2015-09-30 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Saving NYPD’s PSA9

Dear Friends,

Building trust between the NYPD and our communities is the key to driving down crime and making our city safer.

In western Queens, Public Service Area 9, the NYPD’s dedicated police force for our public housing units, has worked for years with our community to combat crime. Together they built relationships and a bond that has helped us achieve dramatic decreases in serious crimes in the Queensbridge, Ravenswood and Woodside Houses. Crimes such as shootings, murders, rapes, and robberies fell 33 percent compared with the same period last year.

Earlier this year the NYPD proposed to disband Public Service Area 9 in our communities. This would have had a dramatic affect on our neighborhoods. Under their previously proposed plan, the NYPD would have erased the relationships and trust that was built while working with neighborhood residents and the community.

Together, working with my colleague, Council Member Costa Constantinides, April Simpson-Taylor, President of the Queensbridge Tenants Association, our tenant association leaders and local residents we fought back against this illadvised proposal. And we won!

Incorporating our recommendations, the NYPD has agreed to create a unit that is strictly dedicated to our public housing units in western Queens – Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Woodside and the Astoria Houses. This unit will also receive 41 additional officers who will be dedicated to the beat. The soon to be formed Public Service Area 10 will be charged with getting to know people in the community and strengthening the bonds that have been built in our neighborhoods.

Check out Greg Smith’s New York Daily News exclusive on our fight and efforts to secure additional resources for our community.

In an effort to continue building on the dramatic decline in crime in our public housing developments my office has invested in anti-crime initiatives and programs and services that fight poverty. For the past two years we have allocated $500,000 to anti-gun violence programming in Queensbridge and Ravenswood. This worthy initiative is giving resources to community organizations that are providing programming to young men and women in our neighborhoods to ensure they are on a path to success.

Decreasing crime in public housing is one of the most important goals that we can work on as a community and as a City. We saw a proposed change that would be bad for our community. We fought back. And when we fight, we win. Sincerely,

Jimmy Van Bramer
New York City Council, Majority

Bridging The Divide

To The Editor:

Most of mankind believes in one God. If a person’s logic dictates that we all came from only one deity, then we are all the creation and children of that sovereign.

If humanity was confined to logic, then hatred, discrimination, xenophobia, and reputation would not hold so many within its grip. The conflicts that consume us would be impossible. The world could not be as divided as it is.

The Nazi’s twist on the Aryan race permitted the Holocaust and the slaughter of those deemed “unter menschen.” ISIS extremes which defy comprehension depends upon adherents whose beliefs few understand. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad barrel bombs his own people.

The history of mankind has so many examples of hatred empowering killings of innocents that one could easily believe in the power of the devil. Shia against Sunni, Irish Catholics versus Irish Protestants, the Eastern Church conflict with Rome, Palestinians never ending war with Israel.

Pope Francis is a religious icon that would see the world’s conflicts solvable. Such is the requirement for the man who wears the shoes of the “Fisherman.” If only his moral certitude would lead to conversation among those who view opponents holding different convictions perhaps the turmoil that frightens all of us might be lessened.

Of course if the Pope could bridge the divide between Republicans and Democrats perhaps the limitations their battle inflicts upon America could lead to a future of hope rather than partisan warfare.

Ed Horn
Baldwin, NY

Generous To The End

To The Editor:

I would like to let your readers know that Most Precious Blood School, a Catholic grammar school in Astoria, which closed in June 2015, has made a difference for a Catholic grammar school 8,500 miles away, on the tiny island of Yap, in the western Pacific. When Most Precious Blood closed, its leaders decided to donate its books to schools around the world, doing the hard work of packing the books, taking them to the post office and absorbing the cost of shipping. Dumping the books would have been so much easier for them. Our grammar school in Yap, St. Mary’s School, was one of the lucky recipients of the books. We are grateful that even during a sad event like a school closing, those involved still found a way to be generous. Thank you, Most Precious Blood for caring for us.

Fr. John Mulreany, SJ

College Promise

Dear Friends,

Our fall semester began with a huge bang as President Obama announced plans to forge ahead with the College Promise Campaign: an initiative that would make two years of community college free for hard-working students.

I was deeply honored to be named to the project’s College Advisory Board, and utterly thrilled to join the President, Dr. Jill Biden, fellow educators, and business leaders from around the country in Michigan at the announcement of this tremendous campaign. The energy generated by the anticipation for this visionary plan was indeed potent. At LaGuardia, we are eager to push onward with our advocacy work and truly gratified to see our longterm efforts to help give this issue a place in the national spotlight reach a new level of recognition.

And the fantastic work of our talented students, faculty and staff continues to make the news, from student environmentalists testing local waters for pollution, to the success of our partnership with Goldman Sachs to elevate small business owners receiving kudos yet again for its stunning results.

I hope your fall is off to a wonderful start as well. I look forward to connecting with you as we head into the end of the year.

Dr. Gail O. Mellow

Pope’s Shining Example

To The Editor:

Pope Francis’ visit to New York, Washington DC and Philadelphia was just phenomenal. Pope Francis came, he saw and conquered the hearts of thousands who came out to see him and the millions who saw and listened to his message on television. Many of us were awestruck by his energy and tenacious efforts at age 78 to bring his message of peace, love and charity for all in desperate need. Pope Francis’ indelible spirit has moved in my opinion, Christians and non-Christians alike, and hopefully has inspired the many to volunteer to help their neighbors and strangers who are in need of human kindness. Pope Francis has truly lived up to the namesake he chose, St. Francis. As such he has shown a tremendous amount of compassion for the sick and the poor with many acts of kindness while he was here.

I hope his visit translates to the many a rekindling of their spirituality and a return to their faith and to their many houses of worship that welcomes them with open arms. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 25 verses 35-36, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.” Truly Pope Francis has shown himself as a shining example by his visit and bestowed upon us a most profound message. And for that we say thank you.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

Thank You, FDNY, NYPD

To The Editor:

I am glad that Queensborough Community College was given funding. Community colleges are wonderful learning experiences for students and these students eventually enter senior colleges after completing the first two years of their associate degree education.

I am glad that Elizabeth Crowley honored the 150th anniversary of the FDNY. These are our first responders, our EMS, our firefighters and they are there for us, ready to save us, to risk their lives. We honor and salute them for their dedication and commitment. I am also proud of the NYPD and thanked the two police officers who stood in front of the Astoria Center of Israel protecting us during the Yom Kippur Atonement Day services. I admire the NYPD for their protection, their caring and safeguarding all of us, and being first responders. There has been bad press about the NYPD lately due to incidents but individual incidents do not create a department that is evil. It is like one apple spoiling a bag of good apples.

I certainly support the continuation of the Zedroga Act for first responders who dedicated themselves and risked their lives to protect and rescue others during the terrorist attacks on 9/11. I also appreciate the Queens Gazette for being our eyes and ears in the Astoria community.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

Ciao Yogi, RIP

To The Editor:

Yogi Berra was a man with a lot of class. He always spoke his mind, and let you know where he stood. He was a phenomenal manager of both the Yankees and Mets, and had the respect of all of his players. He treated them with respect and professionalism also. We are truly saddened by his loss. He certainly had a full life – 90 years! We should all be so lucky if we can reach that age and have as fulfilling a life as he did. Well, Yogi, ciao, and rest in peace!

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

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