No 911 for VACs
Re “EMS to restore 911 access for city VACs,” Feb. 25, multiple editions:
Volunteer ambulance corps are a waste in the 911 system. Their level of training and professionalism varies from VAC to VAC. There is no way they do 15,000 calls a year. Most of them can’t even get in service more than 10 hours a week.
They mainly jump calls by listening to scanners and racing across the city to beat the FDNY ambulance. This is unsafe since VAC members have very little emergency vehicle operator course training. EVOC is the standard that the FDNY and NYPD train their people in to handle emergency vehicle driving. The FDNY has just increased their liability when a VAC hurts someone.
The guv’s got to go
Gov. David Paterson has allegedly acted in an inappropiate manner in a domestic abuse case concerning one of his aids. In light of thisI feel the governor needs to step down.
The scandals in our state never seem to end. Our state government is in an awful mess. We the people of this once-proud state are made to suffer, and we deserve better from our elected officials. Enough is enough!
It’s like the movie “Network,” when the anchor Howard Beale said in his tirade that still echoes our true feelings today, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”
Well, are we?
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
More than games
The Olympics, whether winter or summer, are a wonderful respite in our lives. More than a breath of fresh air, they are the epitome of promising youth, of our nation earning its niche on a truly world stage performing and responding to self-imposed years of discipline and sacrifice that are now finally officially recognized.
One must never, in the euphoria of the moment, lose sight that medal count alone is never any nation's claim to fame. Rather, the rewards rest in how their respective sons and daughters behaved: thebonding, insightfulness and mutual understanding amongour world’s youth.
Ambassadors who are politically appointed worldwide, cling to their plush residences and perks. To preserve the same, they parrot all they learned by rote, never reason nor moral objection.
But a truly pure version of youthful and innocent ambassadorship among nations occurs at a simple table over a soda and burger in the Olympic Village cafeteria. The threads to new understanding begin when one athlete tells another, “My religion does not permit this food, other than the french fries, which are delicious! Please come, my new and dear friends, to sample the delicious food of my homeland.”
John J. McGuire Sr.
A house divided
If the never-ending stalemate and gamesmanship in Washington continues, voter anger will be a stumbling block to economic recovery. In the absence of leadership that honestly confronts and resolves issues haunting the nation like healthcare, bank reform, stimulus, entitlements and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans will remain hotly divided.
Elected representatives are devoted to their selfish egos rather than to the nation they swore an oath to uphold. The two-party system has dissolved into warring tribes, each seeking victory regardless of the consequences. The scorched-earth policies of the parties are undermining the tenets of our heritage. The political wars have eroded belief that our system of government can work. Confidence defines America, and in its absence the nation is in troubled waters.
Regardless of political leanings, 2009 began with the promise of a better America. The election of President Obama seemed a breath of fresh air. Hope seemed reborn. That change in spirit has evaporated after one year of the worst political bickering seen in a lifetime. The absolute refusal to compromise has destroyed belief that anything will address the problems impacting daily life or get the nation back on the road of recovery and renewal.
In large part the economic downturn continues as a result of the two parties refusing to work together. Abandoning the interests of citizens politicians hope to win the next election by igniting partisanship, suspicious and compelling anger. Facing the worst economic threat in generations, politicians are a stumbling block to recovery. Our political leaders are in a depression.
More on that swastika
I just read Bob Friedrich’s letter about how David Weprin’s campaign manager, Corey Bearak, used a hateful campaign ad to discredit Friedrich (“Weprin’s swastika,” Feb. 18). This ad was not only offensive to all religious people, but especially to Weprin’s Jewish constituents, for whom the symbol of a swastika causes painful memories.
This kind of political attack against an opponent is the lowest of the low. It would behoove Weprin to apologize to Friedrich because this kind of campaigning can only tarnish the validity of the outcome of the election.
Friedrich the extremist
Apparently Robert Friedrich and the Republicans feel bitter following their overwhelming rejection by the voters (Letters: “Weprin’s swastika,” Feb. 18, and “Weprin should apologize,” Feb. 25). That may explain their complaints about a mailing aimed at exposing Friedrich’s opposition to stronger criminal penalties for hate crimes. So let me pose this question: Is a neo-Nazi who paints a swastika on a synagogue, a school, the car or home of a Jewish family the same as a kid who tags a subway car?
Friedrich, who as the Republican-Conservative candidate recently lost the Assembly special election in the 24th District, does think these two distinct crimes are the same.
Crimes that attack because of a person’s religion, race, gender, national origin or identity are intended to inflict fear on the entire community. Based on Friedrich's own statements, consultants in the special election produced a mailing using the most provocative symbolism to inform voters of his position.
It is important that voters know a candidate’s positions, such as Friedrich’s opposition to stronger criminal penalties for hate crimes. The mailing criticized by Friedrich for containing the image of a swastika was an honest attempt to educate the voters.
All too often that hateful symbol has been found on cars and homes and schools in the very community he sought to represent. The mailing also informed voters that Friedich would restrict a woman’s right to choose and opposes gun control.
Friedrich, who has lost election after election, is now cynically attacking those who informed voters about his positions. Recently he appeared during public speaking time at Community Board 13 — to attack me for defending efforts to inform voters about his wrong position on hate crimes. In attacking me, Friedrich ignored the text that provided the context for the use of such a provocative symbol.
Perhaps Friedrich is ignorant of the use of the swastika in hate crimes in the district. The other side of the flyer contained a crime scene photograph that is like incidents that occurred throughout northeast Queens that I condemned, including one painted outside The Glen Oaks School while my son attended it and several painted on cars and a garage in Hillcrest when Jews observed the Passover.
The public ought to know why Friedrich is opposed to stronger penalties. Friedrich must apologize for his recent behavior including his outrageous personal attacks on me and the state assemblyman from the 24th District.
Vets, money and pols
As always the Chronicle’s coverage of the shocking scandal in regard to Floyd Flake, Greg Meeks and Malcolm Smith was excellent (“AEG wins bid to build an Aqueduct racino” and “Meeks and Smith tied to ‘slush fund,’” Feb. 4; as well as other articles since then). What bothered me the most is the New Direction Local Development Corp., which you reported is“under scrutiny for spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer’s dollars with almost no accountability.”
The New York Veterans Advocacy Group, whose board chairman is Willie Burks of the VFW, has been struggling to establish a comprehensive facility for homeless veterans and was told, “There is no funding available.” No one connected with NYVAC will ever make a profit from this organization or wants any personal gain.
According to the New York Harbor View Medical Center the estimated number of homeless veterans in Queens is 8,375. One in five servicemen suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and 19.5 suffered brain injury during deployment. They paid a high price to serve their country and come home to face homelessness and a lack of services. This number will reach crisis proportions as more veterans return from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The fact that no funding is available for NYVAC is the tragedy that results from the lack of integrity of elected officials consumed with power and greed. Voters put their trust in these men, who let everyone down, and the community will regretfully and unjustly suffer the long-lasting effects of their actions. This has made me very sad and angry.
Director, Faith Mission Inc.
Director of Operations, NYVAC