Things sure looked a lot brighter for the Jets a month ago when they went into their bye week with a 5-4 record, as they had just knocked off one of the NFL’s best, the New Orleans Saints. The conventional wisdom was that the two-week break would give Rex Ryan’s troops much-needed rest and a chance for some injured players, such as their best wide receiver, Santonio Holmes, a chance to fully recuperate.
Sadly for the Jets and their fans, things have not gone that way. Gang Green lost badly on the road to both the Buffalo Bills and the Baltimore Ravens. Still, there was no sense of panic because historically the Jets have always had trouble winning in those places. The common thinking was that the Jets would right the ship when they would take on the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium to begin December. A win over Miami would put them in a strong position to earn a playoff berth.
Of all the accomplishments of Mayor Bloomberg’s three terms in office, which this page will be examining over the next several weeks, along with his shortcomings, the most profound is the remarkable reduction in violent crime that he has achieved.
The cut in the murder rate over the last 20 or so years has been nothing short of a miracle. In 1990, homicides in the city peaked at 2,262. They began dropping the next year under Mayor David Dinkins, and continued falling under Mayor Rudy Giuliani. But it was under the leadership of Mike Bloomberg that New York became, as he would be the first to point out, the safest big city in the United States, with murder rates far below comparable municipalities such as Chicago and Los Angeles.
How disappointing to learn that “Council OKs school at Keil Brothers site” (Domenick Rafter, Nov. 21, multiple editions). Keil Brothers Inc., established in 1930 as a flower shop, grew into a well-respected, full-service garden center.
The owners of Keil Brothers had annual revenue in the millions and they provided gainful employment to over a dozen people. Many are our neighbors. Both the owner and employees pay taxes like the rest of us. They also generate employment for many suppliers, along with gardeners and landscapers who purchase their products. With 8 percent of residents out of work, 7 percent who have given up looking and many more looking to upgrade from minimum-wage or part-time jobs, the last thing we need is to drive more stores such as Keil Brothers out of business.
Many residents oppose construction of a school on this site for good reasons. It is primarily a residential neighborhood with two other schools located only blocks away.
The site rests along two major bus routes, and is next to a large thoroughfare in an area made up mostly of narrow residential streets. These capacity-constrained streets will be negatively impacted by both school buses and parents dropping off their kids during rush hour taxing strained city resources. Street crossing for students could be dangerous.
The City Council approved this new school by a vote of 36-2. Only aspiring candidate for Council Speaker Mark Weprin and outgoing Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. voted no. Weprin was unable to convince 49 other Council members to protect a thriving business and residential neighborhood. How effective would he be as the next Council speaker? Perhaps there are better candidates for than Weprin, ones who can protect small businesses and the residential neighborhoods which make up the heart of New York City.
I’m not a fan of organized religion but this new pope is “The Man”! How will Republicans respond to him basically calling them scum? Francis attacked the “idolatry of money” and beseeched politicians (Republicans) to guarantee all citizens “dignified work, education and healthcare.”
He asked, “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses 2 points?”
He added, “As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems.”
And finally: “I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians [Democrats] who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor.”
I’m waiting for the GOP response. “Palin and Cruz call for impeachment of socialist pope!” “Demand recount of Papal Conclave!” “Obama to blame!”
Here is why Republicans are the biggest hypocrites in the world, Rush Limbaugh supported drug treatment as opposed to incarceration only after he got arrested for possession of pain killers. Nancy Reagan only supported stem-cell research after Ronald Reagan got Alzheimer’s. Dick Cheney started supporting gay rights only after his daughter came out as gay. Megan Kelly of Fox News was against paid maternity leave, that is until she had a baby. Then her views miraculously changed. Once it happens to them their opinions change. Perhaps they wouldn’t vote against food stamps if a member of their family was poor.
Finally, the Democrats smacked the GOP in the face. Changing the rules and allowing presidential nominees to be approved by a simple majority (the way it should be). The GOP can cry all they want, but the fact is that in all of American history there were 12 filibusters until 1992, when Clinton became president. Clinton took over and in his term alone there were 12. Obama is in the beginning of his second term and it’s already 82! When Lyndon Johnson was the majority leader of the Senate he had to deal with three GOP filibusters. Harry Reid has dealt with 4 ... hundred!
Could it be only because Obama’s a Democrat? Or does his “tan” have something to do with it? Mitch McConnell threatened future retaliations of obstruction, or as the GOP calls it-business as usual.
It goes without saying, we Americans love parades. However, there is one parade which has no cheering crowd, only whispers of shame. To give this “Parade of Shame” a sense of reality, it will consist of three units, each led by a GOP president, followed by their “criminal” aides.
