2018-08-08 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

23rd Ave. Chaos

A copy of this letter was received at the
offices of the Queens Gazette.
July 27th, 2018
Nicole Garcia
Queens Borough Commissioner
120-55 Queens Blvd. #285
Kew Gardens, NY 11424
Dear Commissioner Garcia:

With the terrible tragedy of the death of Xellea Samonte, I write to you today with a heavy heart to request a traffic study of 23rd Avenue between 33rd and 36th Streets that will comprehensively assess the street network and determine what improvements should be implemented that will collectively work towards enhancing safety.

This particular avenue has a history of crashes that result in both injury and death. According to NYPD crash data, between 2009 till the present day there have been two fatalities along the avenue and dozens of injuries that have affected pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. There is a pronounced problem along this street and there are unique conditions which render this thoroughfare particularly challenging. First, the Amtrak elevated structure rises above 23rd Avenue and the railway’s support columns are planted directly in the middle of the street’s driving lanes. These columns narrow the roadway and make it very dangerous for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians there. Second, there are several active driveways which directly feed into street traffic. Lastly, many cars park along the street and sidewalk illegally, compounding the other challenges along this location. These are a few of the conditions which make the traffic pattern here dangerous, confusing, and chaotic.

I urge the Department of Transportation to expeditiously begin a traffic study of 23rd Avenue that will examine these conditions and recommend a suite of solutions to address them. I look forward to working with the department and my community to make our streets safer for all users.

Costa Constantinides
NYC Council Member
22nd District

Enough Is Enough

To The Editor:

One can hardly walk down the street without noticing the changes that are rapidly altering Long Island City and the surrounding neighborhoods of Astoria, Woodside and Sunnyside. Reading Assembly Member Catherine Nolan’s open letter to the mayor dated July 13, I am pleased to see that community residents are not the only ones recognizing the systematic destruction, displacement, disenfranchisement occurring in the wake of what is being called “development.” Destruction because greed is destroying the qualities that make Long Island City unique; tearing down existing housing, structures and businesses while creating new housing stock and businesses that drastically redefine the community as the “gold coast.” Displacement because profit and gain have driven up rents and driven out businesses, forcing individuals and families to become nomadic in their search for affordable housing. Disenfranchisement because the plan is clearly to tear down existing housing, structures and businesses while creating towers, new housing stock and businesses that embody the promise of a luxury lifestyle among community people who have survived and thrived as a working class community. Vacant lots are fitted for more housing with costs that are prohibitive; choking the community with increased population density, negative environmental impacts, diminishing green space, and a loss of light. Walking down Steinway with my husband on a Sunday afternoon, we saw over 20 stores vacant and still others announcing their closing.

I must ask: Is Assembly Member Nolan the only elected representative stepping up to acknowledge that zoning and the trading of our public land and air rights is tantamount to a declaration of war against the people who expect government and local representation to safeguard their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Instead, we see our mayor and other elected officials selling out our future and setting us adrift without a means of recovery. There are precious few affordable communities thanks to the growing trend that is clearly visible in places like Long Island City. I stand with Assemblywoman Nolan in her recommendation for a moratorium on development; and I will go a step further to say, as a taxpayer and voter, I expect every other elected official to declare where they stand on this issue of development. The clock is ticking and we are being written out of the future of the community where many of us raised our children, worked and supported the tax base, only to be disregarded as the money deals and zoning decisions are being made.

One question remains: Where will we go if we are priced out of our community? Our children can’t even afford to live in the neighborhoods where they grew up. Silence and complicity are not acceptable. I will endeavor to answer my own question in the voting booth.

Dr. Sharon M. Cadiz

Term Limits

To The Editor:

The NYC Charter Revision Commission is currently considering various changes to the city charter that would amend various governmental practices in our city. Public hearings have been held giving the people a chance to give their opinions on governmental matters that need to be changed or improved. The commission will then issue a report that will discuss findings and recommendations to change the city charter. These changes will be brought before the voters for their approval or disapproval in the general election.

With regards to community boards, there have been proposals that community board members should be term-limited. I disagree with that stance. I have served on my local community board for several years and have seen firsthand the importance of experience on my board. The institutional knowledge that our seasoned board members possess assists with decision making frequently. Many of the experienced people on my board have lived in their communities for long periods of time and understand the needs and workings of those communities.

