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Upstate casinos: a bad bet

When Gov. Cuomo announced his plan to allow more casinos to be built upstate — but none in the city or on Long Island — this page called it a “foolish scheme” because, simply put, downstate is where the people are, and where most of the money…

Mets are on course
Posted: July 31, 2014

Today, July 31, is the Major League Baseball trade deadline. This generally has been the week on the baseball calendar when contending teams try to acquire a veteran player that they believe will help them win a World Series by trading a highly regarded prospect or two to a team whose season pretty much ended long ago. The down-on-the-luck team gets to sell images of a rosy future to a downcast fan base as well as getting to shed high-salaried contracts.

For the past five years it was understood that the Mets would be talent sellers at the trade deadline since they were so far down in the standings that it was conceivable that they could lose 100 games. They have managed to avoid that ignominy the last five years but they have not had a winning season since moving into Citi Field five years ago.

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Legalize loosies
Posted: July 31, 2014

Dear Editor:

There is more to “Don’t let one tragic death impede law enforcement” (Editorial, July 24). Blame the economy for forcing Eric Garner, like thousands of other out of work New Yorkers, to sell street corner cigarettes known as “loosies,” 2 for $1 to make ends meet. Excessive taxes on cigarettes has resulted in a growing market for those in poor neighborhoods to purchase cigarettes one or two at a time.

Citizens have more to fear from murder, arson, rape, muggings, robberies and auto and identity theft or home break-ins than individuals who sell loosies.

Law enforcement authorities should pursue those who commit real crimes against citizens and property rather than enforcing insane laws outlawing the sale of individual cigarettes.

Larry Penner
Great Neck, LI

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Katz’s purge and Queens’ pavilion
Posted: July 31, 2014

Just seven months into her term, Borough President Melinda Katz is making serious progress on major issues.

Two matters stand out — one that she planned to tackle from the start, and one that got dumped in her lap. In both cases she has demonstrated strong leadership.

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Purge toxic officers
Posted: July 31, 2014

Dear Editor:

I appreciate Bill Bratton’s quick and positive action in deciding to retrain all the NYPD in the use of force, after the tragic encounter involving Mr. Eric Garner. However, that strategy alone might not be effective enough to achieve the desired goals of reducing abuse and improving police/community relations. The problem is not that the police do not understand the techniques related to applying force; the problem is that a few of their members habitually and despicably use wrongful force, mainly on members of minority communities. Along with retraining, the commissioner should purge the force of toxic police officers who tarnish the reputation of the entire force. The combined efforts of retraining and purging would go a long way to: (a) improve relations with minority communities, (b) lower the costs of multimillion-dollar abuse settlements, and (c) decrease the likelihood of a highly publicized violent reaction to police brutality, which would be catastrophic to this city’s improved property values and tourism industry.

Glenn Hayes
Kew Gardens

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Thursday 07/31/2014
Forgotten heritage
Posted: July 31, 2014

Dear Editor:

If it weren’t for humans seeking a better life and migrating to our land, the United States would not have evolved into the greatness it has, thus attracting yet others here today with the same desires as yesteryear. Yet their arrival are treated by some as if it were a new occurrence and par

anoiacally, a threatening one. The latest to set foot are never welcome. How easily we forget our heritage. Immigration has through the years at times wreaker havoc on our country even as far back as 1620 when that Mayflower boat deposited that historic load of undocumented immigrants (romantically dubbed “Pilgrims”) on our soil much to the umbrage of our Native Americans, who still remain the only nonimmigrants in our country. Some might justifiably even refer to these early immigrants or pilgrims as terrorists considering the decimation they wreaked upon our Native Americans. Nevertheless, the rest of us inherited and are all offshoots of that and the various Mayflowerish influx of immigrants or pilgrims throughout the centuries fulfilling their dream of becoming American Citizens. Although it may have slipped the memory of the, “I hate Obama hatefully more than I ever hated any hateful thing in the whole hateful world of hate” contingent, this is not the first time that the need for immigration reform was recognized. In 1986, there was a sweeping immigration reform bill encouraged and signed by Ronald Reagan, “I love Reagan lovingly more than I ever loved any loving thing in the whole loving world of love” Reagan Rooters, may, if ruefully remember. He confidently predicted, “Future generations of Americans will be thankful for our efforts to humanely regain control of our borders and thereby preserve the value of one of the most sacred possessions of our people — American citizenship.” Even a blind squirrel will find an occasional acorn.

