Re “Queens Library chief defends salary,” Feb. 27:
I find it hard to swallow that Galante can be worth that kind of salary, especially in the shrinking library business. Nothing there smacks of a six-figure paycheck, especially in this economic climate. More cronyism, if you really want to know.
The reasons they gave to try and justify a salary such as that weren’t very convincing in my opinion. This country, let along New York State, is barely surviving, and for someone to consider themselves worth that kind of money, for that kind of job, is robbing from the taxpayers of this state. I am a believer in free market capitalism, but this just flies in the face of logic.
We all know that due to technology today, libraries are a dying institution, like so many other things that have gone by the wayside during the course of history. Advancements, improvements and the like create obsolescence in certain career paths, but on the other hand they bring about new ones. This is just another example of mismanagement, padded salaries and cronyism, and the very reason why people are leaving New York State in record numbers.
I’m sure Mr. Galante feels he’s worth that kind of salary, as most people have an inflated opinion of themselves and their indispensability, but I can guarantee you could find someone willing to do that job for one-third of what he’s getting, and employ two more people, thereby improving the bitter job market by utilizing three people who can better serve the community in other ways.
Let’s try to put people back to work by ending duplicity in government, reducing taxes and increasing opportunity, and maybe we can get back on the road to fiscal responsibility. When I see articles like this, where someone is getting this kind of salary, it blows my mind.
Public libraries hold a long and distinguished commitment to providing a wide range of materials and services essential for a democratic society to flourish. Freedom of access to information and knowledge provides a critical foundation upon which progress is predicated. Therefore, how astonishing it is for the Queens Public Library president and CEO, along with the library’s board of directors, to hinder current requests for transparency in the private arrangements made for compensation utilizing taxpayer funds.
Fortunately, Comptroller Stringer seeks an outside audit and the stern and insightful requests by Borough President Katz for adherence to best practices for governance and management hold the potential for accountability to taxpayers.
The Internal Revenue Service’s form 990 is a publically disclosed document filed annually by most charities, including QPL. The Queens Chronicle quotes CEO Galante as saying he works “… nearly 100 hours a week …” yet the 2007 IRS 990 states 40 hours/week for a total c
ompensation of $375,498; by 2010 it reached $488,503, according to that year’s IRS 990 filing. In 2012 income from government grants (i.e., taxpayer monies) came to $99,668,280 while all other contributions, gifts and grants reached $627,271.
This overwhelming role of taxpayer funding requires consistent transparency. For the board of directors to have operated in the realm of compensation and contractive agreements including the “evergreen clause,” which effectively gives the CEO permanent employment on an advancing five-year calendar, along with a $2 million golden handshake for breaking the agreement, borders on gross arrogance toward the public. The outcome is distrust of an important community institution’s leadership.
Until complete transparency in these financial and employment practices occur, the public would be prudent to specifically earmark all contributions to QPL to be spent only for materials at their local branch library. I know that is what I intend to do.
Re “Jamaica to get new community garden,” by Stephanie Santana, Feb. 20, multiple editions:
I would like to give an update on the status of the lot at 117-02 Merrick Blvd., which is across from Roy Wilkins Southern Queens Park.
After we coordinated with the City Parks Department and Brooklyn Queens Land Trust (the owner of the property), the pile of woodchips in the lot were cleaned up a short time ago. It took some time to get to the bottom of this ordeal as some initial complaints contained misinformation.
In the future, I would urge residents to reach out to us at (718) 776-3700 with similar issues of concern. You can also feel free to stop by the office at 172-12 Linden Blvd. We can only make a positive impact on our community if we channel our concerns into productive outlets.
I am confident that the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, a reputable not-for-profit, will put this space to good use. BQLT in fact has also done work with the Merrick Marsden Neighbors Association on the community garden just down the road at 118-18 Merrick Blvd.
Remember, it is the sum of the parts which makes our community great. I look forward to working with all of our constituents in achieving our goals.
I was wondering if any other readers’ postal delivery has been as careless as mine.
My local post office is for ZIP code 11418, and the post office is located at 122nd Street and Jamaica Avenue. For about eight years now (excluding 2.5 years when we had an assigned postman; kudos to Terrence) we’ve had mail that’s been carelessly left outside the front door or on an open ledge like a takeout menu. I have two signs on the front door at eye level that read, “Please put mail in the letter slot behind the door.” Over those years, the cumulative amount of mail that suspiciously seems to have not been delivered is troublesome. I once had an overseas package with delivery confirmation. The package was delivered, just not to me!
