Letters to the Editor
To The Editor:
This Fourth of July, Americans will toast the country’s independence with friends, family and fireworks. Before these celebrations get underway, Anheuser-Busch reminds adults to show their patriotism by designating a driver or skipper to keep everyone safe. You’ll join the millions of American adults who have been a designated driver or designated skipper, or been driven home by one. Here are some additional tips for safe celebrating during the holiday weekend:
•Buckle Up. Ask everyone to wear a seat belt or a life jacket.
•Be an Attentive Driver. Always be in control and aware of those around you.
•Don’t Speed. Resist the urge to speed by making sure there’s plenty of time to reach your destination.
•Drink Responsibly. Adults who choose to drink should make responsible choices about when, where and how much.
Anheuser-Busch is committed to keeping our nation’s roadways and waterways safe. We offer programs to encourage the use of designated drivers and skippers. Thanks to efforts like these and increased law enforcement, drunk-driving fatalities during the Fourth of July holiday period are down 56 percent since 1982, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
We can all do our part to make sure everyone has a fun and safe holiday. Please, Enjoy Responsibly! C.A. Verdon Consumer Social Responsibility Coordinator Anheuser-Busch Sales & Service Of New York Inc
What Makes Astoria Great
To The Editor:
This past week I’ve been lucky enough to attend many events that exemplify what is best about our country and specifically, our community. One night, the Astoria/ LIC Kiwanis, a local organization made up of caring businesspeople from our area, had their annual Police and Fire Awards ceremony in which they honored six local firefighters and police officers for acts of valor and community service in the line of duty. Just listening to their commanding officers explain how they put their lives on the line over and over again gave all in the audience an appreciation of the American spirit that we celebrate this Fourth of July.
The night before that, I was lucky again to represent Community Board 1 (CB1) as its Public Safety Chair, at the 30th Annual Fireworks Spectacular brought to us by the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition (CALDC), (and the spirit of Julie Wager). If you were at Astoria Park that night you saw one of the best fireworks displays that we’ve all been treated to in years. After a drenching downpour, the skies cleared and were filled with a 25-minute, music-accompanied tribute to our country. The number of families, kids and neighbors filling that green meadow was a testament to the community that is Astoria; a resilient, family-oriented neighborhood that has so much to offer. Kudos to CALDC for another job well done. A plug: be sure to attend their Thursday Night Concert Series and their Monday Night Family Movie night, being held all summer long...great, free entertainment.
Lastly, the day before that, in 98-degree weather, volunteers from the New York Anti-Crime (NYAC) agency, which I am proud to lead, finished a 10-year project in which 26 names of local veterans were placed, in individual octagon pavers, in the ‘Greater Love’ Veterans Memorial Grove on Shore Boulevard, between the Hellgate and the Triborough Bridges in Astoria Park. Two hundred names in total now grace that hallowed ground so that local families may honor their loved ones properly. Stop by and say a prayer for those brave souls that served our country so well. As the old saying goes, “some gave all, all gave some”. Our thanks to those NYAC volunteers that worked tirelessly those 10 years, the city Department of Parks and Recreation personnel, who help maintain it, and local businessman Jack Brucculeri, for his constant help and support in the building of the memorial.
These three examples are what make Astoria a small slice of Americana and a shining example of what a community can achieve when caring organizations, dedicated public servants and involved citizens all get together to improve their neighborhood and their neighbors’ lives. As one local community leader, Ed Babor, quipped recently, ASTORIA stands for “A Small Town Of Really Important Americans”. That’s all of us and that’s what makes our country and in particular, this city and neighborhood one of the best.
God bless us all, have a safe and healthy Fourth of July.
Public Safety Chair, CB1 Queens
Director, New York Anti-Crime Agency
Feds Will Ruin Health Care
To The Editor:
We are getting no help from the television newscasters in understanding what the Obamacare issue is all about.
First, it is not the president’s job to create laws. Second, the “law” is unconstitutional in that it is not the job of government to be involved with health care. Practically everything the government in Washington touches is made worse: public education, government spending, wars, housing, just to name a few. Health care should be locally controlled or be influenced by state governments not the federal government.
And one more thing, Romney says he will “reform” the healthcare law. What a phony conservative! He should be seeking to abolish the monstrosity, not reform it.