Since all parades have a grand marshal, I selected Spiro Agnew. Why? Because as Baltimore county executive, he was accused of illegal activities. Agnew plea bargained a nolo contendere and resigned as vice president!
The first unit is led by Warren Harding carrying a banner “Teapot Dome Scandal.” Several of Harding’s Ohio boys who were convicted in this corrupt oil scandal are now marching behind him.
Unit two, the mother of presidential scandals, is led by Richard M. Nixon, who is proudly wearing his bold printed banner “Watergate!” This ill-advised endeavor resulted in indictments, trials, convictions and incarcerations of 48 Nixon aides, including Bob Haldeman and John Ehrlichman. They are all walking behind the Nixon banner.
The final unit in our shame parade is led by the “Teflon” president, Ronald Reagan. His banner reads “Iran Contra Affair.” Congress ruled it illegal to provide arms to the Contras. Reagan violated the law by secretly selling arms to Iran in exchange for cash to buy arms for the Contras. Two Reagan aides — John Poindexter and Oliver North — worked through CIA and military channels. Reagan admitted he supported the sale. Ten officials were convicted. They are now marching proudly behind their “Teflon” president.
Epilogue: Fox and friends have been beating their drums while shouting that the Barack Obama presidency is not only anti-American but the worst ever. Folks, you will never see Obama lead a fourth unit in the Parade of Shame!
Defending and debating the virtues of liberty and freedom in a world of entitlements, welfare and redistribution of wealth is an exercise in futility. Either knowingly or unwittingly, many Americans have accepted and even voted for laws that abrogate Constitutional individual rights, freedom of choice and expropriate private wealth in the name of “fairness.” Admonitions such as “be the best that you can be” or “the sky’s the limit” no longer apply since incomes are capped and too much affluence and prosperity are punished. By penalizing the most productive among us, we nurture mediocrity.
It has become necessary to suppress my inclination to live as I choose because I am compelled to abide by the wisdom and beneficence of the government or be fined, taxed or arrested. The new paradigm is to each according to his needs and from each according to his ability. There is little doubt the ruling elite is victorious and has the upper hand. I just hope the promised utopia arrives before we run out of my and other peoples’ money.
As more and more liberals, socialists and progressives are elected, it is inevitable their utopian vision will prevail. The ash heap of history is replete with examples of utopian visions reduced to rubble yet we choose to ignore those lessons. In spite of the grim historical facts, the new elitists persist in their arrogance, restricting our individual rights and freedoms that threaten their vision of the “greater good.”
Will we forfeit our individual rights, our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for the promise of abundance in a new world order that will control where and how we live, what we eat and drink, what we wear, what kind of cars we drive, which doctor we may visit? Will we at last be free from freedom?
The right of way exists, the tracks exist, the infrastructure, although it needs work, still exists — if we want to improve Queens transportation and stimulate economic growth for future development of our borough, the complete restoration and rehabilitation of the abandoned Rockaway Beach Rail Line is our best option.
Sandy revealed what our communities have known for too long: We need more transit options for our families in Queens. There is no better time than right now.
It seems as if you can’t be a key player for the St. John’s Red Storm unless head coach Steve Lavin has suspended you for at least one game for mysteriously violating team rules. Last year guard D’Angelo Harrison missed the last few games of the regular season, along with St. John’s futile appearance in the postseason NIT. Earlier this season center Chris Obepka was suspended for a pair of exhibition games for unsaid infractions.
This past Friday night it was hyped rookie guard Rysheed Jordan’s turn to sit out a game for unspecified bad deeds. Jordan, a big-time Philadelphia high school star, was supposed to be the best recruit to come to St. John’s since Lavin became head coach four years ago. Lavin and the St. John’s Sports Information Department decided before this season started that the media would not be able to interview him until January 2014 at the earliest. Obviously putting Rysheed in a cocoon has not been the foolproof plan that the St. John’s coaching staff thought it would be. At press time, Lavin did not indicate when Jordan would be reinstated.
How wonderful it was reading your special section called “News Makers” in the Nov. 14 35th anniversary edition of the Queens Chronicle.
Indeed it was so enjoyable reading the bios of those people you included in this issue that we clipped out the bios and will enclose them in letters to friends so that they too will enjoy.
We hope this will be a continuing part of your format at the Queen Chronicle — even if only one bio appears weekly in your publication. Incidentally, thank you for your wonderful newspaper that serves our community so well.
Editor’s note: If you missed “News Makers,” you can find all the stories online at qchron.com.
