2015-05-13 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

EPA Better Suited

A copy of this letter was received at the
Queens Gazette.
April 30, 2015
Gina McCarthy
Administrator
Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460

Dear Administrator McCarthy:

I write in strong support of increasing the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) role in addressing noise pollution by coordinating all federal noise control activities concerning airplanes and helicopters.

Despite Congress’ discontinuation of funding for the Office of Noise Abatement and Control (ONAC) at the request of the Reagan Administration in 1981, under their current authority, the EPA maintains these responsibilities. Pursuant to the Noise Control Act of 1972 and the Quiet Communities Act of 1978, the EPA retains the authority to investigate and study noise and its effect; disseminate information to the public regarding noise pollution and its adverse health effects; respond to inquiries on matters related to noise; and evaluate the effectiveness of existing regulations for protecting public health and welfare.

Even with the EPA’s current noise pollution authority, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is tasked with air transport-related noise concerns. I have witnessed an inconceivable lack of coordination between airport operators and the FAA regarding noise control. While the airport operators are deemed responsible for noise, the FAA is responsible for flight paths and regulating the airline industry. The FAA neither has the resources nor the mission priorities to adequately address intolerable levels of noise in the best interests of my constituents. I fully support the necessity of creating an efficient and safe airspace, and the FAA continues to take tremendous strides to improve those areas. However, it has failed to convince me and the public that it can objectively handle the problems caused by noise pollution. The EPA is better suited to study the consequences of noise pollution and propose measures to ameliorate this ongoing problem.

Many Members of Congress have supported the FAA taking steps to reduce airplane and helicopter noise over communities, and I will continue to support these initiatives. The FAA should lower its acceptable level of noise pollution, create more optimal flight paths, and encourage mechanical upgrades that reduce noise on a per-flight basis. However, in order to properly protect human health and the environment from excessive noise, the EPA must fully include flight noise in its jurisdiction. I have no doubt that its involvement is the best way forward to coordinate the efforts of air carriers, the FAA, and airport operators.

I ask that you inform me on the types of actions you are able to take under existing authority, and the practical effect on my constituents resulting from the FAA’s lack of noise pollution reduction and mitigation. Please specify how re-establishing ONAC would broaden your authority and resources. Sincerely, Grace Meng Member of Congress

Transit Equality Now

To The Editor:

We support railways and faster transportation. Select Bus Service will take away transit options and punish the outer boroughs with tickets, fines and longer commutes. We need railways just like Manhattan.

Don’t be fooled by Transportation Alternatives, Vision Zero, Select Bus Service, and QueensWay elitists. They want to take away your transportation options, including your time, freedom and prosperity. They want to divide, demonize and punish many commuters. They want to force you into a dangerous, unreliable, slow, overcrowded transit system.

We support more, faster, and safer transportation.

Why would we support Select Bus Service on Woodhaven Boulevard, replace the Q 52 and Q 53 Limited Bus Service, and ignore the QueensRail?

We have serious problems with a service that will take away transit options with this plan. The plan will take away at least four travel lanes and numerous left turns in many areas. This will include two bus lanes and two new bus stop medians. DOT is planning to take away parking with bus bulbs and lower the speed limit to inefficient speeds. Worst of all, bus stops and local bus service will be reduced and eliminated in Queens, 5th Road, Beach 105, Beach 101, and Beach 98 Street. Isn’t is predictable and sad that they would wait to the end of the workshops to tell us we are getting more service with less bus stops.

This plan is discriminatory, hateful and disrespectful to the people of Queens with elitist, undemocratic policies to manipulate and divide commuters. This plan is anti-transportation and steals our time and our opportunities.

We need a plan that will help everyone. Vision Zero helps bicyclists and pedestrians only. Our plan “Vision Everyone” would expand our transit options with more service, and not less service. We must restore the unused train tracks that are only two to six blocks east and parallel to Woodhaven Boulevard which took 43 minutes from Penn Station, to west, central and south Queens. The QueensRail, the old Rockaway Beach Line would help unite people and money throughout the region and create numerous opportunities for our people, not less or divide commuters. The QueensRail would not divide commuters with forced manipulated traffic congestion and higher travel expenses with excessive tickets and fines. We would not forcefully and artificially eliminate traffic lanes, bus stops, left turns, and parking. We would add more train tracks and reduce travel times for all commuters. This plan of adding more train tracks and more buses is clearly acceptable in half of Manhattan but not the outer boroughs like Queens.

