2015-02-18 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Trailers, Black History

Dear Friends:

On February 6, I was happy to join several state and city elected officials to announce that dilapidated classroom trailers would finally be removed from P.S. 19 in Corona. Alongside Assemblymembers DenDekker, Moya and Nolan, I am proud to have fought to pass the $2 billion bond act that allowed the question of additional funding for classrooms to be brought to the public for a vote as part of a ballot initiative. I am also thankful to Borough President Katz for bringing us all together to share this welcome news with P.S. 19 parents and students alike.

While the news of classrooms for all students at P.S. 19 is a welcome step in the right direction, there remain several issues confronting education policy at all levels of government. With this year’s Legislative Session getting underway in Albany, I look forward to working on these issues for all constituents in District 13. I am hopeful that this year will not only bring continued funding for the district’s public schools, but also that we will expand the promise of higher education to all as part of the DREAM Act.

Please join me at my office’s annual Celebration of African American History and Heritage on Thursday, February 26 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Langston Hughes Library, located at 100-01 Northern Blvd. in Corona.

One of our honorees, and the evening’s keynote speaker, will be Bertha Lewis, Founder and President of The Black Institute. Founded in 2010, the mission of The Black Institute is to shape intellectual discourse and dialogue and impact public policy uniquely from a Black perspective.

The idea for a national annual celebration of African American history began in 1926, when Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the founder of the Association for Afro-American Life and History, initiated what was then called Negro History Week.

February was chosen as the month to celebrate African American history because it includes the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass, the noted abolitionist, orator and journalist, and President Abraham Lincoln, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation in an effort to end slavery in the United States.

Through this special observance, Dr. Woodson hoped that all Americans would be reminded of their ethnic roots and that harmony among the country’s different racial groups would develop out of mutual respect and understanding. In 1976, this national recognition of African American history was expanded to include the entire month of February.

Please make sure to keep up to date on happenings both in Albany and in the district by visiting my Facebook page, as well as my Twitter.

As always, if you have any questions or need help, do not hesitate to stop by my office or to call us, at 718-205-3881.

Jose Peralta
State Senator

Save MPB

To The Editor:

I am writing to you regarding the closing of a beloved school, Most Precious Blood in Long Island City. Both of my children (sixth and third grades) have attended this school since Pre-K. Our school has been around for almost 60 years. The Pastor, Father Krlis, wants to close us down because the church is in need of repairs. We, the parents, were notified via a text message on a Saturday night that the school was closing! We were all shocked by this news, as our school is operating at a profit and should not be closed so that the church can raise money (probably by renting out our school to a public school) to fix the church.

Our questions to Father Krlis and the Diocese of Brooklyn are falling on deaf ears. No one will answer our questions as to why the closing of a profitable school is necessary for the sake of the church. Emails to Cardinal Dolan have been replied to with a curt “not my jurisdiction.”

If this has happened to our school, it can happen to any Catholic school simply at the whim of the Diocese.

We want to save our school. The closing of this school not only affects the students that attend it, but it will have an impact on the neighboring schools (i.e. overcrowding.) If the school is leased out to a charter, it will affect traffic in the neighborhood by way of busloads of students coming in. Studies have shown that crime also goes up in neighborhoods when Catholic schools close. Please help us by getting the word out to save MPB. Check out our website at Save MPB.com.

Donna McPartland

Won’t Surrender MPB

To The Editor:

My daughter attends Most Precious Blood School in Astoria, which is set to close this June. I’m sure you’re well aware of all the attention this matter has been receiving since we parents were notified on January 10. I just want the public to know how frustrating this is for the parents, as well as for the children. Every day since she found out, my daughter has been asking me where she is going to go to school. We live in Brooklyn, right off the BQE (Morgan and Meeker exit). Even before my daughter was born, her father and I attended Mass at MPB, as her father lived in Astoria at the time. When I did a little research, I discovered that my former math teacher, Ms. DeMaio, from St. Cecilia’s, was the principal at MPB. When I had my daughter and started looking into nursery schools, I decided on MPB. At the time, I was working in Queens so it was actually convenient, but I also wanted my daughter to get the structure and a quality Catholic education that I received while attending St. Cecilia’s, from kindergarten through the eighth grade. I would have loved to put her in St. Cecilia’s but unfortunately it closed and is now under construction to be turned into luxury condominiums (hint, hint). I hope this is not the fate of MPB, which is a great school.

