Letters to the Editor
Ravenswood Power Plant
To The Editor:
Regarding Richard Gentilviso’s story, “50 Years of Opposition Brings Ravenswood Nuclear Power Plant Ban” (Queens Gazette, June 20), I wanted to mention that NRG does not own the Ravenswood facility, the subject of the story. NRG does own a “peaker” power plant located within the 600-acre Astoria Consolidated Edison (Con Ed) complex. We are proposing to repower that plant with cleaner, state-of-the-art technology that will provide additional, reliable power while dramatically reducing emissions. For more information, visit www.smartpowerny.com.
Communications Manager and Spokesman,
NRG Energy Inc.
Support Your Local Paper
To The Editor:
“Celebrating Our 30th Anniversary Gazette Souvenir Issue” and “Gazette Goes On, 30 Years And Counting” (Editorial, June 20) reminds me how fortunate we are to live in one of the few remaining free societies, with a wealth of information sources available. Sadly, most American cities, suburbs and small towns are down to one local daily or weekly newspaper.
Newspapers and magazines have to deal with increasing costs for newsprint, delivery and distribution along with reduced advertising revenues and declining readership due to competition from the Internet and other new information sources.
Queens residents have a number of daily newspapers to select from including the New York Daily News, Post, Times, Newsday, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, along with freebies such as AM New York and Metro New York. Decades ago we had our own daily Long Island Star Journal and Long Island Press.
Daily newspapers concentrate on international, Washington, Albany, City Hall, business and sports stories. They have few reporters assigned to cover local, neighborhood news stories. These reporters have to compete against colleagues for limited available print space. As a result, daily newspapers miss significant news and political stories from Queens neighborhoods.
I’ve been grateful all this time that the Queens Gazette has afforded me the opportunity to express my views via letters to the editor, along with others who may have different opinions on the issues of the day. Thanks to you, an ordinary citizen like myself has the freedom to comment on the actions and legislation of various elected officials at the city, state and federal level. Public officials are powerful, with easy access to taxpayers’ dollars used on a regular basis to promote their views. This is done via mass mailings of newsletters, news releases, letters to the editor and guest opinion page columns. In many cases, they are produced or ghost written by campaign or office staffers paid for by taxpayers on public time. Ordinary citizens like myself only have the limited ability when we can to find the time to just submit a simple letter.
Local neighbors need to continue supporting all our weekly community newspapers. Patronize their advertisers; they provide the necessary revenues to help keep them in business. Let them know where you saw their ad. This helps keep our neighbors employed and the local economy growing. In the marketplace of ideas, let us hope there continues to be room for everyone including the Gazette and many others.
Great Neck, NY
Non Profits Are Priceless
To The Editor:
Non-profit organizations that provide valuable services to the children and adults of our communities have been cut off from state money by Governor Andrew Cuomo. We all know that we are in the midst of an economic crisis in our state and in our country. However, these organizations cannot continue to operate properly unless they receive some state financial backing.
Some examples…the Alley Pond Environmental Center in Douglaston sees tens of thousands of children a year with a waiting list a mile long. Children learn about nature and how to treat this fragile planet with respect and concern. The Bayside Historical Society, the Queens Historical Society and the Poppenhusen Institute in College Point teach about the importance of preserving our history. The Queens Farm Museum and the Queens Botanical Gardens also are valuable community assets that serve us well. These are just a few of the non profits that are in jeopardy.
On the city level, we see the possible elimination of the Bayside Fire House and the wonderful Beacon program at M.S. 158 which serves so many children through its after-school programs. These programs keep the children off the streets and engage them in worthwhile activities including homework help. Our libraries are threatened with the implementation of reduced services and hours as well. Mayor Michael Bloomberg does not seem to understand the importance of these agencies to our communities.
Our local elected officials and community leaders and residents are fighting to prevent and/or restore cuts made to all of these services. But it is a very difficult fight. I would urge Cuomo and Bloomberg to come to this and other areas in our city to see and hear what impact the cuts are having and will have in the future. We rarely see them in our communities unless it is election time. We need to speak up so that they understand what is important to us and our neighborhoods.
In the scheme of things, the amount of money needed to support these agencies and services is not huge. But the impact that elimination or reduction of their services will have will adversely affect our quality of life and the desire by people to want to live here and throughout the city.
Health Over Profits
To The Editor:
A recent article in The New York Times revealed a potential plan by Governor Andrew Cuomo to permit hydrofracking in five upstate counties, which would turn our fellow New Yorkers into the gas industry’s guinea pigs.
The governor’s new plan would arbitrarily create two tiers of New Yorkers. While still ignoring the potential health impacts on the residents of these counties, it continues to make no mention of a plan to dispose of the millions of gallons of toxic wastewater generated by this process. This plan also does not preclude future leaders from being able to expand drilling into the rest of New York.
The governor should focus on creating renewable energy that would lead to a sustainable economy which would not jeopardize the health and environment of all New Yorkers. Pollution and the negative quality of life impacts do not adhere to geographical and political borders. Each town does not have its own separate aquifer, air pollution does not disappear as it blows across the county line, and trucks cannot be contained within a county.
