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Queens Chronicle

Letters To The Editor

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Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2011 12:00 pm

   I love O’Neill’s

   Dear Editor:

   I, like many of your readers I’m sure, was devastated by Monday morning's fire at O’Neill’s in Maspeth.

   My personal memories there go back 29 years, from taking my wife on a date for a burger, to enjoying many a night with friends watching sports events, having a cocktail and laughs, to having countless meals and my 40th birthday party there. They had last summer a huge Middle Village reunion there, late into the wee hours of the morning. It always was a meeting place for old times, because you created those old times there many years ago!

   My son and nephew met Rangers star Brian Leetch there one Mother’s Day, and many a late night I bumped into other Rangers or Mets there, especially in the ’80s!

   I can honestly from the bottom of my heart say that from a burger through finger foods, from oysters up and through the porterhouse steak, I never had a bad meal there! George O’Neill was kind enough to give my son a shot at his first job as a busboy, something that taught him hard work and the value of a hard made dollar! That I will always be grateful for. So, as you see, to my family O’Neill’s was more than just a restaurant.

   As the legendary Phoenix rose from the ashes, I truly hope that O’Neill’s can do the same. Maspeth would truly not be the same community without it, and I hope that a new O’Neill’s is in the cards for all our futures.

   Good luck to George and the whole family, hope to see you soon! You can do it, and we will be back if you do!

   Joseph C. Makowski

   Maspeth

    

   Justice at last

   Dear Editor:

   Our NavySeals have done America proud in making Osama bin Laden pay the ultimate price for his crimes against humanity. They must be commended for a job well done.

   Thousands died on 9/11, and many more died in the wars that resulted from bin Laden’s hatred of America. But now he goes to a much darker place than he could ever have imagined. For death is only the beginning of his suffering and joins others like him that had no regard for innocent human life.

   As President Obama said, “Justice has been done.” In that there is no doubt. Now those who lost loved ones on 9/11 can feel a measure of retribution for that day of infamy. It truly can be said that the one most evil has left the building.

   Frederick R. Bedell Jr.

   Glen Oaks

    

   Dump Pakistan I

   Dear Editor:

   Osama is dead. That’s long overdue, and too many years have passed, diminishing the effect of killing the monster. Al-Qaeda has diversified since 9/11, with affiliates throughout the world. The U.S. and other nations have seen the results of homegrown terrorists who came to age during the manhunt for bin Laden. The terrorist threat unfortunately continues, and it should be expected that a revenge attack will occur.

   The compound which became bin Laden’s cemetery was close to Pakistan’s capital and near a military installation. The numerous claims by Pakistan’s intelligence service and government that bin Laden’s location was unknown to them must be severely questioned. The fact that the U.S. acted without prior notification to the Pakistanis clearly indicates our government’s lack of belief or trust in them.

   The Pakistanis have permitted terrorists to occupy the Northern Territories abutting Afghanistan, providing safe haven for Taliban and Qaeda fighters to kill American and coalition forces. The Pakistanis have stated that intrusions into their sovereign space would be met with military force even if coalition forces were in hot pursuit of fighters who attacked our troops.

   The U.S. has provided Pakistan billions of dollars in foreign and military aid. Much of those funds have been squandered, used to bolster their forces confronting India. It seems clear that our money was not used to find bin Laden or any terrorist intent upon killing Americans. It is time to recognize Pakistan for what it is, altering our relationship and accepting what are clearly the realities: Pakistan is a terrorist threat to the U.S. and western nations.

   Edward Horn

   Baldwin, LI

    

   Dump Pakistan II

   Dear Editor:

   In view of the CIA “Wanted: Dead or Alive” operation which resulted in the denouement of the homicidal sociopath,Osama binLaden,who resided formonths if not years in the military resort town of Abbottabad, Pakistan, I urge a thorough Congressional investigation into Pakistan’s possible role in obstruction of international justice.

   As Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) commented, “It’s very hard for me to understand how Pakistani [leaders], particularly the ISI [intelligence service], would not have known that something was going on in that compound.”

   And Daniel Markey, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said,“Either Pakistan’s intelligence service is terribly incompetent, fatally compromised, or both, raising questions about its utility as a partner.”

