2017-11-08 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

MVP Stays, For Now

Dear Parents and Members of the MVP Community:

We are glad to bring you this positive update on the latest court decision in our ongoing efforts to defend our school against the lawsuit brought by the Brooklyn Diocese – a lawsuit that could evict MVP (Middle Village Preparatory Charter School) from our rented space on the Christ the King HS campus. This is another intermittent victory that allows our school to remain open on the campus while we continue to fight the Diocese’s lawsuit.

As you all know by now, MVP has been working with the CTK and CTK Continuing Education leadership to fend off the Diocese’s attempts to gain ultimate control over what happens on the CTK campus – most notably the very presence of our highly successful middle school.

To refresh your memory, the Diocese has sued over the existence of a charter school on CTK grounds, notwithstanding our students’ great academic progress and the reality that most of our students are, in fact, Catholic and many eventually attend Catholic high schools (often on scholarship).

Back in March, Supreme Court Justice Marguerite Grays issued a decision that would have forced MVP to cease operations on the CTK campus. Last month, we were granted a temporary restraining order that prevented enforcement of that March decision while we appealed our case to the next highest court, which is called the Appellate Division.

Yesterday we were informed that the Appellate Division has granted our motion to stay enforcement of Justice Grays’ order pending the hearing and determination of our case. The stay of the March 23, 2017 order from Justice Grays’ order extends for as long as the Appellate Division needs to decide our appeal.

As often happens with lawsuits, we will need to file more paperwork with the court, as will the Diocese.

But the bottom line is that this decision allows MVP to continue operations as usual on the CTK campus without interruption.

We are grateful for your continued support and activism on our school’s behalf. We have accomplished great things together for your children and our community, not the least of which is helping to mitigate the massive overcrowding in our local public school district.

We know the Diocese’s lawsuit has created tremendous anxiety in much of our school community and, like you, we feel it’s totally unnecessary. Our hope is that the Diocese will realize how much we can achieve if we work together. Unfortunately, the Diocese’s lawsuit and demands have forced us into a completely counterproductive adversarial position.

The Diocese’s litigation sits like a Sword of Damocles above the heads of our students, parents, teachers, staff and community members. We invite the Bishop and his colleagues – from his pastoral team to his real estate division – to sit with us to find a way to achieve our common goals in partnership, instead of fighting this out in court. In the meantime, we will continue to keep you posted as developments occur. As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions, concerns or thoughts.

Josephine Lume
Board Chair

Additional Traffic Controls

A copy of this letter was received at the office
of the Queens Gazette.
October 25, 2017
Honorable Toby Ann Stavisky
State Senator, 16 Senatorial District
142-29 37th Avenue – Suite #1
Flushing, New York 11354

Dear Senator Stavisky:

DOT recently completed its study regarding the need for additional traffic controls at the intersection of Rose Avenue and Parsons Boulevard.

We are pleased to inform you that traffic signals have been approved at these locations. Installation will be performed by contract and the work is tentatively scheduled to be completed by February 28, 2018.

Thank you for your interest in this matter. Sincerely,

Nicole Garcia
Queens Borough Commissioner

No Bike Lanes, Sidewalks

To The Editor:

As I drive my car along the traffic clogged streets, I often notice that there are only a few pedestrians on a whole block of sidewalk. Clearly, sidewalks are under-utilized and should be eliminated. Many car-centric towns do not have any at all.

I am sure that all drivers would exercise the utmost caution not to kill or maim a pedestrian or bicycle rider when speeding along the new traffic lane, peering out through blacked out windows while they fiddle with an infotainment system and talking on a smart phone.

If a bicyclist or pedestrian feels terrified, they should just stay home or call Uber.

