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Queens Chronicle

Letters To The Editor

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Posted: Thursday, October 2, 2008 12:00 am

What change?

Dear Editor:

In the editorial regarding the financial bailout “Here we come to save the day?” (the Queens Chronicle, Sept. 25) you wrote “Fortunately, we will soon have the chance to drastically reshape our economic policy for the future — that chance happens November 4.” I hope you do not mean more Democrats in Washington.

In the 1990s, Congress with Democrats in the lead passed the Community Reinvestment Act which threatened financial institutions with fines and lawsuits if they did not lend to poor neighborhoods.When loans to poor people skyrocketed the Democrats were overjoyed.While former Treasury Secretary John Snow, Alan Greenspan and John McCain spoke out about the dangers and need for reforms, Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) stated “Fannie Mae and Feddie Mac are not in crisis. But the more pressure there is then the less I think we see in terms of affordable housing.”Senator Charles Schumer said “I think Fannie and Freddie over the years have done an incredibly good job and are an intrinsic part of making America the best-housed people in the world.If you look over the last 20 or whatever years, they’ve done a very, very good job.”Now Democrats are shocked that mortgages were given to people who could not pay off their obligations.The problems we face today are more the result of legislative meddling than of lack of regulation.

If the Democrats win in November you will have change that you could believe in but it will not be a change for the better.

Lenny Rodin,

Forest Hills

No to Serf

Dear Editor:

I thought it might be useful to explore state Sen. Serphin Maltese's voting record, which has been habitually against the best interests of his middle class constituency.

According to a report by the non-partisan Drum Major Institute he scored a dismal “F” rating of delivering for the middle class. This failing grade shows that he voted for bills that benefited middle class New Yorkers only 36 percent of the time.

His rating with New Yorkers Against Gun Violence was a zero percentage, meanwhile his rating with the pro-gun National Rifle Association is 100 percent. He has voted against banning assault rifles and machine gun sales in New York State.

Maltese voted against the Empire State Wage Act which raised the state minimum wage from the federal minimum of $5.15 per hour to $6 per hour. The legislation also raised the minimum wage for food-service employees workers receiving tips from the previous rate of $3 per hour to $3.85. At less than $11,000 a year for a full time worker, the federal minimum wage is poverty wage. It is a rate at which it is impossible for working class New Yorkers to independently pay their rent, feed their families or get necessary medical care.

This vote by Maltese was contrary to the beliefs of Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York who has said, “ensuring that working men and women can provide for themselves with the basic necessities of life, such as food, clothing and housing is required ethically and religiously in order to protect the fundamental dignity of every human being … the present minimum wage fails in this regard.”

Another vote against the middle class was his vote on the Estate Tax Exemption Act. Under the present law the first $1 million dollars bestowed on heirs is exempted from the New York State Estate Tax. This bill would have exempted an additional $500,000 from state taxation. The estate tax is New York’s most progressive tax, falling only upon the small number of individuals lucky enough to inherit a windfall. It should be noted that New York's Estate Tax has been substantially reduced in recent years contributing in part to the state’s fiscal crisis.

Democrats need only one more seat to take control of the last Republican stronghold, the NYS Senate. Despite creative gerrymandering, the 15th Senate District still has a two to one Democratic registration advantage.

In my view, Maltese is a potential target, even though he has not had a competitive race against a county party supported candidate since 1994.

I feel that Maltese and the Queens County GOP has not successfully reached out to the communities of the 15th Senate District nor represented it’s middle-class constituency best interests in many years.

I think when we examine the record it is indisputable that a vote for Maltese on November 4th is a vote against our own fiscal best interests.

Therefore, I ask that you too think with your pocketbook and place your vote for the candidate who will surely work for the bread and butter issues important to the families of the 15th Senate District. In my opinion that candidate is clearly Councilman Joe Addabbo.

David Quintana,

Ozone Park

Another crash

Dear Editor:

The baseball season didn’t end the way we wanted it to with the Mets loss to the Marlins. The post-game show brought us a measure of nostalgia with all the past great players of the Mets appearing for the last day of Shea. Mets fans are a enigma though in that we have experience over the years the worst of times coupled with the best of times. Yet we still keep coming back because we believe in our Mets and that maybe next year the Mets will truly be amazing. Let’s keep hope alive!