I’ve gone to the post office numerous times, and every time I’m speaking to another supervisor. When I bring photos showing the signs and the letter slot and where the mail is left, even the supervisor can’t argue with me. They all tell me that my block doesn’t have a committ
ed mail person, and that they’ll talk to whomever did the route that day. Now, sometimes the delivery person takes care, sometimes it’s someone who doesn’t care — it’s a crap shoot who’s going to deliver your mail that day.
The post office has all these signs that explain the consequences of tampering with the mail. Some days, the person who delivers my mail does everything except put a sign pointing to my loose mail saying, “Take me”!
Compliments are in order to Jonathan Eckman and Susan Gomber for their thought-provoking letters in the Feb. 20 issue of the Chronicle, “Utilize Obamacare” and “ACA benefits me.” They have called upon all Americans to embrace the most serious social issue of our time — universal healthcare!
Being so pleased with their remarks, I decided to send a copy of the Letters to the Editor to my relatives and friends living in Maine, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Florida and California.
Susan and Jonathan deserve “kudos” for their contribution to the debate that all Americans need the security of affordable healthcare!
Frequent letter writer Ed Konecnik wants to know how much of the money he earns belongs to me in the name of social justice, and why. But that’s not the right question to ask.
The real question to ask is, “Should any of us pay any tax money for government social programs?” The answer is, “Yes, we should.” Why? Because we live in a society. A society is a structured community of people bound together by similar traditions, institutions, or nationality. Societies have social responsibilities; things that contribute to and benefit the group as a whole. Yes, we are individuals, but our societal collective affords us many things that we do and have as members of the group.
Taxes should be looked at like an admission fee to belong to a society. You want to live in our country, and have the benefits of our society, then you have to ante up your fee. You should be happy to pay taxes because our system of government affords us so much that many other countries don’t
have. Yet, on living standards we lag far behind the Scandinavian countries that provide free healthcare, free education and other subsidies to their members by taking more tax money than we pay. Citizens in those countries say they’re very happy with their lives and are glad to pay the higher taxes for the better services.
Ed sees our society divided between those who have enough and the “moochers,” and he resents any of his tax money going to pay for any moocher services. He can’t be a product of public education. He must have never lost his job through no fault of his own and taken unemployment insurance, been injured at work and sought disability, or have suffered any medical emergency that depleted his savings. He must never have been in the military or taken advantage of any veteran’s benefits. He can’t be a guy who is taking his Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or any other senior services because that would make him a moocher.
If so, lucky him. But he shouldn’t resent those who are not as fortunate as he and need a helping hand from society once in a while. As a good citizen, he shouldn’t want to renege on his social responsibility.
The word freedom has different meanings for different people. There is one concept always espoused by Ed Konecnik. Here is a quote on it from Abe Lincoln:
1) “We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some to do as they please with other men and the products of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name — liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names — liberty and tyranny.”
And a quote by Lincoln on labor:
2) “Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration.”
I believe the above quotes should give people food for thought and may broaden their perspectives on things before they make up their minds.
If Mr. Zizelis’ definition of an “advanced, socially civilized country” is a place where the top 10 percent of taxpayers pay 70 percent of the tax revenue, where almost 50 percent pay no income tax, where 11 states have more people on welfare than are working, where success is capped and punished and mediocrity nurtured, where the government supports its crony-owned businesses with tax dollars like Solyndra, myriad failed green projects, not to mention bank bailouts and a $17 trillion debt, it is not unreasonable to suspect a mental disorder.
Advocating for assistance for a neighbor in crisis while objecting to providing limitless entitlements and suggesting we measure the success of welfare programs not by how many are added but by how many are dropped and achieve self-reliance indicates a Neanderthal mentality to Mr. Zizelis. He conjures up a delusional vision of me “decrying the redistribution of (my) wealth to the lazy and unmotivated, lying in their hammocks smoking food stamp cigars, retired and partying on with their unemployment pittance.” I have no knowledge of and never alluded to any such attitudes and activities but perhaps Mr. Zizelis has more firsthand experience and evidence he could share with us.
