2018-01-17 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Report Card A++

Dear Friends,

For the eighth year in a row, I am proud to share my annual report with you. This report details much of the work we have accomplished during the past 12 months, from investing in our parks, building new schools, increasing funding for arts and culture, making our streets safer for all, and standing up for our #QueensValues.

Over the past year, I’ve worked on numerous pieces of legislation that will make New Yorkers’ lives better and fought for a fair and equitable city budget. We increased capital funding in libraries to record levels. We also invested record levels of funding yet again in our cultural institutions and organizations and invested millions of dollars in our parks, schools, streets, and public housing.

In 2017, we also fought back and resisted the Trump Administration’s assault on our #QueensValues. In this borough, we value diversity and compassion, and know that our differences make us stronger. I will continue to make that message heard loud and clear in 2018 as we continue to fight for our values.

I have also worked with my colleagues on important citywide issues, including fighting to protect immigrants and tenants, implementing NYC’s historic Create NYC Cultural Plan, and fighting for real progress on racial justice and criminal justice reform in our city.

Finally, we worked hard to improve our quality of life here in western Queens, helping tens of thousands of constituents with housing, sanitation, transportation, parks, schools, and other issues. If my staff and I can ever be of any assistance, please contact my office anytime at 718-383–9566 or email jvanbramer@council.nyc.gov and stay connected via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Sincerely,
Jimmy Van Bramer
City Council District 26
(visit jimmyvanbramer.com, scroll down
and click on Full 2017 Report Card)

American Schism

To The Editor:

Trump’s racism has been documented throughout his life. Fred Trump’s discriminatory housing practices impacted Donald, formalizing his racial hatred. Donald’s adoration of his father set in stone the man of today.

As an American who has lived through the years of the civil rights movement witnessing dog attacks on marchers, baton-wielding police, the murder of innocent children and the assassinations of leaders, I admit the current status of the nation is utterly depressing.

Recent political campaigns in the city were based upon two conflicting cities. The Big Apple truly is divided by wealth and opportunity. America as a whole, though, had been a people dedicated to the nation and patriotism based upon our founding principles.

Though the causes may be debated the unfortunate result is a schism of our citizens into fortresses of distrust and outright hatred. The divide is so wide that an understanding of the others’ basic beliefs defies comprehension. America held together by the blood of the Civil War is being torn apart by political wars instituted for personal gain, without consideration for the cancer it has caused.

The American Thread is more than frayed. We are two different nations each claiming with moral certitude positions that reject listening to an opposing point of view. This dynamic is abhorrent and will cost lives. More, this reality may truly signify the inevitable decline of the nation!

Ed Horn
Baldwin, L.I.

Another Lost Opportunity

To The Editor:

Something is still missing from recent celebrations for widening sidewalks along Main Street adjacent to the Flushing 7 subway station: reconstruction of the Flushing Long Island Rail Road Station for $24 million, including installation of an elevator, and now Mayor Bill de Blasio pledging $10 million for improvements to the Q44 Select Bus Service. All of the above is nice, but many are more concerned having been 64 years since the old North Shore Bus Terminal (located adjacent to today’s Macy’s near the corner of Main Street & Roosevelt Avenue) closed in 1954. This is despite numerous planning studies documenting the need for a downtown Flushing Intermodal Bus Terminal. Today’s generation of transportation planners, elected officials and transportation advocates have forgotten about construction of the long forgotten Flushing Intermodal Bus Terminal. In the early 1960s Flushing Municipal Parking Lot 1 was thought of for construction of an intermodal bus terminal. This facility would take hundreds of buses off the surrounding streets, where they discharge and pick up riders. For over 50 years, generations of public officials, on a bipartisan basis, have failed to secure any funding necessary to support environmental review, design, engineering and construction of this badly needed transportation improvement. The MTA $32 billion 2015–2019 Five Year Capital Plan provides funding to once again study this idea.

From the 1960s to today, there has been an explosion in the number of commuters riding buses to Flushing and transferring to the subway. This has been complemented by a huge growth of commercial businesses accompanied by the demolition of homes to support construction of apartment houses and multifamily homes in the surrounding neighborhood. Just walk in any direction from the corner of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue in downtown Flushing and see for yourself. Buses traveling to, from and through downtown Flushing move at slow speeds due to excess traffic not only during rush hour, but also off-peak. This results in a longer commute for riders and periodic bunching of buses on many routes.

Construction of a climate-controlled intermodal bus terminal could assist in improving traffic and pedestrian circulation in and around the intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue along with the rest of downtown Flushing. Over 60,000 rush hour 7 train riders and thousands more off-peak would be protected from heat, cold, rain, snow and winds. There could be a smoother transfer between the bus and subway. Opportunities would still be available for air rights above the bus terminal for parking, joint development of retail, office and/or residential units, including affordable housing.

