2017-03-22 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Transparency Needed In DOE

A copy of this letter was received at the
Queens Gazette
March 7, 2017
Carmen Fariña
New York City Department of Education
52 Chambers Street, Room 320
New York, NY 10007-1222

Dear Chancellor Fariña:

I formally request an amendment to the Chancellor’s Regulation C-30 in the interest of ensuring transparency, accountability and confidence in the leadership appointment process for New York City public schools. Entirely shrouded under a veil of silence and secrecy, the current process excludes any public oversight. This has proven to erode precious trust from the respective school community’s stakeholders – especially parents – and it is unacceptable. One step to an effective remedy would be to require a review by the Level 1 Committee of all applicants, timely and public disclosure of the names of applicants under consideration by the superintendent, the Level 1 and Level II Committees, as well as the recommendations put forth at every level throughout the process.

Empowering school communities with a stronger voice and an ability to partake in the path of their children’s education were the cornerstones of mayoral control. The cloak of secrecy over the current leadership appointment process is contradictory to that promise, plaguing it with needless confusion, distress and distrust in the Department of Education. Even the respective School Leadership Teams, Committees and Parent Associations, which are outlined in Regulation C- 30 as the official vehicle for parent and student involvement, are consistently kept in the dark and are prohibited from discussing the process. The current situation of deep unrest at Townsend Harris High School is just one example, but has certainly brought a systemic problem to light.

Transparency is necessary to ensure accountability and confidence, which are paramount when it comes to our children’s education. You have the ability to take action to reform this process, and I request that you bring forward a rule change to accomplish this goal. I look forward to working with you.

Melinda Katz
President, Borough of Queens
cc: First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris,
Superintendent Elaine Lindsey

Same Story, New Faces

To The Editor:

Some days I drive to work, but other days I take the E train. I prefer the subway because it gives me time to read. A few weeks ago, I picked up City of Dreams: The 400-Year Epic History of Immigrant New York. At 738 pages, it’s a good forearm workout – no need for dumbbells at the gym. It’s fascinating to learn that the issues and conflicts we read about today aren’t really new issues and conflicts. The only differences are the nationalities, races and religions of those who are considered new – at least by those who consider themselves “established.”

Establishing oneself in a new country is hard work. Throughout history, determination, focus and resilience were always the ingredients for getting ahead in the Big Apple. In other places, the questions asked of émigrés from the established class were “So, what’s your religion?” or “So, who are your people?” The question asked here was – and still is – a snide “So, what can you do to help ME?” And migrants, by demonstrating they can make a contribution to the city, make leaps for themselves and, in turn, become established. Same story with new faces in each generation.

At QEDC, we work with many new faces. Most of our clients are immigrants. Actually, many on our staff are immigrants. We hail from Cambodia, China, Ecuador, Haiti, Italy, Nigeria, and even Brooklyn and exotic Massapequa. The point is that we get it. And as we commemorate our 40th year, we continue to get it by developing programs for people seeking to make it here. We recently completed our first OSHA training class and we continue to offer Home Improvement Contractor Training programs in English, Spanish, and Mandarin. Queens Library is now offering our Ready for Bu$ine$$ program – ESL with a business planning curriculum – on a regular basis; and we are seeking funding to continue Prime Skills, which teaches advertising, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, and technology to low-income New Yorkers.

We will celebrate three other programs on Friday, March 31st, at the Entrepreneur Space’s sixth anniversary party. Thirty clients will provide samples of everything from organic soup to Malaysian curry to French chocolate. We will also announce the finalists of the 11th annual StartUP! Business Plan Competition and recognize graduates of the Entrepreneurial Assistance Program. “New” New Yorkers are substantially represented in each of these programs.

I would be remiss if I didn’t note the passing of a particularly great New Yorker, the former Borough President Helen Marshall. Not only did she help found QEDC, Helen was the proud daughter of immigrants from Guyana. She loved to tell stories about them and her coming of age in a world that often wasn’t kind to immigrants, women and people of color. A true New Yorker, when asked “So, what can you do for ME?” she answered by allotting millions of tax dollars to schools; libraries; and parks – the first institutions used by immigrants.

I look forward to seeing you on March 31st at our E-Space (Entrepreneur Space) party. Due to my newly developed forearm strength from schlepping a 738-page tome on the subway, I will be happy to help hold your heavy plates as you load them with great food from our fantastic clients.

Seth Bornstein
Executive Director
Queens Economic Development Corporation

Sue Trump For Libel

To The Editor:

When Trump states an obvious untruth is he lying? If so he is a liar. If he truly believes in what he is saying, he is delusional.

It has often been claimed that by repeating a lie often enough many people will believe the untruth is true. Perhaps that is used by Trump to convince his supporters that he knows the truth regardless of the evidence. Assuredly there are Trump supporters who ardently believe in every claim the President utters.

