• December 26, 2014
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Queens Chronicle

Letters to the Editor

Respect the police

Dear Editor:

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all be civilized citizens?

We have to thank our Police Department for the fact that our great City of New York is regarded as one of the safest cities in the world today, with a diverse population of about 8 million people from over 120 countries, speaking over 135 languages. The reason we have one of the safest cities is in large part due to the hard work of the men and women in the department. We should praise them, not criticize them.

Statistics show that crime is down by 80 percent from 20 years ago; this tells us that the police department is doing a great job.

It has been said that the city will spend $29 million dollars of taxpayers’ money to retrain the police. Instead of wasting this money, it would be much better spent on educating the people who criticize the Police Department. The money can be used to place advertising on public transportation

such as our trains, subways and buses. This advertising should emphasize to our citizens the importance of obeying the law, getting an education, respecting other people’s rights, not stealing and not committing crimes. If we continue to criticize the hard work of the men and women of the Police Department, then we jeopardize our city with going back to 20 years ago when crime was so bad that we could not leave our homes or apartments without being mugged.

Let’s work together. We have millions of tourists visiting our great city every day bringing wealth and jobs. I believe in the next few years our population will continue to increase because our city is a safe one.

Rudy Sarchese

Posted in Letters to the editor on Wednesday, December 24, 2014 4:00 am. Comments (0)

Mayor, speaker are wrong

Dear Editor:

Please let us all express our sympathies and condolences to the families of NYPD Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. Let us also strongly express our support for their families and for all the men and women of the NYPD. They put their lives on the line every day to keep all of us safe, to protect our families and friends. They deserve our support and respect.

Unfortunately I have to agree with those who say the blood of these officers leads to City Hall, to both the offices of Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. Their unwavering support for the protesters, who accuse the entire NYPD of being racist and wanting to shoot and kill young black men, along with their silence and refusal to condemn the protesters who chanted “What do we want? Dead cops” and “Arms up, shoot back,” has signaled that this type of thinking and violence against the police is okay.

Now we have a gangbanger thug cowardly ambush and assassinate two NYPD officers as, in his own words, retaliation for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Could he have been “inspired” to commit this heinous act by the fiery rhetoric of the race baiter-money hustler Al Sharpton o

r by the words and acts of support by our own mayor and Council speaker? We will never know since this mutt, thankfully, took his own life.

Mr. Mayor and Ms. Council Speaker, you may have always wanted your words and visions to inspire others to action. You may have just accomplished that. Congratulations, you must be so proud of yourselves.

Joe Cimino
Middle Village

Posted in Letters to the editor on Wednesday, December 24, 2014 4:00 am. Comments (0)

Fire anti-cop prof

Dear Editor:

As a Queens College graduate (BA 1962) and commencement speaker (2012), I’m outraged that Q.C. adjunct professor Eric Linsker was among the mob of cop-haters who “allegedly” attacked police on the Brooklyn Bridge while yelling: “What do we want? Dead cops. When do we want them? Now.”

Linsker “allegedly” tried to toss a garbage can at police (according to news reports), but was stopped by two cops who were beaten by other members of this murder-seeking mob.

He has a First Amendment right to protest, but no right to assault cops and incite violence against them. Nor does he have a right to earn $18,000 yearly of taxpayers’ money as a teacher at Queens and Baruch colleges. Linsker is a self-proclaimed poet whose “alleged” poetry includes: “F--- the police.” He’s no Robert Browning, but his actions are worse than his verse.

New York State provides a third of CUNY’s total budget. CUNY must fire this “alleged” felon or face the loss of taxpayers’ funds. Do it now.

Richard Reif

Posted in Letters to the editor on Wednesday, December 24, 2014 4:00 am. Comments (0)

Mayor must back NYPD

Dear Editor:

It is time for everyone, protestors and elected officials as well as others, to back off all of the angry rhetoric that has been going on for the last several months, culminating with the senseless and brutal assassination of two New York City police officers on a Brooklyn street. The families of these two officers need to be able to grieve their losses without any more unnecessary difficulties.