This year, six new members joined my board. Last year, six other new members joined as well. We still have six vacancies on my board. I believe that we have an excellent mix in terms of diversity, age and viewpoints. My board is changing naturally, with long-time members gradually leaving the board and those positions being replaced by new people every year. There is no need to remove from the board knowledgeable, unpaid volunteers who have served with distinction and integrity over the course of several years to better their communities. I believe that this is the case for many of the boards across the city. Term limiting will result in weaker boards, in my opinion, because of the loss of experienced members.

Every board member must renew their membership every two years. The local City Council member and the borough president decide whether to reappoint the board member or not. If there are issues with a board member, that member may not be reappointed. So serving on a local board is not a lifetime appointment.

It is important that all community voices are heard on our community boards. Even though boards are only advisory in nature, all sectors of the community merit representation on those boards. I would urge all community members who are interested to consider joining their local boards. Applications (they are online at queensbp.org) are filed in January, with appointments announced in March.

Henry Euler

Government Shutdown

To The Editor:

I am appalled at our president threatening to shut down the government in September if he does not get his way to build a border wall. Why should the essential services of our government be shut down due to the arbitrary and capricious thoughts of a person who is supposed to be fair and level-headed? In addition, this should not be done prior to a midterm election for congressional members.

I agree that there should be no smoking in any of the public housing projects. I am glad that finally the classified information about September will be shared with the public. I hope that the trade war talks and negotiations will materialize with China. I am appalled at so many suicides and murders that I hear on the radio every day. Whatever happened to good news? I oppose the federal gag rule about clinics. Also I applaud Assembly Member Barnwell for honoring the 170th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention and inviting women in all fields to be guests. Women have come a long way since that convention 170 years ago and we applaud all of our women in political office.

I applaud Senator Gianaris for his stand on the school zone speed cameras. He truly cares. Also glad that Senator Stavisky honored and remember her husband, Mitchell, who did a great deal for the community. These two senators are really political assets. Glad that the democratic clubs endorse Governor Cuomo for reelection.

National night out is truly important for all to meet their police officers, get together and show the criminals that we take a stand by being out at night and that criminals do not own the streets.

There must be inspections of all trains and infrastructure. There are too many derailments and there is a need for positive train control. I am glad that our governor cut the ribbon for exit 7 on the Grand Central Parkway for an entrance that is smooth to LaGuardia airport. I am not in favor of letting low-level smoking of marijuana not be a crime. I am glad that a street was named after and in honor of that young boy, Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz, who was a victim of gang violence.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

Aggressive Panhandlers

To The Editor:

While in Glen Oaks Village shopping the other day an aggressive panhandler came up to me asking for money and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Lucky a security guard was walking by and this man walked away. I also remember my wife and myself were asked by another panhandler for money a few months ago and we didn’t pay attention to him and he followed us in the card shop aggressively asking for money. The owner told him to leave. I have been told by many different residents of Glen Oaks Village that this happens a lot. Today I ran into Bob Friedrich, the president of Glen Oaks Village cooperative who told me many of these people have mental health issues and come from Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens Village. The problem he expressed to me is that the staff and security of Creedmoor may not be supervising these people properly. Friedrich also told me he has spoken to the NYPD about this disturbing situation. But the problem in my opinion is that they can do nothing unless they get violent. I’m a senior citizen and worry about the possibility they might snap because they don’t get money and go on the attack. I believe many seniors feel as I do. I therefore would like the many who are as worried as I am to contact our local representatives and to express our concerns. This is a dangerous situation that affects all of us in the community. Something must be done and soon!

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

Mets Need Miracle

To The Editor:

The Mets have been really on the downfall since May, and the latest disastrous drubbing, losing to the Nationals 25-4 just continues the downward spiral of this team. I have been a Mets fan since I was 9 years old, and always watched the games on television, and on occasion went to see them play at Shea Stadium when my dad could get tickets. Back in 1969, when everyone thought the Mets would be the underdog in the World Series, they surprised everyone, including their fans, when they beat the Baltimore Orioles and won the World Series that year. They again won the World Series in 1986. Both times that they won, they had excellent players who worked together as one team to bring about these victories. It just seems that the team effort is not present with this group of Mets players. Manager Mickey Callahan really needs to do some serious damage control, because if this losing streak continues, the Mets will be in the cellar for the rest of the baseball season. They have some very fine pitchers, fielders and hitters, but they need to bring that talent all together and need to work together to become a powerhouse team, and they need to do it in a real hurry, if they hope to even be anywhere near playoff status by late August. There is not a lot of time left this baseball season. Cut the egotistical attitude now and be serious! The Mets need the Wizard of Oz!

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

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