It was only last week that the Borough Board approved the city’s sale of 23 acres of Willets Point to a development group composed of the Mets’ real estate arm and the Related Companies for all of $1. So we see no reason the city can’t wait a little longer for the many small businesses it’s kicking out of the area to move.
In order to get the full year’s rent money they were promised for their new locations, businesses must move out by this weekend. But many are not ready to do that. If they move by Jan. 1, they can get six months’ worth of rent.
Whether you get up from the table to shop on Thanksgiving or wait until the traditional Black Friday to hit the stores, we hope you’ll remember Small Business Saturday this weekend.
That’s the effort led by American Express to get people to patronize individual stores and small, locally owned chains, as opposed to the megaretailers and online outlets. AmEx holders can even save a few dollars by registering their cards at americanexpress.com/us/small-business/Shop-Small ahead of time.
Please support small retailers by joining your neighbors on Third Annual National Small Business Saturday, on Nov. 30. Do the same as often as possible during the other 364 days a year.
Skip the national chain stores’ annual Black Friday madness, which now starts early Thursday at most large retail stores. Only PC Richards is closed. They allow their employees to stay home with family. Take a pass on Cyber Monday for those who want to shop on the Internet.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving meal. Get a good night’s sleep and come out and support small business by shopping local. In these difficult economic times, it is especially important to patronize your neighborhood businesses. There are so many great options. These people are our neighbors. They work long hours, pay taxes and provide local employment without the support of government subsidies at taxpayers expense. 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 Queens Chronicle. Patronize their advertisers; they provide the necessary revenues to help keep them in business. Let them know you saw their ad. This helps keep our neighbors employed and the local economy growing.
Public hearings and community input are lacking in the rollout of the QueensWay project, a proposed public greenway that will transform the former railroad-consisting of the 3.5 miles from Rego Park and Forest Hills down to Ozone Park.
There are grave concerns advocates for and against this project must take into consideration before the final draft is put up for a vote before the City Council. Feasibility studies must address the social, economic and environmental impact this project will have on all surrounding communities.
Woodhaven residents, especially those who live in the area of the line that runs parallel to 98th street in Woodhaven, are expectedly concerned about their continued safety and quality of life. The crime issue in Woodhaven and Ozone Park will only be aggravated, even if proposals to build gates and closure of the entrances are implemented, further overwhelming our precincts. These communities do not have a Civilian Observation Patrol, like G-COP in Glendale. We should respect and address the concerns of the 120 households who signed the petition to stop the project, which constitutes an overwhelming majority of homeowners living there.
Decisions must take into consideration the impact the project will have on the livelihoods and families of small business owners that occupy space below and adjacent to the train tracks. Many have been here for decades.
We need to know the effect the plan will have on PS 65, the Raymond York Elementary School and MS 137, America’s School of Heroes, and other area schools.
Many small business owners in the Aqueduct Flea market were forced to close due to Resorts World’s expansion, and it would be harsh to uproot and destroy others in our area — again. Moreover, any proposal must guarantee jobs and contracts to residents in the impacted communities.
We should also consider whether the MTA got it right, when its 20-year plan recommended that the rail line from Atlantic Avenue to Rockaway Boulevard should be left as is and eventually be used as a connection for an express line into Manhattan.
Proponents of the QueensWay who compare it to Manhattan’s High Line must research whether continuous sponsorship and maintenance is a realistic expectation, given the economic constraints, and the comparative paucity of large corporations and tourism in this area to offset such costs. None of us want to be saddled with a proverbial “pie in the sky.”
With Thanksgiving fast approaching, Americans everywhere are bracing for the opportunity to feast on their favorite holiday entrÈe: the turkey. Millions of turkeys will be purchased and eaten throughout the country without hesitation. But, before this festive bird is consumed at the Thanksgiving table, it was a living creature that had to be killed so that diners could enjoy its meat. And this is where all the trouble and abuse begins.
Contrary to popular belief, today’s turkeys are not raised on spacious farms with lush green grass, where they frolic merrily with other happy turkeys. Furthermore, many believe the turkeys are killed in a humane manner once their time comes to be served as dinner. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.
The overwhelming majority of turkeys produced in the United States are raised inside filthy, crowded factory farms in inhumane conditions. Turkeys in factory farms are housed indoors in dark rooms, crunched together with other turkeys. The animals have very little space and are given very little med
ical attention. Outrageously, the agricultural industry has gotten Congress to exempt them from the Animal Welfare Act. This exemption allows unspeakable abuses to occur, including painful death through horrible slaughter methods. Anyone that does not believe large scale animal abuse on this level can occur need only to Google factory farms online. If one chooses to do so, please be prepared to be outraged and saddened at what occurs to these historic animals, as well as other farm animals.
