2017-05-03 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Anti-Muslim Hate Crime

To The Editor:

Mr. Anwar Syed has been driving yellow cabs, and now with Uber, since the 1990s. He is an American who lives with his family, including his teenage son and daughter, in Long Island. He has never had any problems or conflicts with passengers – until one night in February of 2017.

Within minutes of entering the car, the passenger asked Anwar, “Where are you from? What’s your religion?”

“Pakistani. Muslim.”

And then everything went dark. The next thing he remembers is regaining consciousness, bloody and bruised, in the hospital.

Every other day, we hear of more attacks against for-hire drivers, particularly South Asian drivers with Muslim, Sikh, or Hindu backgrounds.

As a state lawmaker, I alone am unable to stem the rise of intolerance or stop hateful people from acting violently in our country. However, as we expand for-hire ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft throughout our state, I can act preemptively to pass legislation protecting all drivers.

The Taxi Driver Protection Act, Bill A.02880, would make assaults against for-hire drivers a felony – adding the occupation to a list which already includes transit workers and bus operators. It would also require signs in all for-hire vehicles which warn passengers of the consequences of assaulting drivers.

I believe in an America and New York where people can proudly say they are “Pakistani and Muslim” and still be recognized as fellow Americans.

Support the #TaxiDriverProtectionAct and show our Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu brothers and sisters that we care about them. Sincerely,

Ron Kim
Member of the NYS Assembly

Include Green Space

A copy of this letter was received at the
Queens Gazette.
April 25, 2017
Justin Elghanayan
Rockrose Development Corporation
25-14 43rd Avenue
Long Island City, NY 11101

Dear Mr. Elghanayan,

I write to you in regards to the lot located at 43-12 Hunter Street in Long Island City, and the desire of community residents, including members of the Court Square Civic Association, to utilize this area as public green space.

The need for public green space has become increasingly important due to the rapid rate of development in the area, and preserving the lot could mean a better quality of life for residents.

Accordingly, I respectfully request that you consider setting aside public green space and account for the comprehensive impact your development will have on the community at large.

I look forward to hearing from you soon. Sincerely,

Michael Gianaris
State Senator

Community Board 2

To The Editor:

A word from the District Manager…

This month, we honor our veterans and we thank them for their service to our country.

We also acknowledge the departure of the following Board Members, and thank them for their years of service: Anna Thea Bridge and Elba Santiago. We also welcome our new Community Board 2 Board Members: Khalil Hymore Quasha and Jeremy Rosenberg.

To all the moms and grandmothers, we wish you a wonderful and happy Mother’s Day! Wishing everyone a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!

Please call the Board office for assistance. We are here to serve you. Community Board 2 continues to work with you on resolving all your issues.

Debra Markell Kleinert
District Manager, Community Board 2

Visit Local Bookstores

To The Editor:

“New Releases At Astoria Bookshop” (April 26) is a great reason to have supported your local book store this past April 29, the third annual National Independent Book Store Day. Why not do the same during the other 364 days a year?

National Independent Bookstore Day began as the California Bookstore Day, sponsored by the Northern California Bookstore Association on May 2, 2014. It was in response to more and more people purchasing books online from Amazon, other e-commerce stores, Barnes & Noble and Books a Million.

In these difficult economic times, it is especially important to patronize our few remaining neighborhood independent bookstores. Remember these people are our neighbors. They work long hours, pay taxes and provide local employment. If we don’t patronize the few remaining local community bookstores, they will go the way of the dinosaur.

Buy and read a good book. It is health food for the mind.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

Mass Transit A Shambles

To The Editor:

Last week, it was Amtrak that was not able to restore service to Penn Station for quite awhile. This week, the entire subway system was crippled during the Friday morning commute by some type of electrical problem, causing major delays for thousands of riders. What is going on with our transportation system? It is time for additional federal money to be allocated to this region so that Penn station and the MTA can upgrade their systems. These delays over the last two weeks are not acceptable to the riding public, nor should they be acceptable to the MTA and Amtrak, as well as to our elected officials. How come we haven't heard from our illustrious Senator, Chuck Schumer, regarding all of this nonsense? He always shows his face on television for every other problem that arises. Get this nonsense resolved – NOW!

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Poverty Abounds

To The Editor:

Poverty seems to be increasing in our neighborhoods – what can we do? There might be some things we can do on the local level. I was in the Glen Oaks Village shopping area near Chase Manhattan Bank and the Key Food supermarket, and I saw men, women, young and old begging for small change during various times of the day. Some I had spoken to were either homeless, hungry or have mental problems. I have found that most sad indeed. I myself was homeless over 40 years ago and truly feel their pain. My question is, what is the state, city and federal government doing for these unfortunate souls? I saw an old man on Saturday before Easter, asking me for spare change, so I gave him a few bucks. He thanked me and said, “God bless you and have a happy Easter.” Too bad he might not. There were a few out there I tried to help with spare change. I think more of us should help the needy and poor. I ask the many that can, to donate to food kitchens, food pantries and community and church groups that help the poor. Maybe in a small way, as individuals, we can make a better community with our loving and caring for those in the most need. Remember this too: Are we not God’s children, and need to be his loving hands?

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

No Pride In Work

To The Editor:

It is nice to have Pre-K for 3-years-olds, but what happened to senior citizens, especially those who are homebound and disabled?

The president must not cut medical deductions from the tax code. Thousands of dollars are spent for medical costs by people and they deserve deductions on income taxes.

I applaud all that was done to commemorate Earth Day, but all year round we must not litter our streets, our parks, we must recycle, not pollute the environment by idling our cars and buses and trucks, not flushing everything down the toilet and caring about our earth. This is not a one-day concern.

I applaud Grace Meng for being a speaker at Queens College. I met her at Borough Hall in 2011 when I made a speech against the closing of senior centers.

It is great that an injunction was given by a judge to avoid the withholding of federal funds to cities that are sanctuary cities. I hope this goes all the way to the Supreme Court.

I applaud woman of the year events, but ordinary women who struggle with disabilities to make a better world, to avoid prejudice, and help others should be honored.

I am glad that the government will not be shut down and September will be another crucial decision. I do not know why this has to happen every few months, frightening us.

I am glad that New York City will be reimbursed for the millions of dollars that we spend to protect the president and his wife and son. That is only the fair thing to do.

Also, there is certainly terrible management at the MTA and Scott Springer is right. Preventative maintenance is important in fixing escalators and elevators. We pay a great deal for subway and bus fare and nothing is done to improve service nor perform preventative maintenance.

It seems that there is no personal interest anymore among workers nor the governments of our city state and nation. Our president is a shameful character, and he has no idea what he is saying, sorry to say. Cynthia Groopman Little Neck

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