2012-12-12 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Run 7 Train During Festival

A copy of this letter was received at the
Queens Gazette.
November 26, 2012
Hon. Joseph J. Lhota, Chairman
Metropolitan Transit Authority
347 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Dear Chairman Joseph Lhota:

We are writing you regarding the 7 train’s upcoming improvement schedule and its effect on regular service between Times Square and Queens Borough Plaza. While we recognize the need for improvement projects for our mass transit infrastructure—particularly in the wake of Super Storm Sandy—with the upcoming Lunar New Year Festival and Parade, the planned service changes are a major concern to residents and businesses of Flushing.

In past years, when 7 train service from Manhattan has been suspended, businesses in the Flushing area have seen a marked decline in traffic and sales. The Lunar New Year celebrations, set to begin Feb. 10, 2013, is the largest event in Flushing, with visitors from around the world coming to Queens for the festivities. It would be a notable hardship on businesses, large and small, to see a drop in sales because of train service disruptions.

During the Lunar New Year celebration of 2008, we were able to work with the MTA to fully restore local service during the period of planned maintenance work. We hope that you will continue doing the same this year and help make this year’s celebration a robust, festive and economically successful event for the entire community.

We would appreciate your assistance in honoring this request and having trains run during the weekends in February, especially the weekend of Feb. 10, 2013. Sincerely Yours,

Congressmember-Elect Grace Meng
State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky
Assemblymember-Elect Ron Kim
Councilmember Peter Koo

Budget Cutting Ideas

To The Editor:

There is still more to “Cuomo In Washington, Pursuing Hurricane Recovery $.” (I On Politics By John Toscano, December 5). Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn have all joined the chorus asserting that Washington will need to send us $42 billion as a result of damages created by Hurricane Sandy.

Three weeks ago, Cuomo’s request was for $31 billion. Two weeks ago, it jumped to $42 billion. Similarly, three weeks ago Bloomberg’s request was for $9 billion. Two weeks ago, it went to $15 billion. What will Cuomo, Bloomberg, Schumer, Gillibrand and company ask for next week? The devil is in the details of justifying these numbers. What about the recent scandal concerning the city Housing, Preservation and Development sitting on $1 billion in unspent federal dollars already available. How many other municipal and state agencies have how many additional billions in unspent federal dollars which could potentially be redirected to help?

All conveniently ignore that our national debt now exceeds $16.19 trillion. This averages $52,135 per citizen. Our legal debt limit of $16.39 trillion with less than a $200 billion balance remaining will run out by the end of December based upon the current rate of spending. Remember that local, town, city, county and state debt combined adds up to another two trillion dollars!

Senators Schumer and Gillibrand fail to identify how Uncle Sam will come up with these funds. There will clearly be the need to offset this assistance with cuts in other programs. The National Flood Insurance Program, FEMA and Army Corps of Engineers will all need billions in supplemental appropriations.

It is time for President Barack Obama, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to come together on a bipartisan basis to make these difficult decisions. We need to resume “pay as you go” rather than kick the can down the road for future generations to pay the tab. With a $3.7 trillion budget, how hard can it be to find $42 billion in savings? Allow me to offer some easy solutions which can pay for our assistance.

Implement “pay as you go” budgeting, which means testing for all government assistance and sunset provisions for agencies and programs that have completed their missions. End pork-barrel member item spending, stop paying farmers to not grow crops and abolish corporate welfare subsides via tax deductions.

Close down obsolete military bases abroad. Reduce United Nations and foreign aid to those who offer no support when needed. Did anyone notice any United Nations resolution offering us solidarity in our time of need? How many of our so-called international allies have stepped up to the plate to offer us assistance for a change? End the wasteful war in Afghanistan.

The IRS should accelerate the collection of several hundred billion in uncollected back taxes owed by deadbeat individuals and corporations along with suspending billions in future tax refunds to those who fail to pay long overdue taxes or student loans.

Any combination of the above could easily raise $42 billion and more.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

Farmer’s Market

A copy of this letter was received at the
Queens Gazette.
Saturday, November 03, 2012
The Honorable Peter F. Vallone Jr.
22-45 31st Street.
Astoria, New York 11105
Re: Astoria Park/Accessibility to Healthy
Locally Grown Food

Dear Representative Vallone,

As a resident of Astoria I would like to thank you for your ongoing commitment and efforts to making my neighborhood a beautiful and safe area to live. I am writing you regarding a very important asset that will bring unity, healthy living and profitable means to our fast growing and expanding city. Much like you, I am also committed to making this neighborhood become a haven for a cleaner lifestyle and a healthy environment for all residents.

As stated by the NRDC “Demand for local, sustainable produced food is growing around the country. The NRDC New York team has launched a campaign to promote regional sustainable food in the greater New York City region to foster farmland preservation, green economic development and greater access to healthy food.” For several seasons I have become a patron of the Farmer’s Market in Astoria at the location of 14th Street between 31st Avenue and 31st Road, noticing it starting to diminish vastly with each year, with less and less traffic, as well as fewer farmers. This cannot be profitable for them at the present location and realize that the location is not ideal and know that there would be no cost incurred in moving it to a more centrally located area.

I live next to Astoria Park and have noticed the location to be perfect for families to exercise, participate in outings (and during summer time to take advantage of both the swimming facility and free music/venues that keep getting better and better). I also realize that many of us could benefit with having locally grown vegetables and fruits in a location more central to our neighborhood, giving everyone the opportunity to participate in this great and necessary venue. I also noticed that there is an adjacent location next to the park with accessibility to the parking lot having a smaller paved park, that in the six years of living here, I have yet to see used for anything. The location is at Astoria Park North and 19th Street. I would like to propose this location be used for the market. It would be more noticeable, accessible and convenient, while people continue to take advantage of the great things our park now has including the running track, playgrounds and the bike paths that are being implemented.