The mayor and the Police Department need to sit down and begin in earnest to discuss all of the issues that have and continue to cause such tension and division. We cannot have our police officers being targeted by anybody who thinks that they have the right to shoot them. The mayor needs to unequivocally state that he supports the NYPD 100 percent. Our police officers all risk their lives each and every day to protect all of the people of this city, and they deserve the highest degree of protection and respect. If protesters cannot peacefully protest, then those protests must be halted immediately, since they are only exacerbating an already tense and worsening situation.

Our thoughts are with the families and colleagues of these two brave officers. All New Yorkers mourn this tragic and difficult loss. It is time for working together, and not continued confrontation, which does not help anyone at all.

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Posted in Letters to the editor on Wednesday, December 24, 2014 4:00 am. Comments (0)

No cellar apartments

Dear Editor:

Re “Resolution blasts basements abodes,” Dec. 11, multiple editions:

I fully agree with the decision of Community Board 9 not to allow cellar occupancies.

One would think that a person who is mayor of New York City would know the difference between a basement and a cellar. According to the Housing Maintenance Code, a basement can be occupied as living quarters; a cellar is not a legal occupancy.

The Administrative Code clearly states what constitutes a basement or a cellar.

The mayor’s request to make cellar occupancies is not a good idea. The New York Fire Department objects to it. One of the major reasons is the lack of a second means of egress in case of an emergency to save a human life.

Apparently the mayor wants his affordable housing instituted at any cost: Let the people live in illegal cellars like rats probably with insufficient sanitary facilities and no secondary means of egress. And he wants to save a life!

John Jellen

Posted in Letters to the editor on Wednesday, December 24, 2014 4:00 am. Comments (0)

Our beloved Miss Judy

Dear Editor:

Sadly, the children of Woodhaven lost their nursery school teacher +they loved so much, their Miss Judy Graves, who passed away last week.

Ask any Woodhavenite if he or she attended, or their children or grandchildren attended St. Luke’s Nursery School. They knew our Miss Judy. This lady nurtured these children in her teaching with her warm, caring way. Miss Judy had a commitment to her home of Woodhaven and our little ones. She also had, as the French say a “joie de vivre” ( a joy of living).

I had known Miss Judy for many years and her son when he was very young. Little did I know that her son Sean would become a very important part of our Greater Woodhaven Development Corp. staff for many years. Miss Judy accomplished much in her lifetime, earning the gratitude and love of her little students and having a son to be proud of — a son whom she raised so well, even though she raised him alone, being left a young widow. Sean is such an intelligent, fine young man and a credit to our community of Woodhaven.

To our much loved, No. 1 Woodhaven nursery school teacher, our Miss Judy, we will all young and old miss you.

Maria A. Thomson
Executive Director
Greater Woodhaven Development Corp.
Woodhaven Business Improvement District

Posted in Letters to the editor on Wednesday, December 24, 2014 4:00 am. Comments (0)

For Select Bus Service I

Dear Editor:

I recently read the “Select Bus Service will make Woodhaven worse” op-ed in the Chronicle (Dec. 18). As a small business owner and a bus rider, I know firsthand how dangerous and congested Woodhaven Boulevard can be. My employees who live along the corridor suffer from long and unpredictable commutes on a daily basis, as do I.

I attended the DOT-MTA community meeting last month, where the concepts for SBS along Woodhaven Boulevard were introduced. I was pleased to see that SBS would not only reduce congestion along the corridor, but it would improve travel experiences for bus riders and drivers. Other SBS routes that have been implemented in New York City over the years have created shorter commutes and have reduced bottlenecks to eliminate delays.