Nicholas Zizelis
Bayside

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Take country back
Posted: July 31, 2014

Dear Editor:

Another in a long line of schemes to blur, and eventually eliminate citizenship! The traitors, having allowed tens of millions of invaders to ignore our laws, will in time erase our sovereignty and fold us into the new world order. Beginning with the Reagan amnesty and the largely unpublished mini-amnesties that followed, the so-called government/judicial system has consistently given illegal aliens billions of dollars in “entitlements” and legal status by not enforcing the laws that protect citizens from the ongoing invasion. (Case in point, Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution). And the ongoing taxpayer ripoff, the anchor baby scam, now being used by tourists along with illegal aliens, to make the children citizens, got that, everybody except the citizens and this fake government decides who becomes a citizen. The words citizen or citizens appear 21 times in the constitution. Expect those words to be replaced, so as to not offend noncitizens. So fellow citizens, get used to being equal with illegal aliens, or you can take your country back.

Larry Trapani
Richmond Hill

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Take that, Republicans
Posted: July 31, 2014

Dear Editor:

Re Janice Wijnen’s “The right strikes back,” Letters, July 24:

The purpose of any court is to be impartial and rule justly! And for the Supreme Court, it’s to rule for the good of the American people.

I too was shocked when the court declared Obamacare constitutional. I guess the checks from the insurance company lobbyists didn’t clear in time to change the “GOP-controlled” court’s decision. Perhaps the court was influenced by the fact that Americans voted for President Obama twice on the promise that he would deliver on Obamacare — albeit a watered-down version, thanks to (you guessed it) the GOP.

Ms. Wijnen points out that Obama is half white. I doubt that the racists in Congress took that into account while voting against every program Obama tried to enact. Hence his “dictatorship.”

Does Ms. Wijnen believe (along with the GOP-Supreme Court that ruled the voting rights act was no longer necessary) that racism no longer exists? Perhaps she’ll use the example of Mississippi ratifying the 13th Amendment banning slavery ... last year. She goes on to defend Hobby Lobby on relig

ious grounds. Would she still defend the owners if they were satanists? What if they were atheists and banned all religious paraphernalia on company property? Should employees suck it up and go find another job? As if it were so easy.

And as for the religious right and their faith in God? Webster’s definition of faith is: belief in, devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof. Belief without, or in spite of, evidence. Enough said.

Women are denied contraception yet men are covered for Viagra? I’ll just say this: The Republican war on women is alive and well. And any “intelligent” woman who votes Republican is a fool.

The only thing Ms. Wijnen got right was “the truth is what is, not what one wants it to be.” And that truth is that the GOP is dying. And it will use every deceitful, immoral tactic available to gasp its last breath as it slowly sinks into the quicksand the rest of us refer to as the Holy Trinity of democracy, equality and science.

Robert LaRosa
Whitestone

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NYFAC thanks you!
Posted: July 31, 2014

Dear Editor:

An open letter to the community:

My heart swelled with pride this past Saturday as I looked upon the sea of riders assembled along Cross Bay Boulevard.

It was the first annual Loop, a bike ride to benefit the NYFAC Foundation and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and what a show of support we received.

More than 200 people showed up to pedal, 75 gave of their time – and even more provided sponsorships and came out to our thank- you barbecue.

Together, we raised nearly $15,000.

The day’s success showed me the power of community. It proved that people by nature are good-hearted and will come together to support a good cause.

It also pointed to how important volunteers are to our success – and how grateful we are to those who are ever ready, willing and able to lend a hand and give back.

As the NYFAC Foundation continues to grow, we will continue to strive to “better the lives of those with autism.”

We thank you, the community, for all your support over the years and look forward to a great future together.

Andrew Baumann
President & CEO, NYFAC Foundation
Howard Beach

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Responsible development creates strong communities
Updated: July 31, 2014 - 1:46 pm

Astoria Cove could be the next luxury residential development to line New York City’s valuable waterfront, four towers with more than 1,600 residential units, a public school and retail space, including a supermarket.

The proposed Astoria Cove development is currently moving through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, the public process by which the city determines whether to allow a real estate company to build this project.

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MTA announces 4-year, $363M safety program
Posted: July 31, 2014

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has included $363 million for across-the-board safety improvements in a four-year financial plan announced on Monday.

The news came four months after the Federal Railroad Administration found “a deficient safety culture” in its investigation of the MTA’s Metro-North division following a train wreck in the Bronx last December that killed four people and injured more than 70 others.

