2017-10-18 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Reject Silencers Act

A copy of this letter was received at the
offices of the Queens Gazette.
October 7, 2017
The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker
U.S. House of Representatives
The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Mr. Speaker,

This week the House was scheduled to consider H.R. 2406, Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, or the SHARE Act, which would reduce current restrictions on buying silencers, among other things. Yet after the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday, you decided to hold off on bringing up this bill. In light of the mass shootings, and overall gun violence, we are seeing in this country, I urge you to publicly state that H.R. 2406, as well as H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, will not be brought up for consideration on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. Congress needs to take action to strengthen gun violence prevention laws, not weaken them.

No advanced country in the world even comes close to the U.S. with regards to gun violence rates. Every day, 32 Americans are murdered with a gun. America has 42 times as many firearm homicides as England and Wales, 20 times as many as Australia, and more than six times as many as Canada. We also own more guns than any other developed nation. In fact, the United States – which accounts for just 4.4 percent of the world’s population – has almost half of all civilian-owned guns around the world. If having more guns makes you safer, we’d be the safest country in the world. We are not.

Instead of taking steps to reduce gun violence, Congress has consistently considered legislation that would weaken gun safety laws and put more innocent Americans at risk. The SHARE Act is a bill that would make matters worse. Under the National Firearms Act of 1934, purchasing suppressors, or gun silencers, requires federal registration and a special license. These are reasonable requirements, given the additional risks that guns with silencers pose to law enforcement and communities. Yet, the SHARE Act would remove these restrictions and allow silencers to be purchased as ordinary firearms. That’s unacceptable, and I hope you will not allow this bill to move forward.

H.R. 38 poses even greater risks. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 would force all states to recognize concealed carry weapon permits from other states, regardless of how lax those state permitting laws may be. That would mean that residents of states like New York, which has strong gun safety laws, would now be at the mercy of states with the weakest laws. This ties the hands of states legislatures around the country, and poses an unacceptable risk to my constituents and millions of others across the country. Our states have chosen to take Constitutional steps to protect our residents from gun violence. The federal government should not force us to live by a weaker set of standards and, thus, put our residents’ lives and wellbeing at risk. I strongly (urge) you to reject this bill and assure us that it will not get a vote in the House.

Too many lives are being lost to gun violence. There are common-sense, effective reforms that we can put in place now that will help save lives, while at the same time respecting the Second Amendment. I urge you to ensure that Congress does not weaken the gun safety laws we have now and instead work in a bipartisan way to help reduce gun violence.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Carolyn B. Maloney
Member of Congress

No Warning , Input On Shelter

A copy of this letter was received at the offices
of the Queens Gazette.
September 29, 2017
Honorable Bill de Blasio
Mayor, City of New York
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Dear Mayor de Blasio:

I am outraged and disappointed to learn that yet another hotel in Queens has been converted into a homeless shelter, this time at 38-05 Hunters Point Avenue. I do not feel that our community was given adequate notice, nor time to prepare for this development. My office received no information as to which company will be managing the shelter, nor for how long the shelter will be operating. Considering the Mayor’s plan to phase out these temporary living situations by 2023, I was surprised to find that the Department of Homeless Services had instead contracted for even more hotel rooms.

As has been reiterated by myself and colleagues many times, the use of hotels as shelters is inappropriate. Hotel rooms cannot serve as functional living spaces, do not provide adequate space or services for families with children, are frequently located far from basic amenities and mass transit, and are unsuitable for long-term use.

No one wants to see children homeless, but the administration’s approach makes it impossible for a community to accept a shelter. They become a source of resentment for the communities in which they are placed, not least from the loss of service industry jobs and a decrease in tourism-related commerce as a result of the hotel’s closure. There is also the uncertain, possibly negative impact on the residential areas in which they are located. Due to the lack of transparency and input that the community is afforded during this process, opposition builds.

I am calling on Mayor de Blasio to take another look at this proposal, and to remove the shelter if possible. This shelter is in addition to a longstanding one on Borden Avenue, a new one at 33- 17 Greenpoint Avenue in the City View Inn that I also received no notice about, the Maspeth Holiday Inn shelter, which I also opposed, and of course, the Verve at 40-03 29th Street in Dutch Kills, which continues to receive complaints for poor management. The city must inform our community and elected officials of the relevant details in this process, at the very least via a public hearing with our local community board and provider.

I am demanding a meeting with the New York City Department of Homeless Services, and will report back to the community all that I can.

