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Queens Chronicle

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Posted: Thursday, July 1, 2010 12:00 am

BP and the GOP

Dear Editor:

The GOP (Grand Oil Party) has finally cleared the air. Their philosophy has always been … support big business not big government.

They stated it was “un-American” to attack BP for defending it’s principle: profit over safety! Let’s look at BP’s oil drilling history:

1. 750 safety violations. 2. Texas city platform explosion in 2005. 3. Alaska’s North Slope oil explosion in 2006. 4. Deep water horizon rig explosion, killing 11 in the Gulf this year. 5. BP retained Transocean, a firm that is registered in the Marshall Islands, to erect the Horizon Rig. Could this be to avoid off-shore federal safety regulations? 6. Did BP and the Minerals Management Service federal regulators violate drilling permit laws? 7. Since April 22, BP has lied concerning the amount of oil sprewing daily into the Gulf, not once, but many, many times. 8. BP’s CEO, Tony Hayward, was known to “kick the can down the road” at the House energy sub-committee hearing. 9. Will BP-America’s next oil drilling disaster take place in the Arctic Ocean, where they plan to begin operations later this year, provided they get federal permits?

Here comes the GOP merry-go-round: Joe Barton — Michelle Bachman — Rand Paul — Rush Limbaugh … All holding hands as they rally ’round the BP flag.

I trust the American voters will keep this in mind when they vote for the 112th Congress in November.

Anthony G. Pilla

Forest Hills

Hold off on hydrofracking

Dear Editor:

(An open letter to state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver)

We are writing to you in strong support of companion bills A.10490-A (Englebright) in the Assembly and S.7592 (Addabbo) in the Senate. As you know, this legislation would institute a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for oil or natural gas in New York State until 120 days after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency completes its comprehensive study on this controversial method of drilling.

The New York City Council has been working diligently on this issue for the past two years, and we remain seriously concerned about this type of gas extraction. Not only did the EPA recently determine that it’s necessary to investigate the potential adverse impacts associated with hydraulic fracturing, but it also allocated $1.9 million to conduct a study on the possible health and environmental consequences of this type of drilling. In light of this, we feel it’s reasonable and prudent to understand the forthcoming science before permitting this activity in our state.

As harrowing accounts of contaminated water, soil and air due to hydraulic fracturing come in from across the country — and as the federal and other state governments have failed to confront the phenomenon of federally unregulated, unconventional drilling — New York is in a unique position to show much-needed leadership on this issue. Let our state’s action be an example to other states striving to come to grips with the emerging environmental perils and unknowns of hydrofracking.

Companion bills A10490-A and S7592 simply call for a full understanding of the environmental consequences of hydrofracking before allowing it to be undertaken in our state. We believe the logic behind these bills is overwhelmingly convincing, and we urge you to support and enact this important legislation.

Thank you.

New York City Council members

Christine C. Quinn, speaker

Manhattan

James F. Gennaro, chairman

Committee on Environmental Protection

Fresh Meadows

Helen Diane Foster, chairwoman

Committee on State and Federal Legislation

The Bronx

Korean War: a U.S. success

Dear Editor:

It perhaps seems ironic to label the Korean War, which began 60 years ago on June 25 and is frequently called the “forgotten war,” America’s most successful military undertaking. But it achieved its objectives and had the most satisfactory long-term results.

Specifically, the country we saved, South Korea, has gone on to become one of the world’s strongest democracies; for more than half a century, the U.S., Chinese and former Soviets in Russia have respected the 38th Parallel that separates North and South Korea; and, as both sides in the Korean War refrained from using nuclear weapons, it initiated the idea of limited war, which characterizes the way warfare has been conducted for the past 60 years.

In contrast to the lasting benefits secured by the Korean War, the First World War, while certainly a military victory for the United States, failed to lock up a political peace. World War II was also an American triumph but it opened the door to Soviet expansionism and set the stage for the Cold War. The other 20th-century military slam-dunk, the Persian Gulf War of 1991, protected the West’s oil supplies but left Saddam Hussein in power.