In addition, the street redesigns that the DOT and MTA are proposing in the SBS concepts for Woodhaven Boulevard would mitigate many dangerous conditions along the corridor, making it safer for pedestrians and drivers.

Many of the 30,000 commuters who ride the bus along Woodhaven Boulevard every day lack the resources to travel by car. They deserve better transit options than what is currently available, and SBS could be the solution. For bus riders, for drivers, for pedestrians — SBS could be the solution we’ve been waiting for.

Toby Sheppard Bloch

Posted in Letters to the editor on Wednesday, December 24, 2014 4:00 am. Comments (0)

For Select Bus Service II

Dear Editor:

The recent column “Select Bus Service will make Woodhaven worse” attempts to raise groundless fears about SBS, and dismisses its potential to benefit riders, drivers and pedestrians. The success of other SBS routes in New York City and the daily experience of bus riders on Woodhaven Boulevard tell a much different story, about both the need and the potential for improvement.

On Webster Avenue in the Bronx, ridership on the Bx41 has increased, and new bus lanes have eliminated delays. SBS also makes streets safer. The M15 First and Second Avenue SBS saw a 21 percent reduction in traffic injuries on the route segments where improvements similar to those being considered for Woodhaven have been installed. Traffic congestion has also been reduced over most of the M15 corridor, as demonstrated by before-and-after taxi GPS data.

Of the three design concepts the DOT and MTA presented for Woodhaven, concepts 2 and 3 would transform a dangerous, congested corridor into a street that works for the entire community. To the two agencies’ credit, all three options have been presented for discussion in community meetings wher

e plenty of substantive feedback was provided. Many more meetings are planned, to examine bus performance and traffic impacts, and design treatments of key street segments and intersections. The DOT and MTA to date have made good on their commitment to conduct an open and fair process — while ensuring that an urgently needed project moves forward.

And the need is truly urgent. Over 30,000 riders per day now suffer from slow, unreliable service on Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards. Long lines of riders now wait for buses throughout the day and late into the evening at Queens Center mall and major subway transfer points, without even the minimal comfort and dignity that a decent bus shelter would provide. These riders deserve better, as do the drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists who deal with these boulevards on a daily basis.

And they deserve to see those improvements soon. The column’s writers attempt to frame SBS vs. rehabilitating the Rockaway Beach Line as an either-or choice, but their costs, benefits and timeframes are vastly different and need to be evaluated on their own merits. Select Bus Service has the potential to transform Woodhaven — today one of Queens’ most dangerous streets — by late 2017. That transformation will be very much for the better, and can’t come a moment too soon.

Joan Byron
Director of Policy
Pratt Center for Community Development

Posted in Letters to the editor on Wednesday, December 24, 2014 4:00 am. Comments (0)

Glad for fracking ban

Dear Editor:

What better gift could Gov. Cuomo have given the citizens of New York this holiday season than the assurance that the dirty drilling practice known as fracking will not be coming to the Empire State?

Across the country, this rolling environmental disaster has been poisoning families, destroying rural and wild landscapes, and deterring our critical transition to a clean energy economy.

Thankfully, after five years and more than 100,000 face-to-face conversations, New Yorkers Against Fracking has helped shaped the conversation so that this fundamental threat to our land, air and water has been deemed too significant of a risk to public health to permit.

Despite the power of the oil and gas industry, Gov. Cuomo has chosen to respect the many communities concerned about the potential impacts of fracking and the latest science that backs them up.

As cities and states across the country consider this issue, we urge them to show the same courage and foresight to reject fracking and protect health in 2015.

