2018-06-27 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Reunite Them Now

A copy of this letter was received at the
offices of the Queens Gazette.
June 20, 2018
President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Trump:

Moments ago, you publicly stated your intent to sign an executive order ending the practice of separating immigrant parents from their children at the border.

I write to ask that as you draft this order you include a statement of the process by which recently separated families will be reunited. I also ask that such reunifications occur as quickly as possible. Ideally, reunifications will occur in under 24 hours, but in no case should a family reunification take longer than the time it took to separate a family in the first place.

I look forward to your response, and thank you for your attention to this matter. Sincerely,

Grace Meng
Member of Congress

Immigration Reform WHEN?

To The Editor:

We live in a nation with a rich heritage and history. Unfortunately, another aspect of this history includes separating families—specifically children from their parents. In the 1700s and 1800s slave children were ripped from their parents on auction blocks and plantations, and in the 1940s it was in Japanese internment camps. Now, in 2018 we have come full circle, allowing immigrant children to be ripped from their parents’ arms and thrown into detention centers like criminals. We have been calling for comprehensive immigration reform for years. What exactly is the White House’s delay?

George Gresham
President, 1199SEIU

Immigration, ICE And Trump

To The Editor:

President Trump's immigration policy focused on illegal migration has separated parents from their children, is just wrong and does not solve the problem. ICE is going after those who are here illegally, but are not breaking any laws, and are only working hard to support their families. This humanitarian crisis has caused the children to suffer and this I find most appalling and extremely sad. In my opinion, I truly can understand why so many illegal immigrants are trying to cross the American border and that is because of extreme poverty, abuse, torture and risk of death for speaking out against tyranny. The problem is the parents who are bringing along their children are endangering themselves and their children as well. I have just read that Congress needs to investigate and pass meaningful legislation that will address the problems of illegal immigration and secure our borders. President Trump meanwhile has issued an executive order that will reunite the children with their parents. But that is easier said than done because some of these children are thousands of miles away. Again we do need to protect our borders from the few who are terrorists, drug dealers and gang members who wish to do America harm. The many who do wish to cross our borders illegally are only longing for a better way of life for themselves and safety for their children and they are the ones who truly suffer from all this. Something needs to be done or more children will suffer.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

De Blasio’s Divestment Plan

To The Editor:

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio recently pledged to sell off every fossil fuel investment owned by the city’s pension funds.

His decision to divest $5 billion of oil and natural gas company stocks and bonds is foolish. It will do nothing to combat climate change. But it will reduce pension fund returns, thereby jeopardizing the retirement security of cops, firefighters, teachers, and other public employees.

The city’s pension funds are already woefully underfunded. According to its own calculations, the city has just 62 percent of the assets it needs to pay out full benefits to future retirees. Scholars at the Manhattan Institute think the New York City Public Pension is only 47 percent funded.

Either figure should terrify New Yorkers. The federal government considers pension funds at risk if they are less than 80 percent funded. And if a pension plan is funded at 65 percent or below, the government declares a pension plan’s status “critical,” meaning the fund may never be able to meet its obligations.

The city’s pension funds will need to earn record returns to cover future liabilities. Earning such returns will be hard no matter what— and impossible if the funds neglect profitable oil and natural gas companies. From 2005 to 2013, oil and natural gas investments delivered a 130 percent return for major pension funds— nearly double the 68 percent return those funds earned from other assets.

Divesting from fossil fuels reduces annual fund returns by about one-quarter to one-half of a percentage point, according to consulting firm Compass Lexecon.

That might not sound like much. But compounded over decades, it means the funds would forego billions of dollars of capital gains.

Mayor de Blasio’s counterparts in other cities have rejected divestment. For instance, Seattle recently heeded the advice of investment professionals and decided to keep its fossil fuel assets. “To our knowledge, there are no investment consultants to US public pensions that have recommended that those public pensions divest from fossil fuel companies,” said Jason Malinowski, chief investment officer for Seattle’s pension plans.

