2017-11-22 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

To The Editor:

The proposed purpose of the Republican tax reform is to spur corporations to invest in expanding productivity resulting in an alleged economic expansion that will raise the national gross domestic product. According to their claims the average American will receive a $4,000 annual income increase.

Tax reform proponents often state that the U.S. has the highest cooperate tax rate in the Western World at 35%. Yet all economists note that the nominal rate, the rate actually paid in taxes by corporations is just over 18%.

President Reagan passed tax reform claiming “trickle down” benefits to the average and poor Americans. No financial benefit resulted to the average American; rather, the wealthiest became richer. David Stockman was the author of the trickle-down theory, who in later years disavowed the concept as a failure. Ross Perot called it “voodoo economics.”

The Republicans state the tax refund is meant to benefit the middle class. With the top 10% growing richer daily, the middle class has decades of stagnant wages and harder times to make ends meet.

There are hundreds of thousands of Americans fighting daily to pay the bills hoping for a better life for their children. Many work 40-hour weeks earning minimum wages while hoping for a second job to help.

Rather than trickle down it is time to raise the economy from the bottom up. Anyone working a 40-hour week should be paid a living wage of $15 an hour. The more money the poor and middle class families have, the more they will spend. Their increased economic wealth will demand higher productivity, increasing employment, increasing taxes (paid) to the government and will make the wealthier richer!

Ed Horn
Baldwin, L.I.

Applauds Climate Act

A copy of this letter was received at the offices of the Queens Gazette. November 14, 2017 Chairman Avella and Members of the Committee,

My name is Stacey Pheffer Amato. I serve as Assemblywoman for the 23rd District of New York State, which includes much of South Queens and the lion’s share of areas hardest-hit by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. I am writing with appreciation for your holding of this hearing on (Climate and Community Protection Act ) S6617- A Avella / A8270-A Englebright, and to strongly encourage the passage and signing of this legislation in the strongest possible form at the earliest possible date.

I have lived on the Rockaway Peninsula my whole life. Many things define us as a community, but since 2012, the experience of living (through) Superstorm Sandy has rocketed to the top of the list. We are living proof that the worst impacts of climate change are survivable only through preparation, immense expenditure of resources and help from all over the country. And, as everyone is now aware, time is running out. Sandy was one of the first contemporary superstorms. This hurricane season alone, the United States and Puerto Rico were struck by three such storms in a week and a half. And because of the feedback loop created by climate change’s acceleration, the frequency and intensity of these storms will only get worse.

We’ve taken the opportunity on the five-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy to weigh in on all kinds of issues based on our hard-earned experience, from local resiliency to national flood insurance policy. I myself went to Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey to advise elected officials of how to prioritize the next steps in the dazzling aftermath of a cataclysm. What is clear is that our policies have long reflected denial that climate change would hit us directly, as people, where we live. That illusion is no longer affordable, or indeed possible.

Over 40 percent of the United States’ population lives in a county adjacent to coastline. That means that communities like ours are not going anywhere. Nine million New York City residents, plus millions more on Long Island and (near) the Great Lakes, live by the shore. And the things that the New York State Climate and Community Protection Act protects – jobs, clean energy, innovative zoning, environmental justice, and labor conditions – are all deeply relevant to all New Yorkers.

The Act is quite comprehensive, in keeping with the broad scope of immediate actions needed to stem, and prepare for, a changing climate. Specifically, I am encouraged by the fact that the Act:

- Establishes councils with inclusive representation to find concrete facts about where we stand as a state and to oversee the transition to a cleaner, more resilient economy;

- Mandates creation of firm emissions limits and regular reporting mechanisms, to promote situational awareness from here on out;

- Includes economically disadvantaged communities, such as Far Rockaway in my district, in the design of oversight and planning mechanisms;

- Identifies the status of, and recommends processes to improve, community ownership of clean-energy resources;

- Includes environmental justice advocates and government environmental oversight bodies in the ongoing process of transitioning to a clean economy;

- Requires affirmative strategy requirements for state agencies to reduce their greenhouse emissions output;

- Uses state environmental funds to jumpstart promulgation of new green energy technologies, especially in economically disadvantaged communities; and

- Contains built-in protection for prevailing wages in all its projects, including the right of legal action.

The high-water mark for our own cataclysm was nine feet. Cars floated down our street, beaches washed away and my children’s schools relocated far away for months after Sandy hit, because the school buildings here were too moldy. At the time, the only thought on our minds past our own recovery was that no one should ever again have to go through what we did. Now we must prepare as if everyone will.

I applaud your efforts and I am writing to pledge my support to this legislation. Please keep me informed of your progress. Let’s do everything we can to get this Act passed. We cannot afford another year without a plan, and this legislation provides a plan – and a good, comprehensive one at that.

