2016-08-17 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

IBZs Not For Shelters

A copy of this letter was received at the
Queens Gazette.
August 12, 2016
The Honorable Scott M. Stringer,
Comptroller
City of New York
One Centre Street
New York, NY 10007

Dear Comptroller Stringer:

We respectfully request that you reject the City’s plan to convert an existing Holiday Inn Express in Maspeth, Queens into an adult-only homeless shelter. The current plan is ill-conceived, inadequate, and not in the best interest of New Yorkers in need.

We believe that the City’s proposal does not comport with current law or the stated policy positions of the Mayor. The Holiday Inn Express located at 59-40 55th Rd., Maspeth, NY lies within the boundaries of an Industrial Business Zone (IBZ). Currently, no residential use is permitted within an IBZ. According to Point 4 of the Mayor’s “10 Point Industrial Action Plan” announced on November 3, 2015:

“No residential uses are currently permitted in IBZs, except by rezoning. The Administration and the Council have agreed to further strengthen that prohibition to curb speculation. Going forward, no private applications for residential uses in IBZs will be supported by the Council or Administration.”[1]

A homeless shelter is not industrial, nor is it a business. By definition, it is residential and should be treated as such. Relegating New Yorkers in need to a corner of a borough that is bordered by industrial warehouses, the Long Island Expressway, and cemeteries is not a solution, nor is it dignified.

Section 93(g) of the New York City Charter provides your office the power to take any action needed to ensure that an agency does not expend funds for any purpose other than that for which they were appropriated:

“The comptroller shall have the power and duty to audit all vouchers before payment for availability of funds and prepare warrants. No warrant shall be prepared by the comptroller unless sufficient appropriations are available to cover the payments involved. No agency shall expend or commit any funds otherwise than for the program and purposes for which the funds have been appropriated and the comptroller shall conduct audits and take such other action as is required to assure compliance with this provision.”

Should a contract be presented to you that authorizes the conversion of the Maspeth Holiday Inn Express into a homeless shelter, we insist that you use your authority to reject it. We are unaware of funds that have been specifically appropriated with the intent to undermine Mayor de Blasio’s 10 Point Industrial Action Plan, and believe that any agency operating to the contrary is acting beyond its statutory authority.

Converting hotels into homeless shelters is not the policy prescription homeless New Yorkers need. It is not appropriate within Maspeth’s Industrial Business Zone, and it is not appropriate elsewhere. Thank you for allowing us this opportunity to register our concerns. We look forward to pursuing a suitable shelter alternative with the City that addresses the needs of all New Yorkers.

Sincerely,

Grace Meng, U.S. House of Representatives; Joseph Addabbo, New York State Senate; Margaret Markey, New York State Assembly; Elizabeth Crowley, New York City Council. cc: Hon. Bill de Blasio, Mayor, City of New York; Steven Banks, Commissioner, Human Resources Administration (HRA); Vincent Arcuri, Jr., Chairman, Community Board 5; Gary Giordano, District Manager, Community Board 5. To The Editor:

Clinton and Trump are flawed candidates running for President.

Clinton has questionable scruples, and she has made significant mistakes. As Secretary of State, she set up an unsecured private server in her home for government email communications and sent and received secret and top secret information. She had ultimate responsibility for the Benghazi debacle where our ambassador and other Americans were killed by Islamic terrorists. Her foundation accepted contributions from foreign entities.

Trump is the most unqualified person to ever run for president. He is a vile loudmouth with possibly bigoted views who only cares about himself. He does not respect our constitution or our institutions. Trump could have dictatorial tendencies. He has no knowledge of government operations and has no understanding of our domestic and world economies. His lack of knowledge in foreign affairs and military matters will hurt us in the world.

The choices are: vote for who you dislike the least, or vote for a third party candidate, or do not vote. How sad.

Donald Moskowitz
Londonderry, NH

Children’s Book

To The Editor:

In an effort to help spread the word about my brother’s rhyming children’s book series, “Joosh’s Juice Bar,” we created an imaginative video poem as a whimsical story for families to enjoy together. It’s only 1.5 minutes, and I believe it will put a smile on your face.

See the following links: www.facebook.com/JooshsJuiceBar/videos/710720309066429

YouTube: youtu.be/28PCxaavFaI

There are digital copies of “Joosh’s Juice Bar: The Blue Banana Berry Adventure” (Book 1), by by Josh Gottsegen available at: www.amazon.com/Jooshs-Juice-Bar-Banana-Adventure/dp/1493546848

Alex Gottsegen

Kudos To US Olympians

To The Editor:

Our American athletes have shown their true mettle in the Rio Summer Olympics. There have been losers and winners, but they all showed their love of the sports they participated in. Examples include gymnasts Simone Biles and Aly Raisman, who gave their all, to Michael Phelps who swam his way to more gold. These athletes are the personification of the American spirit and that if a person strives hard enough, they can reach the highest mountain and be all one can be. It is these athletes that I feel are true role models for the youth of today, and that is a good thing, in that this spirit will make America great. All these athletes have truly made, and will continue to make, America proud with their tenacious and courageous spirit. For that let me say, Kudos for a job well done, team America.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

Keep SS Solvent

To The Editor:

There have been comments made in recent months via the media regarding the Social Security program and its solvency. There are millions of Americans who are retired or disabled who rely on their monthly Social Security checks to help make everyday living affordable. If those checks were to suddenly stop coming, all of those people would have lost necessary income. Also, what about the millions of Americans who are working, and who continue to pay into the system via payroll deductions so that they can have that income when they retire? Congress must not allow the Social Security system to falter, because that would be a disastrous situation for all Americans. Our elected leaders in Congress need to stop pussyfooting around with this and other very serious issues and get down to brass tacks; they need to work on making sure this system of Social Security remains strong and solvent for the future permanently.

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Compassionate Family

To The Editor:

I am so elated that a truly wonderful article interviewing and featuring Ayelet Pearl and her devotion and dedication to the Astoria Center of Israel Synagogue appeared in this week's Gazette. Ayelet teaches Hebrew School, helps students prepare for their Bat and Bar Mitzvahs and is an asset to our congregation. Her ready smile, compassion, empathy and maturity well beyond her years are to be commended. Rabbi Pearl is the most inspirational, compassionate, empathetic and wise person I ever knew. Not only did he revitalize our synagogue, gave it life with children's programs, events, learning, and increased membership through his talents and creative efforts, but personally, he rebuilt my life as my heart was torn and my spirit was broken after my brother passed away five years ago. He is so amazing in building my life, healing my pain and emotional turmoil, enabling me to move to Brandywine Senior Living and to lead a better life.

He also creates accessibility for disabled congregants, and enables me to participate in religious events using Braille materials in Hebrew.

The entire Pearl family, including Judith, his wife, and their two young men are a jewel. We are truly grateful for Ayelet and her family. As one of the Co- Presidents I laud your publishing such a wonderful article.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

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