prepared to tell parents that it’s a “spiraling” program and if your child doesn’t master a skill the first time, they will master it next time. And if your child has any difficulty, they can just reach for a calculator. Math professors argue that these are poor methods of teaching basic math skills and leaves kids behind.

After some careful research, it became clear to me that the DOE [Department of Education] made the wrong move with these programs. Why did the DOE implement unproven, not research-based, highly controversial programs when there were so many wonderful research-based programs already in place?

Parents should speak with the principals and demand they remove these terrible programs from their child’s school. Many principals know the harm of these programs but keep them because it’s cost effective to do so. Some parents in the district have been successful having these two programs removed from their schools. It’s time they are removed from all schools.

James Chin
College Point

P.S. 130: Apply By March 4

To The Editor:

P.S. 130, located on the corner of Francis Lewis Boulevard and 42nd Avenue in Bayside is a K-3 elementary school specializing in science and technology.

The school is geographically located in District 26, however, the school serves District 25 students who are bused in while local students are bused to various crowded elementary schools in District 26.

Historically, the school served local students, but many years ago, in a political decision, the school was closed to neighborhood children. For a long time, community groups and local residents such as myself, have been lobbying to ensure that local students have first priority in attending this wonderful school. We have had the support of many of our elected officials. Local students are allowed to attend P.S. 130 only if there is room after District 25 students get first dibs at available seats. Then the locals have to go through a lottery system to gain admission.

I recently attended the open house at P.S. 130 and was told that this school year all students who applied from District 26 were accepted into the school. This is a positive step forward. However, why should local children have to stand in line to attend their neighborhood school? It is outrageous and it is time that local children, living within walking distance of this building, be given first priority placement to attend this school. If there is then room for other students from District 25 or wherever, then they should compete for the remaining seats. The program for children with special needs on the first floor of this school should remain there. It is a terrific program.

When you consider the cost of busing children from District 25 to P.S. 130 and busing local students to other schools, it just doesn’t make sense in these economically difficult times. During this cold and snowy winter, I see children in my neighborhood, which is within easy walking distance to P.S. 130, standing on street corners in the early morning hours waiting for their bus to come. It certainly is not fair or pleasant for them or their parents.

I learned at the open house that the deadline to hand in applications to attend this school in the fall is March 4. I would urge all parents who live near this school and who have children entering grades K to third in September to look into this program. If this is something that they feel would be beneficial for their child, they should file an application to attend the school. Also remember to file for your zoned school in case your child is not accepted into P.S. 130.

It is not anyone’s intention to disrupt the education of the District 25 children currently attending P.S. 130. However, there must be a change in determining which students get priority to attend the school. Even if this takes several years to implement, the school should return to servicing neighborhood children first.

Henry Euler
Bayside

Indignant Senior

To the Editor

I raise my voice in indignation as I read that the mayor proposes to make drastic cuts to senior centers again to close them. That is shocking news since many [were] closed last year during the round of budget cutting.

It seems to me that the Meals-On- Wheels changes to save money and the cuts to senior services are very detrimental to seniors.

Cuts in Medicaid also will hurt these people who have given so much to lay a sound firm foundation for society.

Again upon the backs of the young and the elderly the budget is cut.

Why must the mayor have three cooks at Gracie Mansion when the food for seniors will be cut?

Is this not a nation where all are created equal and are entitled to the same rights.

I also am so ashamed of that congressman from Western New York state who resigned after really violating a Commandment and also not being beyond reproach as well as being an example for all to follow.

It is the sinful actions of coaches who commit sexual acts to young boys and these congressmen who are lewd on the Internet that are given the most attention in the news.

I also think that the $12,000 pension bonus for retirees of the police department [is] unjust and too high.

I do appreciate the remembering of Frank Justich and also the UCCA meeting where the public, leaders and lawmakers spoke and exchanged words and had a good healthy discussion. This is true democracy at work.

Cynthia Groopman
Long Island City

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