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Thursday 07/24/2014
Shop local, fund news
Posted: July 24, 2014

Dear Editor:

In these difficult economic times along with many people going away for summer vacations, it is especially important to patronize your local neighborhood businesses. There are so many great local businesses within the heart of your local village or town downtown main street.

My wife and I don’t mind occasionally paying a little more to help our local businesses survive. Don’t forget your cook and server at your favorite local neighborhood restaurant. We try to tip 20 percent against the total bill including taxes. If it is an odd amount, we round up to the next dollar. If we can afford to eat out, we can afford an extra dollar tip. When ordering takeout, we always leave a dollar or two for the waiter or cook. It is appreciated.

Remember these people are our neighbors. Our local entrepreneurs have continued to create new employment opportunities without the assistance of federally funded taxpayers’ stimulus dollars. They work long hours, pay taxes and provide local employment especially to students during the summer. If we don’t patronize our local community stores and restaurants to shop and eat, they don’t eat either.

Please join me and your neighbors in continuing to support our own Queens Chronicle. Patronize their advertisers; they provide the necessary revenues to help keep them in business and your paper free of charge. Let them know you saw their ad.

Larry Penner
Great Neck, LI

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Sports Beat
Posted: July 24, 2014

Carmelo Anthony seemed pretty optimistic he’d be returning to the Knicks when I saw him in May at an ESPN event. “We’re working on it!” he said with his trademark smile.

Clearly the Knicks had the negotiating advantage over other NBA clubs of being able to offer Melo an extra year at maximum money, but they had other things going for them as well. MSG/Cablevision CEO James Dolan was instrumental in getting Anthony traded to the Knicks in 2011 and he has worked hard to maintain a solid relationship with his superstar. Carmelo’s actress wife, La La, loves New York even more than the town she is seemingly named after.

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Don’t let one tragic death impede law enforcement
Updated: July 31, 2014 - 11:26 am

While the death of Eric Garner in police custody is a tragedy that must be fully investigated to see if it warrants criminal charges or at least disciplinary action, it should not be exploited to stir up fear and division among city residents. Nor should it be used as an excuse to attack yet another of the Police Department’s most successful tactics. Yet that’s exactly what appears to be happening.

Garner died last Thursday in Staten Island while resisting arrest for allegedly selling illegal, single cigarettes. One of the several officers trying to take him into custody apparently used a chokehold, a violation of Police Department policy. An asthmatic, overweight man, Garner told the cops he couldn’t breathe, but they didn’t seem too concerned about that. Neither did the Emergency Medical Service personnel who responded. Garner died where he fell.

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Chancellor ignores us
Posted: July 24, 2014

Dear Editor:

On Feb. 28, the Auburndale Improvement Association, Inc. sent Schools Chancellor Carmen Fari–a a letter requesting to meet with her regarding PS 130, located at 200-01 42 Ave. in Bayside. To date, we have received no response from her or anyone on her staff. The letter was sent certified, return receipt requested, so we know that our letter was received by the chancellor’s office.

In the letter, we told the chancellor about our civic association’s goal to allow local children living around PS 130 to be given priority placement in that school. The school is geographically in District 26, but is utilized by District 25. Most students are bused in or delivered to the school by car from other distant areas. Meanwhile, children living around the school have to be bused to other overcrowded schools in District 26. We also sent more than 200 petition signatures and many comments from residents living immediately around PS 130. They want the school back. Surely, their concerns deserve some type of consideration.

If PS 130 were returned to the local community, it would no doubt alleviate the need to construct a school on the Keil property in Bayside. There is still a lot of controversy swirling around that plan. It would appear to my civic that new schools would be better utilized elsewhere in District 26, as well as in District 25.

This is not the first time that my civic group has been ignored regarding this issue. Former Chancellor Dennis Walcott and other Department of Education officials ignored our requests to meet as well.

We would still like to meet with Chancellor Fari–a to discuss this issue. We have written her a second letter to request a meeting and have asked our local elected officials for support. There must be some way to enable local children to receive priority placement at PS 130. We feel that would be in their best educational interest.

At the same time, we do not wish to interrupt the education of those students currently attending PS 130. By meeting, details can be worked out so that everyone wins.

We will continue to advocate for what is right for the children living around what should be a neighborhood school first.