Frank St. George
Obamacare Is Wrong Call
To The Editor:
The Supreme Court has ruled that ObamaCare is constitutional. This now makes the plan the final call but is it the right call? As a nation we are in a sluggish economy and millions of people are out of work. In my opinion, if you force small businesses to insure all their employees they will not look to expand or hire more workers. In addition to that, if you force those who cannot afford insurance even at a reduced rate you create a hardship. A person might be forced to make a choice between housing and food to pay for insurance. That, in my view, is just not the right way to go.
The other day I was in a coffee shop in Queens and overheard a conversation between two small business owners, where one owner said that he had two choices. The one choice was to shut the business down and the other, not pay any insurance and make all employees pay for insurance on their own. I believe he will do the latter. Imagine this type of conversation now spreading all across America.
The Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts said that President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law is not a mandate but a tax and therefore constitutional. Meanwhile, Obama has said in 2009, “This is absolutely not a tax increase.” Well isn’t that precious! True lies. And now the American economy will pay for it with higher unemployment and higher insurance premiums.
As for myself, I’m voting for former Governor Mitt Romney who vows to undo this if elected president and remodel a new healthcare policy that will not hurt the economy. I will be voluteering to help Romney get elected. He truly understands what Americans need, and that is more jobs and less government interference.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village, NY
The Sky Is Pink
To The Editor:
I know I don’t have to tell any of you what a vulnerable moment this is for New York and all New Yorkers. The New York Times has reported that Governor Andrew Cuomo will soon announce that drilling will be permitted in parts of the following five New York counties: Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Steuben and Tioga in the Southern Tier. The governor’s office has made no official announcement as yet, but all indications suggest that the counties listed above will be the first to be sacrificed and that drilling may be permitted as early as this summer.
We’ve made a new short film, The Sky is Pink, which has just been released at Rolling Stone Magazine online. The Sky Is Pink details the shocking campaign of misinformation perpetuated by the gas industry, their flagrant disregard for the health and safety of the communities they ravage, and the historic decision that Cuomo is about to make.
We’re telling Cuomo that there are no expendable counties or communities in New York state and that we are not willing to allow the gas industry to exploit or endanger any of our fellow citizens. Cuomo and his administration must be held to their promise to make decisions on behalf of New Yorkers based on sound science and they must provide the people of New York with a full Health Impact Assessment. We demand that no weak compromises or deals are cut that send New York down the slippery slope toward a full-scale assault by the gas industry.
I’m asking you to help us make sure this film reaches far and wide. Clearly the 60,000 comments received by New York’s Department of Environmental Protection have been ignored. Clearly, we’re going to need to be even louder this time if we are going to be heard.
We need to tell Cuomo that hydraulic fracturing is not safe, not now, not ever and not in New York state.
Read Jeff Goodell’s article at Rolling Stone Magazine here: www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/nationalaffairs/ new-anti-fracking-film-by-gaslands-joshfox targets-cuomo-governor-what-color-will-thesky be-over-new-york-20120620
You can watch the full film here: http://bit.ly/NSBKN2
Please, send it to everyone you know. Post it everywhere you can. Josh Fox
Voters Don’t Care
To The Editor:
Here we go again.
The chorus of the politically correct want us to believe the horrible turnout on Primary Day was due to the fact that it was held in June and not September. Nonsense.
One can always remember the words of Rhett Butler who told his Scarlett, “I don’t give a damn.”
That’s what the voters really said. At least the inspectors at the voting boards had some good naps while collecting their $200.
Let’s wait until September when the next batch of primaries are held at their regular time. The inspectors should bring cots and fluffy pillows. Kenneth Lloyd Brown Brown and Brown
Attorneys and Counsellors at Law
The 9/11 Memorial
To The Editor:
Those students from a local public school who were visiting the 9/11 Memorial and were kicked out because a few of them threw their garbage into the Memorial Reflecting Pool need to be taught to respect such a place that has such emotional and sacred meaning.
Nearly 2,700 people died on that site on September 11, 2001, which was so very horrific. All who visit this memorial site need to remember to treat it with respect and reverence. Those students need to be made to perform some type of community service for restitution—they cannot get away with what they did.