How disappointing that no elected official has ever stepped forward to honor this commitment from decades ago. The NYC Department of Housing, Preservation and Development is building 260 units of affordable housing at the Flushing Municipal Parking Lot 3. This facility is located just off of Main Street adjacent to the Flushing LIRR station. It is only two short blocks away from the intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue along with the Flushing subway station.

While there are other locations in and around Flushing for construction of affordable housing, Municipal Lot 3 may have been the last, lost opportunity for construction of any viable intermodal bus terminal that could provide reasonable bus-to-subway transfers. This project could have been combined with the ongoing upgrades to the existing Flushing LIRR station. Municipal Parking Lot 3 could have been used for building an intermodal bus terminal instead of current plans for construction of affordable and senior housing. Over 60,000 rush hour plus thousands more off-peak riders could benefit by a transportation improvement versus less than 1,000 potential housing tenants. Diogenes is still looking for any MTA board member or public official to add this project to the MTA’s $32 billion 2015 – 2019 Capital Plan.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

Oil Co’s Sued By City

To The Editor:

I am glad that our city will sue the five energy companies for contributing to global warming. Our hard-earned pensions must not be invested in oil companies.

I am glad that Queens leads in the least traffic fatalities in 2017. Vision Zero is working and 2017 marked the lowest traffic and pedestrian deaths and also that Queens Blvd. is no longer the “Boulevard of Death.” I agree with Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and the parents of children who attend P.S. 11 that there should be a stop light at the crosswalk. This is important for the safety of the children. There should be a school crossing guard as well. Van Bramer has done so much for our city.

What is wrong with the LIRR and the subway trains lately? Subways should not be places where people are slashed and hurt. What happened to transit police? I cannot understand why subway crime is rising, and so much crime is happening in Astoria.

Wow a condo costing $1 million in Long Island City. Wow. What happened to the nice old-fashioned neighborhood? I used to live in LIC prior to moving to Little Neck in 2012. I am glad that an outpatient center will be built on the property of an Astoria church. This is important, since health care is important and emergency rooms are cluttered with patients who do not need in-patient care.

I am glad that our president will sign a bill giving all returning veterans one year of mental health services, since so many veterans return with severe mental health issues as well as PTSD.

Rev. Martin Luther King was one of a kind, a man who had a vision for a better world, and did lead the way for us to have a Black President Obama and end segregation and hatred and (inspire) brotherhood and sisterhood. He would have been a wonderful president. I always sing his song, “We Shall Overcome.” He also made it better for people with disabilities, as well as others who are different in some way. He was my hero, a man of valor and virtue, and a man of God who preached and applied his preaching to the world. I am glad Rep. Joseph Crowley had a round table about immigrants’ rights, and also that he cares about all people. He is following Martin Luther King’s examples.

I am so happy that a plaque honoring late Police Officer Steven McDonald was placed in his Central Park Precinct. He was a true hero teaching us how to forgive, how to love, how to overcome adversity and disability and to be a role model for the disability movement. He will live on in the hearts and minds of this city and what he said to make it better for all people will be always remembered. Both Rev. King and Steven McDonald were my heroes.

I am glad that our mayor promoted to high police department titles an African American man and a Hispanic woman who serve in the police department.

I am glad that landlords will be fined heavily for not providing heat during the arctic blast of weather.

I am glad that a session will be held about knowing rights about Access-A-Ride. This paratransit is important in the lives of disabled and elderly people and it is not a favor. Many times the rides are late, the drivers are not courteous or sensitive to the needs of their passengers. This is a great way to start out the new year. Riders of paratransit have a voice and a right to know what is happening and to stand up for their rights.

I am glad that the new president of Con Edison is an electrical engineer and a Con Edison worker who knows the ins and outs of the company and will understand the situations that occur. Congratulations, this is a very good choice.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

Dialogue Critical

To The Editor:

The news that NATO and Russia are resuming dialogue between them is indeed good news. For a long time, since Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014, there has been little to no contact between the two. Now, more than ever, this contact needs to resume, and they need to tackle some of the most serious issues, such as the continuing war in Syria, and how to lessen the threat of accidental conflict between NATO and Russia. There are always going to be areas where NATO and Russia do not agree, but it is important to have frank, open discussions about those divergent areas, as well as those areas where the interests of the two are convergent. Neither NATO nor Russia wants to see any further escalation of tensions, so the correct way to deal with this very serious situation is to negotiate directly with each other.

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

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