First, President Obama gave us the stimulus package which was supposed to prevent unemployment from rising above eight percent. That did not work out.
Then, we were given a healthcare bill where, if we desired, we would be able to keep our insurance plan with the added benefit of the country’s overall healthcare costs going down. Shortly thereafter, the Health and Human Services Department came out with a report stating that costs would actually go up (no surprise there) and experts were stating that due to the regulations being drafted, about two-thirds of the people will have government mandates change their policies within a few years.
Now, Obama supporters like Anthony Pilla in your July 22 issue herald the new financial “reform” bill recently passed by Congress. The 2008 economic collapse centered around bad mortgages being issued to people who could not afford them. These loans were backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The bailout of these two quasi-governmental organizations cost taxpayers $145 billion and the Congressional Budget Office expects they will need another $389 billion over the next ten years. The policy of backing loans to less credit-worthy risks started during the Clinton years as was reported by the New York Times on Sept. 30, 1999. The financial reform bill does nothing to address this problem. Nor does it stop the Federal Housing Administration from currently supporting mortgages with homeowners putting as little as 3.5 percent down. In analyzing the bill, financial experts state that since the bill is so large and complex, the concept of a bank being too big to fail is still a possibility. Finally, reports indicated that Senator Dodd (D-Conn) managed to exempt insurance companies (many based in Connecticut) from several of the bill’s requirements.
The President and Congress wanted to show that they can take on Wall Street. Maybe they should have started their summer vacation a few weeks earlier. In the long run, the American people would have been better off.
Stop, Question and Frisk
Police are called to the scene about a group of males selling drugs on a street corner. When they get to the location, individuals who fit the description based on a 911 call are at the scene and stopped by the police. The police conduct a field investigation, however are unable to affect an arrest due to a lack of probable cause. Because the police were not able to make an arrest, does not mean these males were not selling drugs. It means the police did not have enough proof to make an arrest on this incident. However, the police record the names, address and physical description of the males as allowed by law and required under NYPD policy.
A few days later there is a shooting and someone is killed in the vicinity of the same location. Police begin conducting an investigation to find the shooter. The police use the Stop Question and Frisk database to assist in the investigation and see if anybody who may fit the description of the shooter has been stopped by police or if anybody was recently stopped by police in the vicinity of the incident. Police conducting the investigation are able to identify people by names that were stopped by the police who responded to the 911 call just a few days earlier. After an extensive investigation the police are able to arrest the shooter with the assistance of the SQF database.
Unfortunately, that will no longer be the case. Recently Gov. Patterson signed a bill into law that would prohibit the NYPD from keeping the names of people who are stopped by police and who the police reasonably suspect are about to commit, are committing or already committed a crime. Why would the governor take away such a useful investigative tool from our law enforcement? This database provides police with the tools they need to conduct investigations and keep our city safe by taking dangerous criminals off our streets.
We all know everyone is innocent until proven guilty and everyone has a right to certain privacy and due process. But how does recording the names of people stopped by the police and suspected of committing crimes become violating someone’s civil rights?
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly recently met with the governor and provided him with numerous detailed incidents when the SQF database assisted the police in solving violent crimes, but he signed the bill anyway. This is the same person who when he was a state senator looked to introduce a bill where police officers would have to shoot a suspect in the arms or legs. Talk about being out of touch with reality.
During a criminal investigation as much information on a suspect including their name, is key to a quick apprehension. Prime example of how important it is to have a suspect identified as soon as possible is Faisal Shahzad the Times Square bomber. Although the investigation was rather quick; if it had taken just a little while longer to identify this terrorist by name he would have been overseas probably to never be seen again. So by not allowing police access to names in the database of those stopped is only going to hinder serious criminal investigations.
The Criminal Procedural Law will still give the police the right to SQF suspects under the law. However, by removing the names of those stopped in the database, it will delay in identifying possible suspects and allow suspects to never be apprehended or delay the investigation just long enough so the suspect can evade police apprehension. Those who will suffer the most are those who live in high crime areas.
When used correctly, stop and frisk assists our police in keeping our communities safe and benefits law abiding citizens. Unfortunately, the governor didn’t think so.
Remember the winter of 2010 when two blizzards hit the northeast? The acts of nature gave GOP leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) a chance to take a cheap shot at Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore’s Alarm Over Climate Change — McConnel said, “where’s Gore now?” Rush Limbaugh, joined in with “Another nail in Al Gore’s coffin.” These and other republicans all call the Gore alarm a big hoax.
Where are they now? We are in the hottest summer on record. In fact, the last decade was the warmest in recorded history. The folloing four global areas are evidences of global warming/climate change as reported in several issues of this year’s National Geographic magazine. 1) Greenland’s ice sheet once seemed too big to melt, now as weather warms, the ice is disintegrating. Scientists think this could continue for centuries, changing the island’s geography and the planet’s sea level. Within 100 years America’s East Coast line will shrink, threatening millions of people. 2) Beneath the Antartic glaciers, melting ice is forming rivers, which will also raise the sea levels. 3) The gravest danger to the Chilean Patagonia fjords is global warming/climate change which threatens to alter the rivers that depend on the glaciers and upset the balance of salt and fresh water in the inner fjords. Of the 48 glaciers in the ice field, 46 are retreating. 4) Glaciers in the high heart of Asia feed its greatest rivers, lifeline for two million people. Now the ice and snow are diminishing.
I urge all your readers to discount the blind views of those politicians who are in the pockets of America’s polluting industries and begin to seriously question our nation’s policy on global warming/climate change.
Thank you so much for writing the great article on the pigeon mess (“Dirty pigeons take aim at area residents,” the Queens Chronicle, July 7 Eastern Queens edition).I am a member of the 205 Place Block Association. I worked on getting help for many years. Your article was wonderful. Itdescribed the situation so well.
I am going totelephoneour community board to get it cleaned, while we look for a permanent solution.
Barfield needs to go
My name is Chrissy Pettway. I also had an unpleasent encounter with Mr. Barfield (“No place is the right place for the n-word,” Queens Chronicle, Eastern Queens July 22). He told the principal at PS 15 to get my ass kicked out of the school. My complaint was also dropped on deaf ears. Mr. Murray should take some of the blame; District 29 needs a whole new makeover. There is a lot of coverup going on. Many of my complaints were swept under the rug as PTA vice-president. I am so glad light is finally brought to the attention of this corrupt district.
As the executive director of the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District, I appreciate Congressman Weiner’s concern for small businesses in Queens and the desire to see them succeed.
While his study revealed troubling vacancy statistics in specific neighborhoods throughout Queens, it should be pointed out that one district not included in the study, and not experiencing significant retail vacancies, is Jamaica Avenue in downtown Jamaica between Sutphin Boulevard and 169th Street. Arguably the busiest stretch of Jamaica Avenue, the district attracts, on average, 85,000 weekday visitors, making it one of the borough’s busiest commercial corridors. With nearly 300 businesses, it is Jamaica’s core shopping district.
With a vacancy rate of less than 4 percent, our district continues to retain and attract a diverse mix of mom and pop owned businesses and regional and national chains. In addition to a number of new small businesses to open in downtown Jamaica, national chains like Gap’s new concept store — the Gap Factory Store — and Verizon Wireless have come in. An Applebee’s restaurant will open later this year which will help meet the growing demand for a sit-down restaurant.
The district’s retail market is robust and the future looks bright. The Jamaica Center BID, along with its partners, will continue to assist existing businesses, attract new retailers and beautify the district to further enhance downtown Jamaica as a great place to shop, work and live.
Jamaica Center Business Improvement District