I was dismayed by poor turnouts for the NY Rising meeting at PS 207 and for our Howard Beach Civic Association. Why is attendance so low?
No matter how busy we are, nor how tired at the end of the day, it behooves us to make the effort to learn first hand what our community needs and dire problems in them. This is the function of your civic association. Make no mistake. We do have special problems and with a showing of support, we can get results. Nothing discourages reporters, elected officials, community activists and our public servants more than an empty room.
On Tuesday, Nov. 19, a handful of us at St. Helen’s school cafeteria were informed that we are merging with the Lindenwood Alliance. This is great news. Meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. and end before 9. They are held on the last Tuesday of the month, with a few exceptions for holidays. No meeting is scheduled for December.
Plan to come on Jan. 28, early if you can, to meet the board and regular members. Coffee and light refreshments are served. Donations are most welcome! Put a buck in the kitty or bring something to share.
Hot topics on the agenda will be flood control, the best use of the $18 million Hurricane Sandy rebuilding allotment for Howard Beach, and pressing issues that may affect you and your family.
We especially want to see young people attend. If you have children or are single, you have special needs that we want to hear. We are not just for seniors! Do come!
Queens has a rapidly growing elderly population facing severe problems, such as mental illness. Fortunately, there’s a place where many troubled seniors get help — Club Pride, part of the Pride of Judea Mental Health Center at 243-02 Northern Blvd. in Douglaston.
Funded by the Jewish Board of Family & Children’s Services and New York City’s Dept. of Mental Health & Hygiene, Club Pride (launched in 1997) is a geriatric psycho-social club. It provides counseling, therapy and social re-adjustment services for Queens residents, from 55 to 94, who suffer from mental illness & substance abuse. Clients come from Flushing, Kew Gardens Hills, Whitestone, College Point & Bayside.
They’re referred by psychiatrists and other mental health providers, after their discharge from psychiatric and chronic care hospitals. If not for Club Pride, many of them would have to be reinstitutionalized, at a heavy cost to taxpayers.
Club Pride provides daily transportation to members via two buses for the Flushing and Bayside areas. But Flushing bus service will end on Dec. 6 due to budget cuts. Many riders are physically disabled. They can’t use public transportation and can’t afford Access-A-Ride’s daily $5 roundtrip fare. They’re distressed by the fear of losing Club Pride’s vital assistance.
Don’t let this happen. Contact U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (212) 486-4430, Congresswoman Grace Meng (718) 445-7860, State Sen. Tony Avella (718) 357-3094, City Councilman Mark Weprin (718) 468-0137 and Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio (212) 669-7200. Urge them to save an essential resource for their constituents.
The following remarks are in reference to David Rivkin’s Nov. 14 letter “The ignorant Left.” We Democrats may be ignorant on some issues, however, the stupid GOP right is always on the wrong side of history. Just compare our domestic legislation to their “just say no” legislation.
David you wrote, “Readers should also realize that filibuster of Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was in keeping with all filibuster speeches ever recorded in the senate ...” Our Senate is the only legislative body in the world that allows filibustering as an obstructionist tactic to defeat legislation favored by a majority.
Here is a tragic example why the Senate should end Senate 22 rule. President Wilson asked Congress on Feb. 26, 1917 for authority to arm merchant vessels in the hope of deterring German subs from attacking. The House passed the bill 403-14, and 75 senators signed a statement that they would vote for it if given the opportunity. In the Senate, a “little group of willful men” (as Wilson characterized seven Republicans and five Democrats) filibustered the bill until the end of the session. The tragic action prevented the measure from coming to a vote — thus killing the bill!
Twenty-first century America needs to end old parliamentary rules which cause the wheels of government to turn into a “horse and buggy” era.
And to the Chronicle, hooray for 35 years of service to Queens!
This Thanksgiving, New York’s wind energy has given us a lot to be grateful for.
A new report by Environment New York, “Wind Power for a Cleaner America,” shows that wind energy in New York is already avoiding carbon pollution equivalent to taking 382,203 cars off the road. In addition to reducing global warming pollution, wind energy in the state is also avoiding 1,724 tons of smog-causing nitrogen oxides which contribute to asthma, and 2,130 tons of sulfur dioxide which is a major component of acid rain. These benefits have made wind power a key component of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which seeks to reduce global warming pollution 17 percent by 2020.
Federal incentives for wind–the investment tax credit and the production tax credit–are largely responsible for wind’s success, but are set to expire at the end of 2013. To curb global warming pollution and prevent future extreme weather events like Sandy, Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand should continue to be champions for clean energy, and I call on our House delegation to do everything within their power to extend these critical clean energy incentives before the end of the year.
