2017-04-05 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Is This What They Died For?

To The Editor:

Each year, March 25th and April 1st marks the day when revolutionary Greeks took up arms against the Ottomans and the EOKA fighters rose up against British colonialism. Both revolutions liberated the Hellenic nation. They did so because of a spirit of defiance driven by strong leadership; leadership with a vision to defend the nation from foreign domination!

Thousands of Greeks celebrate that glorious past and a sea of blue and white flags, raised in the air in lively parades that makes people proud of their ancestry.

Today, it’s a different story. That wonderful revolutionary Greek spirit of defiance fizzled out a long time ago, and has been replaced by inglorious politicians and their petty political parties; and in so doing, reduced Greece and Cyprus to humiliating subjugation to a group of bankers, plutocracy and the EU.

Things in Cyprus went one step further; citizens are gradually programmed to question their Hellenic roots. It’s as if they are trying to wipe out any Hellenic historical reference of the past. The recent fiasco with the 1950s referendum speaks clearly to what kind of people govern Cyprus.

This is the new Greek spirit of the day; one of complacency, corruption and national scandal without strong leadership to do the right thing. In the name of political correctness, the BBF would certainly destroy Hellenism on the island. Yet politicians continue to push and humiliate the nation with their behavior, to sign such a BBF deal that would legalize the presence of thousands of Muslim settlers and refugees on the island. The Muslim birth rate would certainly change the demographic character of Cyprus forever.

Today it’s a sad day in remembrance of those brave men and women who had given up their lives for freedom and now lay in forgotten graves. One asks – is this what they died for? I don’t think so!

Andreas C. Chrysafis

Support Paralyzed Veterans

To The Editor:

I would like to tell the readers of your newspaper about an organization that I am proud to support. It is called Paralyzed Veterans of America. As a veteran of the United States Navy who served in the Vietnam era, I applaud such an important organization that helps our disabled veterans.

It is an organization founded in 1946 by a group of veterans paralyzed in WWII.

Paralyzed Veterans of America is a national non-profit organization dedicated to serving former members of the US Armed Forces who suffered catastrophic paralysis as a result of spinal cord injury or disease. These brave men and women deserve our support, having given their all, preserving freedom and protecting what we all hold dear. And that is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as stated in the the Declaration of Independence. For more information on how you can help these very special people who were willing to serve and protect the freedoms we enjoy today, please go to their website, www.SupportVeterans.org. You can also show support for our veterans and all those still serving by flying the American flag on all patriotic holidays. For all this I say thank you.

Frederick R. Bedell,
Glen Oaks Village

A Civil War

To The Editor:

It is simply appalling to hear that our president will take away from NYC funds to protect us against terrorism since we are a sanctuary city. What does one thing do with another? Our city is a target for terrorism as it has been since the 9/11 attacks.

Why don’t our congress and senators sit down and work together? The environment is for our future as planet earth for all people, not only for Republicans. Our public television and radio stations are for enjoyment and education not a Republican issue. Our National Endowment for the Arts is for culture and not a political issue.

Why must everything be partisan? What happened to good conversation, discussion between the two parties? What a shame we are showing that our nation is split and nothing can be done.

Other nations will think that we are weak and we are open to terrorism, sad to say.

Why is there such anger and hatred amongst our politicians?

We better wake up and write to our politicians. To cut health care, to only do things to please the wealthy, to affect senior citizens’ quality of life are abominations.

I feel sad that the America I was once proud of is split. This reminds me of the Civil War times. This time it is not slavery per se, but the president is enslaved within his own self-centeredness and so are the congress members who agree with him.

