2015-03-25 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Participatory Budgeting

To The Editor:

The members of OANA (Old Astoria Neighborhood Association) have taken positions on Councilman Costa Constantinides’ upcoming Participatory Budgeting vote and are in favor of the participatory budgeting process currently in District 22, Astoria.

We would like to take this opportunity to make the following comments on ballot items within our organization’s borders (Astoria Park to the north, 21st Street to the east, 36th Avenue to the south, and the East River to the west).

In general we support any capital improvements within our area. However we would like to comment on the following:

Ballot item 12: Redesign 21st Street at Astoria Boulevard:

We are adamantly against this item. The loss of the right-hand turning lane will cause already extremely congested traffic to become more severe. The development of Hallet’s Point will make this congestion much worse.

Instead of removing the lane, we suggest allowing right-hand turns on red from the Astoria Boulevard right-turning lane westbound to 21st Street northbound to alleviate congested traffic. Then, provide turning lights for cars turning from northbound 21st Street to westbound Astoria Boulevard/27th Avenue and cars turning from southbound 21st Street to eastbound Astoria Boulevard/Newtown Avenue. The proposed removal of the turning lane and increase in size of the sidewalk would only reduce the time to walk across the intersection by less than five seconds, so if you want to help pedestrians just increase the crossing time by five seconds.

Ballot item 13: Dog Run In Astoria

We are strongly in favor of this proposal. Astoria is in urgent need of a dog run where dog owners can safely exercise their dogs, especially between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. This area under the Triborough Bridge is currently underutilized. This also allows Astoria Park to keep its off-leash privileges from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m., giving dog owners the ability to exercise their dogs 24 hours a day without being restrained by a leash. Also, the Astoria Dog Owners Association and OANA have committed to maintaining this facility – a prerequisite of the Parks Department – before allowing construction.

Richard Khuzami
President, OANA

LAGCC’s Bright Future

To The Editor:

Unbelievably spectacular! Those are the words that keep ringing in my head when I reflect upon the impact Goldman Sachs’ $2 million gift to LaGuardia will make in the lives of not only our students, but students at community colleges across the country.

Our partnership with Goldman through our 10,000 Small Businesses program provided amazing resources to entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. Now, with this gift, and with the recognition of Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, that “Community colleges are the most powerful tools we have in the United States to move people into the middle class,” we have an extraordinary opportunity to increase support for the vital role of community colleges.

This is such an exciting time for community colleges—thanks to President Obama’s recent free community college proposal—and LaGuardia has been in the vanguard of this momentous shift that is helping to shatter misperceptions about two-year colleges.

Earlier this month, we were delighted to welcome CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken to our Opening Sessions. Chancellor Milliken inspired the college community as we kicked off the spring semester, sharing a university-wide vision that encompasses placing CUNY at the center of the study of urbanization, global education and technology.

I am also thrilled that Mayor de Blasio stepped in to save LaGuardia’s Fatherhood Academy, a proven program that helps young fathers learn parenting skills, while earning a high school equivalency degree and getting prepared for college. With the Mayor’s funding, we can help these dads get the education they need to transform their lives and the lives of their children.

And in keeping with this incredible momentum, faculty and students shared their brilliance and achievements across a variety of media on a range of topics, from effective enrichment programs that bolster persistence, to student philanthropy, to an immigrant perspective on campus diversity.

I hope you are enjoying the emerging balmy weather. Best wishes for a jubilant spring!

Sincerely,
Dr. Gail O. Mellow
President, LAGCC

Rockaway Study

A copy of this letter was received at the Queens Gazette.

Dear Lieutenant General Bostick,

We are writing to respectfully request that the US Army Corps of Engineers immediately hold public forums in the communities that fall under the scope of the Beach Erosion Control and Hurricane Protection project for the Atlantic Coast of New York City, between East Rockaway Inlet, Rockaway Inlet and Jamaica Bay; commonly referred to as the Rockaway Reformulation Study.

As you know, the Rockaway Reformulation Study has been subjected to various delays in funding and implementation over the years. The Sandy Supplemental Bill included full federal funding to complete the study and construct the project. For months now, it has been our understanding that the Reformulation Study is nearing completion and that the Army Corps intends to provide public forums for residents to comment on the project. During this time, many of our constituents have expressed their concerns about the details of the study, as well as its progress to date. However, the study is yet to be released and no public meetings have been scheduled.

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy devastated the communities surrounding Jamaica Bay, displacing thousands of families. To this day, many are still struggling to rebuild their homes. Holding public forums to present the latest on the plans will allow families to better understand the project and provide necessary community input to inform the study. Most importantly, providing a public forum to local families will help to put their minds at ease over the region’s preparedness in the face of future storms and sea level rise.

