2016-05-18 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

E. River Bridge Tolls

To The Editor:

Although MoveNY would like to have it seem as though their plan to institute tolls on the East River bridges is getting traction, the support is still a splash in the pond compared to the opposition. In fact, there isn’t even a bill in the Senate to effect MoveNY’s changes. A couple dozen legislators in the 150-member Assembly and a handful of state senators, last I checked, still qualify as a minority. The reason that support will never become popular is that most of us in the legislature have been around long enough to know that any promised toll cut will be lucky to last a year before tolls once again rise. It wasn’t all that long ago that the Verrazano Bridge tolls were promised to be temporary, only lasting until the construction of the bridge was paid for. Fifty years later and that promise has been dismissed as unofficial, off-hand comments that were never meant to be taken seriously.

And while MoveNY calls for toll equity, they ignore the fact that mass transit equity is nonexistent between the boroughs. Even where mass transit does reach, it is dangerously over capacity and service is hardly reliable. (Riders of the 7- line will echo that sentiment.) Queens relies on the East River bridges because the subway system is in no way a realistic alternative to driving. Placing expensive tolls on our morning commuters is placing a cost burden on working and middle-class New Yorkers that they simply cannot foot, and should not have to foot.

State Senator Tony Avella
11th District

Wants PS 130 Back

To The Editor:

On April 20th, the District 26 Community Education Council (CEC) held a hearing regarding the proposed rezoned elementary school lines in Bayside. The lines were redrawn to take into account PS 332, the new elementary school currently under construction on the former Keil property on 48th Avenue and 211th Street.

The school is slated to open in September, 2017 with only a kindergarten grade the first year. Each subsequent year another grade will be added. How does that address the pressing overcrowded conditions currently at PS 31, 41, 159, 162 and 203? Those five schools will continue to operate at over 100% capacity even after PS 332 is fully operational. The new school is supposed to alleviate overcrowding.

The Office of District Planning sent two reps to the hearing who worked on the rezoning to explain the parameters of the plan. Neither rep lives in the area. Nor does the person who came to explain the busing plans to get the children to and from school. He doesn’t even live in Queens. Illegible maps were given to the public who attended. Apparently, local residents were not asked for their input or advice when the plan was developed. The Department of Education orchestrated all of the decisions that will affect our communities for years. On May 31st, a vote on the plan will be taken by the CEC.

The new boundary lines for PS 31 stood out. This new area is banana shaped, and I later found out when I finally saw a legible map that it stretches from Utopia Parkway in Flushing to Springfield Blvd. in Bayside and is only a few blocks wide. In my opinion, it makes no sense.

My civic organization, the Auburndale Improvement Association, which extends into western Bayside has taken the position that PS 130 on 42nd Avenue and Francis Lewis Blvd. on the Auburndale/Bayside border should be returned for use by local children living around the school. Currently, local children are bused to overcrowded schools including PS 31, 159 and 162. The students currently attending the special K-3 school for science and technology school at PS 130, mostly District 25 children who are transported into the community, could potentially be transferred to the new PS 332. The new school should also be opened to District 26 children living near that building. Rezoning of boundary lines for the other elementary schools in the area would then be largely unnecessary.

Of crucial importance is how to safely ensure that children attending PS 332 can be dropped off and picked up at that congested location. I heard no mention of that at the hearing. Of course residents living around the new school should be consulted for their input. Perhaps they may have different thoughts of how the school should be utilized, which then would necessitate a new school being constructed in District 25 for those children currently attending PS 130.

In any case, the community around PS 130 wants its school back. This would also reduce the overcrowding at PS 31, 159 and 162. My civic organization wants only the best for all children, and we feel in particular, that it is time for the children who live around PS 130 to stop being exiled from their neighborhood school. Open dialogue and input from all segments of the Bayside community should lead to a solution that benefits all, especially our most important asset, our children.

Henry Euler
First Vice President, Auburndale
Improvement Association, Inc.

Earth Day Year-Round

To The Editor:

Let us celebrate Earth Day (April 22) all year long. “Fresh Direct Employees Clean Up The Community For Earth Day” (April 27). Besides recycling newspapers, magazines, glass, plastics, old medicines, paints and cleaning materials, there are other actions you can take which will also contribute to a cleaner environment.

Leave your car at home. For local trips in the neighborhood, walk or ride a bike. For longer travels, consider many public transportation alternatives already available. Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York City Transit subway, bus, MTA BUS, Long Island Rail Road, Staten Island Ferry, along with other private transportation owners offer various options, such as local and express bus, ferry, jitney, subway and commuter rail services. Most of these systems are funded with your tax dollars. They use less fuel and move far more people than cars. In many cases, your employer can offer transit checks to help subsidize a portion of the costs. Utilize your investments and reap the benefits. You’ll be supporting a cleaner environment and be less stressed upon arrival at your final destination.

Many employers now allow employees to telecommute and work from home. Others use alternative work schedules, which afford staff the ability to avoid rush hour gridlock. This saves travel time and can improve mileage per gallon. You could join a car or van pool to share the costs of commuting.

Use a hand-powered lawn mower instead of a gasoline or electric one. Rake your leaves instead of using gasoline powered leaf blowers. The amount of pollution created by gasoline-powered lawn mowers or leaf blowers will surprise you.

A cleaner environment starts with everyone.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

Money For Education

To The Editor:

What is happening to education across this country? In Chicago, teachers are threatening to go on strike, and in Detroit the teachers there went out on strike, shutting 94 of 97 public schools. In Oklahoma city, it was just announced that 208 teachers will be laid off at the end of the school year due to a lack of money in the educational budget there. This is outrageous! Education in this country is so very critical for every child – teachers and administrators should have 100 percent support of local, state and federal agencies in charge of education and its funding. If our country can give billions in foreign aid to countries all over the world, that can most certainly go to support education across this country. Millions of teachers, administrators and other school personnel deserve to be treated with the professional respect and courtesy that their positions merit! Every child in this country is entitled to a good education! Parents and guardians have a right to expect that! No wonder our country ranks far below other countries in educational criteria and student abilities! Teachers, administrators and other school personnel have every right to strike if they are not being treated the proper way and if they are not being paid a fair and livable salary. After all, they also have bills to pay, like the rest of us!

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Charge The Corrupt

To The Editor:

I am appalled that the City Council passed a fee on plastic and paper bags of 5 cents a bag. That is a hardship for the poor, the elderly and people on fixed incomes. Why not tax the politicans who are corrupt? Why are consumers the ones who have to pay out of their own pocket? When people have to bring their own bag it is not big enough to place groceries or items from drug stores. Why not just give enough bags so that the customers can bring their items home safely. By the way the bags are torn and not in good condition that the stores give out.

I am glad that Sheldon Silver was sentenced to 12 years in prison. He is not above the law at all and this should be true of all politicans who are not to be trusted. There should be more investigations of our lawmakers on all levels of government.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

Bag Fee A Burden

To The Editor:

The City Council has just approved a new five-cent bag fee for consumers who don’t use their own bags at checkout counters. The idea is to get consumers to bring their own reusable bags. Mayor de Blasio is on board with this legislature, because he is going for zero waste. Now I’m for recycling but not for taxing the poor, who cannot afford another expense when they go shopping. I think an ad campaign about recycling is a smarter way to get people to do the right thing for our environment. The City Council in my opinion seems to be operating under the influence of stupidity in this case that affects so many elderly and hard working people.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

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