Sincerely,
Catherine Nolan
NYS Assemblymember

Shuttle Buses Needed

A copy of this letter was received at the offices
of the Queens Gazette.
September 29, 2017
Joseph J. Lhota

Chairman
MTA
2 Broadway
New York, NY 10004

Dear Chairman Lhota:

I am writing to bring your attention to Phase II of the M subway line repairs. Residents have complained to my office about the length of time it takes for the M subway shuttle to arrive, the overcrowding at the Myrtle/Wyckoff station, and the service on the Phase II shuttle bus. I understand that the current operational section of track can only accommodate two trains going back and forth, which is causing much of the frustration.

I believe some of these issues can be resolved by supplementing the subway shuttle with a shuttle bus that will follow the M line to the J/Z lines, similar to Phase I. The Phase I shuttle buses arrived much more frequently than the current subway shuttles and were received favorably. See the enclosed article. Phase II of the repairs is projected to last another seven months and I ask that you investigate adding a supplemental shuttle bus for the duration of this project.

Please address this matter at your earliest convenience. Feel free to contact my office with any additional questions by mail at 71-19 80th St., Suite 8-303; Glendale, NY 11385 or by phone at (718) 366-3900.

Sincerely,
Elizabeth S. Crowley
Council Member, 30th District

Second Ave. Subway

To The Editor:

Common sense shows that people who move into a new home or business prefer a permanent rather than a temporary certificate of occupancy. This also applies to the past Second Avenue Subway opening. Construction of the $4.5 billion Second Avenue Subway, which began in 2007 and was completed at year end in 2016, “on time and on budget” was never true. Governor Cuomo and others made this claim sounds more like revisionist transit historians attempting to rewrite past history. In the 1950s, bond money intended for construction of the Second Avenue subway was spent elsewhere. Work starting in the late 1960s was suspended in 1975 due to the municipal fiscal crises faced by the late NYC Mayor Abe Beame. This resulted in a funding financial shortfall. A second ground breaking took place in April, 2007. The opening day service date of 2013 within a year was revised to 2014. At a later date, due to cost overruns, it was delayed until 2015. It ended up taking until January 1, 2017, based upon several recovery schedules to the original base line construction contract. While the project reached beneficial use, it has yet to reach substantial completion followed by project close-out. Nine months later, thousands of punch list items for station finishing, along with testing for fire alarm, communications, mechanical and electrical systems and final payment to contractors, are still outstanding.

Using safety crews as a substitute for completion of all outstanding testing for fire suppression equipment costs more money. Who pays for this? With increasing numbers of subway track fires, following his logic, shouldn’t NYC Transit assign staff to all the other 468 subway stations to perform the same function?

Why are the 72nd, 86th and 96th Street Second Avenue Subway indoor newsstands still vacant? In the rush to open subway service by January 1, 2017, did the MTA Office of Capital Construction forget to coordinate with the MTA Office of Real Estate? Newsstand leases generate millions of dollars in yearly revenue for the MTA. They provide employment for hundreds of New Yorkers who work at or supply subway newsstands. People who work at newsstands also serve as a second set of eyes and ears for riders, providing additional security. Did the MTA Office of Real Estate ever release a Request for Proposals and award contracts for those entrepreneurs who want to open these newsstands? It took 10 years, from 2007 to 2017, before opening Second Avenue subway Phase One. Let’s hope it will not take as long for these newsstands to open. It would make a nice holiday gift for riders if they open before the end of 2017.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

Help End Breast Cancer

To The Editor:

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month and is a reminder for all of us to do something. Throughout the month of October, women are encouraged to make mammography appointments. Some may wonder why a man is writing a letter about breast cancer, which is more common in women, but it affects all of us. The ones we love – like our mother, sister, aunt, wife, lover or life companion – are affected by this insidious disease. We are caregivers and try to care for the ones we love. I know my wife of 30 years, Eva, goes every year for this test. And I know it scares her because breast cancer runs in her family and she has friends who have had the disease and some who have passed away. Yet each time she goes for the test I’m afraid to hear the worst and maybe lose the most important person in my life. I know many men have fears like myself. But we all must remember that early detection is the answer. I know that for a fact because I had an aggressive prostate cancer two years ago, and got tested and it was treated aggressively and now am two years in remission. Now, with new treatment options, mammography screenings do improve a woman’s chance of survival. Many years ago, in the 1960s my aunt had breast cancer and at that time there were not many treatment options and she died at age 62. But more can be done today and the cure rate is better now. We all need to get involved and do what we can to help fight this most insidious disease, like donating money to the American Cancer Society, which helps women cope with this disease. A lot of these organizations can be found on the internet and in our local newspapers. There are also runs and walks that help raise money, and those who can should enlist and volunteer their efforts in these fundraisers. So be all you can and let’s help end this disease.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

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