He describes a scene from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” which he claims was the inspiration for Reaganomics, where a chimpanzee up in a tree urinates and “trickles down” on helpless chimps below him. This definitively sums up his assessment of Ronald Reagan’s legacy and illustrates his perverted and disordered view of man’s nature and economics.
The (GOP-controlled) Arizona Legislature sent a bill to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer that would allow business owners to turn away gay and lesbian customers, as long as they claim to be doing so in the name of “religion.” How long before they put up the “no gays” sign over the water fountains and restrooms?
Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson had this to say: “When you force me to bake you a cake for your gay wedding, that’s fascism.” You heard right, infringing upon a bigot’s right to deny pastries to homosexuals is “fascism.” Amazing. But not surprising.
The homophobic, ignorant, backwoods supporters of bills that promote hate should look up the name Matthew Shepard. In 1998, University of Wyoming student Shepard was kidnapped, tortured and tied to a prairie fence overnight in freezing temperatures. He died five days after he was finally found. His “crime”? Being gay.
Perhaps we should have two Americas: the Democratic States of America, where civil rights apply to everyone, and Teabagistan, where ignorance, bigotry and racism rule the day.
We enjoyed “Romance was in the air at White Castle” (by Liz Rhoades, Feb. 20, multiple editions). Your story brought back great memories for us. We were present that same day at 5 p.m. to consume sliders and fries for Valentine’s Day.
Your story brought back great memories. In the early 1960s, Larry’s parents would take him to the same White Castle. In those days, there was no seating area, just one long counter. Sliders were 7 cents, or 14 cents for a double. As he got older, White Castle would become a late-night stop for a quick snack before going home.
Prior to our 1997 wedding, Frank Sinatra was quoted in GQ magazine saying he would always have White Castle hamburgers flown in to any performances in Las Vegas. We honored the “Chairman of the Board” and had 200 sliders delivered to the Sky Line Princess in Flushing as part of our wedding reception.
Fast forward to today. The owners of White Castle provide a reasonably priced night on the town for those on a budget wanting to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We enjoyed watching all the young couples, especially those with kids, having a great time. It gives us an opportunity to celebrate Valent
ine’s Day twice — once at White Castle and the next day at a more traditional restaurant. Seating the day after Valentine’s Day at any restaurant is much easier and your visit is appreciated even more.
We celebrate Valentine’s Day every day but look forward to another one at our favorite Bayside White Castle in 2015!
Oh wow, my little ol’ lonely 67th Avenue footbridge getting attention from the local weeklies and the Community Board (“Creepy crossing / Dimly lit walkway worries pedestrians,” Feb. 20, multiple editions). As a regular traverser of this little bridge, I’d say, sure the occasionally dimmed lights are a concern and render the bridge a mugger’s paradise; however, the larger safety hazards there are:
1) nobody shoveling the snow, resulting in countless elderly and moms-with-strollers
basically getting cut off from Austin Street and Queens Boulevard;
2) the slickster restaurant delivery guys who turn off their moped lights (so as to avoid an NYPD ticket) and fly over the bridge like maniacs;
3) the utter lack of NYPD concern over the steady flow of drivers who ignore the stop sign at Austin and 67th 24 hours per day.
What is the 112th Pct. doing?
In the last few years we have spent tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars repaving the Belt Parkway. This winter has caused enormous damage to the parkway. In some places this is the first winter after repaving.
This seems like a disgrace to me. Germany has more severe winters then we do and no speed limit on the autobahn, but it does not suffer the damage that our roads do.
Why? Is the quality of our work so inferior? Are the materials we use so inferior? Is the strata of soil beneath the parkway, and all the roads, so weak that it cannot support them, or is there another reason for such quick and massive deterioration?
Our Mayor de Blasio preaches street safety and pedestrian safety and yet can’t walk the walk. He himself walked against the light while talking on his cell phone and was caught on camera doing so in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. It is like he is saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.”
Now if I did that and was caught under the new guidelines the mayor has set up, I would surely get a ticket. Added to that, Mayor de Blasio’s SUV was caught on video blowing through two stop signs in Queens and twice going 15 mph over the speed limit. Does that mean Mayor de Blasio doesn’t have to set an example and is above the law?
It is often difficult to tell if the “Special Section” of your journal is editorial or advertisement, but when recommendations made are dangerous to your health, someone should be held accountable. “Valuable ‘green home’ improvement tips” (Feb. 20, Winter Home Section) contains lengthy praise for spray-foam insulation products without any warning of the negative health effects caused by the toxins inherent to the material.
They are all made from petroleum derivatives containing high levels of toxins including formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds. They are most toxic during installation, forcing workers to wear hazmat suits, but continue to off-gas indefinitely (see EPA study) well after occupants have moved in. Some cases are so bad that owners had to abandon their homes.
Since alternatives exist, such as an air barrier membrane combined with conventional insulation products, the use of spray foam has been selectively prohibited (totally banned in the European Union and in many U.S. green building programs).
This is equivalent to endorsing the use of tobacco products. Your readers deserve to be fairly warned.
It is very interesting to see the proposed plans/designs for the abandoned rail space submitted by architects from all over the world (“How might the QueensWay look?” Feb. 20, multiple editions).
I think it is a perfect venue to rival and surpass Williamsburg.
The opportunity to build restaurants and cafes underneath and on the existing structure should not be passed by, not to mention mini-parks.
I feel some of the areas around the present structure have the same characteristics as Williamsburg, with the old buildings and a sense of being far from the NYC hustle and bustle.
(An open letter to Mayor de Blasio)
What do we have to do to get our garbage and recyclables picked up by the Sanitation Department? When we’re told to put them out, we do; take them in, we do. Dig them out from the snow, we do. And what happens? Nothing. They remain uncollected. Sanitation trucks pass through, but don’t pick up.
In any other city, the mayor knows what’s going on, and if employees don’t do their job, they get fired. Today, Friday, Feb. 21, is a recyclable day and garbage pickup day. Much of the snow has melted, so we were hopeful that we would have pickups. We’ve only had three in the past two months!
At 8 a.m., a Sanitation truck appeared. It sped down 97th Street, without picking up anything, so that nobody could read the number on the truck or the license number. At other times, they stop at only even-numbered houses! Or when somebody makes a complaint. And then only that house! If they come around, it is at night, or Saturday, or Sunday. All overtime shifts. Then they pick up only here and there.
A couple of Saturdays ago, a “sanding” truck came around and sanded the road. This was followed by three more trucks in the next three hours, which did nothing but drive through. What a waste of money. The Sanitation budget will soon be depleted, and a filthy city will remain.
What we have is stray cats pawing garbage bags, pigeons pecking at garbage bags and scavengers opening up all bags looking for 5-cent redeemable cans and bottles.
Mr. Mayor, get your priorities straight, and take care of essentials first before you launch new programs. Right now, it’s revolting. A health epidemic could be brewing: rats breeding and expanding their turf.
You’re supposed to know what’s going on in all boroughs ... not just Manhattan and Brooklyn. Sanitation workers are quick to see if there’s no leadership. In the 12 years that Mayor Bloomberg was in office, we only had to call about nonpickups three times.
And yes, we had snow then too.
Resorts World must rehire or find new jobs for the 175 workers it laid off recently without prior notice, who cooked and served at the buffet. We were informed that they just shut the buffet and let the workers go because it was losing money, although the price had increased to $40 a plate.
Whereas we are grateful that these workers were told that they will receive between one and five weeks of severance pay, along with a package that includes unused sick and vacation days and four months of family medical coverage, we demand to know how many have been rehired, since the casino assured the Hotel Trades Council, the union that represents these workers, that it will let them apply for any open positions.
We have always worked with Resorts World as a job creator, not a job killer, and while we appreciate the fact that it has created many jobs and brought revenue that goes to public schools across the state, these local workers must be given jobs to feed their families.
Resorts World has brought phenomenal profits to its owners since it opened, and our community has contributed to its growth. Its exponential expansion has, and will always affect our community, in both positive and negative ways. As a community advocate and district leader who serves the Ozone Park, South Ozone Park and Richmond Hill area, I again join forces with state Sens. Joe Addabbo Jr. and James Sanders and call on Resorts World to give more jobs to our community, and to rehire these suffering workers.
We have reached out successfully to management to help the community with jobs. Many residents were painfully displaced when the Aqueduct Flea Market was closed after decades of existence, a casualty of Resorts World’s expansion. Many have since been given jobs there.
