2018-05-02 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Scammed 9/11 Victims

A copy of this letter was received at
the offices of the Queens Gazette.
Mr. Michael E. Horowitz
Inspector General
US Department of Justice
Office of the Inspector General
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.,
Suite 4706
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Inspector General Horowitz:

We write today to ask you to open a formal investigation into the scam being perpetrated on injured and ill 9/11 responders. Responders have contacted our offices and the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund (VCF), which is overseen by the Department of Justice, to report that they have received calls from people purporting to be from the VCF, who are asking for social security numbers, birthdays, credit card numbers and other sensitive information.

While we are pleased that the FTC has issued a consumer alert warning about the scam, we urgently need to find out how these scammers gained access to the names and contact information of the 9/11 community. These 9/11 first responders have spent countless years fighting for both access to care and compensation for their efforts following the terrorist attacks, and it is particularly despicable that they are now being targeted by individuals seeking to harm them and use their private information for financial gain.

In addition to responders, it appears that the perpetrators of this scam are also targeting staff at the law firms that have helped process the VCF applications on their behalf. For these reasons, we believe that there must be a common source for information among the people targeted. We request that your office use your investigatory powers to work with the VCF to track and identify the data source that allowed scammers access to this private information. By determining the source of the data, we may be able to prevent more 9/11 responders from becoming a target.

This scam is a new low that puts our most vulnerable first responders and their families at risk. We urge you to take swift action to begin a formal investigation that will protect these heroes who put their own lives at risk following the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. Sincerely,

US Senate Minority Leader
Charles E. Schumer
US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Join Me On June 15!

Dear Friend,

One of the things I love about New York is that our march toward progress never stops. We're always looking to improve, innovate, and advance our way of life in a way that best reflects our values.

I'm proud of all that we've accomplished over the last few years, but our progress can't stop now. We need to continue our work to make housing more affordable, protect our immigrant communities, and prepare our public transportation system for the future. More progress is needed and I'm ready to continue to answer the call.

Please join me on Friday, June 15, 6-8 pm, at Queens Theatre in the Park (in Flushing Meadows Corona Park: 14 United Nations Ave. S., Corona) as we continue to spread our message of progress from right here in the 13th district all the way up to Albany.

If you're unable to attend but would still like to make a donation, visit secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/joseperalta-3 to contribute now (Peralta4Queens.com).

I can't wait to see you all there! Best,

Jose Peralta
NYS Senate

Increase Bus Service

A copy of this letter was received at
the offices of the Queens Gazette.
April 25, 2018
Darryl Irick President, MTA Bus
Company
2 Broadway,
New York, NY 10004-2207

Dear Mr. Irick,

I write regarding increasing access to bus service in western Queens. With ongoing Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) construction that will result in the full closure of the N/W Astoria Boulevard station beginning in 2019, restoration work at the Ditmars Boulevard station, and continued Enhanced Station Initiative (ESI) projects at four additional stations, residents and commuters grapple with frequent delays and ever-changing service. Given the hardship faced by local businesses and residents, the least the MTA can do is mitigate the enduring damage by increasing bus service to offset the negative effects of all this construction. One possible solution to this longstanding ordeal would be to extend the Q102 bus that runs along 31st Street so that it terminates at 20th Avenue instead of 30th Avenue. This would give residents and visitors in the northern section of Astoria more transportation options.

The Q102 currently turns west on 30th Avenue and proceeds to Astoria Houses— a vital service that should continue uninterrupted while an added spur extends the route to 20th Avenue. Other bus lines throughout Queens follow a similar approach, including the Q15 and Q15A, which have a divergent route to provide more service to more residents throughout Whitestone. This request is not unique; it is simply fair.

I repeatedly asked for shuttle bus service to compensate for disruptions to normal train service, only to be denied. The problem is so serious that a more permanent solution is now required.