Though it tolerated when the conflict as it was fought, America couldn’t wait to forget the Korean War when it was over. Little did the American public know then what a successful venture it would turn out to be.

Martin H. Levinson

Forest Hills

Queens GOP still doomed

Dear Editor:

There is still more to “Speranza says to vote for candidate, not party” (Liz Rhoades, June 24, Northeast Queens edition).

In 2008, Rob Speranza ran a spirited campaign with little money or support,against Democratic Assembly member Ann Carrozza.He also worked enthusiasticallyfor the re-election of Republican/Conservative Sen. Frank Padavan, who barely squeakedby with less than a 500-vote margin of victory.

Remember the old saying, if at first you don’t succeed tryagain?With name recognition from his 2008 race and background as a retired police officer,one would think thatPadavan and local Republicans wouldembrace Speranza as their candidate for the 26th State Assemblya second time in 2010. How ironic that they abandoned Speranza for Queens GOP Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone as the “official” organization clubhouse candidate.While Tabone deserves credit forraising $90,000,at the end of the day money may not make the difference.

Everyone knows that the only competitive races in Queens will be Padavan’s Senateand the open 26th Assembly seat.Queens Democrats have no other electoral conteststo worry about.

It is unlikely that former GOP City Council member Anthony Como will defeat Democratic Sen. Joseph Addabbo to reclaim former GOP Sen. Serph Maltese’s district. Comocouldn't hold the local Council seat.Mostunion endorsements which previously went to Maltese are going to Addabbo since his party is in the majority. The GOP Senate campaign committee will send what little money they have to Padavan, leaving Como holding an empty bag.The Queens GOP will do the same.

As a result,Democratswill pile into both races whatever funding is necessary, along with hundreds of clubhouse and union hall volunteers, to defeat both Padavan and keep the 26th Assembly district in the Democrats column.Speaker Sheldon Silver and the Democratic State Assembly campaign committee have no real conteststo defendin the other 59 New York City seats they control.Silvercan send whoever wins the 26th Democratic State Assembly primary several hundred thousand dollars at a moment’s notice. The GOP State Assembly campaign committee is broke.

Every two years, the GOPcandidate trying to reclaim the 26th Assembly seat formerly held by Republican Doug Prescott has lost.Sen. Padavan reminds me ofNero — the Roman emperor who fiddled while Rome burned.He has consistently had no political coattails to elect anyone to the 26th or any other Assembly seat.

Padavan’scampaign slogan, “Nobody cares like Frank,” might be “Nobody cares likeFrank — but just aboutFrank.”To paraphrase “Gone with the Wind,” “Frank, my dear, doesn’t give a damn” about electing other Republicans to public office.

Larry Penner

Great Neck, LI

Add a luxury tax

Dear Editor:

Everyone screams about taxes and the severe cuts in public services — decreased library hours, firehouse closures, lost hospitals and fare increases.

It seems to me that those who can afford goods priced at 10 to 20 times the average cost of similar items can afford a 10 percent luxury tax.

Many of these designer goods are manufactured out of this country. If you want those sexy shoes for $1,200 or that fancy “bespoke” suit for $6,000, you can sure cough up a luxury tax, too.

If a salaried worker making less than $40,000 a year pays into FICA every month throughout the year, his boss who brings in $800,000 may only pay for a few weeks.That is lopsided and unfair. Many people work two jobs to make ends meet as costs of everything climb, from groceries to gasoline. I also think essential but very low-paying jobs should get transit passes rather than retirees and their families.

Now, many may argue that business is the American way:What largess one earns should be kept. Well, we’ve been there, and look at the mess we’re in. It is time to give back!

B.K. Brumberg

Howard Beach

Smoked if they had ‘em

Dear Editor:

Re “No butts about it on beach smoking,” June 24, multiple editions:

In my opinion, the bald eagle clutching an olive branch in one of its talons on the Great Seal of the United States should be replaced with a tobacco leaf. After all, it took three tobacco smokers (Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin) to defeat the Nazi war machine of the non-smoker Adolph Hitler during World War II.

Ciro Di Donna

Whitestone

Welcome to the discussion.