Resorts World should, and can, do more. Some of these job applicants are regulars and are part of the loyal base of gamers who have helped Resorts World earn millions. Hiring policies and data must be made more open and accessible to all, and more information about job vacancies and hires should be made public to the surrounding communities.
If Mr. Ed Konecnik is not careful, he will dislocate his shoulder due to his non-stop personal back slapping (“Land of the freeloader,” Letters, Feb. 20). Somehow his description of what to him is “Freedom,” is more akin to Greedom. It is particularly ugly in our advanced socially civilized country to approach life in a Neanderthal, every-man-for-himself mentality. Our Liberty Lady’s green face would turn red with embarrassment.
We have seen the turmoil and the reaction of the populace in countries that have lived in and under the yolk of other “-doms” such as kingdom and serfdom. Left to the wishes of some in our country, the degressive, not progressive, this may well happen here. Mr. Konecnik is constantly decrying the redistribution of his wealth to the lazy, unmotivated, lying in their hammock smoking food stamp cigars, retired and partying on with their unemployment pittance.
And yes, Mr. Konecnik, you are accurate about the redistribution of wealth, but with a slight caveat. During the presidency of Eisenhower, whom I voted for, the disparity between the workers’ pay and that of the owner was 30 to 1. It is now greater than 300 to 1. Wealth has been redistributed
from the middle-class worker to his wealthy employer; 10 times greater than it had been in the ’60s.
Perhaps it was to solve this ever widening income disparity that induced Reagan to come up with his trickle-down economics. There was a personification of his policy in the prologue of the 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” which no doubt was the inspiration. It was the monkey sequence. A large chimpanzee on a branch is seen urinating down on smaller, helpless chimps, much to their consternation. I was stunned to see how similar their tinkle-down approach was to that of Reagan’s trickle down. Credit where credit is due. The chimp thought of it first.
In his State of the Union Address, President Obama said, if Congress continues to “gridlock” his agenda, he would invoke his inherent powers and issue executive orders. Shouts of impeachment rang out in the GOP-controlled House!
Laws are made almost exclusively by legislation originated as acts of Congress; such acts are either signed into law by the president or passed into law by Congress after a presidential veto. However, presidents can issue orders, which have the force of law.
All presidents invoked this power except William Henry Harrison, our ninth president. John Adams, James Madison and John Monroe each issued only one. The three highest were Teddy Roosevelt (1,081), Woodrow Wilson (1,803) and Franklin D. Roosevelt (3,522).
Here are samples of presidential orders: Wilson provided conditions for employment for the Panama Canal. John F. Kennedy created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Jimmy Carter established the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Ronald Reagan created the president’s commission on th
e HIV epidemic. Obama signed on Feb. 12 an executive order that requires federal contractors to raise their minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10, effective in 2015.
Readers, for your information, the numbers of executive orders by our last three presidents are: Bill Clinton (364), George W. Bush (291) — and, for the past five years, Obama (169).
It seems there is an increasingly growing threat to start killing wildlife that lives in our region for various reasons. While there are large populations of swans, geese and deer, as well as other animals, why must there be such a push to begin eradicating these creatures? There must be more humane ways of controlling populations without having to kill them.
People need to remember — most of these animals and birds were around here long before we were. The intentional killing of these and other wildlife will not solve the problem — it will only anger many, many people who love wildlife.
The ASPCA and PETA need to work with local officials to come up with humane solutions to deal with overpopulations of wildlife. Slaughtering these animals is not a viable or acceptable solution. People and wildlife need to coexist. Our children need to be taught that all life, both human and animal, is precious.
I’m the Chapter Lead of Northeast Queens for Action — the local Northeast Queens chapter of Organizing for Action — and I’m writing because I’m trying to do whatever I can to help get my community enrolled in quality, affordable health insurance.
Over the last several months, I’ve been organizing phone banks, canvasses, letter-writing parties and other events to get in touch with as many people as possible to make sure that they know where, how, and when to enroll in health insurance, if they don’t already have it. The Affordable Care Act ensures that people who used to be vulnerable — what if they got sick suddenly and couldn’t afford the treatment? What if they hit a lifetime limit on coverage? What if they had a preexisting condition? — now can be sure that if they get sick at no fault of their own, they’ll be covered. The ACA ensures that people can get the coverage they deserve at a reasonable cost.