The Affordable Care Act is less about healthcare and more about collecting fees, taxes, personal data and promoting a single payer system. The schemes and machinations inflicted on Congress to facilitate the passage of Obamacare have prompted many to ask if it is constitutional for the government to make any law it wishes for the sake of society, grant exemptions and exceptions to those who wrote the law and their constituents and, in the process, limit freedom and confiscate wealth?
A society that can give you everything you need is able to take everything you have. For almost 100 years, our politicians have been trying to persuade us that wealth and property are not individual but communal. The traits of charity and benefaction have been superseded by the notion that everyone, no matter their value to society, should have everything that everyone else has, simply by virtue of existing. If everyone owns everyone else’s wealth collectively, political campaigns are merely never ending conflicts about who gets what. If a person does not own what he or she produces, then who does?
The contentious issues generated by Obamacare are symbolic of the basic conflict in the world today. It is between two principles; individualism and the sanctity of private property and collectivism, where man lives for the sake of the group or collective. History books are testament to George Washington’s prophetic declaration and admonition that “private property and freedom are inseparable.” The ash heap of history is littered with governments that plundered and enslaved their citizens.
We have reached the point in America where the government is unconstrained to do anything it pleases while citizens may act only by permission.
For many years, the Wolkoff family, wealthy developers, allowed street artists to paint all over the old warehouse in Long Island City known as 5Pointz. That came to an end in the very early hours of Tuesday morning, as crews painted over the street art that had made the building an icon to many.
But the artists and those who keep up with the news in Queens knew, or should have known, that it would happen one day. And the Wolkoffs had every right to do it. Yes, the artists were trying to stop the building’s pending destruction in court, but they had a very difficult case to make. And they were trying to get it landmarked, but that’s a long, arduous process. They may very well be right that the Wolkoffs took action this week in response to the landmarking effort.
Jugglers amaze us with their ability to actually manipulate objects. Magicians,. also known as illusionists, confound us with their ability to fool us ... and so do unscrupulous individuals when they manipulate statistics to pull the wool over our eyes!
Small class sizes are universally known to be one of the main selling points of any educational institution. Why? Simple logic tells us the instructor can give more individual attention to each of the students if there is less of them in a classroom.
If each teacher has an average class size of 30 pupils as opposed to 23, then a great deal of money is saved – at the expense of each child getting more individual attention!
As far as looking at this through a thick wool sweater, we must ask ourselves, how is average class size determined? Elementary arithmetic says divide the total number of students in the school by the the total number of classroom teachers on the faculty of the school. Simple, right?
No! It is not so simple if you go inside the school and you find out that there are many classroom teachers with reduced classroom programs because they are recruited to do administrative jobs, attendance, discipline, lunchroom and hall patrols.
So if you look inside all of the classrooms where teaching and learning is going on, the real actual class size will be much higher then the fake “average class size”. Without a doubt more students per class equals less individual attention a teacher can give to each child!
“The ooooonly reason that I decided to come to Brooklyn was to win an NBA championship!” future Hall of Fame forward Kevin Garnett declared to the press at Nets media day on Sept. 30. He was speaking as well for his fellow ex-Celtics, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry, who came to Brooklyn in the big trade that occurred last June.
But based on what we’ve seen in the first three weeks, the Nets look to be far from a lock to make the NBA playoffs, let alone win a championship. Garnett seems to be a shell of himself as he has had trouble putting the ball in the basket while rookie head coach Jason Kidd has gingerly limited his playing minutes. The same can be said of Pierce and Terry. While it is understandable that Kidd wants to be careful how he utilizes his older players to avoid injury, they will not shake off the rust unless they start playing more minutes.
Congratulations on the anniversary coverage of last year’s superstorm. The lucky residents who were untouched by the flooding, weeks of power outages and loss of homes, cherished possessions and vital records need these reminders of the hardships others faced and surmounted.
Driving through Broad Channel last month, we were amazed at how normal it looked. So many homes were repaired. At the office in Arverne of “Build It Back,” we noticed that the new development there seemed unscathed. We learned that the homes were built to defy the forces of severe storms. Shouldn’t this be required in all low-lying areas?
It is shameful that insurance costs are prohibitive through FEMA increases. Our legislators must find a way to prevent another disaster without flood insurance bankrupting families and businesses. We applaud the efforts of our state assemblyman, Phil Goldfeder, and others who are pushing back against these costs which will doom whole neighborhoods.
For all of us who survived and are able to repair and restore our losses, we surely have reasons to celebrate this Thanksgiving. May all who need assistance get it swiftly.