Henry Euler
First Vice President
Auburndale Improvement Association, Inc.
Bayside

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Hindus must respect bay
Posted: July 24, 2014

Dear Editor:

Your paper recently had an article about the people who are leaving religious offerings in Jamaica Bay (“A delicate balance on Jamaica Bay’s shores,” June 26, multiple editions). These offerings are meant to represent beauty, prosperity and renewal. As a person who does not follow this religion and one who has fought for environmental causes and for protecting our natural areas, I see it as a threat to the ecosystem of Jamaica Bay.

Thankfully the group Sadhana is reaching out to the Hindu people to educate them of this destructive practice. What we put in the water winds up somewhere and will likely stay there a very long time unless someone removes it.

There are hundreds of millions of Hindus. What if they all put fruits, vegetables, food, candles, reams of cloth, statues, glass picture frames and more in our waterways? What would our waterways look like?

I cannot see how this practice can represent beauty, prosperity and renewal. I see garbage. There is nothing pleasant about seeing rotting fruit, food still in aluminum foil and plastic bags along the beach.

Perhaps a symbolic ceremony could replace this practice and the people who come to these ceremonies can see a beautiful, prosperous and renewed natural wildlife area that is full of life, for us and future generations to enjoy.

Richie Polgar
Maspeth

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Blame the employer
Posted: July 24, 2014

Dear Editor:

Re “Pray for no strike,” Letters, July 17:

In that letter the writer stated that the then-approaching Long Island Rail Road strike would affect the 99 percent who depend on the rails to get to work. He also stated that he would pray for a compromise, and “the good of the many outweighs the good of the few,” a principle I generally agree with.

However, what choice do workers have when the hirers refuse to compromise in good faith? This results in hardship, and inconvenience to both the workers and the public.

He might also pray that the moneyed elite not inconvenience 99 percent of the public by creating hardship and depravation to millions of our citizens by giving up some of their outrageous wealth so that all of our citizens can live decently — this, in a country with more than adequate resources for everyone.

If we as a nation adhered to the Judeo-Christian ethos as claimed, we would have no need for strikes, etc. — we would be a contented and happy people.

Joe Brooks
Whitestone

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We stand corrected
Posted: July 24, 2014

Dear Editor:

In your coverage of the lawsuit between Breezy Point/Belle Harbor residents and National Grid/LIPA, you incorrectly stated that more than 100 homes in Broad Channel ...burned down during Superstorm Sandy. You meant to say Breezy Point. Broad Channel got its fair share of suffering, but our hearts go out to those who lost their homes to fire.

Barbara Toborg

Broad Channel Historical Society

Broad Channel

Editor’s note: We thank the writer, and the error has been corrected.

The right strikes back

Dear Editor:

Re Robert LaRosa’s “The GOP is just awful,” Letters, July 10:

The purpose of the Supreme Court is to determine if laws meet the test of constitutionality. Our politicized Supreme Court no longer serves that function.

Mr. LaRosa became unhinged at the court’s decision to excuse Hobby Lobby from paying for certain contraceptives and abortion drugs for religious reasons. He called the Supreme Court GOP-controlled. This is the same court that declared Obamacare constitutional and said federal policy on immigra

tion superseded states’ rights. Neither decision was constitutional, but since leftists agreed with them, nobody called them GOP-controlled then.

Hobby Lobby’s owners were also contemptuously said to believe in “the magic man in the sky” — the same “magic man” who gave human beings the opposable thumb and brains to think with to differentiate them from the animals. Sadly, all human beings not being equally endowed are capable of using both.

No woman today is denied access to contraception or abortions. If she is working and can’t get what she wants from her employer, she can get it somewhere else.

The truth is what is, not what one wants it to be. Mr. LaRosa would have those who disagree with Obama’s “transformation” of America into a dictatorship “dig deep.” We might then find (stupid as we are) the “irrefutable evidence” that Obama is black. But Obama is only half-black. His mother was white. Like all socialists, LaRosa doesn’t practice what he preaches. If he had dug deeper, he’d have known that Obama is of mixed race.

By the way, what ever happened to the man who was jailed for making the anti-Muslim video that caused that murderous riot in Benghazi? And those incompetent workers in Cincinnati who caused irreparable damage to the reputation of Lois Lerner and the Internal Revenue Service?

Janice Wijnen
Rego Park

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Thursday 07/17/2014
Support Israel, not terror
Updated: July 24, 2014 - 11:16 am

Criticism of Israel is one thing. The country is not perfect, though it stands as the only bastion of freedom and stability in its neighborhood. But, as usual, the attacks on Israel coming from so-called human rights activists and the like over the latest crisis embroiling the Jewish state are not so much criticism as they are good old anti-Semitism: hatred of the people who live there and a desire to see them all gone.

