2015-11-18 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Regulation Backfires

To The Editor:

As community and political leaders, we are uniquely positioned to fight discrimination and unfair treatment that perpetuate racial stereotypes.

Recently, what began as a collective effort to empower exploitable workers in the nail salon industry has turned into a fight against double standards for Asian American small business owners based on selective enforcement.

If they are being set up to fail, we’re not achieving the shared intent of what we’re trying to do with this legislation – which is protect workers.

When the Governor reacted to The New York Times investigative reports by issuing new regulations and declaring a state of emergency, my colleagues and I fought to strike a well-balanced law that protected workers while giving good operators a chance to bounce back. We certainly never wanted our legislation to demonize a single community based on unsubstantiated evidence.

Yet, for months now we have been fighting against selective enforcement by state government aimed at Asian-owned small business owners. Simply put, the presumption of corruption based on a stereotype of Asian Americans must stop.

After many rebuttal articles surrounding this complex issue, even The New York Times is now calling for a re-examination of the facts to report all sides of the issue.

Will you join me in making sure the state does not selectively enforce the law? Your Assemblyman,

Ron Kim

A Local Lowlife

To The Editor:

On the morning of Thursday, November 5, while walking my aunt’s dog, I was verbally and physically assaulted by a middle-aged man on the walking path connecting Fresh Meadow Lane and 170th Street on the north side of Kissena Park Golf Course. This man, six feet tall with grey hair, wearing a black shirt with a Greg Norman Shark Logo, shorts, and soccer sandals, had an off-leash overweight black lab with a red dog vest. The man watched his dog poop in the middle of the path and then simply walked away with his dog. I spoke up, asking the man, “Sir, are you going to pick up after your dog?” (As a member of the US Military, the word, “sir” is a natural part of my vocabulary.) He shouted back at me “No!” and when I once again spoke up and offered him a plastic bag I was carrying to give him the chance to pick up after his dog, he started cursing at me to “shut my f***ing mouth” and calling me a b****. He smacked me in the face, causing my sunglasses to go flying, and threatened to smash me over the head with the metal golf club that he happened to be carrying in his right hand. He walked away, still cursing at me. As a 29-year-old naval officer, I care about our country and the people that live here. That man needs to be reminded to pick up after his dog and also to not assault those who try to help him remember to do the right thing.

Sarah Kuehl, LT, USN

History of Division 15

To The Editor:

On June 25, 1940, the world was witnessing Nazi Germany marching through the Low Countries of Europe and France; Britain was about to feel the onslaught of German airpower with its bombs falling on London, and even on Belfast in occupied Northern Ireland; the effects of the Great Worldwide Depression would start to ease up on the world economy; and Franklin D. Roosevelt was seeking a third, unprecedented term of office as President of the United States, still a neutral world power.

On that same day, June 25, 1940, Division 15 would be granted its charter as a Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians by its National Board. Two of its charter members, Lawrence Clarke and John Gleason would lead long productive lives, and continued to be active in the Division. John Gleason was the owner of a funeral home in the village of Whitestone which is where the Division likely held its meetings.

In the mid-1970s, the Division was revivified under the leadership of Joe Ryan who owned a bar in Whitestone called the Parkway Inn on the service road of the Cross Island Parkway. The meetings were held there for awhile. From that location, the meetings were shifted to the Odd Fellows Hall on 14th Avenue in Whitestone village. And, later Division 15 met in St. Mel’s, in Flushing, in the 1990s.

Coinciding with the struggle for human rights against the oppression of Orange sectarians and British occupying forces in the North of Ireland, Division 15 experienced a spurt in growth. Many members picketed outside the British embassy during the period of the Hunger Strikes in 1981. At the suggestion of Pres. Matt Feeley Sr., the Division was named the “Fiona of Erin” Division. In 1990, the Division celebrated its 50th anniversary with a dance in St. Mel’s.

While the Ladies of Division 15 started holding their Cultural Day every first Sunday in March, in the St. Mel’s lunchroom, the men of Division 15 participated in setting-up and having a recruitment table. The Division helped venerate with Queens County A.O.H. the memory of the Great Hunger at an official ceremony and presentation in 1997. This was spearheaded by Pres. Larry Sullivan who was also noted for organizing bus trips.

During the 1990s, Pres. Mike Kearney and Pres. Bridget Kearney ran ceremonies in Fort Schuyler to commemorate Cmdre. John Barry, “the Father of the American Navy.” They became instrumental in organizing the effort to recognize Barry as the “First Senior Flag Officer,” signed into law by President Bush in 2005.

