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Queens Chronicle

Letters To The Editor

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Posted: Thursday, April 21, 2011 12:00 pm

   Robbing us blind

   Dear Editor:

   I am in complete agreement with the April 7 letter from Kenneth Lloyd Brown, “Cut salaries, not centers.”

   Federal, state and city government offices are filled with people who are receiving huge salaries and pensions for doing little for the people and trying to do more for themselves.

   State and federal lawmakers do indeed receive large salaries and their pensions are enormous, compared to the people they are supposed to serve. We have seen in the past year how many of these officials have been cited for their poor performance and sometimes for illegal activities. Several of them have been accused of receiving money for supposedly community-helping programs and putting that same money into their own pockets. Many of them have not been penalized or even prosecuted yet.

   Imagine how much money the federal, state and city governments would save if these officials took a pay cut of 10 percent or 20 percent or had their exorbitant pensions reduced accordingly. Most of the financial problems in this country would be reduced greatly. I think every citizen would be surprised if they only knew how much each politician receives as a pension.

   How many of them are working for their own benefit rather than for the people’s benefit? They are no different than the average citizen and yet many of them believe they are above the law. They park wherever they want and put their “government” placards in the windshield, preventing them from getting tickets or paying parking meter fees. That’s just one freebie they get. But they are not better than the average citizen, they are the same. They were elected by the people and they should be removed once they do not work for the people and start to work for themselves and their own benefit. It’s time for this to stop.

   We must also have a full revamping of the benefits system that is giving free benefits to illegal aliens, while impoverished citizens and wounded servicemen are finding it difficult to get the same free benefits. Millions of dollars are being given to illegal aliens for free food, medical, prescriptions, etc., while American citizens must pay for all these services. If we cut out these free benefits, illegal immigration would drop sharply.

   I am sure other Americans feel the same as I do.

   Andrea Farmer

   Jackson Heights

    

   Did QC find Census crime?

   Dear Editor:

   (An open letter to Loretta Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York)

   I write regarding a serious situation affecting the people of Queens County and New York State. According to the results of the 2010 Census, there are close to 8.2 million residents in the City of New York, a quarter of a million less than the Census Bureau predicted only last year. The same data indicates 2,230,722 residents of Queens County — a laughable increase of only 1,343 people from a decade ago.

   This vast miscalculation is extremely troubling given the serious consequences that a misrepresentation of the number of actual residents in the borough of Queens would have on the lives of New Yorkers, including but not limited to, cheating them out of proper representation in government and reducing federal aid for vital social programs, necessary transportation enhancements and crucial anti-terror measures.

   Anyone who has actually set foot in Queens in the last 10 years knows without a doubt that its population has dramatically increased over that time. A quick glance at the number of new buildings sprouting up, increasing rents, packed subways and crowded sidewalks make it obvious that the population has spiked upward by more than the 1,300 people claimed by the Census. For the Census Bureau to suggest otherwise calls into question the validity of its data not only in Queens County but throughout the country.

   In response to the these outrageous Census numbers Mayor Michael Bloomberg stated, “It seems evident to us that something incongruous happened in the Census count.” Along with my fellow Queens senators, I wrote to the committees of jurisdiction in both the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate calling for an investigation into the Census figures.

   I write to you today based on new information indicating malfeasance that may rise to the level of criminal culpability. A recent article by Elizabeth Daley of the Queens Chronicle, “Making Sense of the 2010 Census,” April 14, 2011, cites very disturbing incidents related to the conduct of Census managers. Specifically, Ms. Daley’s sources reveal that Census workers in Queens were ordered by managers to “slow down” their efforts and “stretch your cases.” Further, falsified surveys were submitted that had to be corrected and workers were told to “guess” when filling out Census information.

   Given the serious consequences of these misdeeds, I believe that an investigation by your office into the Census process is warranted. Accordingly, I respectfully request that you take all appropriate action to uncover what went wrong with the recent Census process in order to hold accountable anyone who may have engaged in misconduct.

