2013-01-16 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Fire Sale Loophole

A copy of this letter was received at the
Queens Gazette.
Vice President Joseph Biden
Washington, DC 20515
January 3, 2013

Dear Mr. Vice President,

I write with great passion and urgency of the need to strengthen our nation’s gun-control laws. There has been too much death and more than enough talk for us to not take action at this time. I believe that we must do all that is possible to prevent more gun-related tragedies.

I ask that you, as leader of President Obama’s Gun Task Force, permanently close the Fire Sale Loophole in any proposal put forth. As current law allows, gun dealers with revoked licenses are able to sell the weapons as if they were private gun collectors. This allows the sale of these guns to avoid the mandatory background check on the purchaser. I plan on introducing a bill in the House of Representatives that would close this loophole, and I hope that you and the task force will support the legislation.

There are other measures that I strongly believe should be included in any proposal, such as requiring background checks on every firearm sale and the employees of gun dealers; closing the gun show loophole; and requiring that all semiautomatic pistols be capable of microstamping ammunition.

I look forward to working with the Gun Task Force, members of Congress and any person or group that desires a safer America. Now is the time for the Administration and Congress to enact meaningful gun-control legislation. Sincerely,

Grace Meng
Member of Congress

UCCA On Redistricting

A copy of this letter was received at the Queens Gazette. To The City Redistricting Commission and City Councilmembers:

I write to you today regarding the proposed redistricting maps that will be sent to you for approval. The United Community Civic Association has concerns relating to the removal of both Rikers Island and LaGuardia Airport from City Council District 22. Both of these institutions heavily affect the Astoria Heights community. For as long as we can remember, both of these institutions have been housed within the 22nd district. It is unacceptable for them to be removed.

The only road to Rikers Island is located within the 22nd district and goes through the Astoria Heights community. Every land delivery, movement of personnel, visitor or miscellaneous activity that requires someone to drive to the prison moves through our neighborhood. We are disproportionately burdened by this facility and have worked with the city Department of Correction to minimize that burden. While we have no quarrel with, and deeply respect the councilmember representing the 21st district, it makes sense that Rikers Island should remain in the same district as the community it most heavily affects. By leaving Rikers Island in the 22nd district, it allows for our community to continue to have the maximum ability to utilize our elected officials to hold Rikers Island accountable for the impact it has on our neighborhood.

Similarly, LaGuardia Airport has a disproportionate effect on Astoria Heights and the neighborhoods surrounding the 22nd district. Under the new maps, all entrances to the airport are within the 22nd district. In many instances, the airport is right across the street from our neighbors. We also have a long history with the LaGuardia management and worked hard, through all avenues, including our city councilmember to mitigate the environmental and noise concerns we continuously have relating to the airport. It is important that the airport remain in the same district as the community surrounding it, so that we may continue to have the maximum ability to continue to fight for our neighborhoods.

We ask that you, our elected representatives, assist us in addressing this illogical and irresponsible oversight and move to amend any future maps with these changes. Sincerely,

Rose Marie Poveromo
United Community Civic Association

The Obama Appeasers

To The Editor:

President Obama’s recent picks for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State, John Kerry call into question Obama’s judgment and wisdom and his ability to lead this country.

Chuck Hagel opposed the successful troop surge in Iraq and he wants to prematurely pull troops out of Afghanistan. He believes in placating Communist Cuba and wants to negotiate with the terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah. Hagel is committed to negotiating with Iran on its nuclear development program. He wants to make dramatic cuts to our military, which will weaken our national security posture. Hagel will be in lockstep with Obama and will continue the policies of appeasement.

John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War veteran with medals that Swift Boat commanders stated he did not deserve, will march to Obama’s tune of appeasement. Kerry, in Congressional hearings, turned on his fellow Vietnam War veterans. He could be another apologist for the Obama administration.

As a former Navy enlisted man and officer, I question the ability of the Obama/Hagel/Kerry threesome to lead this country from a position of strength in the world. I do not have confidence in the capabilities of these key individuals to promote our national security.

Donald A. Moskowitz
Londonderry, NH

Gop On State Of State

A copy of this letter was received at the Queens Gazette. An Open Letter to Governor Cuomo Dear Governor,

New York Republicans listened to your 2013 State of the State address with great interest, eager to hear your plans to strengthen New York’s economy.

Unfortunately, New York is still the tax capital of the nation, with the highest state debt per capita, the worst-in-the-nation business climate and poverty and unemployment rates above the national average. Our current state budget contains $4.5 billion in temporary resources, including your temporary tax increase of $2.6 billion.

While we were heartened by your pledge not to raise taxes again and to reform our unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation schemes and our antiquated job training programs, there is still much more to be done to make New York competitive.

Your address missed that mark by a wide margin. You proposed to use government funds to pick 10 venture capital “winners”. When government picks winners, “Solyndras” result. The best way to provide investment capital for fledgling companies and to keep successful ones here is to stop taxing capital gains under New York’s punishing ordinary income tax regime.

And since small businesses create most new jobs, where are your proposals to reform that ordinary tax regime? What about proposals to eliminate corporate taxes on our steadily thinning critical mass of increasingly high tech manufacturing companies that are struggling and need capital to survive?

