No livery hails
If Mayor Bloomberg gets his way, livery cars will be allowed to pick up street hails. The plan is so bad, it’s opposed by livery drivers, community board leaders and even Queens taxi drivers like me, who’ve worked hard, played by the rules, and in return, will see their livelihood destroyed.
We all agree that Queens deserves first-class taxi service. But right now, that’s not what we’re getting. Instead, unlicensed livery cars are roaming the streets, trolling for passengers and stealing taxi drivers’ fares — and instead of cracking down, the TLC wants to make it legal.
Taxi drivers want to expand service to the outer boroughs, just like everyone else. But letting unlicensed drivers freely compete with yellow cabs in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island isn’t the solution — it would just undercut hard working drivers like me who’ve been driving for years, chasing the American dream.
I work hard, six days a week, and barely make ends meet.If livery cars are allowed to steal my fares, I don’t know how I’ll be able to make it.
Howard Beach wronged
The April 10 Sunday Daily News had an article that I thought was going to be about Pia Toscano. The headline was “The Pride of Howard Beach/Singing her praises as Pia lands contract.”
Instead the first few paragraphs were about how it’s wrong to imagine that Howard Beach is the exclusive domain of gangsters and racist thugs. Then it went on to say that when people hear the name Howard Beach, they think of John Gotti and the 1986 incident in which a black man was chased and died when hit by a car on the Belt Parkway.
It mentions a pizzeria as a kind of landmark where the ’86 incident began. The article says, “In recent days a sign went up in the window of New Park Pizza that invoked the opposite of bigotry and brutality.” The sign said, “Go Pia.” Did the News mean that the people who work there are bigots and brutal? They had nothing to do with the incident, which has nothing to do with the sign.
At the end of the article it goes on to say that the beautiful Toscano family happened to be in Howard Beach, “where there are many, many other beautiful families.” I guess that all the others are racists and gangsters.
The Daily News and Michael Daly owe the people of Howard Beach an apology.
Cameras cause crashes
Red light cameras are very dangerous to our neighborhood’s safety. They prevent t-bone accidents but they increase rear-ending and adjacent accidents.
These kinds of accidents are increasing because people are stopping short when they see the red hand on the walking sign so they don’t get a ticket. Then the car behind them doesn’t have time to stop and rear-ends them. Also cars are stopping short when the lightis yellow because if they are in the middle when the light is red the camera will take their picture and they will have to pay a fine. Even the buses do this because if they get a ticket, the money is taken out of their paycheck and they lose two days’ pay; and they don’t make that much money to begin with.
The government just wants money and they will get it in any way necessary even if it causes more accidents.I understand that going through red lights is illegal, but they should have a safer way to get these tickets. Over this past year, the government gained $55.4 million from red light cameras alone in the State of New York. People would like to know where the government spends this money because that same government is saying that we are broke. Where is this money going to?
The writer is a student at theRobert H.Goddard High SchoolofCommunication Artsand Technology.
Proper planting matters
Re “City tree project part of joint venture,” April 7, multiple editions:
Indeed trees are good, and I am sure that many a taxpayer is appreciative of the efforts to ensure a greener urban forest canopy in this borough and elsewhere.
However, I opine that an acceptable return on taxpayer dollar investment in healthy trees in our urban forest is more on the minds of many taxpayers than the tree-planting numbers game currently being perpetuated by the city’s MillionTreesNYC program.
For over three years under the million-tree scheme, countless arboriculturally inappropriate tree installations have been observed by many — from improper locations and tree spacing, to tree pollarding to the misplanting of new trees at unimaginable planting depths (clearly detrimental to the young tree attempting to establish itself). These are never corrected.
From this generation of new tree misplantings, communities across the city will be forced to live among trees that are not only handicapped from the start but prone to a myriad of long-term health and costly maintenance, and safety, issues for decades into the future. One wonders who’s going to pay for that?