Heather Leibowitz
Director, Environment New York

Posted in Letters to the editor on Wednesday, December 24, 2014 4:00 am. Comments (0)

Thursday 12/18/2014
Leading the library

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

Posted in Letters to the editor on Thursday, December 18, 2014 10:30 am. Comments (0)

Protecting the ill

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

Posted in Letters to the editor on Thursday, December 18, 2014 10:30 am. Comments (0)

‘E-waste’ problems I

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

Posted in Letters to the editor on Thursday, December 18, 2014 10:30 am. Comments (0)

‘E-waste’ problems II

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

Posted in Letters to the editor on Thursday, December 18, 2014 10:30 am. Comments (0)

The GOP vs. the mail

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

Posted in Letters to the editor on Thursday, December 18, 2014 10:30 am. Comments (0)

Lower class sizes

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

Posted in Letters to the editor on Thursday, December 18, 2014 10:30 am. Comments (0)

Thursday 12/11/2014
Murder and policing

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

Posted in Letters to the editor on Thursday, December 11, 2014 10:30 am. Comments (0)

Follow the law

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

Posted in Letters to the editor on Thursday, December 11, 2014 10:30 am. Comments (0)

Cuomo contributed

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

Posted in Letters to the editor on Thursday, December 11, 2014 10:30 am. Comments (0)

Lawmakers’ pay I

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

Posted in Letters to the editor on Thursday, December 11, 2014 10:30 am. Comments (0)

Lawmakers’ pay II

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

Posted in Letters to the editor on Thursday, December 11, 2014 10:30 am. Comments (0)

Landmarking is key

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

Posted in Letters to the editor on Thursday, December 11, 2014 10:30 am. Comments (0)

Cooperation needed

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

Posted in Letters to the editor on Thursday, December 11, 2014 10:30 am. Comments (0)

Thursday 12/04/2014
A decade of delays

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

Posted in Letters to the editor on Thursday, December 4, 2014 10:30 am. Comments (0)

Pot’s effects ignored

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

Posted in Letters to the editor on Thursday, December 4, 2014 10:30 am. Comments (0)

Bag-fee boondoggle

Dear Editor:

Re “No to shopping bag fees,” Editorial, Nov. 20:

Councilmembers Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn) and Margaret Chin (D-Manhattan), in order to reduce the use of plastic bags, have suggested that charging 10 cents a bag would “incentivize” customers to become more environmentally conscious. Who asked them to make me environmentally conscious?

Plastic bags, now considered an environmental problem, were introduced when other politicians called a halt to paper bags in order to save the trees.

If this bill passes, New Yorkers will not only be paying 10 cents for every plastic bag, they’ll be paying the nonprofit distributors of the reusable ones, once the New York City cow is available to be milked. There isn’t a nonprofit organization in New York that isn’t subsidized by city taxes. A new boondoggle will have been created.

Lander, Chin and Councilman Donovan Richards argue that the 10-cent fee on each bag makes sense. To whom? Remember all the sense Obamacare made? Why should small businesses keep the 10-cent fee? When did New Yorkers agree to subsidize small businessmen? They also say it’s been shown that consu

mers don’t shop less when fees are enacted. Why would they shop less? You still have to buy the same amount of food. And health officials say reusable bags need to be washed if they’re not to incubate germs from leaking meat and other containers. Extra work, anyone?

Taxes and fees are becoming prohibitive in New York. Our councilmen should be seeking ways to lower, not to add to them.

In California, farmers are suffering from drought. The EPA cut off their water in order to save a snail on the edge of extinction. Unemployed people and farms no longer producing are OK, as long as the snail survives.

What we need is a law that requires politicians to give their ideas a trial run before inflicting them on the public, and then telling us how much sense they make.

Like Sen. Chuck Schumer, who pushed Obamacare on what Jonathan Gruber, the law’s chief architect, called “the stupidity of the American voters,” before anyone even read it, Lander, Chin and Richards should find something more worthy of their genius to occupy their minds.

Have they tried Tiddly Winks?

Janice Wijnen
Rego Park

Posted in Letters to the editor on Thursday, December 4, 2014 10:30 am. Comments (0)

A stranger’s kindness

Dear Editor:

While I was shopping in Key Food recently and feeling a bit down, a gentleman suddenly appeared in my aisle. He asked me if I was all right, or if I needed anything. I told him, “No, thank you.” His reply was, “Are you sure?” With that he put something in my hand and told me to go on and do my shopping. When I looked to see what he had given me, to my surprise it was a $20 bill.