Your lack of executive action has killed the development of New York’s natural gas reserves, driving this new, high-tech industry - and nearly 60,000 new jobs - into Pennsylvania.

Our extraordinary 2009 Republican victories highlighted voters’ frustrations with burgeoning property taxes, and the resulting bipartisan property tax cap put the brakes on rising property taxes. But local governments are still burdened with unfunded state mandates and use reserves or gimmicks to stay within the cap and still provide vital services. Why was your speech silent on unfunded mandate relief?

Charter, parochial and independent schools have been the proving grounds for the K-12 reforms you proposed, but received no mention. New York has the highest per pupil K-12 costs in the nation, and these independent schools are doing a better job at significantly lower costs. Support, in the form of tax credits or otherwise, for these schools should be on the table.

You were right to acknowledge that New York has experienced decades of decline. We need to do more than just manage that decline.

To reverse the trend, New York needs a pro-growth, job-creating agenda, first and foremost.

Ed Cox
Chairman, New York Republican State

Respect Lunar New Year

A copy of this letter was received at the
Queens Gazette.
January 11, 2013
Hon. Thomas F. Prendergast, President
New York City Transit
347 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Dear Mr. Prendergast:

We appreciate you taking the time to meet with us and your response to our concerns about No. 7-line service during Flushing’s Lunar New Year celebration. We know you attempted to find an equitable solution.

We are writing to you today in search of a clarification. You have stated that you and your staff will seek to “better accommodate Flushing’s Lunar New Year celebration” in 2014. For the thousands of people planning to travel to the parade from other parts of the city, that may provide little comfort. Can you please assure us that service will not be interrupted for the day covering the parade and the day of the indoor celebration? The community wants to know that service will not be interrupted on those two days. We would appreciate a commitment within one week.

The safety of MTA passengers must be the agency’s primary concern, and we would never ask you to put critical maintenance projects in jeopardy. That said, there is a palpable sense of frustration among our constituents after facing this issue for the past several years. We appreciate you clarifying the issue of the 2014 schedule in a prompt manner. Sincerely Yours,

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

Congress Serves Itself

To The Editor

I am glad that after much hype Congress did pass the fiscal cliff act. However, I am appalled at many items that were neglected by the passage.

Firstly, the class act that was part of the healthcare law of 2010 affording the frail elderly and the disabled to get long-term care was repealed.

Why must the vulnerable members of our society be subjected to such cruel and callous behavior on the part of Congress. This is not a political issue but a human issue.

Nobody knows, including the congressmembers who did not vote for keeping this part of the law, when they may become suddenly disabled and frail when they live long enough.

I am so disappointed in Congress. The ones who were so uncompromising and uncaring must answer to a higher authority when they meet God.

They can also be voted out of office as well.

Hospitals will also lose money which is appalling since they do care for the sick and injured and are necessary for protecting the health of our society. Human health is a must not a privilege.

Doctors will not be getting a pay cut under Medicare but that is only for a year. FEMA was not even dealt with and our unfortunate victims of Hurricane Sandy will not be helped financially. Why don’t these congressmembers look inside of themselves and put themselves in the place of those in the areas who are suffering detrimentally from the effects of Sandy and provide necessary funding to improve conditions? Time is passing and deaths, disease and other emotional issues can result.

Is this Congress interested in the survival of the fittest? This is not Charles Darwin’s days at all.

We are all equal in the eyes of God and accorded human dignity and respect and food, clothing, shelter and medical care.

I did hear that the crime rate in burglaries in the affected areas of Sandy’s wrath rose.

This is shameful, but as we can see it is a result of no funding from FEMA.

Stealing occurs when people are distraught and nothing is done to help them and I am not condoning burglaries at all.

That is against the law of God.

I appreciate the Gazette giving us the top headlines of 2012 and congratulate this newspaper for keeping us informed, enlightened and educated and may it continue to do so in the year to come and many years.

Healthy and happy New Year to all.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

Kudos To Cuomo

To The Editor:

I would like to applaud Governor Andrew Cuomo for his State of the State address where he came out fighting. He is, in my opinion, the country’s sheriff who wants guns in the hands of responsible citizens. The governor has put forth a seven-point program that will lead to some of the toughest laws in the country. He has taken aim at assault weapons and multi-round ammunition clips. Part of his plan includes keeping guns away from those who are mentally ill and unbalanced. The other day a 90-year-old woman was shot and yesterday a two-year-old boy and his father were shot in Brooklyn. Enough is enough. There are those in state government and in Congress who are calling for stricter gun regulations but we have a governor who walks the talk. Remember this too: Evil thrives when good people do nothing. So let’s all get behind our governor, or more children and our elderly will be shot and killed for no reason. Let me also say, KUDOS Governor Cuomo for standing up and doing the right thing.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

True Heroes

To The Editor:

One thing that we, as New Yorkers, should always be proud of is the way that our first responders handle accidents and other dangerous situations that put people in harm’s way. The ferry crash in Lower Manhattan, and the crane collapse in Queens were both immediately responded to by scores of firefighters, police and EMTs, who rendered assistance to the injured right at the scene of both accidents. Every day, our first responders put their lives on the line in order to protect the people of this city from potential harm. We owe every single one of them a deep debt of gratitude for their dedicated service to our city.

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

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