2017-03-15 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Family Of Man

To The Editor:

Today prejudice is rampant, fueled by the open hatred that defines the major political parties. There has always been discrimination in America. The outrage over foreign migrants to America includes nearly every nationality that now calls the US home.

The North cloaked its segregation in redlining, while the South used the “other side of the tracks” as boundary lines. The Chinese were feared in the West; the Japanese were interned; the Irish were demonized, and Jews were “killers of Christ,” while Muslims are “jihadists with bombs at the ready!”

Abraham was the foundation of all three major religions in the US, making most Americans descendants of Abraham. If nothing else, the hatreds and physical attacks of today are family affairs. How blind are those who see others as less than human, when we are all of one bloodline.

Chimps and humans are closely related, yet truth be told the animal kingdom is more civilized than humans seem to be. Few animals war on their own kind, yet human history is built on the blood of our fellow creatures. It is not surprising that there is a belief that mankind is a virus attacking our living planet that must one day pay the price for its affliction.

Most people look to religious and civic leaders to find the “better angels of our nature” that Abraham Lincoln sought. It would be foolish to state there are leaders today who would offer what Lincoln prayed for when he stated in his inaugural speech, “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.” Ed Horn

JFK Was Truly Great

To The Editor:

This is the centenary year of the birth of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, who served less than 3 years in office. At his inauguration, Kennedy said, “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” He also made additional statements at his inauguration to inspire individuals to contribute to the common good and help others; to wit: “Now the trumpet summons us again – not as a call to bear arms…(but in) a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.”

Thirty-eight days into his presidency, Kennedy signed an executive order creating the Peace Corps, a voluntary program that has as one of its goals “to help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.” One of those understandings is that the United States is not a nation motivated solely to enrich itself, but a country that wants to spread self-determination and freedom to everyone on the planet. (“My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”)

President Kennedy’s chief legacy does not exist in his executive orders or legislative actions. It is rather the commitment to service that he inspired in the American people and in human beings across the globe. Rather than making America great again, a political slogan that can mean whatever you want it to, Kennedy urged Americans (and human beings everywhere) to consider the notion that supporting others and promoting liberty can make you greater than you already are.

Martin H. Levinson, PhD
Forest Hills

No More Co-Locations

A copy of this letter was received at the
Queens Gazette.
March 3, 2017
Panel for Educational Policy (All Members)
Cc: Carmen FariƱa, Chancellor
Department of Education
Tweed Courthouse
52 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to inform you that parent leaders, students and many elected officials in our district school system have no intention of standing by while a seventh school is co-located inside Building Q410, placing an unbelievable strain on student resources. The schools already in Q410 have been growing steadily. Allowing them space to expand would be exponentially better and more stable for the entire school community. Co-location, on the other hand, would make competition the rule for what should be given to every student without precondition: equitable space and resources. Space is required to learn, and shoehorning seven schools into one building presents obvious issues.

The number of schools – six – now co-located inside Building Q410 is a cartoonish example of what happens when a policy of competition goes off the rails. It was our understanding, under this new administration, that previous excesses created by New York City’s co-location policy would be tamped down. But, as is often the case with our corner of New York City, we seem to have every hardship dumped in our backyard, without regard to our existing burden.

Just to highlight one visceral example of what happens when schools crowd each other out: in order to accommodate the proposed New Visions Charter High School, it’s being floated that some students may have to have lunch as early as 10AM, meaning they would potentially go five further hours without a break to eat or drink. Schools were designed as standalone institutions, to allow students to receive the training they need to be productive adults, in a stable and supportive environment. Instead, students are being warehoused in schools that must fight each other for space to eat, to learn, to go to gym, or to grow their programs. Growth of schools is natural, can be planned, and doesn’t cause trauma. Forcing students from yet more schools to fight for basic resources is hugely traumatic.

You should expect to hear a lot from this community over the next week. Giving a privately managed school – funded with public dollars – free public space to force our young people into competition sets entirely the wrong example for how a community should work together. It creates artificial organizational challenges that could be avoided if charter schools were required to secure their own space. And it places hardships on students that should never be a student’s concern. As a former PA president, I can attest that trying to solve the myriad challenges of education is hard enough on students, teachers and families, without creating false scarcity.

I am asking that this proposal be rescinded. If it is not, our objections – and those of the community – will be widely publicized. All involved parties will be pressured to do the right thing. These are our children, and we will not give in to this abuse of their education without a fight. Thank you for your prompt attention,

Stacey Pheffer Amato
New York State Assembly

Dental Coverage Crucial

To The Editor:

If you do not make America healthy, you cannot have a great nation because “an ill population cannot sustain a great nation.” Just imagine what a healthy American population can accomplish.

Our current system does not make people healthier, and American health statistics are grim and rapidly becoming grave. Our current and Trump's proposed systems perpetuate an ill population.

President Trump’s plan focuses only on payment aspects. My plan focuses on treatment and dovetails wonderfully with the president’s plan. It is the genius reallocation of our superior resources that will allow America to become as great as its potential. My plan: Savings of $500 billion every year. America 50% healthier in 18 months. Easy to implement. Easy to understand.

100% of the people needed are already in place.

No new equipment is needed, but new thinking is a must.

More people go to the dentist regularly than they do to the physician.

100% of the facilities needed are already in place and fully functioning.

100% of the people needed already know 90% of what they need to know.

75% of the people who go to the dentist have some form of periodontal disease. That’s a lot of Americans.

Periodontal disease has a major malnutrition component (that is not addressed). No wonder few ever get better.

The American Dental Association says there is no cure for periodontal disease. (Certainly not the way it’s treated today!)

Periodontal disease has been linked to some of mankind’s most devastating afflictions (cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, pregnancy and birthing problems, arthritis, and many more).

At least 85% of all illnesses have a major malnutrition component.

An ill population cannot sustain a great nation and health statistics prove that America is an ill population.

If we treat periodontal disease properly, the associated illnesses will also be diminished or obliterated because of the nutrition element.

Dr. Jan Wade Gilbert
Long Beach, LI

Scouting Builds Character

To The Editor:

As Grand Knight of St. Anastasia Knights of Columbus Council 5911, I had the proud honor to present to four young boys Eagle Scout certificates from the Knights of Columbus. The Eagle Scout Court of Honor took place at St. Anastasia Parish, in Douglaston, on Saturday, February 25th. The boys – or should I now call them young men – achieved the highest rank in the Boy Scouts, which is Eagle Scout. These young men are as follows: Nicholas Chang, Douglas Yim, Bailey Lin and Michael Campese of Troop 153. These young men are dedicated to their various houses of worship, to their community and to good works of charity. I know that for a fact, because they helped my council and me run two blood drives a year along with their scout leaders, whose help we have found immeasurable. I myself was a Boy Scout 50 years, ago and found it quite rewarding. My good friend Harry Weymer and myself belonged to Boy Scout Troop 114 in Queens Village in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

We had numerous camping trips and collected funds for toys and food for the needy. My friend Harry is struggling with brain cancer, but still remembers the times we had in the Boy Scouts and how it instilled in us what was important for us to become compassionate and responsible adults. I also belonged to a Boy Scout Explorer troop with another good friend named Dave Duffy, and my cousin Ronald Moyne in Queens Village, and learned much from our Scoutmaster, Mr. Blinkenstaff. I feel this is a great organization to belong to for a young boy for it teaches good morals, charity to others and good citizenship, not to mention dedication to God and country. So parents everywhere, please consider enrolling your son into the Boy Scouts, you will be glad that you did.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

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