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Anti-cop attitudes can only harm the city

The rift between the NYPD and many of our elected officials, including Mayor de Blasio, only appears to be growing, and that is not good news for anyone.The situation took a turn for the worse when the mayor made an unwise comment about an in…

Gee Sandy, think!
Posted: December 18, 2014

The recently concluded baseball winter meetings in San Diego produced little news for Mets fans aside from the team signing former Phillies outfielder John Mayberry Jr. to a $1.45 million, one-year contract. Mayberry has power and had been a thorn in the Mets’ side whenever they played Philadelphia. This kind of bargain-basement acquisition is a hallmark of Mets general manager Sandy Alderson’s tenure.

If that was all that transpired, the Mets would have been better off than they were before the winter meetings. Unfortunately, Alderson once again felt compelled to discuss Mets’ fans least favorite topic: namely the Amazin’s need for continued “payroll flexibility.” That term has become a sports euphemism for pinching pennies, which of course is an area in which the Mets have expertise.

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Leading the library
Posted: December 18, 2014

Dear Editor:

I want to introduce myself to you and the residents of Queens.

I started my library career as a children’s librarian trainee in Suffolk County, while pursuing my master’s of library science at St. John’s University. I served customers at the front desk for many years and then managed small and large public libraries in Iowa, Connecticut and New York State.

After several years as director of the Buffalo and Erie County Library System, I came to the Queens Library because of its reputation as one of the world’s best. I’m a working parent, with school-aged daughters, and am also studying for my MBA at St. John’s. I understand the personal and professional challenges that many of us experience every day, juggling work life with home life and trying to find a precious few minutes to read and relax.

Queens Library customers have told us repeatedly that they wish the library were open later in the evenings and earlier in the mornings to accommodate their busy schedules. I am pleased to let you know that as of Jan. 5, we will be modifying customer service schedules so every library is open at lea

st two evenings until 8 p.m., and at least two mornings at 10 a.m. The Central Library and Flushing Library will maintain their expanded hours (until 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday) and several of our libraries are open at 9 a.m. on Monday mornings. We hope that many more people will find it convenient and enriching to come to the library.

We want to build on the powerful people, places, partners and programs that are the heart of your Queens Library. Our goal is to surprise everyone in Queens with how much value they get from their library, whether they are downloading e-books, learning to code their own websites, attending a concert, borrowing a tablet to use at home or grabbing a great book to while away a rainy afternoon. I look forward to seeing you at the library and wish you all a bright 2015.

Bridget Quinn-Carey
Interim President and CEO, Queens Library
Jamaica

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Protecting the ill
Posted: December 18, 2014

Dear Editor:

Re “NY probes care for mentally ill inmates” by Khorri Atkinson, Nov. 20, multiple editions:

Why weren’t the guards educated enough to know what was happening was inappropriate? They are without a doubt at fault, but the failure is larger than the misuse of solitary confinement.

I recently read that largest mental health center in the country is a county jail in Chicago. For such a large number of mentally ill to be in the prison system, let alone the fact they are being inadequately cared for, there must be a gross failure in the mental health system, failure in education and in action.

A relative of mine who is a schizophrenic has a diligent intensive case management worker whom she sees every other Monday, a mandatory program she must attend and a loving family. This is not the case for many. What is the prevention, care and rehabilitation for them?

If the mental health system knew how to better rehabilitate or treat those who need help, there would be fewer of them in jail. It’s obvious from this case that neglect is an issue within this jail, and probably many others. If prisons hold such a large number of mentally ill, they need to kno

w and use practices that are not harmful to them.

This now brings up the question of whether the mentally ill should even be in prisons. Is it the job of the mental health care system or the prison system to figure it out? The jails are obviously not the best place for them with their current regulations. These questions seem to have been answered, but the solutions aren’t working. This inmate, Bradley Ballard, obviously needed help from harming himself. Who was there to protect him? Whatever the case I’m glad to see some attempt at reform in action and great job to our assemblymen and women for helping ensure that.

Niyah Pitters
South Ozone Park

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‘E-waste’ problems I
Posted: December 18, 2014

Dear Editor:

The Department of Sanitation as of January will no longer collect electronics such as TVs, computers and printers, etc. People will have to lug their things to a Best Buy or Staples, a Goodwill or Salvation Army thrift store or a community recycling event.

