2015-06-24 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Great Teddy Roosevelt

To The Editor:

Just watching The HBO TV “The Roosevelts, An Intimate History” by Ken Burns with Peter Coyote narrating. Wow, what a great democratic President was our Teddy Roosevelt (Small “d” but great enough to qualify for a capital “D”) Watta guy. That was once our progressive Republican Party as opposed to our present regressive Teablican Party. What was once the GOP, Grand Old Party is today’s Greed Obsessed Panderers.

To mention just a few in his Progressive agenda: Control excessive corporate influence, took on the captains of industry and argued for greater government control over economy, steward of the nation’s conservation and declaring vast areas of national preserves not to be infringed upon by private profiteers, protect social welfare, promote and fight for Women’s Suffrage, restore economic opportunities and correct the many unfairnesses in American life, pursued a strategy of anti-trust prosecutions and regulatory control...and on and on – a model by which all future presidents would be judged.

Is there anyone left to champion the ideas and ideals of Teddy “Bull Moose”? Certainly not at the present. Home, after my Korea stint, I voted for Ike, a general and a man with a soul; Republican or Democrat, who cared. It was the man and his views that mattered. Not dissimilar was more recently another General, Colin Powell blindsided by the Iraq invasion debacle, but nevertheless, sincere and humbled by his allowing himself to be so misled. Then, right here in our own area, there was Javits, Lindsay, Rockefeller, intelligent cerebral Republicans and even more recently, Jon Huntsman. What is it about having depth that is such a deterrent within today’s Tea-infused Republican Party?! Rather we have this rollout of the present cavalcade of caricatures. Presently there appears to be about 10 announced and at least three or more candidates yet to jump into the fray. Even the ever publicity-addicted Trump threatens to once again join the crowd. His contention would make a laughing matter of even the most righteous contest competition.

Oh Teddy, where are you now when your Party so badly needs your morality and guidance?!

Nicholas Zizelis
Bayside

Regulate Rents Now

To The Editor:

I am appalled that the rent regulations renewal was not passed yet. I cannot stand political games and this constant bickering among party lines. These people are in our state legislature to serve us, our best interests and seem to be corrupt and selfcentered, callous and heartless. Something must be done and the governor must step in and not let them go home until something concrete to protect renters is passed. This is a crisis situation.

I am glad that the editorial about Father’s Day was published. However fathers are friends to children now and where is the discipline? And yes fathers must set an example for children to follow. Every day is Father’s Day and we must honor our fathers according to the Ten Commandments to honor and respect. Elderly fathers must be honored as well and sometimes are placed in facilities and neglected.

Fathering children does not make a person a true father and I must say that my Dad was the best-taught me self discipline, to be orderly, to plan, to care about others and he set an example for me. I congratulate Lucille Hartmann upon her 36 years of public service and her being the CB1 District Manager for many years. She made a difference in city government.

I agree that Yogi Berra should be given the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is an inspiration to all and is age 90 years old. They do not make players in professional sports like Yogi and the old-timers. Now the players are money-hungry, take steroids, are self-centered, and there is no team spirit as there used to be. I cannot believe that there was a so-called ISIS plotter going to Queens College and wanting to blow up somewhere in NYC. Why are we permitting these people to live here, work here, and be educated here?

Also, I admire the Santora fund for scholarships and praise his father for doing this and applaud the son for being a 9/11 hero.

Thanks, Gazette, for giving us such wonderful news and a splendid newspaper.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

School Safety Plan

To The Editor:

The Department of Education’s goal of having 21,000 school door alarms in more than 1,200 buildings before the end of 2015 will go a long way towards protecting the safety of students, especially those who are at greatest risk of running away. But not far enough.

Certainly it will immediately alert the staff and by being able to act faster will improve the chances that the child will be found before tragedy.

But when that alarm sounds, whose job is it to take action and are they equipped to take it? What is the protocol? Teachers and paraprofessionals, for instance, cannot chase kids, particularly off school grounds. They are not in a position physically or legally to pursue. So who is and do they know that they are? And do they know what to do?

Every public school is required to have a Safety Plan in effect. It is renewed or updated annually by representatives of the administration, teachers union, Parents Association and Safety Agents (who are part of the Police Department) who have received input from their members. The Safety Plan is a very detailed document that clearly identifies roles and responsibilities and spells out procedures for routine and crisis situations.

It is created around a template with additions and adaptations that suit and specifically apply to the unique needs and realities of every individual school. It is the right and duty not only of those who have signed-off on the Plan to access it and be aware of its contents.

The purpose of the Safety Plan is to establish accountability and elucidate a practical, efficient, and reliable strategy for preventing problems and for dealing with them successfully when they occur.

If your loved ones are students, you should become actively involved in safety issues and other aspects of vital concern in their school life.

Ron Isaac
Fresh Meadows

Too Close To Home

On Saturday, June 20, Queens residents and civic leaders continued their weekly demonstrations against the proposed Neighborhood Prison being located on a residential street in Queens Village as part of a “Close to Home” limited-secure facility program. The community will continue these protests every Saturday at 11 am in front of the former Merrick School Academy building at 207-01 Jamaica Avenue, the proposed site of the Juvenile Detention facility.

On June 6, I organized a protest demonstration with Queens Village Civic Association (QVCA) leaders to expose plans to house a Neighborhood Prison in the middle of a residential community. This community needs schools, not prisons.

Queens Village residents were previously unaware that 20 juvenile offenders convicted of assault, robbery, mugging, drug dealing and other serious crimes were being relocated from upstate prisons and into their neighborhood. This program has been flying under the radar for too long and the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), the city agency tasked with its implementation has not been transparent nor provided the community with adequate security protocols.

In the most recent violation of the public trust by ACS, three Close to Home juvenile offenders residing at a similar facility in Brooklyn went AWOL on June 1 and raped, brutally beat and robbed a young woman in Chinatown. Last week, New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters warned, “The bigger question is whether this is an isolated case or there’s a broader systemic failure to supervise and safely maintain the various juvenile facilities throughout our city.”

Until that question can be answered, there must be a moratorium on this Neighborhood Prison Program.

ACS admits that window alarms and surveillance cameras were nonfunctional and the staff was forging records at the Brooklyn facility. In addition, hundreds of juvenile offenders have gone AWOL at various facilities run by ACS since the inception of this program in 2012. ACS’s ability to run, monitor and secure these facilities is questionable at best. It is obvious to even the casual observer that ACS is broken, completely dysfunctional and jeopardizes community safety. For these reasons the proposed Queens Village facility must not be allowed to open. The Close to Home neighborhood prison program is simply too close to home for our communities.

In the name of community safety I am asking the Mayor to stop the Queens Village Prison facility. I am asking City Comptroller Scott Stringer to halt approval of the contract, because it fails to meet the minimum standards set for a limited secure placement facility.

Protecting our communities from this dangerously unaccountable program must remain our highest priority.

Bob Friedrich
President, Glen Oaks Village
City Council D23 Candidate

Leadership?

To The Editor:

The Department of Parks planted new trees in all of the Flushing area during the second week of May 2015, with signs on each tree informing owners of homes to water them. During the planting and after we’ve had a rather dry spell; and owners have been too cheap to defray the cost of watering, and rather lazy too.

Leadership within the Parks Department should have taken it upon themselves to go about with a water buffalo to water them. Environmental responsibility means you don’t do half the job, you follow through!

Incidentally, this should have been done some four mayors ago, and never was done…but owners too should show leadership, love, and interest of which they lack, and this interestingly too rubs off and involves the younger generation of growing boys and girls. “Why? If they don’t, I won’t.”

Charles J. Lercara
Flushing

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