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Queens Chronicle

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Posted: Thursday, September 22, 2011 12:00 pm

Weprin was weak

Dear Editor:

It was more than “Anger at Obama propels Turner win” (Sept. 15). Losing Democratic Party congressional candidate David Weprin should look in the mirror,man upand take some personal responsibility for his defeat.

Why wasWeprin able to garner only 29,688 votes despite having 195,984 registered Democrats in the district?Winner Bob Turner obtained 33,785 votes with only 62,423 registered Republicans.Weprin’smediocre record as a City Council Finance Committee chairman and state Assembly member also contributed tohis dismal failure.

Weprin’s strategy of attempting to paintTurner as a right-wing extremist supporter of the Tea Party who would destroy both Social Security and Medicare didn’t catch on withvoters.

Weprin spent over $1,400,000,including a last-minute investment of $600,000 by the national Democratic Congressional campaign committee; had over 1,000 dedicated clubhouse volunteersalong with endorsementsfrom former President Clinton; Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand, Gov. Cuomo, Council Speaker Quinn, Comptroller Liu, Public Advocate de Blasioand over30 other local Democratic public officials.

The race wasWeprin’s to lose. Turner, against all odds, made asteep uphill climb. He has become the first Republican member of Congress to be elected from the 9th Congressional District since Andrew Peterson, who served from 1921 to 1923.Turner’s victory will go down in the record books asone the biggest upsets in New York Citypolitical history.

Weprin is now a five-time loser having lost contests for council speaker in 2001 and 2005, state comptroller in 2006, city comptroller in 2009 and now Congress.The only offices left for him to run forare state senator, Queens borough president, public advocate or, once again, city comptroller in 2013. Just whichwill his ego have himgofor next?

Larry Penner

Great Neck, LI

Don’t blame Obama

Dear Editor:

President Obama inherited eight abysmal years from the Bush-Cheney administration: a housing and mortgage mess, as well as two wars that were funded without a tax increase, something without precedent.

It is not reasonable to expect Obama to solve these huge problems not of his making, in the short period of time he has been in office, particularly when he is faced with a partisan obstructionist Republican Party only interested in denying him a second term, rather than legislating for the benefit of allthe people.

Notwithstanding Republican claims to the contrary, Democrat David Weprin’s loss to Republican Bob Turner in the special election in the 9th Congressional District was no message to Obama about dissatisfaction with his handling of the economy (“Anger at Obama propels Turner win”).

Weprin lost the race by approximately 3,500 votes, which I am sure was due to the Orthodox Jewish community’s false obsession with an issue fueled by former Mayor Ed Koch’s claim that a vote for Turner would be a message to Obama about dissatisfaction with his Israeli policies (I am Jewish and a resident of the 9th CD).

There is no American president, Democrat or Republican, past, present or in the future, notwithstanding occasional constructive criticisms, who will abandon Israel — the only true ally we have in the Middle East. There is no reason to assume a national rejection of Barack Obama because of the vote of a geographically small group of religious ideologues.

As to David Weprin, he made two mistakes that may have cost him the election. He should have made clear there are constitutional issues with regard to same-sex marriage that cannot be ignored and let the courts decide the matter. He should have taken the Obama-Israel matter head-on and, with available concrete evidence, show thatObama is no threat to Israel.

As to Obama as a president, Weprin should have pointed out that Turner would support Texas Gov. Rick Perry if he is the Republican presidential nominee — a man who believes this is a Christian nation to be governed by Christian principles; who believes Social Security is a Ponzi scheme; who believes the 90 percent-plus scientists who recognize global warming are fabricating their findings just to make money.

As to those Orthodox who are unhappy with Obama, it is difficult to believe they would be happy with Perry. In supporting Turner for the reasons claimed, they may well have made a bargain with the devil.

Benjamin Haber


A longer school year

Dear Editor:

For most of our nation’s history, we were the world leader when it came to public education. Our youth had the greatest opportunity to achieve excellence on all levels of learning. However, recently our standards have fallen far below many countries. In math our rank went from first to 25th. In science and reading, we have gone from first to 17th.

˝ducational systems in Europe and Asia have entered the 21st century with discipline and determination to see that their children excel and meet the challenges of the cyber age. American schools are still in the industrial age – only 180 days of instruction!

How can we improve our schools? During my graduate studies at the University of Connecticut’s School of Education, I wrote a research paper calling for a “year round” school system. Our current 180 days need to be extended to 215 or 220 days so as to better prepare our students to acquire greater knowledge and skills. Year-round schools, with several week-long breaks, plus a mini vacation in July would give continuous flow of knowledge.

Teaching high school students for 35 years convinced me that the traditional 10 week summer break causes students to lose or shorted their retention from the previous year.

I am pleased to hear that President Obama has also called for additional instructional days, similar to the schedules of countries in Asia and Europe. Americans should support our president’s call!

Youth is our nation’s most precious resource. We must devote more funds to ensure that our wise investment will help america to successfully compete in the global economy of the 21st century.

Anthony Pilla

Forest Hills

Solyndra payola

Dear Editor:

There is an old expression “power corrupts.” If someone donates enough money to a politician he (or she) can do things the majority of us cannot. Now that Rick Perry is running for president, stories are emerging about how campaign donors were able to get special favors in Texas.

On the other side of the aisle, I always thought that the Obama administration was just plain incompetent.It seems that it is also corrupt.Despite being rejected for loan guarantees by the Bush administration, Solyndra, a maker of solar panels, was given $535 million in federal loan guarantees by Obama.Obama hailed the company as being in the forefront of American green technology.Now, the company is bankrupt, 1,100 workers have lost their jobs and the United States is out $535 million.

Solyndra spent nearly $2 million lobbying the federal government the past few years — not to mention that George Kaiser, who was one of Obama’s key 2008 campaign donors and bundlers and a major investor in Solyndra — visited the White House to help push for the loans.The Department of Energy and the Office of Management and Budget were both pressured to sign off on the deal by the White House.One would have to be naive to not see the connection between the donations and the granting of the loan guarantee.

In the meantime, more companies are applying for loan guarantees.Can we really trust this administration to make the right decisions?The government is not capable of deciding winners and losers in the marketplace.Remember Jimmy Carter and synfuel?If Obama continues down this same path, he will share the same fate as Mr. Carter.

Lenny Rodin

Forest Hills

Tax ’em like France

Dear Editor:

“The French, they are a funny race” is a phrase from a 1955 British film comedy. Republican congressmen Bob Ney of Ohio and Walter B. Jones Jr. of North Carolina did not think them funny when the French so strongly, and now proven rightly, stood against Bush taking us into Iraq. These two self-styled “patriots” actually managed to convince many like-minded conservatives to henceforth eat only "freedom fries" rather than those traitorous greasy french fries.Somehow french toast survived to live another day, and although Canada was also against the ill-conceived invasion, it did not get its Canadian bacon put on the chopping block. Oh those immoral haughty French.

Well, perhaps our country could learn a little about true patriotism from that “funny race."Warren Buffet recently suggested, “an exceptional tax levy on our nation’s wealthy to help America manage its debt burden." Republicans immediately cried that “class warfare” has been declared.Some war: cannons versus pea shooters.

In France, 16 of the wealthiest individuals have now mimicked Buffet and voluntarily called for a special tax on the wealthy to help manage their own national debt burden. The wealthy pay a top rate of 40 percent. Plus, they pay an annual wealth tax on their total assets, fees of between 0.5 and 1.8 percent on assets above $1.1 million, not to mention all the other estate and inheritance and gift taxes and social taxes and corporate taxes and value-added taxes.Nevertheless, they insist on helping their country at this time of severe distress.I’m sure some in our country will say they are doing it for some devious reason but I think patriotism might be the true definition of that motivation.

Some of the uber-rich in our country besides Buffet seem to have feelings similar to their French counterparts.Stephen Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group, George Soros Fund Management and others involved in that “class war” are coming about, stating that the minuscule additional tax they would pay (as they did prior to the Bush Jr. tax cuts) is irrelevant to their total fortune, so they might as well save the country that gave them the opportunity to rise to the financial heights they have. How noble.Even our own Mike Bloomberg thought that it was the right thing to do. We do, however, have some like the Koch Bros., who have no limit to their greed.

As a great humanitarian senator from Massachusetts once said, “When does the greed stop?” And when does Patriotism start?

Nicholas Zizelis


Welcome to the discussion.