   Further, I think the United States has lost credibility in view of misguided foreign policies which installed tyrants as heads of state in Iran (the Shah) andIraq (Saddam Hussein), and supported the Islamic terrorist state of Pakistan with money and weapons. This Pakistani state is a haven for Muslim extremist criminals, and poses a serious threat to international and regional peace with its nuclear armaments.

   Who armed these bandits with weapons of mass destruction on the border of India as an American proxy in the face of the Cold War with the Soviet Union? America.

   Who armed the Afghan mujahedeen, one of whom was Osama bin Laden, from 1979 through 1989, emboldening him in his grandiose delusions of conquering superpowers? America.

   I call upon the Congress of the United States to terminate all financial and military aid to Pakistan, and for the United Nations to impose economic sanctions until all WMDs are dismantled within the country. Pakistan is an illegal state formed under the logic of Great Britain’s disprovable “two-state” hypothesis (Israel-Jordan, Ireland-Northern Ireland, etc.), and has been nothing but a catalyst for Islamic-inspired terrorism since its creation in 1947. ThatPakistan sheltered bin Laden for almost 10 years is the final straw that should break the camel’s back.

   Joseph N. Manago

   Briarwood

    

   Repair redistricting now

   Dear Editor:

   The Queens Civic Congress, an umbrella organization for more than 110 Queens neighborhood-based civic groups, thinks it’s time to put an end to gerrymandering.

   QCC believes this can come about only through an independent, nonpartisan commission for redrawing Assembly and Senate districts in response to the 2010 Census. To achieve that end, QCC has joined ReShape NY, a broad coalition of civic, business and union groups calling on the governor and state Legislature to establish a redistricting commission that will draw district lines using fair and defined criteria while engaging the public in the process. If New York is to have a Legislature that is responsive to the interests of constituents, citizens must demand this change from their legislators.

   Until now lawmakers have drawn the lines to maintain their own partisan majorities and protect incumbents. As a result, New York’s elections are notoriously uncompetitive. Without strong competition in our electoral system, meaningful discussion of public policy has taken a back seat to partisan rhetoric and unrealistic budgets.

   In the 2010 election, New York State had one of the lowest rates of voter participation in the nation. This is no surprise. Why should people vote if they face no real choice in candidates?

   Despite support from a bipartisan group of legislators who are working to have atruly independent redistricting commission in place in time for drawing the lines for the 2012 elections, the state Senate recently passed legislation that proposes a flawed constitutional amendment creating a redistricting commission that would not be effective until 2022 at the earliest. Voters of this state cannot wait another 10 years or more for reform. We deserve better.

   We ask Queens citizens to contact our state legislators and to insist that they support a truly independent redistricting commission to take effect immediately.

   Patricia Dolan

   President

   Queens Civic Congress

   Flushing

    

   Clean this pigsty

   Dear Editor:

   You’d think free people wouldn’t want to live in the equivalent of a third-world landfill, but at least one Long Island City neighborhood is pretty much that.

   Sidewalks all along the block where my office is located are a disgrace, but one address in particular on 46th Road harbors discarded whiskey bottles, discarded clothing, an abandoned bicycle, and more empty condom boxes, coffee cups and salad-bar containers than you can count.

   Rain and wind occasionally carry off some of the debris, but it never gets completely clean. Verizon and the post office line both sides of the street with trucks day and night, so street cleaning trucks pass the block by.

   I’ve complained to the Sanitation Department to no avail. Calls to our City Council member, Jimmy Van Bramer, also go unacknowledged.

   What does it take to get property owners to maintain their sidewalks and politicians to enforce the sanitation laws they enact?

   Bob Keefe

   Long Island City

    

   Obama’s birther blame

   Dear Editor:

   You are absolutely right in your April 21 editorial, “Dump Trump on his rump,” that Donald Trump’s campaign is disgraceful. He is just looking for free publicity.

   However, he did make more people come to the mistaken conclusion that President Obama was not born in the United States. Since those numbers were getting high, Obama asked Hawaii to release his long-form birth certificate. He could have done that two years ago but enjoyed the political advantage of making some of his opponents look stupid.

   If the birtherissue lasted way too long, Obama has only himself to blame for it.

   Lenny Rodin

   Forest Hills

    

   Addabbo’s got the energy

   Dear Editor:

   It seems like Albany has been talking about clean energy and its potential to create jobs for a very long time. Fortunately, Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. is doing something about it, and we’d like to thank him for real leadership on this issue.

