2015-05-20 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Designate A Driver

To The Editor:

The unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day, is right around the corner. It’s a time when families and friends gather to celebrate with backyard barbecues, water sports and other fun outdoor activities. To keep this holiday weekend safe for everyone, remember to drink responsibly and make a designated driver or designated skipper part of your weekend celebration plans.

Thanks to Anheuser-Busch programs and efforts, and increased law enforcement, drunk-driving fatalities during the Memorial Day period are down 45 percent since 1982 according to the US Department of Transportation.

We all have a role to play in celebrating responsibly this Memorial Day weekend. Make a designated driver part of your holiday plans.

C.A. Verdon
Consumer Social Responsibility
Coordinator, Anheuser-Busch Sales &
Service Of New York, Inc.

World War I Remembered

In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands, we throw
The torch – Be yours to hold it high!
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
—Captain John D. McCrae 1872-1918
Submitted by Hyman Auslander,

‘...World A Bit Better’

To The Editor:

On this first Mother’s Day without my mother (she passed away last March), I chose to spend the afternoon with as many mothers as possible at Westway, the homeless shelter in our community embroiled in controversy and lawsuits.

I arrived at the location with no specific expectations, just that I wanted to brighten this special day for the mothers residing there by offering a small gift bag, meeting the mothers and getting to know a little something about them.

They were so appreciative of the gesture that someone from the community cared enough to stop by, but I was particularly struck by the kind dispositions of the people I met and the fact that they were so articulate and communicative.

The residents’ reasons for being there were varied and I would not be at liberty to share any of their personal stories, but low-wage employment and/or loss of employment were at the top of the list.

Whether Westway remains a homeless shelter for one month, five years or a decade, as we ponder the future of our community and Westway’s place in it, I offer an excerpt from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s writing in his piece entitled Success, “…to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

Klea Theoharis

Remove Comm. Taylor

A copy of this letter was received at the
Queens Gazette.
May 12, 2015
Hon. Bill de Blasio

City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Dear Mayor de Blasio:

I am writing to you to demand the immediate removal of City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) Commissioner Gilbert Taylor.

Commissioner Taylor has failed to take control of this ever-increasing problem. He has allowed several homeless shelters across the city to operate under hazardous conditions that have gone unaddressed for months. He has ignored several letters sent to him from my office and refused to respond to my attempts to meet with him to discuss possible solutions to the city’s homeless problem.

In addition, DHS failed to attend a public forum I hosted last month as Chair of the Senate Task Force on the Delivery of Social Services in New York City, to which dozens of agencies submitted testimony regarding challenges in accessing social services.

While Commissioner Taylor may be well-intentioned, he is clearly unable to provide the necessary leadership. I urge you to take action.

Tony Avella
State Senator
11th Senatorial District

LaGuardia Lauded

Dear Friends,

Spring at LaGuardia continues to be a breakout season for awards, accolades, calls to action and community partnerships that highlight the incredible work of students, faculty and staff in myriad areas of knowledge, expertise and innovation. We truly are newsmakers.

Our students continue to win awards that attest to their smarts and grit, while our faculty and staff are yet again lauded for their research and community outreach, from cleaning up Newtown Creek to fostering ethnic harmony. Elected officials too, continue to call on us as a leadership institution in our neighborhood’s growth and development.

I am especially proud of our theater program, which birthed the marvelous “Beyond Sacred” program that explores Muslim identity on multiple artistic levels. Under the superb direction of Ping Chong & Company our fearlessly candid students received kudos in the Times, WNYC and on NY1. Bravo!

Commencement is less than a month away, and I can hardly wait. The day never fails to deliver a rush of bliss and fulfillment for the graduates, their families and the whole LaGuardia community. We are honored to be joined by Cecilia Munoz, the head of the White House Domestic Policy Council and an energizing force behind the President’s agenda to make a community college education free for all Americans. I hope you can join us.

Dr. Gail O. Mellow
President, LaGuardia Community College

Knocks Down Area

A copy of this letter was received at the
Queens Gazette.
April 21, 2015
Jeanique Greene, Commissioner,
Kevin Kim, Commissioner,
New York State Liquor Authority
80 South Swan Street, 9th Floor
Albany, NY 12210
Re: Liquor License Application
Reconsideration Hearing
Knockdown Center, DMI Inc.
52-19 Flushing Avenue
Maspeth, NY 11378

Dear Commissioners Greene & Kim:

It has come to my attention that your agency on May 5 will be conducting a recertification hearing for the establishment known as the Knockdown Center. As you know, last May your agency denied a liquor license application for a variety of reasons, including little or no community support, lack of transportation options around the area and a concern for the quality of life for both residents and the surrounding community.