Carsten W. Glaeser
Kissena Park Civic Association
DOE wrong on Bryant HS
As a former principal of William Cullen Bryant High School, I was saddened to learn that the city Department of Education had decided to close or restructure it. As your readers are aware, the school has a storied history of providing an outstanding education to the students of the Long Island City community. I am convinced the DOE has it wrong.
When I became principal of this great school, the graduation rate at the end of my first year, 2003-04, was 54 percent. In the 2006-07 school year 71 percent of all Bryant graduates earned a Regents diploma and 88 percent had post-secondary college expectations (9 points higher than the rest of the state). When I left after the 2007-08 school year, the graduation rate was at 57 percent. I recently heard that the graduation rate for the 2009-10 school year had gone up to 59.6 percent.
Given the fact that less than 40 percent of the students that arrived at Bryant HS as freshmen were on grade level, one might expect that only 40 percent of the students would graduate on time. That the graduation rate is almost 20 percent higher indicates that Bryant has been doing an outstanding job.
I wonder what the statistics of the incoming class are now. Why is that information not so easily accessible? Perhaps the DOE wants it that way. What has the DOE has done to support Bryant with resources over the past many years? Not much, unfortunately.
A few years ago when I saw the other large high schools in Queens in danger being of closed down, (LIC, Newtown, Grover Cleveland) I knew Bryant’s days were numbered. This was due to the fact that more struggling students would be moved to Bryant as other schools began restructuring. If you listened to the mayor and then-Chancellor Joel Klein (a Bryant graduate) you often heard them talk about their desire to close larger high schools. This past year, when the DOE suddenly decided to label any school not having a 60 percent graduation rate “low achieving,” it seems they finally got their wish (by 0.4 percent).
Despite the fact that the DOE has labeled Bryant persistently low-achieving, I would counter that the data and community say otherwise. If permitted I would affix a different label, calling Bryant instead a Persistently Improving School; one that has served the community well for over 120 years. And given the proper resources would do so for the next 120.
Christopher J. Pellettieri
Bellerose Village, LI
DOT just made it worse
Re “Liberty Ave. stores struggle to survive,” April 7, South Queens edition:
While it takes no genius to see that the Liberty Avenue and Crossbay Boulevard traffic pattern in Ozone Park is the most horrendous thing that some idiot at DOT has come up with, it poses a bigger danger for pedestrians crossing Liberty Avenue to catch the A train in the mornings.
When the light on Crossbay and Liberty turns red, you are not in the clear just yet to cross the street, as the northbound left lane on Crossbay has a green left turn arrow. This turn is permitted at Rockaway Boulevard, and the green arrow lets drivers proceed up to that turn lane.
Most times people crossing do not look in that direction; those of us who do wind up standing in the middle of the street waiting for the cars to stop. If you are on the sidewalk, by the time the walk signal gives you the OK, you barely have time to get across the street before the eastbound Liberty Avenue light turns green with cars turning south. This is a potential danger for everyone, but especially the elderly, and standing on the island in the middle is not a good option at that intersection either.
As for the stores on Liberty Avenue complaining about losing business because of this traffic pattern, maybe so, but let’s face it: that corner has been in a downward spiral for several years. I myself do not feel safewaiting for the bus due to the teenagers who congregate there every evening. You want business? Clean up the corner. It should not be a hangout for teens.
If people want to shop your establishments they can go around the block. Many times I’ve gone around the block, but today’s society is too impatient to take an extra minute to go out of their way.
This traffic pattern is just another example of thescrew-ups that someone who works for the city got big bucks, and probably a big promotion, to plan.
Here is a hint. Consult with the communities and business owners and see what they suggest. We live here. I doubt the person who studied and designed this catastrophe is remotely familiar with the area.
Stop cruelty to animals
Re “Squirrel’s death prompts probe, possible lawsuit,” April 7, multiple editions:
Our organization knows about trapping cruelty very well. Since 1944, we have worked to expose the cruelty associated with traps and fur farms. Learn more at furbearerdefenders.com.
The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals