2015-10-07 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Regulation Is Needed

To The Editor:

The word “inequality” is used quite a bit these days. But anyone who has been around five-year-olds for more than 15 minutes is familiar with the refrain “It’s not fair,” usually screamed in a high pitch and followed by a meltdown.

When my two daughters were toddlers, we heard our share of this refrain. After a particularly long car ride, I pulled into the driveway, opened the door, and ordered them on a forced march. They were not allowed to utter a single word. Going around the block in freezing rain, I agreed with them.

“Yes, life is unfair. There will always be someone who has more Cheerios in the snack bag than you. Someone else will always have more Barbie doll accessories. And later on you’ll find out that there will always be people who are taller, prettier, smarter, and funnier than you. Accept it, but realize that there will be times when you are taller, prettier, smarter, and funnier than others. And you might have more Cheerios in your snack bag the next time. But you have to be aware of the differences and figure out ways to make everything even. You’ll both be better for it – I promise!”

Twenty years later, I’m not entirely sure if my daughters bought into it. (Maybe they just wanted to get out of the rain.) But I did drive home a point to two wet youngsters that the world is not equal. And those of us who have a lot of Cheerios have to figure out ways to assist those who don’t.

I was reminded of this incident recently at a lecture by a noted financial journalist who claimed that inequality is a good thing: let the market do what it wants; eliminate regulations; and those with money and power will ultimately do the right thing and make life better for all. He was especially disgusted by government regulators who stifle innovation. As a brow-beaten executive director of a small non-profit that spends more time than he likes dealing with government regulations, I thought perhaps he had a point. But as I drove back to the office afterwards, there was a brilliant piece on the radio about Frances Kelsey, a junior FDA regulator in the 1950s who fought against the use of thalidomide. The drug was touted to alleviate nausea and morning sickness in pregnant women, and there was enormous pressure from a wellfunded drug company to allow its use (and reap enormous profits). Kelsey held firm to her belief that it caused malformation of limbs and premature death in babies and eventually convinced the regulatory agency to prohibit it, thus saving countless babies from being born with life-altering disabilities.

Believing that the private sector – left unfettered – will eliminate inequality is a noble concept. But while I can be a bit na├»ve sometimes, I do think that, if left to its own devices, the private sector would become overrun with greed and self-centeredness. And that’s what we have to transform. It should be noted that the entire membership (193 countries!) of the United Nations agreed to the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda last week. These goals take in many items such as providing basic human rights, a clean environment, decent healthcare, and quality education for all. How often does that happen? And would a consortium of the private sector have done that?

Our tiny, infinitesimal QEDC world is about helping people achieve economic self-sufficiency, whether they are baking brownies, opening a child care center or embarking on their own contracting business. By doing so they are building their careers and their communities. Starting out, not everyone will have the same amount of Cheerios in their snack bags, but a just world will ensure that we make an attempt to even it out.

Seth Bornstein
QEDC Executive Director

Consider The Bus Lines

To The Editor:

In the early 1990s, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority & Long Island Rail Road conducted the East River Tunnels Life Safety Study. This report clearly documented the need for investing $600 million to bring the East River Tunnels back up to a state of good repair. All four tunnels built between 1904 and 1909 outlived their useful life long ago. They have been in desperate need of major upgrades for decades. Sadly since that study over the past Five Year Capital Plans, the MTA and LIRR programmed insufficient funding to perform these tasks. As a result, over time there has been an increase in the frequency of major service disruptions due to storm and signal problems in the East River Tunnels. These problems periodically also occur between the Tunnel Portals and Harold Interlockings west of the Woodside LIRR Station. The MTA and LIRR also failed to develop a specific implementation plan with Amtrak, who actually owns the tunnels, to complete this badly needed work.

There is no room to run additional trains into or out of Penn Station during either morning or afternoon rush hours via the East River tunnels with connections to Long Island. Three of four tunnels running inbound during both rush hours have very tight spacing between trains. One tunnel is shared by the LIRR, New Jersey Transit and Amtrak for reverse train movements with equally tight spacing during rush hours. There is no platform capacity at Penn Station to accommodate any additional trains during rush hour. Penn Station is currently operating at 100 percent capacity during both rush hours. If one of the four tunnels is temporarily out of service, the result is numerous delays and cancellation of trains.

Fast forward to today. Intelligent LIRR Port Washington branch riders know how to deal with the growing unreliability of service by utilizing alternative means of travel. Instead of waiting hour after hour at Penn Station looking at the clock, take the 7 express subway line from the Hudson Yards station, Manhattan to Flushing. This trip averages 30 minutes. Connecting services are provided by New York City Transit Bus from Flushing on the Q12, Q13, Q16, Q28 and other routes along with Nassau Inter County Express (NICE) Bus on the N20 to Great Neck or Hicksville and N21 to Glen Cove. (Remember that the first stop to get off any east bound NICE Bus is at the City Line.). There are also the QM2A, QM3 and other NYCT or MTA Bus express bus routes.

