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Queens Chronicle

Letters to the Editor

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Posted: Thursday, January 19, 2012 12:00 pm

What FDNY bias?

Dear Editor:

I agree with your Jan. 12 editorial “Reverse discrimination forced on FDNY.”

What I would like to see are those questions on the entrance test that Judge Garaufis considers to be biased against black applicants to the FDNY.

Only with public knowledge and awareness of those questions will we, the public, the taxpayers, be able to judge for ourselves the merits of this situation.

David Rivkin


Blame bad parents

Dear Editor:

Now that there are outcries for classroom teachers to be graded depending on the ability of their students to do well on “standardized tests,” shouldn’t the parents of these students be graded as well!? After all, they have (for better or worse) molded their children before they even entered a classroom! Further, they have their children for a much greater amount of time than does the classroom teacher.

Would we be remiss in saying that too many of today’s parents appear to have relinquished much of their parental responsibilities, and are angry that their children’s classroom teachers are not able to make respectable learners out of their poorly prepared kids?

Irene Shlakman

Howard Beach

GOP immorality redux

Dear Editor:

Pope Lenny I in his Jan. 12 encyclical “Who’s immoral?” (Letters) charged me with greater arrogance than Barack Obama. He denounced me for acting as a god. In his encyclical he said that I thought him to be immoral. This makes no sense. He wrote, ‘I am not a Republican ...” So why would I call a non-Republican immoral? This should make his mother very happy!

Let’s review the intent of my Jan. 5 letter “Never vote GOP.” When I referred to the Grand Old Party as being morally wrong, I used the American Heritage dictionary’s definition of morality, “the quality of right or wrong being in accord with standards of conduct.”

Since I am a strong believer in one of the founding principals of our Republic separation of church and state, at no time was my letter referring to religion. Pope Lenny I was trying to deflect your attention away from my GOP charges.

Here are 10 examples of where I was going with my opposition to the GOP, where the point is morally wrong.

1. Our Constitution calls for promoting the general welfare. The only welfare Republicans promote is corporate welfare.

2. Democratic presidents created: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The GOP calls them big government socialism.

3. Some in the GOP called Obama the food stamp president, a code for class warfare.

4. The GOP ‘front runner’ candidate called for the auto industry and the city of Detroit to file for bankruptcy.

5. GOP leaders fought President Obama’s call to extend the payroll tax cut holiday, and unemployment benefits.

6. GOP senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said, ‘My top priority is to see that Obama is a one-term president!” His top priority should have been country first.

7. When a reporter asked GOP house speaker John Boehner why he avoided compromise, he stated it was a sign of weakness.

8. Our educational system, once first in the world, now ranks below 15th! GOP governors have helped to bring this about by cutting funds and firing teachers.

9. At a GOP debate, a gay marine, while asking candidates a question, was booed.

10. When President Obama signed his healthcare reform into law over GOP objections, it made some of the worst insurance abuses a thing of the past. That’s morally right.

Hey, folks! I am no god — I’m just a loyal liberal democrat who cares for 50 million poverty-stricken citizens who are hurting and crying out for help.

Anthony G. Pilla

Forest Hills

GOP = all that’s wrong

Dear Editor:

“Mandate” may be one of the most intentionally, or unconsciously, abused directives. There are mandates and then there are mandates.

In the 2010 election the House of Representatives was decimated with the influx of the clueless freshmen and gained a Republican majority. The Democratic-majority Senate was sadly diluted and many Republican governors were voted into office. They enjoy referring to the election as a mandate. In a distorted way, they are right.

The vote was indeed precipitated by a mandate; a mandate unfulfilled. In 2008 Barack Hussein Obama, despite an unfortunate choice of middle name and, in the minds of some, color, was elected president by an overwhelming majority with a mandate based primarily on his stated dynamic goals during the presidential campaign. He had a mandate. What he did not have was the killer instinct necessary to deal with a ruthless, single-minded pack of wolves admittedly determined to take back the presidency regardless of the damage incurred upon their country. After two years witnessing his naive attempt at diplomacy, the enthusiasm wore thin. Come 2010, the radical anti-government, anti-middle class, anti-Obama zealots swept into office.

Well, now the no-show voters realize what that cost them. All across the country the wakeup call is deafening. Recalls are running rampant and one hopes, although still disappointed with President Obama’s civilized approach, voters will opt for intelligence, honesty and integrity. And one hopes the last few years have proven to our president that you cannot pet a mad dog.

Nicholas Zizelis


Of, by and for the rich

Dear Editor:

Re “Center’s future at Willets Point in Doubt” (Jan. 12, multiple editions), referring to a convention center as part of the Mayor Bloomberg’s alleged Willets Point “redevelopment” proposal, the future of the center is not in doubt because it was never going to be built to begin with.

It was a stupid idea, as was and is the Willets Point plan. It was put into the plan as a sop to Claire Shulman but with no intention of ever being built, whether there be a convention center or not under the equally foolish Cuomo plan for a mega center at Aqueduct. If Willets Point ever comes to fruition, the convention area will be used for what it was intended to begin with, taxpayer-subsidized luxury housing.