This area would be much more beneficial for both the patrons and farmers alike.

As mentioned this small park has never been used and is already paved, equipped with small trees and reminds me of my old neighborhood of Union Square in Manhattan. It’s an advantage that it’s adjacent to a parking lot and enormous park that is our neighborhood gem. I have taken pictures of the location and have been monitoring this area for a number of years waiting for the right opportunity to propose it for something to benefit us all. I believe with this latest catastrophe we will be in dire need for a healthier environment and a better accessibility to clean, healthy and locally grown food to ensure our well-being and growth as a community.

I also would like to state that one of my kids is suffering from diabetes that requires having access to proper nutrition and more fresh vegetables and fruits. I know that having access to these in our neighborhood would give her mother the access she needs to these since she does not drive.

I would like to thank you again for all the work you do and would be happy to speak with you further regarding my idea and others that I feel would benefit our great city! Most Sincerely,

Joseph I. Solorio

Walcott, Allow Meetings

A copy of this letter was received at the
Queens Gazette.
December 3, 2012
Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott
New York City Department of Education
52 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007

Dear Chancellor Walcott:

I recently received an inquiry from a local homeowners’ cooperative regarding the use of public schools for meeting space. According to an e-mail message that the coop received from the Division of School Support and Instruction, for-profit companies will no longer be able to use schools unless they become nonprofit organizations.

As you know, there are many community organizations that are not registered as nonprofit organizations but do not fit the profile of for-profit companies either. Co-ops, condominiums, tenant groups, and civic associations are, in some cases, not registed as nonprofit organizations, yet their meetings consistently focus on community issues; surely they should be permitted to meet in public schools without requesting special permission every time. I would appreciate if DOE would amend the regulation in question to explicitly state that community groups may utilize meeting space in public schools.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. Sincerely,

Mark S. Weprin

Tax Breaks For The Rich

To The Editor:

The fundamental transformation of America President Obama promised is in progress.

Not so very long ago we were nurtured to strive for excellence and success by examining the lives of men like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and other entrepreneurs. Today successful, wealthy men are labeled greedy One-Percenters who have deprived the remaining 99-Percent of the prosperity to which they are entitled. “Rich” is equated with evil though the looters are ambivalent about the exact amount. The term “individualist” has become synonymous with “sociopath” or “selfish”. An over zealous compassion has created burgeoning, unsustainable entitlements that make no distinction between needs and wants.

I am confounded by the number of people who welcome this transformation and voted for it. I am dismayed at their lack of intellectual honesty when they assert that the top 10 percent of earners are not paying a fair share, when in reality they account for 70 percent of the revenue collected. How much more should they pay to accommodate the new paradigm of fairness? As much as the government needs is the answer.

Author John Steinbeck said: “Socialism never took root in America because the poor do not see themselves as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” Being rich or being poor in America is not a fixed state. It is a function of mobility in a system where all are moving in one direction or another. Redistribution does not lift those at a lower level to a higher economic level. Instead it takes from those who have achieved, discouraging their ideas, abilities and ambitions, assuring a lower form of equality for all through the elimination of the motivation to achieve.

No amount of government redistribution can overcome the ultimate poverty of spirit.

Ed Konecnik

Rally Against Jet Noise

Letter to the Editor:

I have read that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plans to implement its controversial plan to change departure procedures from LaGuardia Airport. This means a constant stream of aircraft will continue coming over our homes here in Northeast Queens. The FAA has been “testing” the changes during the past six months and everyone has noticed the dramatic increase in noise and air pollution.

Has the FAA listened to our complaints about the intolerable noise? No! Does the FAA realize or care that the constant noise from these aircraft lowers our property values and disturbs our quality of life? No! Has the FAA scheduled hearings so that residents can express their opinions on the proposed changes and perhaps suggest alternatives? No! This is totally outrageous.

State Senator Tony Avella has scheduled a rally to protest these actions by the FAA on Saturday, December 15, at 11 a.m. The rally will take place in front of the senator’s district office at 38-50 Bell Blvd., Bayside, at the corner of Bell Boulevard and 39th Avenue. Community, civic and elected leaders will be there, along with the general public, who have suffered long enough with this problem.

The FAA is a government agency and for them to ignore the voice of the people up until now is unacceptable. Come add your voice at this important rally! Perhaps we can persuade the FAA to reconsider this proposal.

Thank you to Senator Avella, Assemblymember Braunstein and the many people and groups who have been fighting to stop this abuse by the FAA.

Henry Euler

Bayside H.S. Gets An ‘A’

To The Editor:

Bayside H.S. is very proud to announce that we received an “A” in the 2011-2012 NYC Department of Education’s Progress Report for High Schools.

This marks the second year in a row that we have accomplished this feat.

In 2009-2010 we missed receiving an “A” rating by less than one point. In 2010- 2011 we received an “A” by less than two points, and this year, 2011-2012 we received an “A” by 4.9 points.

Our school continues to improve!

In this time when schools across the city (particularly large schools like Bayside) continue to receive poor ratings and close, Bayside is very proud to have one of the highest graduation rates in the city. This is all while operating on one of the smallest budgets per pupil among our peers, $5,312.18 per pupil and while still serving students with special needs, who make up 13.5 percent of our school population.

Joseph S. Piccirillo
Community Relations Director
Bayside H.S.

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