Wake up, America, if you are going to be a future leader of the world.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

Too Big For Ridgewood

A copy of this letter was received at the
Queens Gazette.
March 29, 2017
Honorable Bill de Blasio
Mayor of the City of New York
City Hall
New York, NY 10007
Re: “Ridgewood Tower”
54-27 Myrtle Avenue
336 & 350 St. Nicholas Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385
Dear Mayor de Blasio:

Please find enclosed an article about a proposed 17-story mixed use development located at the above referenced location. The mixed use development will consist of 39 studio apartments, 51 onebedroom, 27 two-bedroom, and 12 three-bedroom apartments making it vastly oversized and extremely out of character for this section of Ridgewood. As I have stated in previous letters, I am opposed to these types of large-scale developments that do not take into consideration existing infrastructure and the character of the community.

These types of projects have the ability to single-handedly transform our neighborhoods, and should be thoroughly vetted by our community board, neighborhood civic groups, tenant associations and everyday residents in the area. Once completed, this development will have a profound effect on infrastructure, schools, price of rental units and has the ability to negatively affect the quality of life for our existing and potential new residents of Ridgewood and the work with Queens Community Board 5 to come up with a better zoning plan so that large buildings like this cannot be built “as of right” in this section of Ridgewood. As I have stated to you multiple times, local review should be taken into consideration before a development project like this is allowed to move forward.

I would like to support the Ridgewood Tenants Union in their quest to ensure that these units are truly “affordable” for the working people of Ridgewood and our great city. In addition, I would hope that local businesses in the surrounding area have an equal chance at the planned commercial space in this development.

Thank you again for your attention on this matter, and I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,
Catherine Nolan
NYS Assembly
CC: Honorable Antonio Reynoso
Honorable Michael Miller
Marisa Lago, Chair, NYC Planning
Commission
Rich Chandler, Commissioner, NYC
Department of Buildings
Maria Torres-Springer, Commissioner,
NYC Housing Preservation &
Development
Sherif Soliman, Director, Office of State
Legislative Affairs, NYC Mayor’s Office
Nick Gulotta, Queens Director,
Community Affairs Unit, NYC Mayor’s
Office
Gary Giordano, District Manager,
Queens Community Board 5
Paul Kerzner, President, Ridgewood
Property Owners
Ted Renz, Executive Director, Myrtle
Avenue Business Improvement District
Raquel Namuche, Ridgewood Tenants
Union

Can’t Build On Debt Alone

To The Editor:

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey’s allocation of $2.7 billion within the approved $32 billion 2017-2026 10-year capital plan to help finance the proposed $24 billion Gateway Tunnel is just initial seed money. These dollars will be used toward debt service payments against a possible future federal Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing loan to the Gateway Development Corporation for the project. This loan has yet to be approved and will have to be paid back. Without real financial resources from Washington, let alone New York and New Jersey, how will the Gateway Tunnel be paid? A project can’t be financed by borrowed funds alone. Former US Secretary of Transportation Fox, Senators Booker, Menendez, Schumer and Gillibrand ($12 billion), Governor Cuomo ($6 billion) and New Jersey Governor Christie ($6 billion), all for the most part, have failed to identify the specific source(s) for their financial contributions to the project. There are no significant dollars programmed in the federal Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST) for Gateway. It is wishful thinking that the US DOT Federal Transit Administration New Starts program, Amtrak and Federal Railroad Administration loans combined can come up with $12 billion or more for Washington’s share of this project. The same is true for New Jersey’s $6 billion and New York’s $6 billion. There is no guarantee that the new USDOT Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao will be able to deliver on her predecessor, Fox’s, promise of up to $4 billion in USDOT FTA New Starts funding for the project.

In less than two years, initial cost estimates have already grown from $20 to $24 billion. It is reminiscent of the ongoing Metropolitan Transportation Authority Long Island Rail Road East Side Access to Grand Central Terminal project. In 2001 the initial estimated cost was $3.5 billion. In 2016, 15 years later (based upon the MTA US DOT FTA amended Full Funding Grant Agreement) it has grown over 300%, to $12 billion. By 2032, or 15 years later, will Gateway do the same and end up costing $30, $40, or $50 billion?

Actual funding may never come for commuters and taxpayers who use NJT and Amtrak and need a new Hudson River Tunnel to be completed within their lifetime.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

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