Think that’s an exaggeration? When protesters chant, “Netanyahu, you will see, Palestine from the river to the sea,” they’re describing their dream of an Arab state on the land that now is Israel. Not just the occupied territories, but Israel proper. An Arab state that likely would be ruled by the same group of Hamas terrorists in charge of Gaza.

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Railroad a contract through
Updated: July 18, 2014 - 5:28 pm

With only a couple days left before a preventable, man-made disaster hits Queens, much of the rest of the city and Long Island, it’s time for Gov. Cuomo to exercise true leadership. He must prevent the Long Island Rail Road from shutting down due to a strike that will commence Sunday, and to do that, he needs to take a seat at the negotiating table.

The Metropolitan Transpor-tation Authority and its unions have been unable to reach a new contract agreement to replace the one that expired four years ago. As a state agency, the MTA answers to the governor. So it’s time he went beyond lamenting the damage a strike would cause and took an active role in preventing it. Even though the two sides returned to the table Wednesday, they’ve spent so much time at odds that it seems highly unlikely they can do it on their own. And history indicates that Congress, which could impose arbitration to force a contract resolution, is unlikely to do so unless a strike actually occurs. That leaves it in Cuomo’s hands.

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Hope for Mets at the break
Posted: July 17, 2014

The Mets went into the All-Star break by winning eight out of 10 on their long homestand, pushing ahead of the Phillies and Marlins into third place in the National League East. Aside from the much-needed wins, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson had to be thrilled from the contributions of three players on whom he has bet a lot of chips: catcher Travis d’Arnaud, centerfielder Chris Young and first baseman Lucas Duda.

Young and d’Arnaud were complete busts the first three months of the season while Duda was continuing his career as the poor man’s Adam Dunn/Dave Kingman by belting home runs but striking out all too often. As the calendar turned to July, however, both Young and d’Arnaud were getting big hits while Duda proved that he could be a contact hitter.

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Thursday 07/10/2014
Sports Beat
Posted: July 10, 2014

The Mets were 11 games under .500 when they returned to Citi Field July 4 after a seven-game road trip. General manager Sandy Alderson knew that he would have to address the media about his perceptions of the first half of the 2014 season. Clearly it was not a get-together that he was looking forward to having.

Alderson began the proceedings by saying he believes the Mets have the personnel to perform far better than they have been, and that they are heading in the right direction. Eyeballs were understandably rolling and heads were shaking after Alderson made that statement.

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Banks and the people
Posted: July 10, 2014

Dear Editor:

In response to the July 3 editorial “Avella the Banker? No,” I respectfully disagree. The fact is that my legislation will not establish any new regulations that do not currently exist.

The State of New York already has oversight of state-chartered banks to ensure that ample data is collected and reviewed prior to bank branches closing down. As you correctly point out, currently, federally chartered banks are only required to provide a 90-day notice to their customers prior to the closure.

But to say that the community gives its input by not depositing enough money is a bit misguided. If any bank settles into a community, establishes relationships and takes money from area residents, there should be more accountability when that branch decides to close. “Reviewing the impact in the name of ‘community input’” is exactly what is needed for these bank branches that come and go as they please.

My legislation would simply address the present inequity in bank branch oversight between state- and federally chartered banks. These branches are oftentimes crucial to the economy of the neighborhood where they are located and area residents should have a fighting chance in keeping these institutions open if the closure will have significant negative impact on the surrounding community.

There have been plenty of times throughout history when private financial institutions took advantage of public resources and the government had no choice but to step in. Let us make federally chartered banks undergo the same review process that is currently in place for state-chartered banks. Members of the public, who invest their own monetary resources into these institutions, have a right to be heard.

Tony Avella
NYS Senator for the 11th District
Bayside

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Time to fix the illegal immigration crisis
Updated: July 17, 2014 - 9:08 am

We urge Congress to fufill President Obama’s request for nearly $4 billion to address the unprecedented crisis the United States faces on its southern border, where tens of thousands of illegal immigrants, including a wave of children never seen before, have been trying to make it into the country.

The border is the focus of the emergency, but its repercussions are or will be felt across the country, including here in Queens. Though they’re arriving illegally, most of those who get into the United States will never be deported, by the government’s own admission. They’re being dispersed all over the nation and surely many will end up here, where immigrants both legal and illegal make up a larger share of the population than just about anywhere else.

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