I have written to you and several city and state agencies expressing my opposition to this establishment receiving a liquor license. My views on this topic have not changed and I still continue to have very serious concerns in regards to this business receiving a full liquor license. Here are several reasons that I have outlined:

1) This establishment is currently in an Industrial Business Zone (IBZ) making the space much better suited for a manufacturing/ industrial business. These zones were created to provide financial incentives to businesses that went into manufacturing. A study by the New York Industrial Retention Center supports this reasoning and claims that commercial businesses like the Knockdown Center can disrupt and ultimately lead to a breakdown of the zones. As a supporter of the IBZ, I would be very concerned by this proposed outcome.

2) The Maspeth area has very limited transportation options. The Knockdown Center has applied repeatedly for a place of Assembly permit to have as much as 5,000 people at their events. This could lead to hundreds and possibly thousands of people coming into our neighborhood at all hours of the night. With only three bus lines and a considerable distance from the train, the added volume of people will further strain the already limited transportation options residents have in Maspeth and the surrounding communities in Queens.

3) For the past year, this establishment has held many events in relation to the arts, music concerts and various shows. One concert, in particular occurred on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 which featured several musical acts consisting of DJs. My office received several complaints that nearby residents allegedly observed both cars and customers begin to line up around the facility at approximately 1 pm. As the event drew closer many others joined in lining up on Flushing Avenue looping around to 54th Street (Please note that 54th Street between Flushing and Grand has several residential homes and apartments). Throughout the night, there were both large crowds present, customers sitting on stoops of nearby homes and allegedly public urination in the streets. It is also my understanding that although the concert was alcohol-free there was a private VIP tent that applied for a caterer’s permit for 50 people from 5 pm to 10 pm. Several residents called in noise complaints that were filed with the city’s 311 system. I have enclosed my letter that was sent to your agency in November of last year with pictures and 311 complaint numbers.

4) Queens Community Board 5 which covers portions of the Maspeth area also has come out in opposition to the liquor license. They have written several letters expressing their concerns and rejected the liquor license at their monthly meeting last year. Please find several letters that I have written to your agency on this establishment. The community board and the Maspeth community have very serious concerns that their quality of life will be seriously diminished if this establishment is granted a liquor license. I support and strongly endorse their concerns and would ask that your agency once again reject the application at the recertification hearing. Please feel free to contact me or my office if you have any questions about this topic. I look forward to your response and await your decision.

Catherine Nolan
37th Assembly District
cc: Senators Joseph Addabbo, Michael
Gianaris; Assemblywoman Margaret
Markey; Councilwoman Elizabeth
Crowley; Michael E. Jones, Deputy CEO,
New York State Liquor Authority;
Jacqueline Held, New York State Liquor
Authority; Captain Mark T. Wachter,
Commanding Officer, 104th Police
Precinct; Gary Giordano, District
Manager, Queens Community Board 5;
Roe Daraio, President, COMET:
Communities of Maspeth & Elmhurst
Together; Charles Ober, President,
Ridgewood Property Owners & Civic
Jean Tendler, Director, Industrial
Business Development

Marriage Equality

The Supreme Court, having accepted corporations as persons and money as speech is about to unnecessarily define marriage. I fear that the person who wrote that “same-sex couples and their families deserve the 1,324 rights and protections that come with a New York marriage license” in a May 13, 2009 Letter To The Editor will get exactly that. Although same-sex couples can never procreate, if marriage is defined to include them, samesex couples would automatically get all the rights and protections of different sex couples, which can procreate under the right conditions. Because some different sex couples cannot have children is not a valid reason to automatically give rights regarding children to all same-sex couples, none of which can ever conceive.

We can decide the rights of same-sex couples through our political process without defining, or redefining, marriage.

While the marriage equality argument for same-sex marriage can be used to support any three-person union as well as any two-person union, there is an argument against same-sex marriage based upon what is natural to human propagation, i.e. “multiplication by natural reproduction.”

However, if you agree there is an argument against same-sex marriage based upon what is natural, you had better hurry to make it, because the propaganda tidal wave is already here. The New York Times Magazine article of May 3, 2015 by Michael Pollan opens warmly with: “Something in the human mind, or heart, seems to need a word of praise for all that humanity hasn’t contaminated, and for us that word is “natural.” Don’t get happy, because Mr. Pollan’s final sentences are:

“Nature, if you believe in human exceptionalism, is over. We probably ought to search elsewhere for our values.”

If we can’t find our values in what is natural, where can we find them, religion?

Leonard Lanzone
Astoria, New York

Kicked Out

To The Editor:

My name is Paula Caramalis, and I’m writing this message to you asking for help.

We are a group of 14 seniors, part of the city tennis program.

For many years we have used field no. 14 in Astoria Park, close to the water and restroom. This year we are no longer allowed to use it, because the Bumblebee group wants that spot. This is a health and safety issue for our seniors. Our program is Monday and Wednesday, from 10 am to12 pm. Please help us as soon as possible.

We cannot get any positive response from the Parks office. Astoria Park does not have a manager on site and each time we try to ask for help, there is nobody to help.

Paula Caramalis

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