This will truly be a hardship on many people and have negative effects such as the dumping of electronic equipment on the sides of roads in the city. How can they expect someone to carry a heavy TV on the buses and subways, or even from their cars or a taxi?

This is a waste of our time and energy. We have a great system where Sanitation trucks come right to our homes. What could be easier and more energy efficient than that? It’s the same with the deposit law, where we have to return items to the store for a refund when a truck comes each week to pick up cans and bottles.

The DSNY should make electronic pickups as it does for air conditioners and refrigerators, when you call to arrange a date to put it out. Otherwise we will wind up with more things just piled up by trash bins on every street in New York, or just dumped into a black bag to avoid detection, thus defeating the recycling program.

Richard Polgar
Maspeth
Editor’s note: See page 2 for an article on the new regulation.

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Thursday 12/18/2014
‘E-waste’ problems II
Posted: December 18, 2014

Dear Editor:

Re New Dept. of Sanitation electronics recycling rules:

The person who takes care of the trash for an apartment building of more than 10 units can call up and have a single TV or computer collected from their doorstep.

As a homeowner, I will be required to lug a nonfunctioning, 45-pound, 55-inch TV on a bus to a very limited number of drop-off locations.

How about the same consideration for homeowners, especially the elderly and those without cars?

Bill Herbert
Richmond Hill

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The GOP vs. the mail
Posted: December 18, 2014

Dear Editor:

There is a growing concern that the constitutional mandate of the United States Postal Service may go the way of the Pony Express! Not by competitive technology, but by political fiat.

The GOP has a master plan to privatize every function big government provides to promote the general welfare. Its goal is to replace it with small government that would promote the welfare of corporate America. Here is proof. Grover Norquist, the GOP field marshal, said, “My goal is to cut government in half in 25 years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”

Let’s review how the GOP plans to destroy the USPS. The GOP Congress enacted the Postal and Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, HR 6407. Bush-43 signed the PAEA into law. Note the fancy title of the law. On the surface, it appeared reasonable. However, the devil is in the details.

The PAEA required the USPS to make payments of $5.4 to 5.8 billion into the Postal Service retiree health benefits fund each year from 2007 to 2016 to “prefund” 50 years of estimated costs. The USPS was ordered to stop using its savings to reduce postal debt. This prefunding is unique to the USPS, in fact unique to the private sector.

What impact will the devil’s law have on the public? 1) Frequent postal rate increases. 2) Elimination of Saturday delivery. 3) Closing rural and poor area post offices. This may create economic hardship on small businesses that rely on a steady flow of commercial mail and will also hurt families. 4) Massive layoffs of postal workers, hurting one of America’s largest unions. This is a priority with Republicans — a weak union means a weak Democratic Party.

Simply put, the GOP is out to choke the life out of the USPS.

Anthony G. Pilla
Forest Hills

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Lower class sizes
Posted: December 18, 2014

Dear Editor:

A lie is less likely to lose its way en route to a bigoted mind than is the truth trying to penetrate the defenses of a biased intellect. That’s why slander against the teachers union is so well-received among people who are hostile to public education. They buy into a package of myths, including the one that claims that the reason that the teachers union is seeking a reduction in class size is that more classes would mean more jobs for their members.

What idiot would say that doctors would like more carcinogens in the environment because it would translate into more patients for them?

Critics are not necessarily enemies. Their legitimacy as critics depends on their motives. But most opponents of public schools would actually feel threatened if the schools improved. It would disconcert these spiteful bottom-feeders and it would get in the way of their single-minded pursuit of privatization and wealth-management.

They want to destroy public schools, so not only are their criticisms not constructive, they’re illicit. Thus they resound all the more in the charter school sanctums.

Between their acts of instigating arson against the reputation of public schools and the teachers union, they make sure to send their own kids to schools where the class size is far lower than it is for garden-variety kids in public schools. They demand teeny class size for their trust-fund beneficiaries, but are blasÈ about monster-sized classes for the kids they see as the city’s runts. They’ll never forgive the teachers union for championing these human gifts.

It’s ridiculous that it still needs to be explained that the more kids in a classroom, the less time there is for teachers to devote to their individual learning styles and challenges. The supporting research is stacked to the moon, but the wrath of those who won’t consent to the proof is still stacked against the truth.