   Right now, the state Legislature is examining a major initiative to revitalize New York’s economy by adding an impressive 5,000 megawatts of solar power capacity. As a co-sponsor of the New York Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act, Sen. Addabbo is playing an important role, helping blaze the trail toward a greener, stronger New York.

   The Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act is not only good for the environment — it will help reinvigorate New York’s economy in a very realway.

   This legislation will generate $20 billion in economic activity for the state and create at least 22,000 jobs (D- Howard Beach)across a broad spectrum of salary levels, skill and education requirementsand employment fields. What’s more, they will be local jobs, and difficultto outsource, meaning they will truly benefit New Yorkers.

   Right now, New Jersey — where this program is already in place — has sixtimes the solar capacity that we do. Clean energy has become a majorindustry in New Jersey, and its rapidly growing solar industry companiessay that this type of program has been critical to their success.

   It’s time to bring those jobs and benefits to New York. The Assembly is expected to pass this bill in early May. It already has strong bipartisan support in the state Senate, and fits perfectly in with Gov. Cuomo’s vision to make New York a clean-energy leader. All those years of talk about the innovation economy come down to this moment — Albany must act today for a better, more prosperous tomorrow.

   Marcia Bystryn

   President

   New York League of Conservation Voters

   Manhattan

    

   True term limits

   Dear Editor:

   Let me get this straight. I just read that state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), a self-proclaimed champion of term limits, has introduced a proposal to bring term limits to Albany. Great, if that’s what his plan really is. Unfortunately it is not.

   Sen. Avella’s plan calls for doubling each legislator’s term from two years to four years, giving each legislator four full yearsto dole out special favors to special interests in order to lock up their reelection bid. He would then allow them to serve for 16 years.

   The proposal isbeing foisted on the public under the guise of good government and being masked as a term limits bill, but in actuality it is a term extension bill. It ensures legislators the ability to consolidate their power, making it even more unlikely that they will everbe challenged or lose an election. It is already hard enough to unseat an incumbent in Queens, often referred to as the dynasty capital of New York.

   Sen. Avella’s constituents are too savvy to be fooled by this proposal. If he really wanted to implement term limits, he would leave the current two-year term in place and simply allow each legislator to serve a total of eight years before having toreturn to the private sector. It is time we had real term limits, but that is unlikely whenthe benefactors of such a proposal are the ones designing them.

   Bob Friedrich

   Glen Oaks

   The writer is a former candidate for the state Assembly and City Council.

    

   Separate church, state

   Dear Editor:

   It appears that Pepsi-Cola has designed a new soda can, a “patriotic” can.Besides depicting images of landmarks identified with America, they decided to also reprint the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag in its 1924 form. However, there are those who find it offensive by not including the most recent revision.

   Francis Bellamy, while preparing a Columbus Day celebration for a school program, penned the original Pledge of Allegiance to the flag in 1892.It remained as such until 1924, at which time one minor adjustment was implemented.The section “to my flag” was elaborated to read, “to the flag of the United States of America.” There was no distortion to the original meaning and intent.

   In fact the singular addition Francis Bellamy had originally wanted to include was the word “equality,” however the education committee at that time was against equality for women and African Americans, so he did not.

   Thirty years later in 1954 Congress acquiesced to the campaigning of the Knights of Columbus and tacked on the “under God” proviso.It’s ironic how Columbus is interwoven with the Pledge. On Columbus Day in 1892, the magnanimous secular patriotic oath for all Americans to the flag of our country is composed, and 62 years later, the Knights of Columbus see fit to confine it to only those who agree with their belief in a deity. Bellamy was a Baptist minister.If he thought “under God” was relevant to one’s love of country, he certainly would have included it in his Pledge.

   I personally feel that the 1924 version is the all-inclusive Pledge that applies to all Americans.I also feel that “under God” is no more appropriate being in the Pledge to our flag than distorting the Lord’s Prayer to read, “Our Father who art in heaven under the flag of the United States of America, hallowed be thy name.”

   Separation of church and state is an important foundation of our country — our secular country.One need only look at the predominantly theocratic environment of those countries in which we are presently and unfortunately militarily involved to realize the dangers of unifying the two.

   Nicholas Zizelis

   Bayside

   

Welcome to the discussion.