2017-06-14 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Keep Going Strong!

To The Editor:

Congratulations to Queens Gazette Publisher Tony Barsamian, John Toscano, Liz Goff, Melissa Cipolla-Mennona, Jason Antos, Denise Gallo, Annette Alberts, Teresa Barile and Vinny DuPre on your 35th Anniversary Issue (Editorial, “Thank You For Letting Us Serve You,” June 7). It was also a great trip down memory lane of the Gazette’s history. Queens residents once had their own daily Long Island Star Journal and Long Island Press, until they went out of business in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Weekly newspapers based in Queens such as our own Queens Gazette provide more in-depth coverage of local news, not found in the remaining major daily newspapers.

I continue to be grateful that the Queens Gazette, along with other daily and weekly newspapers, afford me an opportunity to express my views, as well as differing opinions. Thanks to you, ordinary citizens have the freedom to comment on the actions and legislation of elected officials. Public officials use taxpayers’ dollars to promote their views, via mass mailings of newsletters, news releases, letters to the editor and guest opinion page columns. In many cases, they are produced or written by campaign or office staffers who are paid for by taxpayers. The rest of us have limited time to submit a letter. Let us thank those few brave souls who are willing to take on the establishment and powerful special interest groups in the pages of your Letters to the Editor section.

Please join me along with your neighbors in continue reading the Queens Gazette. Patronize their advertisers; they provide the revenues necessary to keep them in business. Let them know you saw their ad. This is what helps keep our neighbors employed, the local economy growing, and provides space on a daily or weekly basis for your favorite or not-so-favorite letter writers.

In the marketplace of ideas, let us hope there continues to be room for everyone, including the Queens Gazette and all the other weekly newspapers. They fill a valuable niche in the information highway. Larry Penner, Faithful Reader and Contributor for

Over 31 Years!
Great Neck

Memories Of Father

To The Editor:

June is the month we honor fathers. Memories of dads bring many memories of my own. My father’s name was Frederick and he was 59 years old when I was born. As I got older there was a lot he couldn’t do, due to his age, but in some ways he did a lot for me that counted more. He always told me to tell the truth and to stand up for what I believe in. He also told me to volunteer and to always help those in need if I could.

Many times, my father would sit me down and tell me about our colorful family history. He would tell me that my great-great-grandfather, who, with his brother, left England in 1776 to go to America to fight against the British in the American Revolution, and forge a new and better life for themselves. My grandfather fought in the Civil War and served as a drummer boy in General Sherman’s army. My father was born in 1890 and was the youngest of 13 children, only 6 of which survived after the age of 21. He once told me a story I will never forget. He was 9 years old and saved all year in order to get some fireworks, which were legal back then where he lived in Brooklyn. When he was going to shoot some off, a boy of about 14 threw a lit match into the box where my father had his fireworks. My father was extremely mad, beat up the kid, and this bully ran home to tell his father. The boy’s father went to my grandfather to complain. My grandfather brought my father to the door and said, “look at my small boy and look at the size of your son.” At this the bully’s father took the boy home and yelled at him.

My father got married at 19 and had a daughter named Marion. My father had gotten a job in a coffee company in 1909, which later became Yuban coffee. One day he was working through his lunch on one of the machines and the power got turned off. When a woman came back and turned on the power, my father ended up losing two fingers of his right hand. He didn’t know it at the time but it saved him from going into the Army during WWI, where many in his neighborhood were killed. His first wife died in 1941 after 35 years of marriage and had lived in Baldwin at the time. WWII came, and he was denied again for service, due to losing the two fingers. He ended up serving as an air raid warden at night. Through most of his life he worked as a manager for various stores, such as A&P, and finally as a sexton at St. Paul’s church in Glen Oaks Village, and as janitorial help at Grace Lutheran church in Queens Village. During this time he married my mother in 1944 and settled in Queens Village. I was born to them in 1949 on August 1, which, by the way, was my father’s birthday. I guess he got a son he waited for so many years and on his birthday to boot. My father was a tough little man of 5’4” and weighed 126 pounds. He always spoke the truth and had many opinions he was not afraid to utter. He died in 1973 at the age of 83. Let me say to my dad, “I’m proud you were my father and you will forever be in my heart.” And to all fathers, “Happy Father’s Day!”

Frederick R. Bedell, Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

Thank You Cathy Nolan

A copy of this letter was received at the offices of the Queens Gazette. Dear Assemblywoman Nolan:

I want to express my deep appreciation to you for being the first elected official to step up in defense of the rights of residents who live on 35th Avenue (between 21st and 12th Streets) who have long suffered the spectacle of rows of unsightly garbage trucks. News of a possible solution to this problem because of the Mayor’s allocation of funds to move the trucks is merely the most recent development that comes after many years of a long fight. Throughout that time, you were steadfast in your commitment to support alternative sites for more appropriate placement of these Sanitation Department vehicles. It is both timely and significant that this letter of thanks be sent to you at this time.