It costs money to invest in every child’s basic right to a quality education. But in the future our whole nation will reap the dividends. So an idea was raised that is both brilliant and painless: Impose a miniscule tax on people so wealthy that they won’t even notice their contribution on paper, much less dent their lifestyle.

If you have a home worth more than $5 million and choose to reside primarily in an even more luxurious domicile, your tax would be hiked by around 0.5 percent per year. That would allow an injection of around $900 million annually that could be used to lower class size.

Any person so extravagantly privileged with material gain who begrudges dedicating a relatively few pennies for the common good is morally bankrupt and shouldn’t insult any house of worship with his hypocritical presence.

Ron Isaac
Fresh Meadows

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Select Bus Service will make Woodhaven worse
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 12:42 pm

Action needs to be taken to improve mobility between northern and southern Queens along the Woodhaven Boulevard corridor, including to and from Midtown Manhattan.

A new study by Queens College, Community Impact Study of Proposed Uses of the Rockaway Beach Branch Right of Way, reports that the region’s transit users must endure a subway trip that is 42 percent longer than the New York City average. In some cases, such as from Far Rockaway to Midtown, the subway journey time is at least an hour. Travel to other parts of Queens can exceed two hours. In contrast, the Long Island Rail Road trains that crossed Jamaica Bay on the Rockaway Beach Line took as little as 43 minutes.

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Thursday 12/11/2014
Murder and policing
Posted: December 11, 2014

Dear Editor:

Yes, black lives matter. So while we are telling this to the NYPD and police forces across the country, maybe we can step into the neighborhoods where the rate of death for black men and women is extremely high and remind the people taking those lives that those black lives matter also.

Let’s up the protest if it is violence that we want to stop to include all lives being taken by everyone as a problem: #BlackLivesMatter, #AllLivesMatter.

And there’s no way the de Blasio and Bratton union lasts through 2015. This mayor doesn’t support his top cop. Not one bit. In every major news story that comes up, he has done nothing but throw Bratton under the bus.

While I’m not a fan of Bratton, and I don’t care much for his style of policing, he’s doing exactly what our mayor asked him to come in and do. De Blasio is going lose his commissioner and all 34,000 officers on the NYPD.

Chris Glover
Laurelton

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Adios Pete, Hello Rex?
Posted: December 11, 2014

Columbia University dismissed Lions football head coach Peter Mangurian this past Friday. Ironically, the fact that the Lions are in the midst of a 21-game losing streak had little to do with the dismissal; rather it was reports that Mangurian was verbally abusive to players, and even worse, ignored their concerns about having incurred concussions, that spurred Columbia president Lee Bollinger to act.

Not to belittle the players’ concerns, but not firing this guy just based on his win-loss record reminds me of how the feds could only put Al Capone away for income tax evasion instead of for any of his hardcore gangster activities. But the important thing is that Columbia finally got rid of “the Vince Lombardi of losing.”

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Help us help children in need
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 12:13 pm

This year marks the Queens Chronicle’s 20th annual toy and gift drive for the neediest children in the borough. As always, we ask your support, and as always, we’re confident we’ll get it, generous people that you are.

We collect these toys and other gifts — including some of life’s most basic necessities, ones that many of us take for granted — for children in homeless shelters here. They range in age from virtual newborns to teenagers, and they need your help to have a decent holiday season.

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Queens tops for tourism?
Posted: December 11, 2014

Move over, Manhattan! So long, Saratoga! Farewell, Florida!

There’s a new kid on the block when it comes to tourism, and guess what — it’s Queens!

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Follow the law
Posted: December 11, 2014

Dear Editor:

I served my country, worked all my life until I physically no longer could. I’ve worked with veterans and learning-disabled children and still serve my community. Why do we allow protesters, rioters, and looting every time a group of people disagree with the judicial decisions? You have the police, the court, the jury. If the criminals don’t like the process, don’t do anything illegal. When you break the law, you put yourself at risk.

Paul Narson
Flushing

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Cuomo contributed
Posted: December 11, 2014

Dear Editor:

Gov. Cuomo bears some blame for Eric Garner’s homicide. Despite pleas from more than a dozen state legislators, he refused to appoint a special prosecutor for this explosive case. Relying on Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan to prosecute cops he works with is like asking Kim Kardashian to wear a burka.