Manhattan is spending at least 32 billion dollars on railway expansion while Queens loses transportation options with Select Bus Service and not railways.

Manhattan elite are once again using divisive, misleading tactics to dump their “affordable and practical” transit options on a neglected borough.

The Queens Public Transit Committee wants to organize and unite the people of Queens and the outer boroughs and fight for faster transportation and transit equality. We demand the same amount of spending and transit options in the outer boroughs. Five Boroughs, One City: We demand the best trains, buses, ferries, roadways, highways, bridges and tunnels for all commuters, including the outer boroughs, now.

Vision Zero, Select Bus Service and QueensWay will divide, separate and isolate people with longer, expensive commutes while the QueensRail will unite and bring people and business together faster, safer and more affordably.

An Art & Science

To The Editor:

Maybe because I’ve been taking the subway more often and reading the Poetry in Motion placards (far more enlightening than the Dr. Zizmor ads). Maybe because it’s finally spring. Or maybe because I’m becoming more reflective as I get older, but I’m more aware of verse as a form of communication. I did a quick internet search and surprisingly there are poems about economic development. And not so surprisingly, they are pretty bad.

Good poetry stirs feelings and emotions. I remember when I first read Louis Carroll’s The Walrus and Carpenter. It seemed so amusing and fun as it starts out (“The sun was shining on the sea...”), though by the last line it’s so dark and scary (“And this was scarcely odd, because They’d eaten every one”). Reading The Low Road by Marge Piercy with her take on what people can do if they band together (“Three people are a delegation...with four you can play bridge and start an organization...a dozen make a demonstration...”) was inspiring. And then Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken (“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference”) reminds us that it’s okay to deviate from the norm.

The first Monday of each month we offer New Idea to New Venture, a seminar on things to think about when considering entrepreneurship. I usually teach the class, and it’s one of the highlights of my month. I meet with 5 to 20 folks who have an idea for a business that they think is worth pursuing. I tell them to go home and write a short paragraph on what they think their business can be. Something simple. I remind them that business is, of course, a science in many ways: one needs a plan and strategy; research must be done; and money must be found to open it and sustain it as it grows.

But I also tell them business is art. Just like a poem, it should be well-crafted. The description of the business should be clear and make sense to others. While a poem has stanzas, a business plan has components – and they should flow naturally. Most importantly, a business plan should reveal the creators’ passion and desire to change the world. In the words of Edgar Guest in It Couldn’t Be Done, “But just buckle in with a bit of a grin, Just take off your coat and go to it; Just start to sing as you tackle the thing That ‘cannot be done’ and you’ll do it.” A great poem with excellent advice.

Next week is our annual fundraising event, Queens Taste. The poetry there will be in the form of the best food and drink in the world. Plus, clients of the Entrepreneur Space, a foodand business incubator that we operate in Long Island City, will be on hand with their artisan specialties. And as part of the fun, the public will add their prose by voting on Best Appetizer, Best EntrĂ©e, Best Dessert, and Best Beverage in a people’s choice format. Sincerely,

Seth Bornstein
Director, QEDC

Bring On The Fiesta!

To The Editor:

Skilled nursing care centers across the nation will be observing National Nursing Home Week, beginning on Mother’s Day, May 10 through May 16, using the theme of “Bring on the Fiesta!”

It will be a celebration of “Familia, Vida and Amor” — family, life, and love — because the human journey continues every day. These essential ingredients of everyone’s humanity allow an individual to live his or her life to its fullest potential, irrespective of age, infirmity or care setting.

National Nursing Home Week has become a time-honored tradition, first celebrated by the American Health Care Association in 1967. Care centers across the state will hold fiestas, open houses, VIP events, balloon launches, tours, and other events. This is a great time for families to visit and friends and neighbors to drop by. If a person can’t come by, I urge you to make a phone call, send a card, flowers, or even an email.

This special attention will surely help a resident “Bring on the Fiesta!”

Richard J. Herrick
President and CEO
New York State Health Facilities Association,
Albany

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