Like all buildings from a certain era, repairs are warranted. However, those who have decided to close the school are making it seem that the building is unsafe, which is simply untrue. Also, if Fr. Krlis felt the school building was so unsafe, why did it take him six years to relay this infor- mation?

MPB is a thriving school, yet it’s being sacrificed to save the church building. We parents were given information on neighboring Catholic schools. However, I’m discovering that some have higher tuitions. I also learned that one school has two classes for each grade which means it is more crowded. In support of keeping MPB open, I, along with many other parents, will continue to write letters about how the Brooklyn Diocese is allowing a thriving school to close abruptly.

I want parents who have children in other Catholic schools to see what is being done to MPB and know that the same can happen to their

children’s school.
Charisse Munize

Support Local News

To The Editor:

How disappointing to learn that the New York Daily News will be closing its Queens Bureau office. Daily newspapers such as The New York Times, New York Post, Newsday and Daily News 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 communities.

Weekly newspapers based in Queens such as the Queens Gazette provide more in-depth coverage of local news not found in major daily newspapers.

We continue to be fortunate to live in one of the few remaining free societies, with a wealth of information sources available. Sadly, most American cities and suburbs are down to one local daily or weekly newspaper. Newspapers have to deal with increasing costs for newsprint, delivery and distribution, along with reduced advertising revenue and declining readership.

Please join me along with your neighbors who read the Queens Gazette. Patronize their advertisers; they provide the revenue necessary to keep them in business. Let them know you saw their ad. This is what helps keep our neighbors employed, the local economy growing and provides space for your favorite or not-so-favorite letter writers.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

Queens IS ‘The City’

To The Editor:

For far too long, the boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island have been denigrated as the “outer boroughs” of New York City. The media, the politicians and even the residents refer to these areas as outer parts of our great city. We are in fact, not satellites, but all part of our great city. When one goes to Manhattan from any of these four boroughs, we should not say, “I am going to the city”, because we are already in the city. We should just be saying, “I am going to Manhattan”.

This division manifests itself in many ways. When important hearings are held dealing with land use and other issues, local residents have to trek to Manhattan to express their opinions. The City Planning Commission, the Board of Standards and Appeals, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission all operate from Downtown Manhattan. This makes it difficult for residents of the four non-Manhattan boroughs to appear to testify on matters that affect the quality of life in their neighborhoods. Why can’t these agencies come to the four other boroughs on a regular basis and hold hearings dealing with each borough’s issues, at a time convenient for any resident who chooses to appear and testify at such hearings?

And why don’t we see our citywide-elected officials and agency heads coming to all of the boroughs to listen to the taxpayers who pay their salaries? I know that when the mayor makes an appearance in Queens, it is viewed as a great occasion, something out of the ordinary. This applies not only to our current mayor, but to all of the mayors of the past.

We need to see the citywide elected people and agency heads on a regular basis, not just at election time or at some grand event. I would strongly suggest that the leaders appear in each of the five boroughs at least once a month to listen to the residents and their concerns. We are concerned about education, transportation, housing issues, crime prevention, health care, the environment, taxes, utility rates and all aspects of community life. These leaders should come to a civic or community organization meeting. I am sure that arrangements can be made so that they can appear in almost all parts of all the boroughs over the course of the year.

