2015-07-01 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Choose Driver/Skipper

To The Editor:

This Fourth of July, Americans will toast the country’s independence with friends, family, and fireworks. Before these celebrations get underway, Anheuser-Busch reminds adults to show their patriotism by designating a driver or skipper to keep everyone safe. You’ll join the millions of American adults who have been a designated driver or designated skipper, or been driven home by one.

Here are some additional tips for safe celebrating during the holiday weekend:

1. Buckle Up. Ask everyone to wear a seat belt or a life jacket.

2. Be an Attentive Driver. Always be in control and aware of those around you.

3. Don’t Speed. Resist the urge to speed by making sure there’s plenty of time to reach your destination.

4. Drink Responsibly. Adults who choose to drink should make responsible choices about when, where, and how much.

Anheuser-Busch is committed to keeping our nation’s roadways and waterways safe. We offer programs to encourage the use of designated drivers and skippers. Thanks to efforts like these and increased law enforcement, drunk-driving fatalities during the Fourth of July holiday period are down 56 percent since 1982, according to the US Department of Transportation.

We can all do our part to make sure everyone has a fun and safe holiday. Please, Enjoy Responsibly!

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

Julio Rivera Vigil

Dear Friends,

Please join the family of Julio Rivera and me tonight, July 1, 2015 to mark the 25th anniversary of the anti-gay murder of Julio Rivera. The vigil will take place from 6 pm to 7 pm on the corner of 37th Avenue and 78th Street in Jackson Heights in front of PS 69, where Julio died.

Julio Rivera was murdered by three selfdescribed white supremacist skinheads out “hunting for a homo to kill” on July 2, 1990. We will gather to honor Julio’s life and to also call attention to the fact that these terrible hate crimes still occur, not only to LGBT, people but to many others including immigrants, Latinos, and especially transgendered people as witnessed by a string of recent attacks around the city.

I hope you can join us as we stand to say Julio did not die in vain and that, in fact, his murder led to the creation of the current LGBT rights movement in Queens helping thousands upon thousands of people.

Please try to come.

Thanks for your time and consideration. Sincerely,

Danny Dromm
NYC Council Member
25th District

What Are SCA’s Plans?

A copy of this letter was received at the
Queens Gazette.
June 22, 2015
Hon. Lorraine Grillo
President/CEO
NYC School Construction Authority
30-30 Thomson Ave.
Long Island City, NY 11101
Dear Ms. Grillo:

I am writing to follow up on my March 18, 2015 letter to you regarding property owned by the NYC Department of Education, located at 30-48 Linden Place, Flushing, NY 11354. You and I have discussed this site in the past. Over the years there have been a number of proposals for the use of this building which currently houses School District 25 personnel and support staff. To-date, I have not received a response to my original letter.

Previous plans included turning this building into a school. The Department of Education listened to the concerns of the community and ultimately rejected that plan. Linden Place is heavily trafficked due to its narrow width and its proximity to the highway. Having hundreds of students at this location would be unsafe and exacerbate already serious traffic conditions. Additionally, 31st Road already hosts two public schools that are four blocks apart, including PS 214 and PS 242, the Leonard P. Stavisky School, which is around the corner from 30-48 Linden Place.

…A DOE source confirmed the plans to turn the building into a high school, but had no further details. Local residents are extremely concerned about this proposal because of the aforementioned effect on traffic conditions and saturation of schools in the community.

I would like to know what the specific plans are for proposed High School #859Q. What role is the community going to serve in the decision-making process? Additionally, there are concerns that the Superintendent, District 25 staff, and the community education councils could be moved away from this site. Are there plans to relocate the staff, and if so where will the office be located?

I look forward to your response. Sincerely

Toby Ann Stavisky
State Senate District 16

‘Window On The World’

To The Editor:

Ah what a truly wonderful milestone to share with all readers: the 33rd anniversary of the publication of the Queens Gazette. I became a reader and contributor to Letters to the Editor in the year 2000 and the Gazette is such a part of my life. It is our eyes, our window on the world of news, and also it brings us so many interesting, inspiring features.

Although I have not lived in Astoria for the past three years I treasure the Gazette and it is my hometown paper indeed.Congratulations and I look forward to many many issues of your wonderful newspaper. I appreciated all of the times the Gazette featured my picture, my stories, my triumphs, and those of others. Julie Wager is smiling from above as he spiritually celebrates the 33rd anniversary.

I applaud Assemblywoman Simotas for the women’s health care legislation she got passed and she is a role model for all. I am not happy with the governor’s rent stabilization law, it is not what was promised. I agree with the many who demonstrated at his Manhattan office to protest.

I also am not for his only giving mayoral control of city schools for one year. The Mayor and Governor do not get along and that is not professional or mature. I am glad that those CB 1 leaders were honored. I truly am dismayed at the shootings that occur. I am glad that the Boston Marathon bomber accomplice was sentenced to death.

He snuffed out many lives. I also believe that all backseat passengers must wear seat belts. Thanks Gazette for your weekly gift and for keeping me informed.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

Affordable Housing

To The Editor:

Mayor de Blasio, via the Department of City Planning, announced in March of this year his new proposal to increase the number of affordable and senior housing units in our city. The proposal is called “Zoning for Quality and Affordability.” It has stirred much controversy throughout the city in civic and preservation quarters.