The history of Division 15 is reflected in the vision and hard work of individual Hibernians. The men of Division 15 deeply appreciate the work of the Ladies of Division 15 L.A.O.H. and the good times the men shared with them.

Philip McManus

Hang On Until 2067

To The Editor:

The devil is in the details, and continues concerning Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio reaching agreement on how they will each help fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority 2015-2019 Five Year Capital Plan.

Cuomo and de Blasio both fail to identify the specific source for these funds. We will have to wait until the State Legislature reconvenes in January 2016 before any of these dollars become real. Ditto for the City Council in June 2016 when they adopt the next municipal budget.

Remember the NYC Citizens Budget Commission report released earlier this year? They documented that it will take 52 years or until 2067 when all 468 NYC Transit Subway Stations reach a state of good repair.

Even with this agreement, the MTA is still short $700 million. This will require still another round of reviews to see what should be reduced in scope, cost or deleted from the proposed Five Year Capital Plan. The MTA still needs to submit it to the State MTA Capital Program Review Board for review and approval.

Cuomo has maxed out his transportation credit card. He previously hadn’t made public how the state will pay back the major federal loan which financed the majority of $3.9 billion cost for replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge. Will he have the state pick up the tab, or pass the cost on to motorists by having them pay higher tolls? Will it double or more over the coming years? He will not come clean on his source for paying this multi-billion loan back to Washington until after he is reelected to another term in 2016.

How does Cuomo find several hundred million more to top off the $400 million he has already promised to cover what may end up costing up to $1 billion for building a new light rail system from LaGuardia Airport to Willet’s Point Citi Field station on the 7 train line? Add $8.3 billion which he has pledged to help cover shortfalls in the MTA’s proposed $28 billion 2015-2019 Five Year Capital Plan (cut from the original $34 billion) and $5 billion toward $20 billion for construction of the new Amtrak Gateway Tunnel project connecting New Jersey with Penn Station.

Combined, all of the above would run Cuomo’s tab of unfunded transportation improvements to $16 billlion! Cuomo reminds me of the cartoon character Wimpy who famously said “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” When the bills become due, taxpayers will end up picking up the tab.

The original proposed previous 2010-2014 MTA $29 billion Five Year Capital Plan was cut to $24.2 billion before being approved. How can the MTA justify cutting $10 billion in badly needed capital improvements over a 10- year period and still provide the day-to-day services millions of New Yorkers count on? How many critical capital improvement projects will be postponed once again into the next 2020-2024 Capital Program?

Larry Penner
Great Neck

Foil Citizens United

To The Editor:

With the hustle and bustle of the 2016 presidential campaign dominating news and media coverage, it is time to consider a very significant issue regarding our nation’s infringed campaign finance system that is ultimately diminishing democracy in the United States. President Obama acknowledges this critical issue, but has pursued a rather slow and ineffective path to restore our democracy and protect the rights of the people.

Approximately five years ago, the Supreme Court made its infamous Citizens United decision, allowing corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money on political activities. The ruling dramatically reshaped business in politics for the worse. The defeat and success of presidential candidates can easily be influenced by a fraction of the population, leaving the rest of us with no voice.

Thus, if President Obama were to turn his words into action by issuing an executive order requiring federal contractors to disclose their political spending, a serious flaw would be corrected in our political system. This is a step in the right direction to restoring public transparency.

Sara Ruzic
Public Citizen

Don’t Be Hypocritical

To The Editor:

Veterans Day is for honoring those who nobly serve and for helping them in everyway we can. It is shameful that VA hospitals are overcrowded, people have to wait in clinics for hours to be seen by a doctor, that PTSD victims are not understood or given proper treatment and that the day itself is for sales and just not caring. A parade is not enough. More funding should be given to veterans and medical treatment, psychological treatment and respect.

Also, we must not neglect our senior citizens and disabled people who are vulnerable and provide them with more services and support as well. I am appalled to learn that there are so many children and adults who are homeless and who beg on the streets. Something must be done to turn life around for these people. Not all homeless people are so-called bums but they are victims of unemployment, disability being veterans without housing and not much affordable housing available. Shelters are not the answer. There should be social workers, rehab centers for homeless people, and jobs created for these people.

I applaud all who met at Ground Zero to rally for the renewal and continuation of the Zadroga Act. The GOP must not deny these people who risked their own lives on the war on terrorism medical care. In fact one NYPD person passed away of being so ill due to his work at Ground Zero. We give billions in aid to foreign countries, where is the money for those who fought in 911? Also our veterans are suffering. They have injuries and PTSD and need jobs and more emotional and medical support. A parade is nice to salute veterans, but to neglect them otherwise is hyprocrisy.