Recently, Schools Chancellor Carmen FariƱa came to Little Neck, but was only able to stay one hour to listen to and answer questions regarding residents’ concerns about our local schools. Her appearance was most welcome. I am sure that citywide elected officials and agency heads would be welcome no matter what part of the city that they would visit. So I would urge them to venture out of Downtown Manhattan and meet the locals. We are friendly and don’t bite!

Henry Euler

Support Kurdish Allies

To The Editor:

The U.S. has to start directly supplying significant military equipment to the Kurds so they can effectively combat ISIS. The Kurdish Peshmerga troops are excellent fighters and our allies in the Middle East, and we need to strengthen them so they can defeat ISIS and take back territory in Iraq and Syria.

The White House Junior Varsity (JV) is currently sending our military equipment to the Iraqi government for further distribution to the Kurds, but the Iraqi government is concerned with the Kurds’ desire to further their establishment of an autonomous country. Therefore, only a small portion of our equipment gets to the Kurds.

Our long-term success in the area lies with the Kurdish ground forces. Obama and his JV White House staff have to stop pandering to the Iraqi government and start doing what is best for the U.S.

Donald A. Moskowitz
Londonderry, NH

Military Half-Measures

To The Editor:

The President has once again failed to provide the necessary leadership for this nation.

His request for Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against the Islamic State shows that he has failed to carefully evaluate the threat, develop a workable strategy to overcome it, and propose to use all means necessary to achieve success.

His justification for the use of force is a grabbag of statements, with only a vague reference to the “national security interests of the United States” and no attempt to clearly define those interests, nor to consider whether the use of military force is the best approach. Other reasons given to justify intervention describe conditions which exist outside the Middle East (e.g. the depredations of Boko Haram), yet he does not believe they require US intervention elsewhere. Congress, during its hearings on the AUMF, must take the responsibility for debating and deciding what our national interests are and whether the threat requires military force.

The President’s “strategy” relies on US air power and ground forces provided by other nations. However, it remains to be seen whether those nations, primarily Iraq, will be able to field effective armies. At best, it will take time for them to be equipped and trained, which raises questions about the three-year limitation proposed by the President. Military experts, and even highranking officers of the armed forces, have declared that US ground forces may be needed, and should be available for use. A good strategy should not assume that all will go well. Rather, it should assume that the difficulties will be greater than expected and be prepared to deal with them, not placing limits of time or force structure.

If the Islamic State is a true threat to our “national security interests” (and I believe a strong case can be made), then our strategy must include possible use of as much military force as necessary to guarantee victory. Victory in the Gulf War of 1991 and the Iraq War of 2003-11 was won because American presidents were willing to commit strong US forces, and to augment those forces when necessary.

The President has not done his job. It is now time for Congress to fill the gap. They must hold lengthy and extensive hearings, asking the tough questions that the President has chosen to avoid.

They must then decide whether the President can be trusted to command effective military action, or if intervention is more likely to be a waste of resources in a lost war.

Peter J. Thomas
Americans for Constitutional Liberty

Teachers Abused

To The Editor:

Assaults on public employees are increasing. It’s become an occupational hazard not only for law enforcement, the nature of which makes officers vulnerable, but on other city employees also.

Bus drivers, for instance, have been the victims of violence that is not random, but rather intentionally because they are doing their job in the manner they’re supposed to. This alarming development has been recognized and now announced and posted on every bus are the severe penalties imposed upon perpetrators of this felony.

Similar sanctions have been put in place to deal with foul play against other categories of workers.

But not teachers. Why is that?

Educators, especially teachers and paraprofessionals, are punched, bitten, kicked, shoved and spat upon by students far more than the general public imagines and the “authorities” choose to realize. The consequences to the offenders are often non-existent and it is not unusual for knowledge of these attacks to be suppressed by supervisors who discourage the victim from pursuing redress or even seeking treatment. Their rationale is “what they don’t know won’t hurt us.”

The same penalties that apply to assaults on other public servants should be extended to public school teachers. It is long overdue!

Ron Isaac
Fresh Meadows

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