Frederick Bedell Jr.,

Glen Oaks Village

Save the books

Dear Editor:

Ipersonally noticed a decline in the Richmond Hill Library branch lately after having frequented it for almost 50 years.

My last few experiences there have me disgusted and disappointed. When I couldn’t find the books that I was interested in, I spoke to the librarian. I asked about a local author, Mary Anne Kelly and the Richmond Hill Historical Society, who both had their own sections in the library for years.

The librarian was not aware of either of them, and though I explained who they were, being important to the neighborhood, he denied it,saying that the areas never existed.He had no knowledge of Mary Anne Kelly, herbook signings there which were a common practice some years ago and knew nothing of the Richmond Hill Historical Society, who have a large variety of books about our history. Obviously neither he norI could find any of their books. He was extremely misinformed, had no knowledge of Richmond Hill, as well as the books written from and about the neighborhood.

I found this to be a sad sign of the times here anda lack of respect to our history. How about bringing thenecessities back, which we find to be of great importance to us?

Marilyn Mayer,

Richmond Hill

Bailout failure

Dear Editor:

The bill, a $700 billion corruption tax, failed because the public has zero confidence in the government, a government that daily takes on the mantle of a “criminal enterprise,” by lying, looting the treasury and ignoring the nations laws. Enough said.

Larry Trapani,

Kew Gardens

Some suggestions

(An open letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg)

Dear Mr. Mayor:

The current financial crises may result in a 7 percent property tax increase and significant cuts in essential services and require you to explain your position as to the following:

Taxpayers have already contributed in terms of outright subsidies and tax breaks — the cost of which is borne by taxpayers — hundreds of millions of dollars for the benefit of millionaire ball club owners whose only need to replace perfectly sound stadiums was greed and a raid on the public treasury. The Mets and the Yankees are now seeking additional hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies and tax breaks. Sport activities in this city contribute only 0.7 percent to the city’s gross economy, an amount that could be equated with the tip one gives to the youngster who delivers your groceries. It does not put more police or firefighters on the streets, build more classrooms or affordable housing and since it is discretionary spending, even if there were no sports, that money would still be spent on other things and not lost to the city.

At a time when we are being told to tighten our belts and do with less, you must tell millionaire ball club owners the city’s well has gone dry. Like everyone else, they must pay their own way and if they need money, like the rest of us, it is banks they must turn to.

Willets Point houses over 225 economically viable businesses that employ over 1300 people upon whom thousands depend on for food and a roof over their heads. There is a plethora of negative aspects to the proposal sufficient to reject it. But the most odious is the city may use eminent domain to take private property and turn it over to a private developer, a precedent all small businesses in this city should fear. In addition, we are talking about small businesses. They are the backbone of this country’s economy accounting for 54 percent of its gross economic product; 40.9 percent of private sales; about 75 percent of new jobs. They contribute 60 cents of every dollar spent back into their community as compared to 6 cents in big box stores and 20 cents in chain stores. At a time when New York City is in severe economic crisis, where is the sense to destroy hundreds small businesses. Anything you say to the contrary, hundreds will not get other suitable employment and they will be discarded.

You seek to spend $389.7 millions taxpayer dollars for acquisition of the private property in Willets Point and for some infrastructure work, and turn this bonanza over to a private real estate developer who will pay nothing or very little for the property. These taxpayer dollars are just the tip of the iceberg. There will be direct subsidies, underestimated costs to be increased and huge tax breaks, the burden of which will be borne by the taxpayers. When all is said and done we will be confronted with close to a billion taxpayer dollars and tax breaks, an unparallel rip-off of the poor and the middle class for the benefit of the rich. We will not get our money back for 25 to 50 years, if indeed then.

Mr. Mayor, if you wish to spend my money for the benefit of millionaire ball club owners and real estate developers, please do me the courtesy of not increasing my real estate tax and not decreasing essential services.

Benjamin Haber,

Flushing

Welcome to the discussion.