So why would Mayor de Blasio play the divestment game against the advice of investment pros? Easy—to score political points. He hopes to shore up support from progressive activists ahead of a potential 2020 presidential bid.

Attacking the oil and natural gas industry makes for great headlines. But it would have zero impact on climate change. It’s ludicrous to think that pulling $5 billion out of the multi-trillion dollar industry would somehow convince oil and natural gas companies to stop drilling for oil and natural gas. The divestment plan is virtue signaling at its worst.

Mayor de Blasio’s ire at energy companies is misdirected. Many firms are working to lower emissions. Shell, for example, has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions 50 percent by 2050.

Large energy companies have also invested huge sums in green energy start-ups and low-emission energy sources such as biofuels. And the recent natural gas boom—made possible by new drilling techniques like fracking—has enabled power plants to switch away from dirtier fuels like coal. Total carbon emissions are falling in the United States, thanks primarily to the oil and natural gas industry.

Mayor de Blasio’s divestment plan does nothing to help the environment. It only betrays workers who dedicated their lives to making New York a safer and better place.

Ari Boosalis, President
Columbia University College Republicans

Rabbi Pearl Honored

To The Editor:

Rabbi Pearl was honored for 10 years of leading the Astoria Center of Israel as its Rabbi on June 22. The Sabbath service began at sundown and it was special indeed, since our Rabbi and his family were our honorees for our annual Journal, which is truly the most important fundraiser of the year.

Wonderful beautiful music by accomplished musicians performing joyful Sabbath songs ushered in the Sabbath with the flames of the candles radiating their glow into our hearts and souls.

Dignitaries such as Rabbi Kass and Rabbi Potasnick, the Vice President of the New York Board of Rabbis, gave speeches. Police officers; yours truly as one of the co-Presidents and Judith Markowitz the other co-President; the journal coordinators Susan Cohn and Sydelle Diner; and Rabbi Pearl and each one of his wonderful family members also spoke and were the highlight of the evening.

As I stood there in the presence of the candles for Sabbath and before G-d I thought of the most wonderful 10 years I had spent knowing Rabbi Pearl and his family. The children whom I saw grow up and become talented, and Judy Pearl, who is beautiful in voice, spirit, deeds and heart and soul, and Rabbi Pearl who planted the seeds so our synagogue could flourish like the palm tree.

I remember how he created a new life for me after my twin brother, former co-President Jay Groopman, passed away suddenly seven years ago. I was so honored to be able to speak on the occasion of the 10th anniversary.

Our synagogue, Astoria Center of Israel, is thriving and growing and Rabbi and his family took a dying synagogue and gave it life, beauty, song, spirituality, educational programs for students of all ages. It is with such delight and a heart dancing and singing with elation that I write this article and hope that it is published to share my feelings with all.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

Why Close My Branch?

To The Editor:

Capital One bank is going to close yet another one of its branch offices here in Fresh Meadows at the end of September. Many people, myself included, depend on this branch office because it is so close and easily accessible. There are many senior citizens, as well as disabled people and others who depend on the Parsons Blvd. branch located in Electchester and Pomonok. It makes absolutely no sense to close this bank branch. The nearest ones now will be on Main Street, where there is no parking lot, and on 188th Street in Fresh Meadows, which does have ample parking but is a distance away. Many seniors and those who are disabled who do not drive will now have to struggle to take public transportation to either one of these other bank branch locations, causing added aggravation and stress. The bosses who make these decisions to close these branches are being very inconsiderate, and obviously do not care that closing this and other branch offices will create problems for the customers who have done their banking there. There should be more compassion for the customers, and also for the staffs of these branches that will be closed. I was told by one of the tellers at the Parsons Blvd. branch that they will have other jobs, but that they do not as of yet know where they will be sent. That is not fair to these very hardworking and professional people to have to wait to find out their new job assignments. Why can’t they be told immediately where they will be working after this branch shuts?

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

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