If there be an elected official, current or former, in our midst who champions the welfare of the poor, the middle class and small business owners over that of real estate moguls, will she or he please step forward and identify her or himself?

Bloomberg, Shulman and her successor Helen Marshall need not apply.

Benjamin M. Haber


Horn & Hardart

Dear Editor:

Re “Self-serve chow: Horn & Hardart,” I Have Often Walked, Jan. 12:

In 1960 I walked through the door of the Horn & Hardart restaurant in your photograph. It was a crowded sit-down restaurant with waitresses, not coin-operated windows.

If you could walk through the same door today, you’d find yourself in Hooters. Can’t you tell from the picture?

The entrance changed when the Bagel Nosh opened, to the side of the building, facing the Long Island Expressway.

And the banquet hall, where my friend got married, was across the street.

Your I Have Often Walked should have been much more carefully done.

Barbara Franco


Editor’s note: The writer is correct, and the corrections are attached to this week’s column.

Chivalry shipwrecked

Dear Editor:

I was appalled at what went on the cruise ship Costa Concordia, that was grounded off the coast of Tuscany. I could not understand why so many people sought to save their own lives and didn’t try to help others. In a disaster at sea I always thought it was women and children first and the captain went down with the ship, or at least was the last one to leave. That didn’t happen here.

I served in the U.S. Navy and if I did what this crew did I think I would have been court- martialed or, worse, shot on the spot.

According to the reports there were not a lot of brave men on board, from the captain to the crew to the passengers. I guess chivalry is dead, as well as compassion for those who were in most need of their help. When we abandon mercy and compassion and seek to save ourselves first, we become less than human beings.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.

Glen Oaks

War is still hell

Dear Editor:

Desecrating the dead, as U.S. Marines allegedly did to Taliban killed in action, should be abhorred. Yet that overlooks the realities that have defined warfare since the beginning of time.

Achilles dragged the body of Hector behind his chariot to desecrate his name, to shame his family and the city-state of Troy. Acts of unspeakable repugnancy by both sides were the hallmark of the island-hopping of the Second World War. It was considered far better to be killed than be captured by the Japanese or the Viet Cong during that conflict.

Filmmakers have noted American atrocities, as in the movie “Platoon” and in “Saving Private Ryan,” when U.S. troops shot to death surrendering German soldiers. When we send our kids to war they will respond to the trauma that is the battlefield.

To those seeking to hang the Marines and those willing to apologize profusely for their immaturity: How can we — or our troops, facing the evil we sent them to fight and die for — forget seeing dead U.S. personnel dragged through the streets of Fallujah, or the beheadings of defenseless people? The cruelty of the Taliban extends beyond awful acts to our dead service personnel to their own citizens, particularly to the women of Afghanistan.

We cannot defend foolish kids for acting stupidly but we must understand the stresses imposed upon them. Reprimands are justified, as we hold ourselves to a higher moral standard, but until the nature of man changes, we should not do more.

Edward Horn

Baldwin, LI

Redistrict fairly

Dear Editor:

“GOP wants new Senate seat” by Sasha Chavkin and Michael Keller (Jan. 12) is no surprise for those of us who observe our state Legislature.

Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Democrats, along with Republican State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, have nothing to fear from an independent reapportionment. Based upon the New York State Board of Elections registration figures as of Nov. 1, 2011, New York continues to evolve into an overwhelming Democratic bastion.

Consider that there are 5,660,246 Democrats versus 2,824,680 Republicans, 2,325,786 blank (unaffiliated) and 434,752 Independence Party registered voters. Democrats outnumber Republicans by 2,835,568. Only Republican State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, with a slim one-vote margin, is nervous. There are just not enough registered Republicans left to gerrymander a majority of Senate seats in his favor.

Real reform can only come to Albany with honest competitive elections as supported by former New York City Mayor Ed Koch and his New York Uprising movement.

Past Republican State Senate majority leaders cut deals with past Democratic Assembly speakers to preserve the status quo. Remember when the city sent 6 GOP Senators to Albany? With the loses of Serf Maltese (2008) and Frank Padavan (2010) from Queens, only GOP Sens. Marty Golden (Brooklyn) and Andrew Lanza (Staten Island) remain. City Democrats hold 22 of the other 24 Senate seats. This makes it even more challenging for Skelos.

In 1812, Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry signed a redistricting bill allowing his party to rig the drawing of district boundaries in its favor; hence “gerrymandering.” Real reform would mean removing the redistricting power from the politicians. Perhaps allow the League of Women Voters or some other impartial group to redraw the boundaries.

There is still time for political redemption. If incumbent lawmakers don’t deliver between now and November, the way to obtain real change is to fire them. Perhaps it is time to give a new generation of elected officials a chance.

Larry Penner

Great Neck, LI

Welcome to the discussion.