I applaud the students at Saint Elizabeth’s school for their achievement and Michael Miller for recognizing them. When children do well in school they become the effective leaders of tomorrow and they are our future. I liked the editorial about Veterans Day. Unfortunately that war was not the war to end all wars. I also think that Thanksgiving is not for sales, not for turkey or food, but to thank God every day for blessings.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

Protecting The Innocent To The Editor:

Paris, France is reeling from the carnage perpetrated by ISIS terrorists who killed innocent people. Now 128 killed in six attacks and many more seriously injured. These nefarious and egregious acts by terrorists sent by ISIS must be brought to justice. President Obama has said in connection with these most heinous acts against innocent people that, “This is not just an attack on Paris or the people of France, it was an attack on humanity.” He is absolutely right, which I applaud. The nations of the world must join together in solidarity with France to eradicate these evildoers. ISIS is the personification of beliefs that are diametrically opposed to all we hold most dear, and that is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Let me offer my heartfelt prayers to the families, friends and co-workers who lost those that they held most dear and are faced with much grief. Let me also say this, “Vive La France.”

Hearkening back to the terrorist attacks on Americans here at home, on September 11, there are going to be cuts in the Zadroga bill as it stands now. September 11 responders who worked at Ground Zero are now dying and others could be getting sick and developing cancer. The proposal is for five years and that just will not do. These people deserve the needed health care now and further in the future that extends more than five years. I find this quite troubling and appalling and a insult to these heroes and their families who bear the burden and should not be forgotten. US Rep. Carolyn Maloney and other congressional leaders has asked for a fully funded Zadroga Health Compensation Act extension. Now I fully applaud their actions and hopefully it gets done and those who are against this finally see the light. These heroic responders need to get what they deserve for serving America in its time of need and now they need Congress to step up and do the right thing!

According to reports there have been 104 deaths this year as of last week and could be more before end of year. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative has cut down on some of the deaths and injuries. This has been accomplished with lower speed limits and speed cameras. But in my opinion one death is too many. As reported, more needs to be done, like pedestrians need to be better educated about the do’s and don’ts, when and where to cross the street. I also believe more summonses need to be issued to pedestrians who jaywalk. Let me also point out that 13 pedestrians were killed in the last two weeks. I also believe drivers must realize as well, that they need to be mindful of pedestrians in the walkway.

Now I live in Glen Oaks Village and a few years ago a neighbor of mine was walking across the street with his dog and both were killed by a driver who was trying to make a green light before it turned red, I was told. He was 86 years old. So blame is a two-way street and pedestrians and drivers need to obey the rules of the road or more people will surely die and that is most sad indeed.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

Hands Off SS, Medicare To The Editor:

Two very important components that millions of people rely on – Social Security and Medicare – are being looked at by Congress as possibly being reduced. This should not, and must not ever happen. These two important issues are what help millions of retired and disabled Americans live on from day to day. To even consider reducing either one of these would create much hardship and suffering for millions of Americans who are currently receiving or will be receiving them. Our politicians in Washington need to stand up and fight against any attempts to touch these two components. It must not and cannot ever be allowed to happen, because if it does, the poverty level in this country will rise even much higher than it is today. Americans have worked all their lives to pay into Social Security and Medicare, and they deserve to have these benefits available to them.

There is no logical reason as to why the City Council Members should expect to get an increase of 71 percent in their annual salaries when our hardworking, brave and dedicated police and firefighters may only receive a one percent and 2.5 percent salary increase, respectively. Our City Council Members certainly are already paid enough, and some of them hardly ever show up at meetings, as they are required to, on a daily basis when needed, and there is absolutely no way that any member should receive such a huge salary increase. If anybody deserves a significant increase, it is our police officers and firefighters, who all risk their lives each and every day to protect the people of this city from crime and the danger of fires. There should be a massive march up Broadway to City Hall, and other unions, such as the UFT, the Sanitation Workers, Local 32B, along with all the other trade unions should participate to let the Mayor and the City Council know in no uncertain terms that miniscule raises for police and firefighters are totally unacceptable, and that the City Council does not merit such huge raises ,while all decent, hardworking New Yorkers are struggling just to make ends meet during these tough economic times. Certainly no City Council member should be paid more than any member of the US Congress – that is just totally unrealistic to expect to happen!

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

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