I hope that Q102 service to the people of northern Astoria can begin soon. Please reach out should you have any questions. I look forward to your prompt response. Sincerely,

Michael Gianaris
New York State Senate

Civic Meeting

To The Editor:

Our organization is growing, and we had a good turnout at our last meeting, during which we honored Claire Speranza for her 48 years of service to the organization.

Our upcoming May 10 meeting is extremely important to all. With the help of the Public Advocate Letitia James we have arranged for representatives of the MTA and TLC to attend this meeting to listen and offer solutions to many complaints and concerns about bus schedules, waiting area conditions, and the inconsiderate practices of cab drivers polluting our streets by throwing their garbage out of their windows.

This is a huge and very rare opportunity to bring to an end those ongoing problems our community suffers from. However, in order to be effective as an association and get results to our concerns, it is very important to show strength and unity by everyone’s presence. So, we ask everyone to attend and to also inform your neighbors and urge them to come in support.

Since we will have both key agencies present we must conserve time in order to present all concerns and complaints as possible in an orderly fashion. As was announced at the previous meeting, we ask that you please print clearly, and in short, your name, complaints and concerns on an index card, and they will be read by one person to the appropriate agency. Also indicate the agency that you are directing your complaints to, by marking on the card to MTA or TLC. Hand in your card at the registration desk as you come in.

To be much more effective, it is strongly suggested to specifically document your complaints with locations, including street and avenue names or numbers. Additionally, for the garbage dumped on the streets, PICTURES of such are highly recommended with dates and times if possible. Only MTA and TLC issues will be discussed at this meeting.

We are also encouraging the offices of Senator Peralta and Assembly Member Den Dekker if they have any such complaints from their constituents to come and read them to the agency concerned.

Everyone’s complaints and concerns must be acknowledged; therefore, all concerns, complaints, and comments must be in brief and to the point, giving the agencies ample time to respond. Also, please make an effort to come a little earlier so that we can gather up and organize the comments as we are planning to start the meeting at 7:30 pm sharp. Your cooperation will be greatly appreciated by everyone.

Dino Pavlou
North Queens Homeowners Civic
Association of Jackson Heights

Bakery Donates 3M Lbs

To The Editor:

I’d like to introduce you to the Long Island City bakery that has donated more than 3.1 million pounds of bread since 1997 to feed hungry New Yorkers.

Tom Cat Bakery is part of New York City’s thriving artisanal food manufacturing industry. It is also a vital contributor to community members in the five boroughs. Since its founding in Long Island City more than 30 years ago, it has been part of the bakery’s DNA to donate to non-profit organizations in the five boroughs. One of those organizations is City Harvest.

Every day, the bakery’s employees make approximately 15 percent more bread than needed, and rather than let it go to waste, Tom Cat does what any good neighbor would do: donate the extra to City Harvest—a local food rescue organization that rescues excess food and delivers it to 500 pantries, soup kitchens and community programs in all five boroughs. Tom Cat also contributes to its local firehouse, Transportation Alternatives and the Children’s Aid Society.

Tom Cat’s employees also are a microcosm of Long Island City’s diverse population, each with stories that illustrate the opportunity they’ve found in the city’s food manufacturing industry, which employed more than 18,000 workers as of 2015. Just ask Pedro Buendia, who started at Tom Cat as a bread packer when he emigrated to the US from El Salvador 11 years ago. Now a manager overseeing the packing department, Pedro is in charge of collecting all of the extra bread for the daily City Harvest donation.

Pedro can attest to the way Tom Cat Bakery helps New Yorkers, and what it means to him to be part the bread’s journey from makers to rescuers to hungry community members. He is one of 11 members of the bakery’s management team (three of whom are also first-generation immigrants).

Natalie Terchek

Dear Housekeeper

To The Editor:

November 2018 is the time to clean the House and get back to normal: drain the pruits; scrape the zinkes off the sinkies; wash out the pots and pannities; and bake up some impeach pie with unindicted co-conspirators on top. Sincerely,

“Martha Crocker”
Leonard Lanzone

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