2017-05-24 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Letter To Tillerson

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) led 28 other members of Congress in a May 22 letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, urging him to arrest, prosecute and jail the members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail who were caught on video brutally attacking American protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. last week.

In the letter, the members state, “This kind of behavior by a foreign security detail is reprehensible and cannot be tolerated. These actions are not only criminal, they are affronts to U.S. values. Freedom of speech and freedom to protest may be prohibited in Turkey and offensive to the Turkish president, but they are bedrock U.S. principles that must be safeguarded.”

The full text of the letter signed by Maloney, Nydia Velazquez, and 27 other Congressmembers follows:

Dear Secretary Tillerson:

On May 16, members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail were caught on video brutally attacking protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. and deliberately disregarding police orders to halt their assaults. The video is incredibly disturbing. We urge you to immediately condemn this outrageous attack in the strongest terms possible, and use all tools at your disposal so that these men are denied diplomatic immunity and prosecuted to the fullest extent of U.S. law.

Based on the video of the incident, these Turkish security guards should be arrested, prosecuted and jailed. Numerous members of President Erdogan’s security detail kicked, punched, and trampled people holding posters who were standing in a park that is clearly not part of the embassy. These Turkish security guards kicked men and women crouched on the ground and disregarded numerous commands by police to cease and desist. According to news reports, nine people were hurt, including two who were seriously injured and taken to the hospital. The bloodied faces on the video are shocking.

This kind of behavior by a foreign security detail is reprehensible and cannot be tolerated. These actions are not only criminal, they are affronts to U.S. values. Freedom of speech and freedom to protest may be prohibited in Turkey and offensive to the Turkish President, but they are bedrock U.S. principles that must be safeguarded.

Although the State Department’s spokesperson has issued a statement on this matter, more must be done. It is incumbent upon you, as the top diplomat of the United States, to speak out publicly against these actions and, just as importantly, ensure that these men are held fully accountable for their actions.

Sincerely,
Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12)
Donald S. Beyer, Jr. (VA-8)
Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1)
Robert A. Brady (PA-1)
Joaquin Castro (TX-20)
David N. Cicilline (RI-1)
Katherine M. Clark (MA-5)
Charlie Crist (FL-13)
Bill Foster (IL-11)
Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-3)
Brian Higgins (NY-26)
Jared Huffman (CA-2)
Daniel T. Kildee (MI-5)
Daniel W. Lipinski (IL-3)
Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)

Betty McCollum (MN-4)
James P. McGovern (MA-2)
Seth Moulton (MA-6)
Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC)
Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6)
Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-9)
Chellie Pingree (ME-1)
Bobby L. Rush (IL-1)
John P. Sarbanes (MD-3)
Janice D. Schakowsky (IL-9)
Brad Sherman (CA-30)
Mark Takano (CA-41)
Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-7)
John A. Yarmuth (KY-3)

Bittersweet RKO Approval

May 16, 2017
New York City Landmarks Preservation
Commission
Municipal Building, 1 Centre Street, 9th
Floor North
New York, NY 10007
RE: Docket #: LPC-19-10074

I am writing to express my support for the RKO Keith’s Historic Lobby Rehabilitation as presented by Ayon Studio on behalf of Xinyuan Real Estate.

As you know, this site has been an eyesore for the Flushing community for decades. The reasons are many. At best, the previous string of owners have speculated the property only to flip it for profit, and in the worst case, a former owner intentionally demolished much of the landmarked interior and spilled oil in the basement.

In fact, since its designation as a New York City landmark in 1984, the property has had as many as six owners, however none have been as close as the current owner to actually restoring this blighted and abandoned structure.

As much as our community would love to see the former RKO Keith’s return to its glory days as a theater, the economic reality coupled with decades of vandalism, weather damage, and severe deterioration demands that immediate action be taken to save as much of the landmarked portion as possible before further destruction is wrought upon the landmarked interior.

After meeting personally with Xinyuan Real Estate, and reviewing the preservation architect’s strategy to preserve, restore and, in some cases, replicate the interior landmark, I urge you to approve this application to allow for off-site repairs and preservation efforts so that this once marvelous landmark of Flushing can again serve as a gateway to our community.

Finally, to ensure the future interiors are replaced and restored in accordance to LPC’s guidelines, I strongly encourage the developer to establish a monetary commitment or other legal protection so that if unforeseen events occur during construction, finances are in place to insure, preserve, protect, and return, the landmarked portion.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance.

Sincerely,
Peter Koo
Peter Koo is a New York City Council
Member in the 20th Council District

Most Ineffective President

To The Editor:

I agree that President Trump should be impeached for obstruction of justice. He is entangled with giving away classified information to the Russians that hampered our homeland security, as well as the situation with the FBI. He has caused the stock market to panic. Again, he is the most ineffective president in history, and has a paranoia problem thinking that the media is after him. Trump’s antics are really annoying our nation and bringing it down. Something must be done to stop North Korea from building a nuclear missile that can attack the U.S., and where is the U.N.?

I applaud Assemblyman Mike Miller for having private mammogram screenings at his office. This is wonderful for the detection of breast cancer, as in its early stages it can be cured. I also applaud Miller for sponsoring, along with Senator Joseph Addabbo the recycling of electronics. I also applaud Councilman Paul Vallone for traffic safety. Also it was great that small businesses and bookstores in the local areas are being patronized and advertised since retail stores are important. Online shopping is the mode now and takes away from these stores’ business and livelihood which is important. I urge all to patronize their local stores. It was a great idea to drop off prescription drugs that are not needed, no questions asked. I am glad that buses and trains will have ways of giving seats to disabled and elderly passengers. That is the fair way of doing things. Planes should not throw people off if they are overbooked. Also, speed cameras where schools are located are great, but what about people using wheelchairs, and senior citizens who cross the streets to go to senior centers?

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

Trump Exacerbates Situation

To The Editor:

President Trump needs to tone down his rhetoric and stop the unnecessary tweets that he has been sending out since before he was elected president. There is absolutely no logical reason for him to continue to do this. All this does is exacerbate an already worsening situation with regard to all of the events that have rocked the country since he took office. If he doesn’t watch it, he very well may be hearing the word impeachment from Congress sooner rather than later. He needs to seriously get down to business and run this country. So many people who voted for him are now beginning to get very upset and anger is building.

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

The Gift Of Life

To The Editor:

I would like to impress on the many the importance of donating blood. I was at Immaculate Conception in Douglaston on May 2, where many groups were being honored for running blood drives. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and the New York Blood Center gave praise for Brooklyn and Queens for the 2016 Blood Campaign which accounted for 8,000 donations. Bishop DiMarzio said, “The donation of blood is a sign of social consciousness, because unless people are willing to donate blood, the health of our communities will not be very well.” I wholeheartedly agree with the Bishop. I’m Grand Knight of St. Anastasia Knights of Columbus, Council 5911, and as Chairman with my co-Chairman Giuseppe Petruso and fellow members Joseph Stock and Martin Aversa, and with the help of Boy Scout Troop 153 we run two blood drives a year at St. Anastasia parish in Douglaston. Now here is my question – would you like to save three lives? Giving one pint of blood does just that. Our blood drive is on Sunday, June 4 at St. Anastasia parish in Father Smith Hall, t 45-14 245th Street, Douglaston, from 8:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Let me also point out that the need for blood is constant. Did you know that our local hospitals need more than 2,000 pints a day? You never know when someone you know, or even yourself, will need blood. So, if you can, please give the gift of life. You will be glad that you did. For info call Fred Bedell, 718-347-0874.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

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