All of these bus routes pass by or within several blocks of various LIRR stations on the Port Washington branch. A simple transfer to a north or south bound bus route also provides connections to other neighborhoods. Why stress yourself waiting for the train when you can also ride the bus!

Larry Penner
Great Neck

Symbolism Of Flowers

To The Editor:

Many thanks to all of the volunteers that came this past Saturday. We planted quite a few trees and flowers and they will make this space look great.

Also, the symbolism of this planting in fighting childhood cancer is an important thing to remember about what was accomplished.

We will be posting pictures on our Facebook pages and there will be an article in the Juniper Berry as well.

Next month will we be looking for volunteers for a clean-up so please stay tuned!

Len Santoro
Juniper Juniors - Coordinator
Juniper Park Civic Assoc. - Vice
President

Rampaging Cyclists

To The Editor:

It is a sad day when we realize that we are not the subject of foreign terrorism but the callous and mindless actions of other New Yorkers who overstep their bounds to cause undue hardship to others. I am referring to the insurgence of cyclists on our city streets who are posing a risk to all New Yorkers. The recent upsurge of cyclists in the city due to the city’s own bad governance has caused a major crisis on our city streets – setting off cyclists with pedestrians and traffic that has become an untenable situation. Dangerous, speeding bikes are now whizzing in all directions, cutting pedestrians off at crosswalks, impeding the flow of traffic and causing major disruption and distracted driving. By creating bike lanes in a city that was once a haven for open living, the city has created a traffic nightmare – and let down its citizens who take joy in walking freely and openly. We need to regulate the use of bicycles on city streets that pose a risk to all pedestrians and curtail such an abominable activity that is degrading the quality of life and making the city unlivable for pedestrians who rely on the city as a place for peaceful living. Further, to give impetus to such a reckless activity by creating a program like CitiBike that has made the city more crowded and placed pedestrians in harm’s way – creating even more congestion and traffic on city streets – that was the outcome of poor planning, corporate malfeasance, and fallacious thinking, and is a crime. Something must be done to stop this heinous act that is being perpetrated by some New Yorkers who wish to cause chaos on city streets, is a criminal act that should be governed by stricter, harsher laws and street justice for cyclists who cross the line.

AJ Cross
The Knowing Cafe

Two Evils

To The Editor:

The meeting between President Obama and Russian President Putin yielded little, if any, concrete results. The two leaders seem to have a personality issue between them, and that certainly did not help the situation. One thing that they did concur on was that ISIS is a major threat to the Middle East, and needs to be eliminated, but the Russians still support that butcher, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has killed thousands of his own people in the four-year Syrian civil war. One thing that needs to be stressed is that both US and Russian pilots must avoid at all costs any potential confrontations over the skies of the war zone. Should something occur, it could be very ominous for the entire region and the world also. Prudence and common sense needs to prevail in this situation from both sides, to avoid such an unwanted confrontation.

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

A House Divided

To The Editor:

I am appalled that money will be wasted on creating a dog park and that the federal government will give millions to Syrians but nothing to support the Zadroga Bill. Charity begins at home and we as a nation should care for our own people in need.

I also am annoyed that the MTA wants to cut funds for mass transit for NYC. We New Yorkers deserve a mass transit system that works well, that is on time, clean, and safe.

I am glad that street was named for that famous police officer. Why not applaud police, firefighters, and other heroes when they are alive not when they are not able to appreciate the accolades.

I am glad that our government will not shut down but again, 10 weeks is just a stop-gap measure. This is a threat that hangs over all of us and gives anxiety to a nation that is supposed to be stable. How can other nations look up to us if we do not set a good example and have in-fighting? I never heard of a government shutting down before until Newt Gingrich did that and now every year it happens. We must be able to put our own house in order before we help other nations. A house divided cannot stand.

The UN is so ineffective indeed and must be revamped. I cannot understand how Saudi Arabia is heading the UN Human Rights Council if that nation is the biggest violator of human rights. To me the UN should move out of New York. That is appalling indeed.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

Breast Cancer Awareness

To The Editor:

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and is a reminder for all of us to do something. Throughout the month of October women are encouraged to make a mammography appointment. Some may wonder why a man is writing a letter about Breast Cancer which is mainly a women’s disease, but it is a disease that affects all of us. The ones we love are affected by this insidious disease, like our mother, sister, wife, lover, or life companion. We are their caregivers and try to care for the ones we love. My wife of 28 years goes every year for the test, and I know it scares her because breast cancer runs in her family and she has friends who have had the disease. Yet each time she goes for the test I’m afraid to hear the worst and maybe lose the most important person in my life. I know many men have fears like myself. But we all must remember that early detection is the answer. Also, coupled with new treatment options, mammography screenings do improve a woman’s chance of survival. We all need to get involved and do what we can to help in the fight against this most insidious disease, like donating money to the American Cancer Society and also organizations that help women to cope with this disease. A lot of these organizations can be found on the internet and in our local newspapers. There are also runs and walks that help raise money. Those who can should enlist and volunteer their efforts in these fundraisers. Finally let me say thank you for all you can do.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

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