   I would greatly appreciate being informed as appropriate of any relevant information that may be revealed through such an investigation.

   Thank you in advance for your attention to this important matter. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

   Michael Gianaris

   NYS Senator for the 12th District

   Astoria

    

   Census was hard to miss

   Dear Editor:

   There is more to“Making sense of the 2010 Census” (April 14).The Census Bureau spent billions of dollars, including $133 millionon an ad campaignwhich included $2.5 millionfor Super Bowl commercials. Every household received several direct mailings. Members of Congress also sent outnumerous mailings at taxpayer expense,reaching virtually everyone.

   The mayor, comptroller and public advocate, along with every City Council member, borough president,state senatorand state Assembly member promoted participation in the Census withtheir own mailings. Every daily and weeklynewspaper raneditorials and articlesspreading the word free of charge. They all knewhow it impacts future Congressional representationand distribution of federal aid. Unless you wereliving under a rock inCentral Park, you knew about the Census.

   The Census Bureau hadaccess to data via the Internal Revenue Service,its state and city counterparts and thecity Board of Electionsto mailing lists.They conducted a door-to-door canvass within eachCensus tract block by block, building by building. This was followed up byrepeat visits to households who didn’t respond. ItexceededSen. Schumer and Mayor Bloomberg’s own pastvaunted “get out the vote” campaign operations.

   What is left to do? Do those who have complained about the results, such asSchumer and Councilman Leroy Comrie propose we send out U.S. marshals to subpoenathose people whofailedto participate?

   Schumer and his ilk are always cryingabout potential federal aid we might lose. Never shy around a camera or microphone, heis strangely silent aboutlooking athow all New York City municipalagencies manage their respective share of $6 billion plusin regular formula federal aid, supplemented by billions of dollars more in American Reinvestment and Recovery Act stimulus funding.

   Larry Penner

   Great Neck, LI

    

   Statue silliness

   Dear Editor:

   Re “Does Queens statue lack ‘Civic Virtue?’” March 3, multiple editions:

   I agree with Rep. Anthony Weiner. We should also get rid of the Statue of Liberty. It offends my anti-arsonist sensibilities; she’s holding a torch. While we’re at it. Mt. Rushmore is sexist — no women up there. It has to go too.

   Doug Ellenburg

   Greeneville, Tenn.

    

   Queens Symphony rocks

   Dear Editor:

   Re “Free opera is music to our ears,” March 31, qboro section:

   LeFrak Concert Hall at Queens College was packed for “Rigoletto.” The audience obviously loved the production presented by the Queens Symphony Orchestra, because they yelled “Bravo” repeatedly after every solo, duet, ensemble, you name it. Let’s see more of the same in the coming seasons.

   Elsi Levy

   Manhattan

    

   No animals in circuses

   Dear Editor:

   I read your article on the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals demonstration regarding circuses (“PETA pickets circus, claiming animal abuse,” March 31, multiple editions).

   A circus is not a place for elephants to do stupid human tricks. It is literally unnatural for them, as well as physically painful. It is torturous for them.

   There is a bill in the City Council that would prevent them from performing in this city. Please keep the public informed as to the progress of this bill. I am sure there are other animals that suffer in the circus too, but you could say the elephant represents all suffering circus animals everywhere.

   Joan Silaco

   Queens Village

    

   Congrats on the awards

   Dear Editor:

   Congratulations to the Queens Chronicle staff for winning eight prestigious NYPA awards. What really blew my mind was the fact that the Chronicle won the first place Picture Story award for photos including the one taken by Riyad Hasan of a tree stump and a passing bus on 69th Road in Forest Hills. This was due to the tornadoes that went through the borough last September. I remember these violent storms firsthand because I was working in Great Neck at the time. There were trees down all over Middle Neck Road, and many crashedonto houses and cars.

   Queens Chronicle, keep up the good work.

   Frederick R. Bedell Jr.