Although the goal to increase affordable and senior housing units is admirable, the Mayor’s 160-page proposal would decimate many of the accomplishments that community and civic groups have achieved over the years through our contextual rezonings. Some of the disturbing features of the proposal include allowances for taller and bulkier buildings in certain zoning designations and the elimination or reduction of parking requirements for certain types of senior housing. There are many other objectionable features to the proposal, which seems to favor developers over the needs and desires of the communities. It seems that as the proposal is examined more closely, more disturbing components are uncovered.

The Mayor is pushing to have the proposal approved with great haste. Community Boards across the city will be voting on whether to accept or reject the proposal in late summer/early fall. The Borough Presidents and the City Council will hold hearings before a final vote is taken. In the meantime, most residents are not familiar with the proposal or its impact in terms of inappropriate development in communities across the city.

What would be more logical and less damaging would be to require builders to set aside a larger percentage of units in new developments for senior and affordable housing. Although this type of unit is not as profitable as market rate and luxury housing, the impact on our communities would not be as severe as what the Mayor is currently proposing.

If you are concerned about the Mayor’s proposal and the effects it will have on our city for generations to come, please let your councilmember and other elected officials know. Come to the Community Board meetings when this topic is on the agenda. We cannot allow the Mayor to push through this proposal without challenging many of its provisions and looking for workable alternatives.

Henry Euler
Bayside

Came To His Senses

To The Editor:

Mayor Bill de Blasio finally has seen the light. He has agreed we need more police officers and will okay 1,297. I guess he has heard the public outcry with more shootings and violence on the street and that has made him rethink his position. Now all I can say is that it is about time. Meanwhile NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito got more than they asked for, which I feel is a good thing. The Mayor has made a turnaround, whereas the City Council will approve this in their current budget and the Mayor will sign off on this by the end of the month. There will be close to 1,300 new police officers. Now out of this number 300 new police officers will be assigned to the NYPD’S counterterrorism task force and 400 civilian administrative workers will be hired to replace cops on desk duty. They, in turn, will be reassigned to community policing duties. Bravo Mayor, you finally understand that to fight crime you need an adequate police force.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

Stars & Stripes Only

To The Editor:

The Confederate flag needs to be come down in South Carolina, as well as anywhere else where it is being displayed. The Civil War has been over for 150 years. It is time to give it a rest-NOW.

This nation has made significant strides in attaining racial harmony, and there is still more work to be done. We do not need a symbol that represents racism, hatred and slavery to be waving on flagpoles in our nation. The Stars and Stripes should be the only flag waving on our nation’s flagpoles, not the Confederate flag.

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Daily News’ 96th

To The Editor:

On Friday, June 26 the New York Daily News celebrated 96 years of publishing. As a teenager in the 1960s, I can still remember being able to buy four newspapers for less than a dollar and getting change back. At the end of the day, increasing the newsstand price, shrinking content, reduction in actual newsprint size or favorable government subsidies will not be the determining factor for the survival of the New York Daily News, New York Post, New York Times, Newsday or other daily newspapers.

We live in one of the few remaining free societies, with a wealth of information sources available for any citizen to access. However, sadly, most American cities and suburbs are down to one local daily or weekly newspaper. Most papers have to deal with continued increasing costs for newsprint, delivery and distribution, along with reduced advertising revenues and declining readership. They may face competitors in the surrounding suburbs, along with national editions of USA Today, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Epoch Times.

In our metropolitan New York region, there are also all-news radio stations, such as WCBS, 1010 WINS, Bloomberg News and 101.9FM News, along with other radio stations. ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS have national network news, as do local affiliates along with local independent news broadcasters such as FOX 5, MY 9 and PIX 11, cable news stations such as NY1 (in NYC), CNBC, CNN, FOX, BBC, along with News 12 and WLNY 10/55 (in Nassau/Suffolk counties). Many get late breaking news from the internet. This is stale when reaching print the next day. The growing population of new immigrants support their own newspapers, radio and television stations.

These financial challenges on maintaining the bottom line have also resulted in less resources being devoted to investigative reporting and a greater reliance on wire service stories. As a result, original newspaper content continues to shrink. This puts even more pressure on the remaining reporters assigned to various departments. There is intense competition between international, state, business, sports, entertainment and other sections of newspapers. It is becoming more difficult to provide real, detailed coverage of local news.

Prior to the NYC 1962 newspaper strike, there were actually 12 daily newspapers published in the Big Apple. The strike resulted in the closing or consolidation of several papers, including the New York Journal American, New York World Telegram & Sun, New York Mirror and New York Herald Tribune. Later both the Long Island Star Journal and Long Island Press ended publication. Today, residents can select from the New York Times, New York Daily News, New York Post, Newsday, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Staten Island Advance along with freebies such as AM New York, New York Metro.

There has also been major growth in weekly papers such as the Village Voice, New York Observer, Dan’s Papers and dozens of others based in neighborhoods all around the five boroughs of New York City and Long Island. Neighborhood weekly newspapers like our very own Queens Gazette, along with competitors, provide real coverage of local community news stories usually overlooked by other media. The Sunday New York Times’ consolidation of their former “City Section” into a “Metropolitan Section” combining the city with Long Island has resulted in even less coverage of news from the five boroughs. Newsday, The Times, Daily News and Post with limited space can only provide a minimal amount of news stories based in various Queens neighborhoods.

There are still many, like myself, who have a continued thirst for news provided by either daily or weekly newspapers covering Washington, Albany and New York City Hall.

In the marketplace of ideas, let us hope there continues to be room for everyone including the New York Daily News and our own Queens Gazette, regardless of the price.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

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