2016-11-30 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

To Recent Immigrants

To New York City’s Immigrant Communities:

During these uncertain times, we must remind ourselves of who we are as a city and hold steadfast to the values that we cherish and hold dear. The values of hard work, respect and coming together during times of adversity define us as New Yorkers. That will not change, no matter who is president.

New York City has always been deeply committed to protecting the rights of our immigrant communities, regardless of their status. Our commitment to that will never waiver.

To address harsh immigration enforcement policies and Congress’ inability to pass comprehensive immigration reform, we enacted legislation that significantly limits the NYPD and Department of Correction’s cooperation with immigration authorities. As a result, our immigrant communities are shielded from harsh immigration policies that tear families apart. This will not change.

To ensure that New York City immigrants have a meaningful opportunity to seek immigration relief, the City Council funds a range of free immigration legal services programs. The New York Immigrant Family Unit Project provides legal counsel to immigrants in detention who face deportation. The Unaccompanied Minors and Families initiative ensures that every unaccompanied minor living in New York City has access to legal advice and representation during removal proceedings. Under this program, countless mothers who fled Central America with their children also receive legal representation. The City Council also brings community partners and free legal services into neighborhoods across the five boroughs through our Key to the City events and CUNY Citizenship Now initiatives. This will not change.

The health and well-being of our immigrant community has also been of great importance to the City Council. As a result, we launched our Immigrant Health Initiative, which makes quality healthcare accessible to immigrants. The City has also implemented a comprehensive language access policy to reduce barriers to accessing vital city services. New York City has also launched multiple initiatives to enhance civic participation, including the IDNYC program and participatory budgeting, which gives communities the opportunity to vote on funding initiatives that benefit their communities. This will not change.

New York City’s commitment to protecting and educating immigrant New Yorkers with information is stronger than ever. We urge all immigrant New Yorkers who are concerned about the recent election to contact one of the trusted legal service organizations that has partnered with the City to provide free immigration screenings and services, or one of the many community organizations in your neighborhood that provides information about immigration and city services and protections. Referrals to trusted organizations are also available by calling 311.

As always, the City of New York is prepared to defend and protect our immigrant communities. We will never turn our back on you. This will not change.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-
Immigration Committee Chair Carlos
Menchaca, and
Council Member Daniel Dromm

Don’t Raise Train Fare

To The Editor:

It is appalling to hear about that school bus accident where innocent children were killed. Anybody who deals with the public should be given a background check, a psychological test and drug tests. In addition, sleep disorder tests must be given to all public transportation operators.

The subway fare must not be raised to $3.00 per ride. This is an abomination, since people who ride the subways are low income and cannot afford the raise in fare. The transit authority books must be inspected again, since subway ridership rose.

Hate crimes rose in the United States and it is shameful. Education must be given to children and to adults as well.

People must not live in fear about Trump’s policies.

I am glad that Schumer is now Senate Minority Leader.

I agree with the City Council Members that the W train is slower, and am sorry that the Astoria residents are being denied subway service. I am also glad that electric charging stations will be installed when legislation is passed to charge electric cars. Also, it is appalling to me that nine buildings located in the Astoria Housing projects still did not get repairs after four years due to the horrible damage due to Superstorm Sandy. But money is spent for Astoria park? Where are the priorities? Food, clothing and shelter are the most important rights, not parks. The park is a privilege.

Also, I am not in favor of driverless cars or trucks. We cannot depend on computers or technology. Nothing can replace human beings. There will be an increase in injuries and accidents as a result.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

Remember The Troops

To The Editor:

The holiday season has been kicked off with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It is a time for caring and sharing. It is a time we may travel to visit friends and relatives and exchange presents. And yet, those serving in the military and who are committed to protecting democracy around the world will not be afforded that opportunity. These brave men and women are missing their children, relatives and friends. It is a lonely time for them. Please take a moment today and say a prayer for these men and women, that they will be safe in the performance of their duties, preserving freedom. And let them know we are all thinking and praying for them.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

Press Must Be Neutral

To The Editor:

I am very angry and disappointed in your decision to run an old article in the Gazette which featured Donald Trump and his business dealings. While you can’t change history, there was simply no need to give this narcissistic megalomaniac more air time in the press than he is already given.

Showing off photos of you and your staff with Donald Trump just aggrandizes his image, and does nothing to assuage the anger, tension and uncertainty already felt in this great city of ours.

Despite the election results, a newspaper must take a more neutral role and create a sense of unity in the community it serves. That old article just divides us more.

Name withheld by request.

Cuomo Unrealistic

To The Editor:

“Cuomo Announces MTA Subway Enhancements, N Line” (November 23) sounds great today, but is a disaster over coming years and decades. Consider a recent New York City Citizens Budget Commission report which said, it will take 52 years, or until 2067, when all 468 NYC Transit Subway Stations reach a state of good repair. Governor Cuomo’s quote, “New, modern subway stations across the system are an essential part of our efforts to rebuild and reimagine the MTA for the 21st century, these milestones demonstrate remarkable progress in the redesign and renovation process...” doesn’t add up when you look at long-term needs and available financing. It also conflicts with his previous statement that the proposed MTA 2015 – 2019 – $32 billion – Five Year Capital Plan was bloated by billions. To this day, Cuomo has never identified which projects and programs were “bloated” that he supported being cut. Just what are the details of what was reduced in scope, cost or postponed to the next 2020 - 2024 Five Year Capital Plan that justified reducing the program by $5.2 billion to $26.8 billion? Transit riders are still waiting for Cuomo to man up and deliver $7 billion of the $8 billion he promised Albany would contribute over five years to support the MTA capital program. We will have to wait until the State Legislature reconvenes in January 2017 and the new budget is adopted in April 2017 before any of these dollars possibly become real.

Most have forgotten that the original proposed 2010-2014 MTA $29 billion Five Year Capital Plan was cut to $24.2 billion before being approved. How could the MTA justify cutting $8 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 into the next 2020-2024 Capital Program?

The next 2020-2024 MTA Five Year Capital Program will first have to deal with $8 billion in unfunded carryover projects and programs going back 10 years. By waiting all these years, the costs will have gone up by another billion or two. Next, many other new, worthy capital projects, including additional subway station renovation projects, will be competing against each other for funding out of the next MTA Five Year 2020-2024 Capital Plan.

The original NYC Transit proposed 2015-2019 Capital Program request of $2,989 billion (sic) for improvements to many of the 468 subway stations was clearly insufficient to get the job done. Will any of us be alive to see this work completed? Perhaps your grand children will be around to see all 468 subway stations finally reach a state of good repair.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

Congratulating Trump

A copy of this letter was received at the
Queens Gazette.
November 18, 2016
The Honorable Donald Trump
725 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10022

Dear President-Elect Trump:

As a New York State Senator and as the President of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization, which is comprised of 150 Hispanic ministers, I would like to congratulate you on your victory.

Our pastors and churches applaud your pro-life and traditional values, your promise to appoint people to the United States Supreme Court who have conservative values, and your promise to allow pastors to speak about matters of faith, without the fear of retaliation or retribution by our government.

It is uplifting to see your efforts to unify this nation by inviting people who disagree with you and who outwardly opposed your candidacy to meet with you, allowing people from all walks of life all to be heard.

You will be in the prayers of our ministers and churches, praying that the Lord will bless you with the wisdom and fortitude to serve nobly and faithfully as the President of the United States of America, and that you will treat the needs of our children, senior citizens, veterans, immigrants, poor and needy families with compassion.

Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz

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