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Queens Chronicle

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Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2002 12:00 am

Accuses Weiner

Dear Editor:

If the mandatory Social Security program is so great (“Weiner Defends Social Security. Says Program Is Stable and a Success,” Queens Chronicle, June 6th) then why do my payroll taxes keep going up and up? And why do so many people have so little saved for retirement? Could it be that taxes are eating up so much of their money?

I am a middle-class person. As with most people here, I work multiple jobs so I can pay the myriad federal, state and city taxes that never seem to worry Congressman Anthony Weiner. Our Brooklyn Cicero never met a big government program he didn’t like. That’s because in politics, the name of the game is to deliver pork back to your district. Don’t worry about the price tag. Don’t worry about the long-term consequences. Just pass the costs in the form of higher taxes and inflation on to the next generation.

I’ve lived in Central Queens for 13 years. Has there actually ever been a serious GOP congressional candidate?

Social Security, the bedrock social insurance program of our welfare state, is a classic example of how to finance government by always making someone else pay. But the someone else often turns out to be you.

How many people even know how expensive this system has become and how much worse it’s going to be for our children and grandchildren. Do you even know what the payroll tax rate is? Is it: a) 6.25 b) 7.65 c) 12.5 or d) none of these.

The correct answer is d. It is 15.3 (6.2 for Social Security and 1.4 for Medicare. The employer also pays the tax on your behalf). I accuse Weiner of deliberately misleading the taxpayers at a public meeting I attended in Kew Gardens about two years ago. He told the citizens the payroll tax rate was only 6.25 percent.

But that doesn’t include the Medicare component of the tax. It also ignores the half of the tax that is paid by your employer, which effectively doubles one’s tax.

Weiner also didn’t mention that the history of Social Security has included many benefit increases by pols just before elections.

At Weiner’s meeting, he also didn’t mention that the Kerrey-Danforth Entitlement Commission of 1993 projected that, unless there is dramatic change, payroll taxes will have to go to about 24.6 percent over the next quarter century.

Is this fair to the next generation? There is no need to “drive a wedge” between the old and the young; between the entitlement beneficiaries and those who have to pay for it.

Social Security is the classic stealing from Peter to pay Paul system. Yet, I wouldn’t take Weiner’s religion from him. He and others should be allowed to continue with this hopeless mess of a system. But as for the rest of us, we should be allowed to opt out. If people want to throw their money away on Social Security, if they want the financial equivalent of crack, I believe that’s their business. Please, just leave me alone. Don’t tread on me.

Gregory Bresiger,

Kew Gardens

Solve Problems

Dear Editor:

In a recent article Wellington Chen is quoted stating that “…development in Flushing is so built up… .” By his own admission as a “land use consultant” he’s proven what Flushing business and civic leaders have known for the past 15 years: that the infrastructure—sanitation, transit, roads—is over-burdened to the point of collapse. Schools are severely over-crowded.

What we need before any new development occurs is to attend to these matters: play catch-up to a decade’s neglect and solve these problems. If new developers are complaining so much about the high cost of building in downtown Flushing, why do they persist in building there? There must be a handsome profit in it for them. After all, they can always build elsewhere.

Chen complains about “unrealistic” parking requirements, as if projects in Flushing should be exempt from citywide regulations requiring adequate parking for new buildings that everyone else must follow.

The Coalition for a Planned Flushing had already sponsored a development and rezoning plan done by one of the top urban design firms in the world, many of whose elements have already been implemented by City Planning. If you read it you will see that its analysis is still valid and some of its recommendations still needed. This urban design firm was neither a consultant nor an employee beholden to any local developer, i.e., Fultonex, etc. Would Chen care to compare his professional expertise or objectivity to this world-class firm?

Flushing doesn’t need new development; it needs to solve the problems—the stench, the overcrowding, the rent-gouging—that the old development caused.

Jerry Rontondi,

Flushing

No Regard

Dear Editor:

St. John’s University has absolutely no regard for the surrounding communities when it comes to their “master plan.” Their disregard is second only to their bravado in stating openly that they will do whatever they want to do, despite opposition.

They had promised to remove the extra seating, lights and sound system after the minor league team left the stadium, which was paid for with public money and they reneged, leaving neighbors with lights shining in their windows and loudspeakers blaring into the late evening hours when people are trying to sleep.

We can hear the announcements on their speaker system blocks away, here on Kent Street.

They obviously have no regard for the safety and traffic concerns expressed by surrounding communities, commuters and the Community Board. Jamaica Estates, in a board vote taken on the issue, voted to oppose the garages in the proposed location.

We have to hope that the borough president and the BSA will do the same, in the name of safety and sanity.

Leslie Weinberg,

Jamaica Estates

Harmful Changes

Dear Editor:

I am concerned that the effect of the proposed changes to Willow Lake will do more harm than good. Though obviously the lake is in need of ecological improvement, clearly building a rowing course across it will only create further damage.

