2016-01-13 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Gun Protection

To The Editor:

Although the most passionate and vocal advocates of gun control legislation will not admit it, their utopian dream is banishment and confiscation of all weapons from all citizens. The gun is just one tool among many that mankind over the centuries has employed to maim, murder and oppress. Lest we forget, the gun also provides protection from criminals, secured and defended liberty against tyrants and kept us free. Before confronting Goliath, did David undergo a background check and did he have a sling shot permit? The incontrovertible truth is that the Second Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights in case the politicians did not observe the other nine.

The debate is not about gun control but “people” control. History is replete with tyrannical regimes intimidating dissidents and opponents by encouraging citizens to spy on one another, to report behavior and attitudes that were not politically correct or acceptable. I implore everyone to read the latest Executive Orders of the President. By requiring physicians to report conversations with their patients about guns to the DHS, the President will be encouraging them to invade the physicianpatient privilege.

As troubling as this turn of events is, it is not surprising. The President is a progressive and the ideology of progressivism is anathema to self-reliance and individualism. Progressives really believe that the government can care for us better than we can care for ourselves.

I miss the America I grew up in.

Ed Konecnik

Clean Nuclear Energy

To The Editor:

NRG’s announcement that they are shuttering three units in their Astoria power plant is not entirely good news for Queens residents.

Yes, the facilities are aging and unreliable, and they’ve been subject to many air-quality complaints. However, the units that will be closed generate 80 megawatts of power annually. On its own that’s relatively small, but it’s representative of a much larger problem: New York is steadily losing capacity without any effective plans to replace it with reliable, affordable sources. The result will be more power failures and higher energy bills for New Yorkers.

Fortunately, we do have one potent source of abundant and affordable electricity 24/7 regardless of sun or weather: our nuclear fleet, including Indian Point Energy Center in northern Westchester. That may seem a long way from Queens, but the over 2,000 megawatts of virtually carbon-free energy it generates each year directly benefit the borough, providing the most reliable base load power of any energy source while keeping our air clean.

If we ever lose Indian Point the impact on Queens, and on all of New York, would be bad news indeed.

Arthur “Jerry” Kremer
Chairman, New York AREA

Arthur “Jerry” Kremer, former chairman of the Assembly Ways & Means Committee, is chairman of the New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance (New York AREA), a diverse organization of more than 150 business, labor, and community leaders and organizations. Entergy, the owner-operator of Indian Point, is a member. Founded in 2003, New York AREA’s mission is to ensure that the New York metropolitan area has an ample and reliable electricity supply and economic prosperity for years to come. For more information, visit www.area-alliance.org.

Funding Delays

To The Editor:

Those in favor of the Woodhaven Boulevard Select Bus Service project face a new dilemma. NYCDOT postponing progression of the project one year could result in the estimated cost of $200 million for the Woodhaven Blvd. Select Bus Service (SBS) growing even more. It could also result in loss of Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration New Starts funding for Phase 2 of the project. The full-build project costs are based upon planning initiatives with little design and engineering efforts to validate actual construction costs. They will be refined as the project progresses beyond planning and completion of the federal NEPA environmental review process into final design. This is followed by award of construction contracts and change orders.

The actual final cost could easily come in millions of dollars higher. Finding $200 million or more is a significant challenge. Senator Schumer’s past announcement that he has requested DOT Secretary Fox’ permission for this project to enter the federal government New Starts program is just the first step. Successful completion of the New Starts process which culminates in the federal government's entering into a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) to guarantee any commitment up to $100 million averages several years. All of the above could be lost depending upon the length of delays. Other projects which are closer to being shovel-ready may be given preference for increasingly scarce federal New Starts funding.

The MTA has successfully used the New Starts program to obtain billions from Uncle Sam to fund both the LIRR East Side Access project and NYC Transit Second Avenue subway. The NYCDOT proposal to fund construction of the Woodhaven BRT will be directly competing against the MTA NYCT proposal to fund the second phase of Second Avenue subway and the newest entry – Long Island Rail Road $1.5 billion Main Line Third Track project.

The MTA, Amtrak, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New Jersey Transit, Nassau County and NYCDOT are all attempting to qualify many other projects for the same federal New Starts program.

These are many projects from the Metropolitan New York Region that may be competing against each other. There are dozens of other potential New Starts projects being championed by many of the other 99 Senators and 435 Congress members. The requests far exceed any available New Starts funding. There will be fewer winners and many more losers. Is Mayor de Blasio committed to proceed with the Woodhaven SBS project if federal assistance isn’t secured? He has pledged $295 million to support development and implementation of 13 new SBS/BRT systems. Are these dollars 100 percent city or is he counting on a combination of MTA, state and or federal resources? Are they included in the current or planned future municipal budget?

NYCDOT will need $200 million or more in secure funding to be in place before proceeding with advertising and award of construction contracts before the Woodhaven Blvd. SBS project can proceed.

Based upon past history, don’t be surprised if the previously announced construction start date of 2017 is now not met. Transit riders may have to wait until 2021 or later before boarding the Woodhaven Blvd. SBS.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

Shirt Off His Back

To The Editor: In a video on Facebook, a man was riding on an A train in Washington Heights and was shirtless and apparently sick. This was at 10 pm on Friday night. Another man came up to him after seeing he was shivering and sick. He offered him his shirt which he had to help the man put on. He also asked if he needed to go to a hospital, to which the man replied yes. Doing what he did left him just wearing a sleeveless shirt. This truly was an act of profound kindness and mercy. My question is how many of us would do the same? This man is truly a role model for all of us to follow if we can. This Good Samaritan saw another man cold and sick and in need of help and did what needed to be done. To this man let me say this, “God bless you.” Finally let me point out this video went viral and has been seen by over 9 million viewers. That’s a true lesson for all of us to care about our fellow human beings in need.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

Let Dioceses Pay

To The Editor:

The recent announcement that non-public schools will be provided with security guards has caused some consternation. The funding for those security guards is not coming from the Diocese of Brooklyn or New York, but from the city. Why? While school safety is essential for students throughout both the non-public and public school systems, the money to pay for those guards for the non-public schools should come from the Dioceses in which they are located. The public schools are funded by the city funds for this purpose, and none of that money should be diverted to pay for the non-public schools. What about separation of church and state? Certainly, the Catholic Church and other religious denominations have the funding to pay for this. If Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan could be redone at much monetary expense, then the funding for security guards could certainly be found by these two dioceses to keep their schools safe.

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Homeless Before Penn

To The Editor:

I am proud of the 1,200 new NYPD officers who graduated from the police academy, especially the three brothers who graduated together. These new NYPD officers, as well as the entire department put their lives on the line to protect us and ensure our safety.

There is bad press about the NYPD and police in general and that is unfair and unjustified.

I disagree that city employees should get $15 an hour and be paid for parential leave. Who is going to pay for these benefits? Is it the weary taxpayer? What about union members? Paying $15 an hour will put small businesses out of business or restaurants since many of their employees will be laid off due to costs.

That is an enormous sum of money when the idea of renovating Penn Station occurs. Also the Javits Center will cost billions to expand. Why not use the funds to help the homeless. It is nice to have a large convention center and a new Penn Station, but to have homeless people sleeping on the street is a blight. Also it is a good idea to renovate shelters and repair them and make them safe.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

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