2017-01-04 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Holiday Message

Dear Friends,

A new year means a new legislative session in Albany. This was a difficult year, but together we were able to overcome challenges and put in place several initiatives to benefit our communities.

I am committed to protect my district, the city and the state. As I am preparing to return to Albany, pressing for the passage of the DREAM Act will be my top priority. It is extremely important that we offer help to all college students, regardless of their immigration status. Other issues at the top of my list include cleaning up Roosevelt Avenue, improving our quality of life, and fighting for additional consumer protections.

It is my sincerest hope that you have a peaceful and prosperous New Year. And remember, if you have any questions or need assistance, please do not hesitate to stop by my office or call us at (718) 205- 3881.

Jose Peralta
New York State Senate

Join Community Boards

To The Editor:

January is the month that you may apply to serve on your local community board. Community boards make advisory decisions on many aspects of neighborhood life, including on land use cases where variances and special permits have been requested; capital and expense budget matters; as well as issues concerning transportation, education, environmental concerns, parks, health and community facilities, to name some of the areas. Serving on a community board is an unpaid, volunteer position.

Queens Community Board 11, where I serve, meets once a month, except in July and August. Board members are required to be part of a zoning committee from the area where they reside and are also encouraged to join a variety of standing committees of their choice.

There is an application to fill out and a process to follow in order to join any community board. Contact your local community board office or your City Council member for further information if you are interested in joining.

The local council member and the borough president select people to be on community boards from the applications that are submitted from the public. An appointment lasts two years and may be renewed by reapplying at the end of each term.

Also, remember that most communities have a local civic association that advocates for improved services and better quality of life in their area. Most civic associations in Queens belong to the Queens Civic Congress, an umbrella organization of over 100 civic and community groups made up of people who care for their neighborhoods and work hard at building better communities for all residents.

Overdevelopment and inappropriate development are key concerns of most civic groups. I would encourage all homeowners to join their local civic organization. By working together, we can build stronger communities for ourselves and future generations.

Henry Euler

A Forum For All

To The Editor:

Back at you to all my friends at the Queens Gazette, “A Healthy, Prosperous New Year To You” (Editorial, December 28). I’m grateful that you have afforded me the opportunity to express my views via your Letters to the Editor section, along with others who may have different opinions on the issues of the day. Thanks to you, an ordinary citizen like myself has the freedom to comment on the actions and legislation of elected officials.

Public officials use taxpayers’ dollars to promote their views, via mass mailings of newsletters, news releases, letters to the editor and guest opinion page columns. In many cases, they are produced or written by campaign or office staffers who are paid for by taxpayers.

The rest of us have limited time to submit a letter. Let us thank those few brave souls who are willing to take on the establishment and powerful special interest groups in the pages of your Letters to the Editor section. They fill a valuable niche in the information highway.

Patronize the Gazette’s advertisers; they provide the revenues necessary to keep them in business. Let them know you saw their ad. This is what helps keep our neighbors employed, the local economy growing, and provide space on a weekly basis for your favorite or not so favorite letter writers.

In the marketplace of ideas, let us hope there continues to be room for everyone, including our Queens Gazette.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

What’s Right

To The Editor:

I appreciate the editorial about the upcoming year. Some things are beyond our control, as to how 2017 will turn out. However, it is up to all of us as individuals and as a community to make it a better year for ourselves, our families, our friends, our borough, our city, and for our nation. We should strive not to be selfish, to care for others, as well as to stand up for what is right, and use political action to right wrongs. We must not sit idly by while bad things happen to others.

I applaud the FDNY for telling us about checking wiring on space heaters. Faulty wiring can cause a great deal of destruction, fatalities and loss of property due to fire. Also, thanks, NYPD, for warning people about traffic and New Year’s Eve driving. People lose lives when there is a drunk driver; cabs must be called to take drunk people home.

Christmas trees must be recycled and put in areas that are designated for that purpose.

I am appalled at, and ashamed of the EMS worker who made up a false incident report and claimed that he was mugged and it was reported to the police. This is unsatisfactory behavior of course for those whom we trust and we have our lives in their hands. I think that all people who deal with the public should not only have physical exams yearly, but a psychological examination by a qualified mental health professional.