I’m writing to make sure all your readers know that to be covered by the end of the year, they need to sign up by March 31. If you need coverage, please visit nystateofhealth.ny.gov or call (855) 355-5777.
As a 58-year-old single mom with a chronic illness. I celebrate all the improvements I can look to as a result of the Affordable Care Act. It is mind-boggling that anyone would oppose the protections offered by the ACA. I now know that if I lose my job, I won’t be without health insurance. My pre-existing condition won’t disqualify me and I will not have a lifetime cap on benefits. If I can’t afford the premiums I will get a tax credit that I can take at the time to reduce my payments. All my doctors will still be in my network; in fact, I can get the same plan my employer provides.
Who would want their friends and neighbors to live in fear of one serious illness or accident throwing them into bankruptcy? Who would want the U.S. to remain the only advanced nation that allows people to die for lack of care? Is it not in our own self-interest to provide preventive care now so we save spiraling costs later? Any one of the improvements provided by the ACA should be celebrated. To have them all at once improves the lives of all Americans and those who have not yet enrolled should do so today.
Editor’s note: This letter and the one above it were among four touting the benefits of the Affordable Care Act received this week via Organizing for Action. The other writers were Angela Wirbiezcas of Kew Gardens, a freelance violinist with Grave’s disease, and Linden Fried of Flushing, a college student with Crohn’s disease.
See their letters online at qchron.com.
The government has just expanded our freedoms and created a new opportunity. Jay Carney at a recent press conference heralded the administration’s latest achievement: “Opportunity created by affordable, quality health insurance allows families in America to make a decision about how they will work, or if they will work.” People are now free to choose not to work and as a result, obligate, burden and enslave those who do work to support, subsidize, sustain and provide for the welfare of those who don’t in the name of “fairness” The obscenity of this new paradigm is that involuntary servitude may now be imposed by one group on another by simply deciding not to work.
This portends the transformation of America, the dawn of new era, the age of fairness, the end of poverty, oppression and inequality. This will of course last until we run out of other people’s money or until Atlas shrugs.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane to understand that if it had not been for mega builder Robert Moses along with both the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers leaving the Big Apple in 1957 for California, there may have been no “Shea Stadium nearing completion” (I Have Often Walked by Ron Marzlock, Feb. 13).
The golden era of baseball in New York City was the 1950s, with a three-way rivalry between the American League New York Yankees and the National League Giants and Dodgers. All three teams claimed to have the best center fielder in baseball. On street corners all over town, citizens would argue whether the Yankees’ Mickey Mantle, Giants’ Willie Mays or Dodgers’ Duke Snider was champ.
Ordinary Brooklynites could ride the bus, trolley or subway to Ebbets Field to see their beloved Dodgers. Men and women of all ages, classes and races co-mingled in the stands. Everyone could afford a seat. Refreshments and souvenirs were reasonably priced.
Team owners would raise or reduce a player’s salary based on his performance the past season. Salaries were so low that virtually all Dodger players worked another job off-season. Most were neighbors who lived and worked in various communities in the County of Kings.
Residents of the era sat outside on the stoop and shopped at the local butcher, baker, fruit and vegetable stand. Television was a relatively new technology and the local movie theater was still king for entertainment. Brooklyn still had its very own daily newspaper — the Brooklyn Eagle — which ended publication sometime in the mid-’50s.
During the ’50s, Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley tried to find various locations for a new baseball stadium, which he pledged to finance using his own monies. With limited seating at Ebbets Field, he needed a new stadium to remain financially viable.
Master mega-builder Robert Moses refused him access to the current-day Atlantic Yards site. This location was easily accessible from all around the Big Apple via subway.
Thousands of fans who moved to eastern Queens, Nassau and Suffolk County would have had direct access via the LIRR. Imagine how different Brooklyn would have been if elected officials had stood up to Moses and allowed construction of a new Dodgers stadium in downtown Brooklyn. Without the departure of the Dodgers to Los Angeles and Giants to San Francisco, there may have been no National League expansion in 1962. There would have been no Colt 45s (original name of the Houston Astros) or our beloved New York Mets.
We Southerners have endured a lot this winter: snow, sleet, ice, rain and Honey Boo-Boo! Please, please, please make it all go away.
The writer is a former resident of East New York, Brooklyn and, since 1965, of Massapequa, LI, who had to move after Hurricane Sandy destroyed his home.