Trump has surrounded himself with acolytes who seemingly accept whatever their boss says as factual. It permits Sean Spicer to speak as the representative of the American government insisting that only Trump knows the facts and can be believed as opposed to the press who have become the “enemy” of the people.

The egregious lie that President Obama wiretapped Trump has been debunked by Republicans, the national intelligence services, and the FBI, as well as former intelligence chiefs. Yet Trump, who has the power to find out the truth simply by picking up the phone, refers the press to Fox News for confirmation. Even Fox has denied the charges.

If the wiretapping charge was true, Obama would have committed a felony with severe legal consequences. Trump has slandered and libeled Obama. Obama’s reputation has been damaged by those who believe Trump.

It would serve our national interests to have Obama sue Trump for the slander. He would easily win a judgement and affect Trump in what seems to be the only places Trump cares about; his pocket and his claim he never loses. More importantly, suing Trump and winning may install a governor on Trump’s mouth and his manic ego.

Ed Horn

Punishing The Greatest

To The Editor:

I am absolutely saddened that the Meals on Wheels program was cut by our president. These meals are important, since the clients can remain at home instead of being in a facility or nursing home. As a telephone reassurance volunteer for Catholic Charities Meals on Wheels for 26 years I raise my voice to a president who is going to be 71 years old to do such a thing, to punish the Greatest Generation. It is distressing to learn what cuts our president plans to make which will affect our quality of life, and especially NYC and New York State.

The changes to the Affordable Care Act will have a negative impact on Americans, especially people who are 50 and above. Why not leave the act alone? If it is not broken, then why fix it is the old saying.

Also, it is shameful that the elevated train platforms at Junction Blvd. were not cleaned and the steps and hand railing were not cleaned. In fact the sanitation department did a horribly failing job in Queens and the other boroughs. Manhattan is always cleaned first and the outer boroughs are the stepchildren every year. Perhaps a sanitation commissioner who rose from the ranks is better than a show woman who knows nothing about sanitation work. This is a disappointment and people have been falling on the ice, etc. Also store owners must clean their sidewalks. What happened to the fines if the sidewalks were not cleaned after a certain amount of time? The mayor is not doing a good job at all and perhaps it is time for a change.

Also, I am glad that there were demonstrations regarding the raise in transit fares. The transit workers have to get their raise, but why on the backs of the working people who use mass transit? The buses are late, the subways are dirty and crowded, and if the fare is increased, then the conditions must be changed, giving us on-schedule buses and cleaner trains.

I am appalled to hear of a laptop stolen from an FBI agent with classified information. Also, I am appalled to hear about the EMT who was killed.

How much can the public take with a president and government officials who do not care, but only want to be elected. I am losing faith in politicians who promise the world and give us nothing but cuts.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

Commend Eagle Scout

To The Editor:

The scouts, leaders and members of the Committee Boy Scout Troop 268 take great pleasure in announcing that:

Having completed the requirements for, and having been examined by an Eagle Scout Board of Review, George Papastefanou was found worthy of the rank of Eagle Scout.

In honor of this achievement, we have scheduled an Eagle Scout Court of Honor for Saturday April 22nd, at Monahan & Fitzgerald, in Bayside.

We would appreciate a letter or certificate acknowledging his achievement. We will compile it with other acknowledgments and place it in a scrapbook commemorating this special occasion.

Thank you for taking time from your extremely busy schedule to help this community recognize the achievements and service of Eagle Scout

George Papastefanou.
Peter Moustakos

Bharara: True Crime Fighter

To The Editor:

I find quite disturbing the fact that US Attorney Preet Bharara has just been fired, as a part of the Trump administration’s “housecleaning” efforts. He was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The order came down by President Donald Trump, and I think it was a bad decision. Preet Bharara is a prosecutor who went after wrongdoers on Wall Street, crooked politicians, and evil terrorists that hate America.

Preet Bharara is a true crime fighter who worked tirelessly to bring down wrongdoers who thought they were above the law. His tenacious efforts brought justice for the American people. These evildoers engaged in nefarious and egregious acts against the American people. Preet Bharara saw this and was not afraid to stand up against these powerful people, whether they be Republicans or Democrats. For that I applaud a great US prosecutor in the person of Preet Bharara, who did what had to be done so that justice could triumph. I hope and pray for Preet Bharara, that he achieves great success in whatever he intends to do next. I think maybe he should run for public office. I believe he would bring to that office honesty, loyalty and faithfulness to American ideas and to the American people.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

Let Priests Marry

To The Editor:

For centuries now, the high-and-mighty Catholic Church has continued to forbid its priests the right to marry. Why? In other faiths, men of the clergy are permitted to do so, and there aren’t any problems. It is high time that the Catholic Church pull its head from the sand and come back to reality. The reason that so many young men do not want to enter into the priesthood is because it is much too rigid, and they must be celibate. Enough of this hypocrisy already! Allow those young men contemplating the priesthood to marry, and also allow those priests already in the church the same privilege. We are not living in the Emerald City, and this is not 1939! Reality must be accepted by the Vatican now!

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

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