You understood the gross unfairness of dumping trucks on a daily basis along a block where people from the Ravenswood development reside. You, likewise, understood the health challenges from idling trucks, garbage and oil; as well as safety risks to drivers and pedestrians; and the dangers of blocked hydrants and trapped cars unable to move because of the trucks. Quality of life, safety and health concerns were among the issues that you shared with the residents who are taxpayers, citizens and voters. Above all, you recognized the plight of residents who often had to welcome their guests through the narrow openings between smelly garbage trucks creating a striking picture of 20 or more double-parked trucks alongside garbage that they do not pick up.

Subsequently, your example sparked attention from other elected officials, including Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, and Mayor de Blasio, who recently committed the needed funds to relocate the Department of Sanitation garbage trucks.

Again, thank you for stepping up and standing with us during the long and arduous struggle of many years to achieve recognition for a longstanding problem, indicative of the disregard and disdain implicit in the ways that the developments are looked at; namely, with lots of negative attention and little attention for providing help to solve problems hiding in plain sight.

Dr. Sharon M. Cadiz
Member of Justice for All Coalition

Pro Kathy Griffin

To The Editor:

The comedian Kathy Griffin has been reviled – and allegedly investigated by the Secret Service – for “going too far” when she posted a photo on Instagram of herself holding the decapitated gory head of Donald Trump. I suppose demonizing Griffin has been irresistible in some quarters; it gave the Trumps a chance to be self-righteous and liberals like Senator Al Franken an opportunity to show that they share mainstream values. Even Griffin engaged in verbal seppuku over this incident. Her lachrymose apology was rather piteous – and embarrassing, probably because, I suspect, she didn’t believe a word of it. Withal, she needn’t have bothered; CNN still fired her from her New Year’s Eve hosting gig.

Since Griffin herself cried mea culpa, I feel chagrined by defending her right to be churlishly transgressive. However, I think a few points about this “scandal” ought to be made. Comedian Jim Carrey, one of Griffin’s few public defenders, maintained on Entertainment Tonight that “It is the job of the comedian to cross the line at all times….” I don’t know if that’s an occupational requirement, but comedians ought to have the freedom to deploy nastiness in their acts without the threat of censorship and job loss. I don’t like Kathy Griffin’s work; I don’t find her funny – the ultimate sin for a comedian. But surely, she should have as much right to wield her Brummagem vulgarity as the elderly Bob Hope had to reel off his feeble partisan-Republican jokes. More to the point, satire, when effective, is always harsh and the harsher it is the more resonant it is. Juvenal, Swift, Twain, Waugh – the world is still the beneficiary of their acid invective, their muckraking misanthropy. (No – rest assured – I’m not comparing Kathy Griffin in any way to those lofty writers.)

Why all the hypocritical sanctimony? In my lifetime the only president who came near to being as execrated as Trump was Richard M. Nixon. He was targeted by venues and individuals all along the cultural spectrum, from the lowbrow (Mad magazine, the impressionist David Frye) to the highbrow (Philip Roth’s “Our Gang”), and by the unclassifiable (the wonderful political cartoonist Herblock). But Nixon, who was known to carry a grudge or two (or three, or…), survived the savaging – it wasn’t what did him in – and so did the Republic. Ridicule won’t topple Trump either. Like Nixon, he’ll manage that by himself.

No one yet, to my knowledge, has successfully limned a smashing satirical presentation of Trump. (The Saturday Night Live skits are cute, but too mild.) Think of the complications! How do you caricature someone who is already a garish caricature? Americans should be prepared for a lot more tawdry, tasteless comedic shtick along the lines of Griffin’s lurid l.se majesté. But I am confident that our comic brotherhood and sisterhood – whether in standup, fiction, the theater, or whatever – will eventually create the Trump that we – and he – deserve. Perhaps Kathy Griffin will lead the way.

Howard Schneider
Rego Park

School Closure Devastating

A copy of this letter was received at the offices of
Queens Gazette.
June 1, 2017
Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio
Bishop of Brooklyn
310 Prospect Park West
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Dear Bishop DiMarzio,

As President of the District 24 Community Education Council, I write to inform you of the devastating impact the potential closure of Middle Village Preparatory Charter School will have on the children and families in our community.

As you may know, District 24 is the most overcrowded school district of New York City with every school packed with students and most schools operating at 180% of capacity. Our primary efforts for the foreseeable future are to reduce this overcrowding while we improve the quality of our educational programs. MVP’s continued presence is a crucial part of our plan.

The letter from your attorney dated May 2, 2017 to Christ the King High School, makes it clear that the Brooklyn Diocese seeks to have MVP vacate at the end of this school year in just a few weeks from now and cease operations in that space.

Should MVP close – which, based on the complete lack of available school space in our community, is the most likely outcome of the Diocese’s legal action – the influx of 400 new students displaced by your actions would make a terrible situation even worse in our schools and for our children.

While closing MVP might not be your intent, it almost certainly will be the result of the legal actions taken on your behalf.

As someone who understands education and cares deeply about improving education for our children, you know too well that the impact of severely over-crowded classrooms falls strictly on our students.

You have it in your power to prevent this travesty from occurring. It is with deep regard that I ask you to reconsider the impact of this litigation on behalf of every child and the education provided to [them], in our community. In the end, direct your lawyers to stand down and withdraw this action.

Nick Comaianni
Community Education Council 24

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