We respectfully request that you direct the appropriate personnel to investigate this situation and organize community meetings on the status of the Rockaway Reformulation Study and the specifics of the Army Corps efforts. Please inform us of any actions taken. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

Thank you in advance for your prompt attention and response. We look forward to working with you on this important matter. Sincerely,

Charles Schumer
Senator for New York
U.S. Senate
Phillip Goldfeder
Member of New York State Assembly
23rd District, Queens

Hospital A Godsend

To The Editor:

At this time I would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and the entire urology staff at North Shore Hospital in Manhasset, where I was operated on for an aggressive prostate cancer on March 12. Now I would also like to thank Dr. Gary Goldberg of Advanced Urology of Manhasset for his saving hands. He operated with the aid of a robot known as, “Da Vinci.” I have jokingly called it Mr. Roboto, and Robby the Robot. As you might notice I’m a long-time sci-fi fan. I have also believed that yesterday’s science fiction is today’s reality.

I had an aggressive prostate cancer and was very nervous about the outcome. It was a good thing I had gotten tested last year. There is a test known as the PSA and it can save lives. This year there is an expected 30,000 men who will die of this disease, which is curable when caught early.

Meanwhile let me give a shout out to nurses Carolyn, Zerena and Rose who aided in my recovery process and took me a step in the right direction. Their help was a mixture of help, concern, good humor and a polite disposition. As a patient I tried not to be a pain, knowing they had patients who were far sicker than myself. These nurses work hard and try to help the many that are under their care. I even found a man who cleaned the rooms and we talked and he showed concern about how I was feeling. When I was discharged he wished me the best and that my healing would go well. As time goes on I will think of my stay at North Shore Hospital in Manhasset as being God-sent. Now for that I say to all that helped me, “kudos!” for the caring and doing all you could do for me.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

Give A Hoot

To The Editor:

Now that we are leaving winter and the snows are melting, what is revealed is not only the earth waiting to burst forth with the promise of spring, but a whole lot of litter. As I walk through the neighborhood, I am astonished to see so much rotting paper, plastic bottles, cigarette butts, discarded wrappers and other debris that had been hidden by the snow and ice. The landscape looks sad and devalues our homes.

If we all pitch in and clean up just a little bit around our homes, yards and even our blocks, our communities will look beautiful once again. It takes very little time to set things straight. Toss that litter into the garbage or recycling containers and get the benefit of a little exercise at the same time.

We all live in a community. Don’t trash it or let it be trashed.

Henry Euler
Bayside

Not A Stigma

To The Editor:

It was with great interest that I read the March 18 issue of the Queens Gazette. I definitely agree with the Editorial in saying that we already paid taxes years ago when the East River crossings were built. There is no need to milk the residents of Queens any more with taxes in the form of tolls. We are taxed enough.

I am glad that there was a Greek Independence Day event. The Greek people have definitely contributed a great deal to our culture in food, heritage, science, history, and literature and that is true of ancient Greece. I think that diversity must be taught more in schools in our city, so we can understand the cultures, holidays, foods, and customs of all peoples so that prejudice and discrimination that breed from ignorance would not occur.

I am glad that LaGuardia Airport is being renovated.

I also am glad that it is the 50th anniversary of landmark preservation in our state. We must cherish and value the historic sites and landmarks in our city and state because they are our living history for generations of the future to enjoy, learn about, and cherish.

I am so dismayed that there is a battle between the Governor and Mayor and the teacher’s union concerning education. When too many cooks stir the broth there is a big problem. All parties must get together and work in good faith for the common good for the education of our children, who are the future of our city, state, and nation.

I heard that New York City has the longest working hours and that is true due to commuting time.The lower paid workers live greater distances from their jobs and have to take buses and trains and there are delays.There is an increase in mass transit delays of 45 percent during this year and yet a fare increase on mass transit is being enacted.Why must this be done on the backs on workers?

Also, I believe that there must be an independent advocate for utilities and the utilities are ripping off consumers.

There are too many mental health issues and suicides and murders and jumping onto train tracks and more attention to mental health issues must be paid and insurance must pay for this service. Medicare pays for physical conditions but not for mental health issues and that is true of other private insurances.

Mental health issues are no shame or stigma just as disability or heart disease or cancer are not shameful.

I am proud of the fact that the Astoria Center of Israel has historic status and applaud the fact that this 90-year-old house of God has been granted this status.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

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