2017-01-18 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Auxiliary Policing

To The Editor:

Amid palpable tension in a post-election environment, and days before President-elect Donald Trump is sworn into office, New Yorkers should become more engaged in order to protect themselves and the communities they live in. The alarming spike in hate crimes perpetrated in the city after the general election was particularly troubling. We are not going to tolerate any action pertaining to a New Yorker’s religion, race, sexual orientation, gender, or immigration status.

As we call for the establishment of “hate-free zones” in diverse places such as Jackson Heights, it is important we become more involved and reach out to the city police department to protect ourselves and our neighbors. I understand some local grassroots organizations are reluctant to collaborate with the NYPD, but this line of cooperation is vital in an ever-changing world, in which threats of deportations are more real than ever.

“One way of banding together and making our communities stronger involves becoming an auxiliary police officer. Assisting our local police precincts is one more mechanism available to fight discrimination on the street, at work, at the local grocery store. Auxiliary cops patrol the streets, and they can play an essential role in protecting us and preventing hate and other crimes from occurring, especially in this day and age (http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/careers/auxiliary_police.shtml).

Jose Peralta
New York State Senate

Van Bramer’s Report Card

Dear Friends,

For the 7th year in a row, I am proud to share my annual report with you. This report details much of the work we have accomplished during the past 12 months, from investing in our streets and parks, building new schools, increasing funding for arts and culture, and standing up for our #QueensValues.

Over the past year, I’ve worked on numerous pieces of legislation that will make New Yorker’s lives better, and fought for a fair and equitable city budget. We increased cultural funding for the first time in over a decade, and expanded access to the arts in all five boroughs. We baselined library funding, so 6-day library service will now be permanently available throughout the city, and invested millions of dollars in our parks, schools, streets, and public housing.

In 2016, we also fought for our #QueensValues. In this borough, we value diversity and compassion, and know that our differences make us stronger. I will continue to make that message heard loud and clear through 2017 and beyond.

As Majority Leader of the New York City Council, I have also worked with my colleagues on important citywide issues, including increasing opportunities for youth employment, adding literacy and legal services for immigrants, reducing crime, and making sure New York’s emergency food assistance program is fully funded.

Finally, we worked hard to improve our quality of life here in Western Queens, helping thousands of constituents with housing, sanitation, transportation, parks, schools, and other issues. If my staff and I can ever be of any assistance, please contact my office anytime at 718-383-9566 or email jvanbramer@council.nyc.gov

The Majority Leader Van Bramer 2016 Report Card, details the activities of the office over the past calendar year. The full report can be found at this link: http://bit.ly/2jg7gct.

Some highlights from the 2016 Report Card include:

 Assistance with 23,496 constituent cases in the past seven years.

 In 2016, sponsorship of 83 pieces of legislation, 42 of which were signed into law.

 In 2016, $240 million secured to build four new schools and a Pre-K center in the 26th Council District.

 The allocation over $1 billion in cultural capital funds from the city.

 In 2016, $343 million funding baselined for 6-day library service, making weekend service a permanent feature of New York City’s libraries.

 This past year, overseeing the completion of several important improvements to public housing, including an $87 million new roof project at Queensbridge, a $4 million project to install new outdoor lights at Ravenswood, and new basketball courts and outdoor space at the Woodside Houses.

Jimmy Van Bramer
New York City Council, Majority Leader

Trump Violates Constitution

To The Editor:

The future is easy to foresee at times. The inauguration of Trump will instantly begin multiple legal actions for his impeachment. The Constitution is binding upon all and cannot be abridged, modified, or forgotten by Trump or his supporters.

The Emoluments Clause of the Constitution states, “no person holding any office or trust shall accept any present, emolument, office or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince or foreign state.” Corporations owned or controlled by a foreign government are presumptively foreign states under the Clause. Emolument means compensation.

Trump has publically acknowledged business relationships with over 500 contracts, many held by corporations owned by foreign governments. Many of his foreign business partners are members of foreign governments. As Trump has not relinquished control or ownership of his varied businesses and contractual obligations, he will be in violation of the Constitution upon his taking the oath of office. His promise to relinquish daily control to his sons satisfies only his own desires while failing to comply with the law of the land.

Assuredly, currently there are those drafting litigation to compel Congress to fulfill its duty to institute impeachment proceedings against Trump. The Republican Congress will reject the demands, claiming that Congress consents to Trump’s continued business relations. Yet to do so Congress would have to be fully informed of each and every contract in which Trump is involved. Hard to imagine Trump who refused to declare his taxes would ever open his books for Congressional oversight.

Trump’s legal problems will plague the nation beginning on day one. It is only a question if they will force his resignation, or have the Supreme Court determine his future.

Ed Horn
Baldwin, LI

Save Bayside Ramps

A copy of this letter was received at the
Queens Gazette.
January 4, 2017
Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll
New York State Department of Transportation,
Main Office
50 Wolf Road
Albany, NY 12232

Dear Commissioner Driscoll: It is with great concern that my civic association learned at the January monthly meeting of Queens Community Board 11 that the New York State Department of Transportation is planning to close down and remove two pedestrian ramps that go under the Long Island Rail Road trestle along the Clearview Expressway here in Bayside, Queens. They will not be replaced. One of the ramps is on the west side of the expressway, the other on the east side.

For years, my civic association, which covers this particular part of Bayside, has been noticing the deterioration of these two ramps. Reinforcement rods have been hanging out underneath the crumbling cement walkways that make up the ramps. At one point, a huge hole appeared on the western side ramp that had to be covered with a metal plate. The deterioration has been reported several times over the years, without significant response from your agency. Now we learn that the ramps are scheduled to be removed instead of being refurbished. This is unacceptable.

These two ramps are used by the residents of the area to get from one side of Bayside to the other. The Long Island Rail Road divides Bayside into two halves with very limited places for pedestrians to cross from one side to the other. To state that residents can walk several blocks to either Francis Lewis Blvd. or Corporal Kennedy Street to cross the tracks shows a lack of empathy for and understanding of our community.

There are service roads that go under the tracks on either side of the Clearview Expressway. I fear that if the two ramps are removed, pedestrians will resort to walking along these service roads to go from one side of the tracks to the other. This would be extremely dangerous, since there are no sidewalks along the sections of the service roads that go underneath the trestle, and many vehicles notoriously speed along those particular sections.

On behalf of my civic association, I have contacted the offices of State Senator Tony Avella, Assembly Member Edward Braunstein and Council Member Paul Vallone to voice our opposition over the closing and removal of these ramps. We also cannot understand why there has been no prior notice regarding the removals, nor any attempt by your agency to discuss this matter with Queens Community Board 11, our civic association, or the residents who regularly use these ramps. We are very concerned in this area with what happens in our community and we are very disappointed that your agency has made no attempt to reach out to us to discuss the impacts that your actions will have on us.

We call on your agency to stop plans to close these ramps on January 13th and to come and discuss alternative plans with local residents that will lead to the refurbishment of the ramps so that residents can continue to use them. Sincerely,

Henry Euler, First Vice President
Auburndale Improvement Association, Inc.,
Member, Queens Community Board 11
CC: Regional NYSDOT Director Sonia
Congress Member Grace Meng
State Senator Tony Avella
Assembly Member Edward Braunstein
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz
Council Member Paul Vallone
Queens Community Board 11

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