Cuomo also imposes a double standard for enforcing New York’s tobacco tax law, which led to Garner’s death.

Cops busted Garner for selling a few untaxed cigarettes, called “loosies,” on the street. But native American tribes avoid punishment for selling cartons of untaxed cigarettes at reservation smoke shops to the public.

Tribes such as the Poospatuck in Mastic, LI reap huge profits while breaking the law. A federal judge ordered them to pay $10.5 million in excise taxes after Cuomo refused to crack down on their illegal cigarette sales. He also allows the Seneca and Shinnecock tribes to sell untaxed cigarettes on their “sovereign” soil. Cagey Cuomo plays fast and “loosie” with the law while people die as a result.

Richard Reif
Flushing

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Lawmakers’ pay I
Posted: December 11, 2014

Dear Editor:

Since all persons who do the same job should be paid the same salary, I am skeptical a two-tier salary for New York State legislators would be legal and fair (“Two salary tiers for legislators,” Editorial, Dec. 4). As to a salary increase for a part-time job and for a group with far too much corruption, that raises more serious questions. If, however, all things considered a case can be made for a salary increase, I believe it should be conditioned on the following:

1. All state legislators, Assembly and Senate, should be paid a salary of $150,000 a year, but shall be prohibited from engaging in any other outside work for pay.

2. If item 1 is not feasible, they should all be paid $100,000 a year, but each year they must file an affidavit setting forth all outside activities they perform for pay, listing who paid them, the amount paid and the outside activities they performed and how much monthly time was devoted thereto.

Benjamin M. Haber
Flushing

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Lawmakers’ pay II
Posted: December 11, 2014

Dear Editor:

I could not agree more with “Two salary tiers for legislators.” Consider that after our state Assembly and state senators have been re-elected, many are looking to pass legislation in a lame-duck session, which will give them a future salary increase.

The 2014 state Legislature session calendar covered a six-month period from Jan. 1, 2014 to June 30, 2014. There were 129 available weekdays. After subtracting New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day and Memorial Day, most ordinary New Yorkers worked 125 days. The Legislature was in session only 62 days. Not bad for a part-time job. Many members find the time to hold down second jobs paying even more.

Most members in the majority Democratic state Assembly and Republican state Senate-Independent Democrat coalition supplemented their base pay of $79,000 with lulus for chairing dozens of useless committees and subcommittees. These run up to $41,500, for a salary of $121,000 per year. This is supplemented by day-to-day meal expense accounts and reimbursement for travel to and from Albany.

Nobody was drafted to run for public office. Everyone knew of the salary, perks of office and limited work requirements. Members of the state Legislature are lucky to have their part-time jobs! There are plenty of out-of-work New Yorkers who would be more than happy to replace them. They would gladly show up for work full-time, not constantly complain or ask for a salary increase.

Larry Penner
Great Neck, LI

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Landmarking is key
Posted: December 11, 2014

Dear Editor:

(An open letter to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission)

On behalf of the Rego-Forest Preservation Council, we would like to extend our gratitude in response to the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s cancellation of the proposed administrative hearing on Dec. 9, 2014, which would have likely resulted in the decalendaring of nearly 100 landmark-worthy individual properties and two landmark-worthy districts.

We feel that if the LPC was to engage in a massive decalendaring, it would set a risky precedent, where those properties may undergo demolition as-of-right, and the public would speculate that future calendared properties may be decalendared and also demolished. Residents, community groups, elected officials and preservationists at-large work tirelessly to research, propose and advocate for new landmarks, which have largely resulted in those properties to have been calendared.

The public is routinely presented with the opportunity to testify on hearing items, but a “commissioner only” vote on decalendaring would have appeared as if the public has no voice in the landmarking process, or as if we inhabited the days of protests before the classic Pennsylvania Station’s demolition.

Our landmarks and potential landmarks are a unique contribution to our city’s architectural and cultural history, diversity and aesthetics, and are cornerstones in the eyes of residents. As per the Landmarks Law, which enables the public to provide testimony for properties, the public needs to have a say in the future of the nearly 100 individual properties and the two districts.

