2017-04-19 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Lanza Legacy Lives On

To The Editor:

In its April 12 edition, the Queens Gazette wrote accurately about Woodside resident James “Jimmy” Lanza, who died earlier this month from 9/11-related brain cancer. His obituary stated that the contributions made during his life were in keeping with the highest tradition of service and greatly reflected upon himself, his community, his city and his country.

Among other things, the Gazette cited this outstanding individual’s service in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam era, his 30-year career with the Fire Department of New York, his tremendous support for the Wounded Warrior Project, his efforts to assist firefighters and their families dealing with 9/11-related illnesses, and his volunteer efforts to improve his community and city. Jimmy helped to rescue 16 people from the World Trade Center rubble and spent hundreds of hours looking for other survivors of the attack. He served as president of his Boulevard Gardens Co-op Board for 15 years and was commander of its American Legion Post 1836. He traveled to areas hit by disasters as part of a rescue, search and recovery mission. When he was not visiting wounded soldiers, he found time to organize toy drives for children in need.

He packed a lifetime of achievements into his life of service.

As a resident of Woodside, I will miss running into Jimmy. I could always catch up on current events and neighborhood concerns, even though it was hard to talk to him because every passerby would say hello to him and ask about something and everything. He had his hand on the pulse of the community. He attended community board and police community council meetings, and made certain that shopkeepers were good neighbors, telling them to eliminate their graffiti and reminding them of their obligation to shovel snow from sidewalks. In May, he sold poppies outside the supermarket and conducted the community’s annual Memorial Day service, never forgetting the debt everyone owed to veterans.

On Palm Sunday, the pastor of Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church, Father Patrick West, reflected that the example shown by Jimmy was a wonderful prelude to the upcoming week and referenced the story of the Good Samaritan. At his funeral mass, hundreds gathered in his honor. He was eulogized the day before Holy Thursday as “a foot washer,” a man of service to others, and the Gospel at his Mass also told the story of the Good Samaritan, who stopped, when others didn’t, to help someone in need. A Fire Department colleague and friend drew laughs when he characterized him as “the overbearing Good Samaritan,” who stopped to help the elderly cross the street, “whether they wanted it or not.” His niece and godchild told the overflow crowd that she could not have asked for a better hero than her uncle. “He taught us acceptance,” she said.

Rest easy Jimmy, your legacy lives on in the hearts of all who were privileged to have known you.

Dan Andrews
Woodside

Flight 3411

A copy of this letter was received at the
Queens Gazette.
April 11, 2017
Mr. Oscar Munoz
Chief Executive Officer
United Airlines, Inc.
PO Box 06649
Chicago, IL 60606-0649

Dear Mr. Munoz:

I write to express my shock at the manner in which your airline forcibly removed a passenger from United Express Flight 3411 at O’Hare International Airport this past weekend. I also write to relay my astonishment as to your public response to the situation thus far.

According to 14 CFR 250.3, every airline is required to “establish priority rules and criteria for determining which passengers holding confirmed, reserved space shall be denied boarding on an oversold flight.” In an email you sent to United Airlines employees last night, however, you stated “after United Express Flight 3411 was fully boarded…we sought volunteers and then followed our involuntary denial of boarding process.” You also stated: “Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this,” and “Treating our customers and each other with respect and dignity is at the core of who we are.”

Frankly, the incident that occurred this past Sunday was not an “involuntary denial of boarding.” The passenger you forcibly injured and then removed from United Express Flight 3411, by definition, was not denied boarding. His presence in a seat, for which he had purchased a ticket, which you accepted, means he had boarded the flight. What this passenger endured was a forcible removal, without cause, in violation of an agreed upon contract of carriage. I think it reprehensible, and certainly not an example of treating customers “with [the] respect and dignity” that you profess.

The Chicago Department of Aviation easily recognized this simple fact, which is why they have publicly stated the following: “The incident on United flight 3411 was not in accordance with our standard operating procedure and the actions of the aviation security officer are obviously not condoned by the Department. That officer has been placed on leave effective today pending a through review of the situation.”

Given your claim that United followed its involuntary denial of boarding process, I request an official copy of the established process, and direction to the portions that permit: 1) boarding of a plane as part of your denial of boarding process, 2) forcible removal of boarded passengers as part of your denial of boarding process. Additionally, I request direction to the portion of your contract of carriage that allegedly allows such actions to occur.

I eagerly await your response within five business days. Sincerely,

Grace Meng
Member of Congress

‘Outraged,’ Yet Paralyzed

To The Editor:

Trump’s deal with the General Services Administration to operate a hotel in the Old Post Office building in Washington, DC specifically states that “the lease cannot be held by an elected official.”

Reports are that embassies in DC that would normally book events at the Four Seasons Hotel, and others, are flocking to the Trump International Hotel, formerly the DC Post Office. Privately, embassy personnel acknowledged the change is to not offend Trump and to gain favor with his administration, according to reports.

The Emolument Clause of the Constitution prohibits enrichment to any person holding public office. The Trump Hotel enriches the President and his family, while imposing economic harm upon hotels not associated with the administration.

No one has instituted action to compel the GSA to terminate its lease to Trump of the DC Post Office.

China granted Trump trademark protection once he gained the White House. Trump had been seeking Chinese trademark protection for over a decade. Ivanka is in the West Wing of the White House, and continues to run her businesses while her husband, Jared Kushner, gained Russian financing for family-owned New York real estate.

It is the obligation of our elected officials to enforce the law. They express moral outrage but have not taken any action. Perhaps concerned citizens will lead the way. It has happened in New Jersey. A citizen’s complaint against Governor Christie related to “Bridgegate” is moving ahead.

American history provides examples of patriots who have acted when others who have the power failed to do so.

Ed Horn
Baldwin, LI

Earth Day Every Day

To The Editor:

Let us celebrate Earth Day April 22 all year long. Besides recycling newspapers, magazines, glass, plastics, old medicines, paints and cleaning materials, there are other actions you can take which will also contribute to a cleaner environment. Leave your car at home. For local trips in the neighborhood, walk or ride a bike. For longer travels, consider the many public transportation alternatives already available. Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York City Transit subway, bus, MTA BUS, Long Island Rail Road and the Staten Island Ferry, along with other private transportation owners offer various options, such as local and express bus, ferry, jitney, subway and commuter rail services. Most of these systems are funded with your tax dollars. They use less fuel, and move far more people than cars. In many cases, your employer can offer transit checks to help subsidize a portion of the costs. Utilize your investments and reap the benefits. You'll be supporting a cleaner environment and be less stressed upon arrival at your final destination. Many employers now allow employees to telecommute and work from home. Others use alternative work schedules, which afford staff the ability to avoid rush hour gridlock. This saves travel time, and can improve mileage per gallon. You could join a car or van pool to share the costs of commuting.

Use a hand-powered lawn mower instead of a gasoline or electric one. Rake your leaves instead of using gasoline powered leaf blowers. The amount of pollution created by gasoline powered lawn mowers or leaf blowers will surprise you. A cleaner environment starts with everyone.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

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