I looked all over the store for him but he had disappeared. He will never know how much his help meant on that particular day. Because of his kindness, I was able to buy the things I really needed. I hope he will see this letter from a very grateful 81-year-old grandma, who will never forget that day.

Joan Scavetta

Posted in Letters to the editor on Thursday, December 4, 2014 10:30 am. Comments (0)

A failure in Flushing

Dear Editor:

As I have periodically written over 20 years, “Gridlock Central” (front-page headline, Nov. 27, Northern Queens edition) and the accompanying “Worsening traffic decried in Flushing,” by Liz Rhoades, did not have to be.

In the early 1960s Flushing Municipal Parking Lot 1 was thought of for construction of an intermodal bus terminal. This facility would take hundreds of buses off the surrounding streets. Since that time, generation after generation of public officials on a bipartisan basis for 50 years have failed to secure any funding necessary to support this badly needed transportation improvement.

Since the 1960s, there has been an explosion in the number of commuters riding buses to Flushing and transferring to the subway. This has been complemented by a huge growth of businesses accompanied by the demolition of homes to support construction of apartment houses and multifamily homes in the surrounding neighborhood. Just walk in any direction from the corner of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue in Downtown Flushing and see.

Construction of a climate-controlled intermodal bus terminal could assist in improving traffic and pedestrian circulation throughout Downtown Flushing. Tens of thousands of rush-hour riders would be protected from heat, cold, rain, snow and winds. There would be a smoother transfer between bus and subway. Perhaps the project could be combined with plans to rehabilitate the LIRR station in Flushing. Opportunities would still be available for air rights above the bus terminal for parking and development of retail, office or residential units.

How disappointing that no elected official ever stepped forward to honor this commitment. Diogenes is still looking for an MTA or public official to add this project to the MTA’s proposed 2015-19 capital plan.

Larry Penner
Great Neck, LI

Posted in Letters to the editor on Thursday, December 4, 2014 10:30 am. Comments (0)

Oil boys and Indians

Dear Editor:

One of the most controversial issues to come before the GOP 114th Congress will be the Keystone XL Pipeline. Let me explain why Canada’s dirty-sand crude oil has to come all the way to Texas.

Canada seeks to become a global player in the petroleum market. The proven reserves in Alberta’s oil sands are second only to Saudi Arabia’s oil fields. A Canadian company wanted to build a $5.8 billion pipeline to transport oil 731 miles from Alberta to Kitimat, in the rainforest of British Columbia. Giant tankers would thread between a jigsaw of islands to and from Kitimat. At the port, they would load up on petrol from Alberta. A West Coast oil port would open the oil sands to Asian refiners.

Environmental groups have opposed the pipeline, especially Canada’s First Nations. “This is one of the biggest environmental threats we’ve ever seen,” said Ian McAllister of Pacific Wild, a wilderness protection group. Sixty-one Canadian First Nations announced they would not allow the oil pipeline to cross their traditional territory. Their legal authority was based on aboriginal rights.

As a result, Canada’s petro boys looked to their old oil cousins in America. Who came to the rescue? Why, GOP leaders Mitch McConnell and John Boehner. They will fight “tooth ’n’ nail” with Barack Obama for the pipeline. Like Canada’s First Nations, U.S. environmental groups are opposed to the pipeline crossing the Great Sioux reservation. They cite the Sioux Treaty of 1868, which guarantees the Lakota-Arapaho Nation ownership of their lands.

So the uproar, which started in Canada, has crossed the border to become our uproar.

Anthony G. Pilla
Forest Hills

Posted in Letters to the editor on Thursday, December 4, 2014 10:30 am. Comments (0)