Let’s not read too much into what was a mistaken but not malicious judgment call to keep the schools open on a particular bad-weather day recently. We lucked out that no school-related disasters were reported under these harsh conditions, but let’s see the big picture. Chancellor Fari–a’s decision was perhaps thoughtless but not insensitive. It wasn’t mean-spirited, conceived in spite or as a political power play. Maybe she didn’t have all the facts or the facts were still unfolding when a determination had to be finalized. The chancellor made a good-faith decision with the perceived interests of parents and students in mind.
And certainly Chancellor Fari–a’s calling it a “beautiful” day was flawed public relations etiquette, but it was not a character-defining moment, unlike the heartlessness displayed by Bloomberg-appointed Chancellor Cathie Black, who essentially blamed overcrowded schools on the failure of inner-city parents to practice birth control.
By all means let’s hold Chancellor Fari–a’s feet to the fire over policies related to the seminal issues of quality public education, but let’s not get bent out of shape over this event. The snow didn’t lighten up on that day but critics should lighten up looking back. Chancellor Fari–a’s education forecast is worthy of encouragement. Let’s hope she doesn’t quit her day job to become a meteorologist.
I’m a resident of Queens who is volunteering with Northeast Queens for Action. I recently wrote a letter to President Obama describing my experience with the Affordable Care Act.
My husband and I were unemployed and my income as a freelance violinist did not benefit us with health insurance. We were eating healthier and training for racing events. We both lost weight and our health never seemed better.
Despite our efforts to stay healthy I began to get sick. We spent a lot of time on the phone with the New York State of Health in attempt to obtain health coverage through Obamacare. We were finally approved and our insurance cards arrived in the mail. I saw a doctor the very next day. After many tests I was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease. If this condition had gone untreated much longer the results would have been disastrous, possibly even fatal. Luckily our health insurance came just in time and I am now in treatment.
If you have a health issue that you feel you’re stuck with, either phone calls or a few clicks on the website could potentially save your life. When calling the New York State of Health persistence will pay off. You don’t have to live with compromised health any longer if you don’t want to. Signing up and changing your life is easier than you think. I did it.
I am a 22-year-old college student facing graduation and the start of my life. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease ten years ago but have been in remission for the last eight thanks to a very expensive drug, Remicade. Health insurance is still a pressing concern in my life, but now I have so many more assurances thanks to Obamacare. I know that I can never be denied insurance for having a pre-existing condition or reach cost ceilings. I can breathe easier knowing that I can stay on my parent’s plan until 26.
(An open letter to Gov. Cuomo)
As the Democratic district leader of the 23rd Assembly District and chairman of the Rockaway-Broad Channel Bridge Toll Committee, I have been on record as requesting that the Crossbay Veterans Memorial Bridge toll should be free for all Queens residents.
This is the only place in New York City where there is a toll to move from one part of a community to another. We share a community board, school district, Council district, Assembly district, state Senate district, police precinct and ZIP code, but our guests and potential visitors must pay this toll or be deterred from coming to our community.
We have been blessed with a body of water called Jamaica Bay and our roadway runs from Rockaway through Broad Channel. You have been gracious enough to maintain the Crossbay Bridge toll rebate program. Now we are asking that you do the right thing for other Queens residents and the delivery trucks that regularly serve our community.
Rockaway residents pay more for goods and services because the cost of bridge tolls is passed on to the consumer. The toll serves as a deterrent to the revitalization of local business that we are all trying to help.
When the bridge was built and then when it was rebuilt, we were told that all tolls would be ended when the construction costs were paid. Now is the time to move toward redeeming that promise.
We love New York and especially Rockaway. We want other Queens residents to be able to spend a hot day at our beaches and walk on our rebuilt boardwalk. We are confident that you will find a way to help all of us.
It is not surprising that ideologues like the writer defaming Charter Schools put union desires and left-wing political correctness ahead of student needs (“No charter schools,” Letters, Feb. 6).
Contrary to his view, over 27,000 minority parents struggled this year to get their children into charter schools for the very same reasons that should concern us all. Charter schools provide a better education. Aren’t minority parents deserving of the same opportunities afforded to others? Is the writer so racist in his views that he would deny minority children the right to seek educational success?