Reviewing the listing of the proposed decalendaring items, our boroughs would lose their identity and distinctive qualities of a livable community. Some cases in point are the Ahles House and the Douglaston Historic District Extension in Queens, the IRT Powerhouse and Loew’s 175th Street Theater in Manhattan, the 5466 Arthur Kill Road House and Garner Mansion in Staten Island, the 65 Schofield Street House and the Samuel Babcock House in the Bronx and St. Barbara’s Roman Catholic Church and St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church and Rectory in Brooklyn.

We strongly encourage the LPC to schedule public hearings for all of the calendared items, beginning where there is most pressure to alter, sell or redevelop the site, or where development patterns in the community could compromise the site’s integrity or longevity. May the LPC and New Yorkers work as a team, to emphasize how a governmental body and its constituency can operate cohesively for our city’s improvement. Thank you for your consideration.

Michael Perlman
Rego-Forest Preservation Council Chairman
Forest Hills

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Cooperation needed
Posted: December 11, 2014

Dear Editor:

The recent report that 321,000 jobs were added to the economy in November is indeed positive news. However, our country still has along way to go before it totally climbs out of this six-year-long recession. Job creation is so very critical to economic growth and improvement, and the trend of adding more jobs must be a continuous one.

Our nation has a bevy of problems, and creating jobs just one of them. It is up to the Congress and President Obama to work together in order to solve this nation’s problems. The American people want cooperation, not confrontation, between Congress and the president. This process needs to start immediately!

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

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Friday 12/05/2014
Help honor Queens libraries for their crucial work with an award!
Updated: December 11, 2014 - 1:49 pm

Queens has more branch libraries than any other borough — with 62 — and, therefore, a special interest in helping celebrate their role in the life of our city. That’s exactly what the NYC Neighborhood Library Awards do, and they are accepting nominations from the public through Dec. 12.

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Thursday 12/04/2014
A decade of delays
Posted: December 04, 2014

Dear Editor:

Is anyone aware of the fact that construction on the Whitestone Bridge has been going on for over 10 years, causing terrible traffic delays during the day and on weekends too?

I know this because I see it from my window. I didn’t think it took this long to build the original bridge. Something smells bad and I wonder who is profiting.

Arlene Albin
Flushing

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Rangers give thanks
Posted: December 04, 2014

The National Hockey League gave the New York Rangers good reason to give thanks last holiday weekend, scheduling away-and-home matinee games with the Philadelphia Flyers, who played like turkeys. The two wins were a needed boost for the Blueshirts, who so far this season have not played like the team that went to the Stanley Cup Final six months ago.

The Flyers were so awful at the Wells Fargo Center last Friday that the home crowd started booing early in the first period and never let up. They were a pathetic 0 for 6 on the power play. And the Rangers added insult to injury on the last one. Even with one less player on the ice due to Chad Kreider’s four-minute penalty for high sticking, the Rangers nailed a shorthanded third-period goal as Rick Nash scored on a three-on-one breakaway to put the puck past hapless Flyers goalie Steve Mason. Flyers fans exited in droves at that point. The final was 3-0.

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Two salary tiers for legislators
Updated: December 11, 2014 - 12:21 pm

State lawmakers are seeking a pay raise, and many of them should get one.

Now, before you throw this newspaper across the room in disgust, hear us out and take special note of the innovative pay structure we propose for our Assembly members and state senators.

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Pot’s effects ignored
Posted: December 04, 2014

Dear Editor:

I read your article about our politicians’ views on legalizing marijuana for recreational use (“What’s your rep’s take on the toke?” Nov. 27), and one thing really struck me. The only reason that legalizing it is being considered is because so many people are getting arrested for it and our government does not want them to have a criminal record. Thus, make it legal.

There is no mention about the fact that the drug does impair judgment. I don’t think anybody wants to see people driving high or going to school stoned. The argument here never brings up the pros and cons of pot versus alcohol. There is no rational discussion about whether it has any health issues, or whether it could be a gateway to other drug use. Nothing about how legalizing it would indicate to people that it is not bad to use. No, we are just admitting that lots of people are breaking the law, and rather than try to stop them — just remove that law.

I am not saying if I am for or against making marijuana legal. Just that if we want to entertain that idea, we have to look at all the facts.

What’s next? If enough people start shoplifting, make that legal too?

Lee Rottenberg
Middle Village

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