I applaud Ozone Park Senior Center, and the volunteers at Catholic Charities who made Christmas day a wonderful, fun-filled day, with fun, food, festivity, friendship and joy for those who have no family or friends of their own, or place to go to celebrate the holiday. This indeed is the true meaning of Christmas. I express kudos to them.

I also cannot understand or fathom why a three-year-old boy was found roaming the streets in Brooklyn early in the morning. What happened to parental responsibility? This is a sad state of affairs in every way. People can have the physical organs to create a baby and give birth, but cannot care, love or take care of the child. I think that there should be parenting classes or readiness classes for people who want the responsibility to have a child. A parent should be licensed to have a child, just like any professional, since rearing a child is a job and requires professional knowledge and kindness.

Hit and run accidents occur and it is sad, of course. I am glad that our city will be keeping New Year’s Eve safe for the New Year with protection. I also admire and applaud all of the new police officers who graduated from the police academy and agree with the new police commissioner’s speech that police are human beings and they should learn to behave and care for others and protect others in a professional manner. All must take flu shots especially those who are doctors and nurses and other healthcare professionals.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

King Had A Slave?

To The Editor:

As we enter the busy holiday season, I hope you will stop and think about an important event that happened on this date in 1812. On December 16, the Jamaica Town Clerk recorded Rufus King’s manumission of an enslaved person named Margaret.

Wait – Rufus King had a slave? The man who denounced the Missouri Compromise in 1820 with the words, “I have yet to learn that one man can make a slave of another. If one man cannot do so, no number of individuals can have any better right to do it. And I hold that all laws or compacts imposing any such condition upon any human being are absolutely void, because contrary to the law of nature, which is the law of God, by which he makes his ways known to man, and is paramount to all human control.”

The short answer is yes, but there are no short, simple answers in history. King practiced what he preached and bought a slave to free a slave. King purchased Margaret from the estate of John Hewlet of Flushing, a fellow congregant at Jamaica’s Grace Church. The documentation of the sale was lost in a fire, but we know it happened at some time between Hewlet’s death in April of 1812 and December of the same year – time to prove that Margaret was skilled enough to take care of herself and not become a ward of the town if freed. The manumission record includes the Overseers of the Poor of Jamaica’s judgment that Margaret was under the age of 50 (“aged about Twenty Years,” according to King’s statement) and indeed “of Sufficient Ability to provide for herself.” Margaret appears to have stayed on with the Kings as a paid servant for a few years before finding other opportunities. She was not forgotten by the Kings though. In 1816, Mary Alsop King wrote from Washington, DC to her son Frederick asking him to “enquire also where Margaret lives, as I wish to send her a message.”

With the assistance of donors like you, we can continue to delve into the complex history of King Manor; to learn more, not just about the Kings, but also about the people who worked here; and to share those stories with the over 8,000 annual visitors to the museum. Please visit our website to donate today! No matter what the method or the amount, your generosity is most appreciated. Best wishes,

Nadezhda Williams
Executive Director
King Manor

Resolve To Give

To The Editor:

The holidays have come to a close and a New Year, 2017, has begun. In 2017, most of us are in the process of making our New Year’s resolutions, some of which we will find hard to keep. But maybe there are resolutions out there that we should make every effort to keep. There are those in need of our help even though the holidays are gone. The need remains. Our food pantries and soup kitchens need to feed the poor all year round, and when food runs out, the poor do with less, and that includes their children as well. Let us not forget about our blood supply, which is low after the holidays. We are in desperate need of blood donations. This I know firsthand because I help run a blood drive at St. Anastasia Parish in Douglaston as Grand Knight of St. Anastasia Knights of Columbus Council 5911. Again, this year as we make our New Year’s resolutions, let’s resolve to donate needed funds to help the poor, the needy, and the homeless by giving to religious and community groups, and government organizations. These organizations also need volunteers, and if you can spare the time please step up and help. Remember there are poor and needy people out there – not only during the holidays, but all year round. That would be a great New Year’s resolution and that is a beautiful thing to do. For it is charity that is the greatest gift we can give to others this coming year, and you will be glad that you did.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

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