In the meantime, the area while not as ecologically diverse as it could be, harbors species such as muskrats, pheasants and songbirds that clearly could live nowhere else in the immediate vicinity.

Perhaps this is the reason the lake has degenerated to the state it is currently in was the rampant vandalism and possible arson that forced it to be fenced off in the first place.

Unless specific changes are designated with the purpose of furthering the state of the environment rather than creating a temporary showplace that will become useless once the 2012 Olympics are finished, the area is best left alone.

Carl Herr,

Flushing

Graffiti Art

Dear Editor:

I find that the letter “Graffiti Vandals,” written by Paul Maringelli of Sunnyside is an example of how graffiti is still being pictured by some local residents, despite its emergence as a popular art form, used in neighborhood murals after September 11th, used in advertising, or simply as a hobby.

The graffiti vandals of the past are the old generation that ruined the neighborhood walls and subway trains. Today’s generation owns the walls that they spray their works on. Meres is an honest graffiti artist and while ignorant passersby may write that 5 Pointz is a “helter-skelter, vandal look, however, like any director Meres carefully plans out and reserves the space for those who deserve it. Unlike the vandals’ illegal tags, those on the walls of 5 Pointz feature popular cartoon characters, products and the names are clearly legible.

I find it hard to believe how you accuse Meres’ tag of being “all over the neighborhood for many years.” The Open Studios, barbecues and parties that he is organizing are for the neighborhood.

I also find it rude how you try to destroy Wolkoff’s credibility as a good building owner by citing his EPA violations. 5 Pointz is an important stop on the Art Link and despite having a different style of art than the nearby PS1, MoMA and other art galleries it is just as popular as these locations and it continues to evolve graffiti from vandalism to an art form.

I hope that Maringelli visits this location and sees for himself the good it is doing to the community. I’m sure that once he is given a Krylon can, he won’t be able to stop spraying his name, either.

S. Kadinsky,

Forest Hills

Pigeon Problem

Dear Editor:

Echoing the article regarding pigeon poop under the elevated Number 7 on Roosevelt Avenue, we too here on 39th Street between the Long Island Expressway and 50th Avenue have the same problem. Pigeon feeders who incessantly feed pigeons with no regard for health concerns (especially children) or cleaning up the mess they make, as a result of their feeding the pigeons.

One resident of 50-15 39th Street claims that people come from other streets to feed the pigeons on our little section of 39th Street. It’s going to take a community effort if not more to solve this problem.

Kenny Harrrison,

Sunnyside

Rent Advice

Dear Editor:

I am responding to a letter to the editor signed by Charley Tan, of Jamaica, that appeared in your June 13th issue. Tan questioned the rent increase on his new lease. If Tan’s new lease begins prior to October 1st of this year, then he does have to pay 4 percent for one year or 6 percent for two years.

However, if his new lease begins on October of this year or after, then he should wait until after June 27th to sign his lease. On June 27th, the final decision will be made as to what the rent increases will be on leases which begin as of October of this year.

Adele Bender,

Queens Borough coordinator for JPAC,

Rego Park

So Confused

Dear Editor:

This letter is in response to the “Community Must Support Children’s Education” in the Queens Chronicle by Patricia Bernard.

I am so confused by the contents of her letter that I really do not know where to begin.

She wrote about the community speaking volumes of greatness about the fantastic job that Michael Johnson, administrator of School District 29 is doing.

I attended every school board meeting. The only community representative is me. The other adults are politicians’ representatives.

I do not hear them singing the D.A.s praises.

I was also present at the Candidates Night. The community at large present was never given an opportunity to voice their opinions on the candidate of their choice.

So, how is it and why should we support and vote for an individual who continues to disrespect the individuals with his crude behavior toward us…the community at large.

If funds in School District 292 are so limited, then how come the leadership teams, principals and meetings enjoy such lavish treatments at meetings, spending weekends away at lavish places?

Why weren’t we, the community people notified and invited to the Council and District Advisory Council meetings?

Why was the community not:

a) invited to the Legislative bus ride to Albany?,

b) the Parent Council Lunch/Dinner?,

c) given the extension numbers of the key people for the now automated phone in the District Office?,

d) not given samples of the budget and the curriculum for each school (as stated by the DA)?, and

e) who are the enlightened community members you wrote about in your letter?

As for the remedial programs in this district, both you and I know that they are not successful because many of the teachers who do not teach during the day time are given the jobs because of their seniority with these special programs.

What happened to the P. Bernard I used to know? The one who investigated before writing such an article in the papers. The one who fought for the rights of educating all of the students within CSD 292.

Pull that film off your eyes. Come back and continue the fight.

Gertrude S. Gonesh,

Springfield Gardens

Welcome to the discussion.