Bill Herbert
Kew Gardens

The Gift Of Life

To The Editor:

I would like to impress upon the many the importance of donating blood. The donation of blood is a sign of social consciousness because unless people are willing to donate blood, the health of communities will not be very well. I’m Grand Knight of St. Anastasia Knights of Columbus, Council 5911, and as Chairman along with my co-Chairman Giuseppe Petruso, my 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 November 12 on Sunday. It will be from 8:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., at 45-14 245th Street in Douglaston, in Father Smith Hall. Let me point out that the need for blood is constant. Did you know that our local hospitals need 2,000 pints a day? This is a great opportunity for the many to give the gift of life by donating blood. There is no substitute for human blood. One in three people will need blood sometime in their lifetime. Blood lasts 42 days. That is why your donation is now most critically important. Remember men, women and children in our community – cancer, transplant, trauma and surgery patients – also newborn babies need blood transfusions each day. So please give the gift of life and you will be glad that you did.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

Lipstick On A Pig

To The Editor:

There is even more to your excellent editorial “Subway Enhancements: Boon Or Bummer,” November 1. MTA NYC Transit plans to spend millions for design, construction and installation of pilot floor to ceiling safety barriers on the Third Avenue Manhattan Canarsie L Line subway station platforms may not be the best use of scarce financial resources. Several years ago, the MTA estimated it could easily cost over $1 billion for installation of platform safety barriers at all 471 stations. The MTA has yet to come up with a design which could accommodate different station platform and subway car configurations. There is also potential conflicts with how garbage trains would be able to function. What about the impact on air circulation and smoke conditions? In an emergency, how would employees working on tracks in stations access platforms?

These dollars would be better spent toward fully funding the emergency $836 million “Subway Action Plan” to deal with today’s crises. It is currently short over $400 million.

According to a NYC Citizens Budget Commission report released last year, it will take 51 years or until 2067 for all 471 NYC Transit Subway Stations to reach a state of good repair. The cost will be billions. This does not include the expense of bringing more stations into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Millions of people safely ride subways daily without falling onto the tracks. Far more pedestrians die crossing a street than those pushed or falling onto a subway track. What’s next, safety barriers on every street corner protecting pedestrians when crossing the street?

Last year, the MTA issued a Request for Proposals for a new Fare Payment System. Funding of $419 million to support this project was included within the $32 billion MTA 2015 - 2019 Five Year Capital Plan. This new fare collection system could be either smart phones, bank cards or MTA issued smart cards. In 2015, the proposed original project schedule called for testing in 2018, initiation of implementation in 2019 followed by substantial completion in 2021.

Two years later, both the budget and schedule appear to have been overly optimistic, just like other MTA NYC Transit new technology projects. MTA awarding a contract for $573 million to Cubic Transportation Systems may not be the best use of these dollars. The new anticipated completion date has slipped two years to 2023. The budget went up by $154 million. Not a great start budget- or schedule-wise for this project. How will riders without smart phones accompanied with software such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay or Pay With Google, debit cards or credit cards embedded with chips that rely on wireless technology known as near field communication use this new system? Not all students, seniors, poor and working class riders have these options. Why will Cubic Transportation Systems open up a call center in Buffalo to support future customers using this new fare collection system with so many out of work NYC residents looking for employment?

These dollars might also have been better spent toward fully funding the emergency $836 million “Subway Action Plan” to deal with today’s crises. It could also have been used as a down payment against the $17 billion shortfall toward $20 billion needed to bring the subway signal system up to a state of good repair. What good does a new fare collection system or floor to ceiling safety barrier do if you are still stuck on the platform waiting for a train. Funding for both projects could have been postponed till the next MTA 2020 - 2024 Five Year Capital Plan.

Removal of corner seats on A, E, F & R line subway cars to accommodate more riders is the equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig. Homeless people gravitate to both the E & R lines since the routes run 100% underground, providing consistent warmth in the winter and cool in the summer. Now, they will gravitate to the middle seats, depriving regular riders.

Even worse will be locking up foldable seats in the middle of the car during rush hours on the Canarsie L line to fit in even more riders. Will the motorman, conductor or car cleaners be responsible for going thru each car to lock and unlock seats? Will they ask for modifications to existing union contracts for obtaining additional financial compensation in taking on new work? This ignores the needs of pregnant, physically challenged and elderly riders. It also may be in violation of the Americans with Disability Act which could jeopardize future receipt of $1.3 billion in Federal Fiscal Year 2018 Federal Transit Administration funding.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

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