Not until the power of the UFT is forever broken, and worthless principals like that benighted woman at PS 106 in Far Rockaway are fired for gross incompetence, will public schools be fit places for learning.
“Enough is Enough,” said the acting U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Boris Lushniak when he recently released his office’s report, The Health Consequences of Smoking. “We need to eliminate the use of cigarettes and create a tobacco-free generation.” While we’ve made great strides in reducing smoking rates, much more needs to be done to fight the tobacco epidemic and prevent our youth from smoking.
Since 1964, more than 20 million Americans have died prematurely as a result of tobacco use. Smoking causes disease in nearly all the organs of the body, and one out of three cancer deaths is now caused by smoking. Women are now just as likely as men to die from smoking. And 5.6 million children alive today will die early from smoking if we don’t do more to reduce current smoking rates.
In Queens, 261,000 residents and 6,000 public high school students smoke. One-third of them will die prematurely as a result. We must renew our efforts and do more to provide the resources needed to reduce these numbers.
We know what works to lower smoking rates and prevent youth from lighting up: strong smoke-free policies, hard-hitting media campaigns, high cigarette prices and robust tobacco prevention and cessation programs. By sustaining and expanding this comprehensive approach, we can save lives and create a tobacco-free generation.
If we’re going to end the tobacco epidemic, our efforts must focus on communities and populations in Queens with a higher prevalence of tobacco use and lower rates of quitting. Over the past five years, the Queens Smoke-Free Partnership has worked with health advocates and community organizations to raise awareness around smoking, specifically among immigrant and low-income communities. We also educate Queens youth and encourage them to speak out against the tobacco industry’s aggressive marketing tactics that lure kids into addiction.
We can break the cycle of sickness, disability and death if we make smoking less accessible, less affordable and less attractive.
CVS Caremark’s decision to stop selling tobacco will reduce access to cigarettes and help save lives. As the mother of a 2-year-old daughter, I don’t want CVS Caremark’s example to be the exception, but the rule. We must renew our commitment to eliminate tobacco use and protect our youth from addiction. Enough is enough. The time to start is now.
Well, here I go reminiscing again!
So many years ago, it seems, we attended baseball games, and as Brooklynites, we just had to root for the Brooklyn Dodgers! We were loyal to the “bums”!
Today, it is entirely another ball game. We hear about players involved in scandalous behaviors, along with concerns about terrorist threats to the Olympic contests!
Sometimes, I think, how nice it would be to “go back” in time, and truly enjoy all the pleasurable events we once upon a time were involved with, without having to be concerned about all the negatives occurring in today’s world?!
I guess I will just have to stop dreaming, and hope for a more lovely and peaceful world once again!
I am a seventh-grade student and wanted to remind my fellow citizens that love of one’s country is part of Muslim faith, so I wrote a poem.
“Love of One’s Country”
The love of one’s country
Comes from one’s heart.
The strength of the bond
Won’t tear things apart.
The love of one’s country
Is part of one’s faith.
The peace found within,
Like heaven’s open gates.
To love the people
And love each place
Brings glory and joy
To every lit face.
Staying true to one’s country
Brings peace to one’s heart.
Just as the Painter finds peace
In painting His art.
So says Muhammad,
The Messenger of Peace.
Love your country
From her mountains to seas.
(An open letter to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance)
I am publishing my letter in the newspaper, because I have been unable to actually speak with anyone at the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance regarding an adjustment they made to the Earned Income Credit (EIC) on my 2012 income tax.
A little history: First, I tried to respond online at http://www.tax.ny.gov/, but the Document Locator Number they provided didn’t work. Then, I called their office, but the line is always ‘fast busy.’ So, then I mailed them a copy of my EIC worksheet and a letter explaining how I filled it out. Five months later, I got a written response. However, they don’t seem to understand the situation, which doesn’t surprise me considering that I had the same exact problem with NYS on my 2009 taxes.
And I couldn’t contact them back then, either! But state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. had someone from the department call me. After a lot of obfuscation on their part, they finally admitted an error in calculating my 2009 EIC.
Now, it is possible I’ve made a mistake on my 2012 EIC; however, it’s unlikely as I used FreeFile to do my federal forms and the IRS had no quibble with it.
Call me crazy, but, it really shouldn’t be this difficult to contact the tax department and I think it’d be a lot easier for all concerned if the state tax people actually knew how to fill out the federal worksheets.