To concede to the gas industry with this plan is irresponsible, as it puts corporate profits over our well-being. Governor Cuomo's proposed plan is bad for everyone and should not go forward.
Sophomore at Queens College
To The Editor:
This year Maine and Michigan both changed their state laws to allow citizens to use the full line of all consumer fireworks to celebrate the freedoms we cherish in America. In 2011, Kentucky changed its fireworks law to allow all consumer fireworks and Utah relaxed its laws to allow aerial repeaters.
Other states currently involved in efforts to change the types of consumer fireworks citizens will be permitted to use include West Virginia, Minnesota and Puerto Rico. What about New York?
This movement in the United States to relax the consumer fireworks laws is driven by the acknowledgment that the products are safer with related injuries being fewer, the economics of states losing revenue and taxes to neighboring states, and the overwhelming desire of Americans to celebrate the Independence Day holiday with fireworks as envisioned by President John Adams on July 3, 1776, when the future U.S. president opined in a now famous letter to his wife Abigail that Independence Day “ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade…bonfires and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other, from this day forward forevermore”.
The legislators in New York did respond to the desires of New Yorkers to reshape the consumer fireworks laws. Unfortunately, the governor vetoed the legislation this year.
The time has come to reevaluate the anticonsumer fireworks law in New York. Consumer fireworks have never been safer and their use continues to increase each year. This alone provides a strong case for the regulated and sensible use of all consumer fireworks.
In 1994 America imported 117 million pounds of fireworks, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 12,500 fireworks-related injuries in the U.S. By 2010, our fireworks imports grew over 75 percent to 205.9 million pounds, but the number of fireworks-related injuries dropped by over 31 percent to 8,600. This is phenomenal progress in safety for the fireworks industry.
It is indeed unfortunate that illegal explosives, unlicensed and unregulated devices seem to materialize each year in response to consumer demand. These illegal and dangerous devices can be virtually eliminated by making legal, regulated consumer fireworks available to the public.
Now is the time to write or e-mail Governor Andrew Cuomo and ask that he reconsider his opposition to making consumer fireworks legal in the Empire State. With full legalization in Kentucky, Maine and Michigan, there are now only four states in the entire country that outlaw all types of consumer fireworks. Take New York out of the consumer fireworks dark ages and into the 21st century.
Please enjoy the Independence Day holiday with your family and celebrate safely. Very truly yours,
William A. Weimer
Phantom Fireworks Vice President
Rebuilding Willets Point
To The Editor
I would like to congratulate Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s ambitious plans for the redevelopment of Willets Point.
The mayor has pointed out that this will create more than 12,000 construction jobs and 7,000 permanent jobs, not to mention thousands of new housing units towards the end of the redevelopment project. New retail stores will be established as well as new restaurants and a new hotel on 126th Street that will have about 200 rooms. Now, I was at Citi Field on Wednesday for a game and I saw firsthand the condition of the area including the need for better paved streets. I have also read that there is a basic need for an improved sewer and drainage system for the area.
There is no doubt that the unemployed people in Queens need jobs badly. These people are our neighbors, friends and relatives and have really been hurting from this being the worst recession since the Great Depression. I only hope this project goes through, for the residents of Queens really need this. Kudos to the mayor for his plans and support of this much needed redevelopment of Willets Point.
On a less laudatory note, President Obama has just announced a new immigration policy that would give young people who are here illegally—by no fault of their own, and who have committed no crimes— a chance to stay in America. They will be able to study and to work here and would receive a green card and not fear deportation. The president said it was, “the right thing to do”.
I applaud his sentiments but he is going the wrong way about this issue and that I find most disturbing. President Obama has said in the past that only Congress has the power to enact such a policy through legislation. Now what has changed? Oh I know, this is an election year for the president.
In my opinion, President Obama is not following the Constitution by side-stepping Congress. President Obama needs to review the Constitution and especially Article II, Section 1 which is the President’s Oath of Office. It states: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Now that being said I think the president should be more concerned with the U.S. workers who need jobs than with those who are here illegally.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village, NY
Heat Wave Hits Con Ed
To The Editor:
As we are experiencing the first heat wave of the summer, already Con Edison has had to reduce power in both Brooklyn and Queens by five percent. Why does the utility have a continuous problem with meeting the demand for electricity every summer, when it has already spent millions of dollars to overhaul and improve their electrical cables and other equipment? Why don’t they reduce power across all five boroughs by five percent instead of only just Brooklyn and Queens if they really want to prevent brownouts and blackouts? Con Edison charges high electrical rates to its customers, and the utility should be able to meet demand during a summer heatwave with no interruptions to its customers, residential or business.
I’d also like to comment on the recent news story about a 68-year-old school bus matron who was taunted and bullied by a group of unruly students is another example of how parents need to step up to the plate and be responsible for teaching their children to respect others. Taunting and bullying is very wrong and unacceptable and in today’s society it seems that there is a general lack of respect for anyone. Parents are their children’s first teachers and it is up to them to teach that people need to be treated properly, that is first and foremost. Perhaps corporal punishment might not be so bad in this situation; a few good whacks across their backsides might make these kids think twice about ever taunting or bullying anyone again. When I was growing up, we were taught to always respect others, why is that not happening now?