Sincerely,
Assembly Member Stacey Pheffer Amato

A copy of this letter was received at the
offices of the Queens Gazette.
November 14, 2017
Commissioner Lorelei Salas
NYC Department of Consumer Affairs
42 Broadway
New York, NY 10004
Dear Commissioner Salas:

I write to ask that the Department of Consumer Affairs grant extensions to laundromats throughout the city that are in the process of renewing their licenses in order to come into compliance with Local Law 87, which will take effect on December 31, 2017.

As you know, Local Law 87 requires laundromats to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy or a Letter of No Objection from the Department of Buildings in order to certify that the premises are suitable to operate a laundry business. Unfortunately, at least 125 well-intentioned laundromats throughout the five boroughs have contacted my office to inform me that while they are seeking to comply with the law, they are being told by DOB that they may not meet the December 31 deadline due to building violations that are beyond their control and ultimately the responsibility of their landlords.

On Thursday, November 9, 2017, my office was informed by DCA that the agency was not willing to extend the deadline while the laundromats’ landlords remedy any building violations. As DCA is the regulatory agency, I ask that the DCA grant these businesses an extension to give their buildings time to come into compliance with the law so that laundromats are not unfairly cited because of bureaucratic delays. Many of these businesses are immigrant owned, mom-and-pop establishments that serve as the backbone of healthy communities. It is the responsibility of the City of New York to do its part to help them stay on their feet, not penalize them for trying to comply with the law.

Attached is a separate letter and a petition to DCA from laundromat business owners.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if I can be of further assistance. Sincerely,

Peter Koo
NYC Council Member

Thanks & Giving

To The Editor:

Thanksgiving is upon us and it is a time of good food and festive activities. Thanksgiving is the kick-off for the holiday season and that means there is much to do with many preparations for the holiday season. But we need to pause for a moment and think of those who have very little to be thankful about. There are many in homeless shelters and some living on the streets. Each day is a struggle for many trying to survive. Added to that the children, who suffer the most, with many having very little to eat. My suggestion is, to those who can, please give to those organizations who help the many, like churches, community organizations, and faith-based groups. There are also food pantries and soup kitchens that are in need of donations this time of the year. But also remember these people who are in need are not only needy during the holidays but all year long. This is the season for caring, giving and sharing. Remember also, the kindness of strangers means a lot to those who have very little. So please give and you will be glad that you did.

I am Grand Knight of St. Anastasia Knights of Columbus Council 5911 in Douglaston, and I would like to point out that my group and myself walk the talk. My council members have just dropped off four large turkeys to the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Queen of Peace residence, in Queens Village. This is a place for senior citizens who have limited financial means.

And to all those that celebrate Christmas, may I say have a merry and most blessed Christmas.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village, N.Y.

Hold On Amazon

To The Editor:

Those who support Amazon using air rights over the Sunnyside Yard to build a major East Coast distribution facility fail to acknowledge that it will not work without significant transportation improvements. Both Amtrak and NJ Transit use the existing Sunnyside Yard for midday and overnight storage, along with positioning of equipment for rush hour service. The MTA, LIRR and Metro-North have their own future potential plans to use portions of Sunnyside Yard for construction of a station. The MTA, LIRR, Amtrak New Jersey Transit and Metro-North Railroad all will play a role in the success of any development plans for Sunnyside Yard.

Few remember that in 1998 as part of the proposed

MTA LIRR Eastside Access project, construction of a passenger station was considered for Sunnyside Yard. It would provide access to the growing Long Island City business and residential district. Fast-forward 19 years to today. The MTA has still not advertised and awarded a contract for the new Sunnyside Yard LIRR Station that was to be built at Queens Blvd. and Skillman Avenue.

Any future development plans utilizing the air rights over Sunnyside Yard should include the proposed MTA LIRR Eastside Access project construction of a passenger station at Sunnyside Yard. It will provide access to both Sunnyside and the adjacent growing Long Island City business and residential communities, along with neighboring Astoria and Woodside. There has been incredible residential and commercial growth in neighborhoods adjacent to Sunnyside Yard. Imagine the benefits to both residents and commuters. Consider the possible travel options including reverse commuting if a Metro- North Railroad connection from the New Haven line via the Bronx and Hell Gate Bridge on to Penn Station reached beneficial use (assuming there is a way to find capacity in Penn Station during peak a.m. and p.m. rush hours for new Metro- North service – off-peak, evenings and weekends may be easier to find space) along with LIRR Eastside Access to Grand Central Terminal. Both could provide service to a Sunnyside Yard station in December 2023 or some time in 2024.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

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