Also, where were the teachers who were supervising this trip? While they cannot be everywhere, they should have been very clear to the students that throwing any kind of refuse around on those grounds was forbidden, and that students were to use the trash receptacles for that purpose. Also, the parents of those students who did this need to also stress to their children the need for respect and proper conduct when visiting public places anywhere that they should happen to go to. The teaching of respect and values always must start first and foremost in the home.
Subway Letter Grade
To The Editor:
Councilmembers Peter Koo, Council Transportation Committee Chairman James Vacca and Council Finance Committee Chairman Domenic Recchia want to give subway stations letter grades like restaurants. This makes a great sound bite, but doesn’t solve the problem. The devil is in the details. Just who would pay for this survey? Will one or more of the three councilmembers or some colleagues step up to the plate and pay for this out of their own administrative office budgets? They could ask their “benefactor” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to program a small portion of each member’s respective share of the council’s annual pork barrel member item funding. This “pot of gold” totals several hundred million dollars every year. Perhaps these funds could then be passed on as a grant to Gene Russianoff and the Straphangers Campaign or some other private independent public transportation watchdog group to conduct an impartial survey. Koo, Vacca and Recchia could also ask City Comptroller John Liu or Public Advocate Bill de Blasio to provide funding and conduct this proposed survey from their respective office budgets. A week never goes by without either Liu and or de Blasio holding a press conference to release the results from their respective office surveys or audits on favorite subjects in an attempt to grab some headlines and media coverage. Other potential funding sources or agencies to conduct this proposed survey could include the Office of Management and Budget, Independent Budget Office, Departments of Transportation, Planning or Consumer Affairs.
You have to ask if perhaps the MTA has more pressing needs than to use these scarce dollars to perform yet another survey which may duplicate efforts already in place? Remember the municipal budget crisis under the late Mayor Abe Beame in 1974 which brought the Big Apple to the edge of declaring municipal bankruptcy? After averting that potential catastrophe, the city has under each new Five Year MTA Capital Program cut its hard cash contribution. These reductions have added up to several billion dollars over the past 38 years. The city’s contributions have not kept up with either inflation and/or growth of the MTA’s Capital Program.
If Koo, Vacca and Recchia are serious about wanting to see cleaner, safer, garbage- and rat-free stations - there are alternatives to another station conditions survey. When adopting the new municipal budget for July 1, 2012 - June 30, 2013, why don’t they vote to increase the direct contribution the city provides to the MTA’s Five Year Capital Program? This would accomplish far more positive results. Recchia’s proposed strategy of “holding hostage some of the $786 million the city gives to the MTA” as leverage to force the MTA’s hand in implementing this study with their own funds and staff reminds me of a child having a temper tantrum until getting their way. Would he really want to hold up funding which might delay implementation of badly needed MTA Capital projects benefiting constituents in his district in exchange for this survey?
Vacca and Recchia, along with the other 45 Democratic members of the city council could also reach out to their older brothers and sisters in Albany and Washington for help. Manhattan based Democratic state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is supported by 59 of 61 from the city out of his 101 vote majority. Brooklyn based Democratic state Senate Majority Leader John Sampson is supported by 22 of his 30 members from the city. Congressional Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is supported by 12 out of 14 city based members. Don’t forget Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid whose right-hand man is Brooklyn born U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and his loyal protege U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Why don’t Koo, Vacca, Recchia and colleagues along with mayoral wannabe Quinn lobby fellow Democrats in Albany and Washington to increase funding for the MTA? In most cases, the councilmembers come out of the same local and or county Democratic Party clubhouse. It’s like asking your parents to increase to your “transit” allowance. Additional funding means more MTA resources to accomplish what Koo, Vacca and Recchia are looking for. This is more helpful to riders than the free press coverage they have generated. Any inside City Hall observer knows councilmembers and other public officials just use this tactic to grease the wheels of their respective campaigns for another term in office or in the case of Recchia, perhaps a try for city comptroller. By the way, do Koo, Vacca and Recchia along with their other 48 council colleagues use a Metro Card on a daily basis like millions of New Yorkers do? Check out all the license plates of the councilmembers in the City Hall parking lot before council meetings and see for yourself!
Great Neck, NY