   Glen Oaks

    

   Not just Howard Beach

   Dear Editor:

   (An open letter to Pia Toscano)

   We did not watch “American Idol” last week, because of respect to you. You were the best star of that group. I am amazed how people vote. I hope they know what they are doing, but I do not think so. We wish you a lot of luck; you are still the best star of “Idol.”

   Said Z. Hofioni

   Walnut Creek, Calif.

    

   Fracking bad idea

   Dear Editor:

   As a New Yorker I can proudly say that we have some of the cleanest drinking water in the world, but it concerns me when the water that we consume is threatened by hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”

   The fracking process involves toxic chemicals to be pumped into the ground. While the ban on fracking in New York State is quickly coming to an end, I feel that as residents we have a right to clean water and should voice our concerns to Gov. Cuomo. If we can make other residents more aware if this issue, then together we can stop companies like Haliburton from fracking and contaminating our clean and pure drinking water.

   Tasnuva Ahmed

   Jamaica

    

   Prez gets it, GOP guts it

   Dear Editor:

   I’d like to share with you my initial reaction to the president’s speech on April 13 regarding our nation’s long-term fiscal health.

   I should state at the beginning that I was fearful of what the president might say. I believe, and have said throughout his presidency, that President Obama has not defended his positions aggressively enough, that he has not stood up to partisan attacks and smears with nearly enough gumption, and that in negotiation after negotiation, he’s too often lost more than he’s gained. On the healthcare bill, on the extension of the Bush tax cuts for billionaires and most recently on the continuing resolution to keep the government open, I think the president’s willingness to compromise and his determination to play fair have only encouraged his political opponents to demand more and more. And the American people have been stuck with the costs of these errors.

   So I feared the worst. I worried that, in yet another effort to seem more than reasonable, in yet another misguided attempt to meet the other side more than halfway, he would give away the most essential elements of decent and progressive government. I dreaded the possibility that he would make a fatal mistake and open the door to unthinkable cuts in the social safety net our nation has established over the course of nearly a century of constant struggle.

   He didn’t.

   Instead of caving, the president stood up for fundamental fairness and proposed smart reforms that will, if adopted, put our government on a sound financial footing, and preserve the guarantees we make to the elderly, the weak, the sick and the poor. Naturally, those who opposed the creation of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are going howl in protest. Their goal since the New Deal has been to privatize Social Security; their fixed purpose since the Great Society has been to gut Medicare and Medicaid. The Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee recently introduced a budget plan that would achieve some of these disgraceful objectives. This legislative obscenity was actually put to a vote on Friday.

   As the president correctly put it, the question of our nation’s fiscal health is also a question of our nation’s character. We have four questions.Are we a nation that will condemn the poor and their children to die outside hospitals and clinics because they lack the means to pay for even emergency care? Are we a nation unwilling to shield our elders from constant fear that just one hospital visit could leave them destitute until the end of their lives? Would we tell our neighbors with disabled children they’re on their own? Are we a nation content to let our middle class strain under ever greater burdens while we ask less and less of the wealthiest citizens among us?

   I pray it will never be so.

   Yes, we need to put our financial house in order. But there’s a right way and a wrong way and the president has provided an outline of what the right way looks like. Now, the hard work of protecting that vision through the process of making it law will begin.

   Based on past performance, I will remain on guard against any slippage or wobbling as this process goes forward. But I like what I’ve heard so far and I believe it’s foundation from which we can get to work on a painful though necessary task. As long as we remain as determined to protect the programs that speak to our moral character as we are to restore our fiscal health, we may yet achieve something worthy of the appreciation and respect of future generations of Americans.

   Gary Ackerman

   U.S. Congressman for the 5th District

   Bayside

    

   Correction

    

   The April 14 article “Worker forged DOB docs: city,” which appeared in some editions, misstated the employment status of a private contractor charged with filing false reports. He is not a city employee. We regret the error.

   

Welcome to the discussion.