I agree with you completely in your call that a stimulus package is needed (“The future of the United States,” editorial, March 12). However, the stimulus package that the Democrats rammed through the Congress with only three Republicans supporting it is not the answer.Yes, thereare some essential projects in the bill but much of it is not needed infrastructure improvements.
A case in point is the hundreds of millions of dollars that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) added in conference for a magnetic train between Disneyland and Las Vegas to help draw more tourists to his state or the $30 million House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) added to help an endangered mouse in her district.
It should also be pointed out that much of the stimulus package will not be spent until 2011, at which point the economy may be humming again with the result that the additional federal spending could add to inflationary pressures.
Another drawback to the stimulus bill is that it gives money to states like New York which facedlarge deficits, not so much because of the economy but because the state increased spending by a rate much greater than inflation over the past decade and now revenues are not keeping up.
Should states like NewYork be encouraged not to make fundamental changes in their budgeting since the federal governmentis giving them a one year fix to their problem?I think even this paper would agree with me on that point.
President Bush’s biggest problem was that he let the Republican Congress spend money without any challenges.That is why the Republicans lost power.Now, despite President Obama’s promises in the campaign to go through the budget line by line, he is letting the Democratic Congress do the same thing.
I guess in Washington, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Frozen Cup will be missed
The recentclosing of the Bellerose Frozen Cup ice cream stand was disappointing, but understandable.For years, my wife and Idrove several miles past other ice cream shops to patronize the Frozen Cup.
Queens has evolved over the centuries from the Indians tothe firstEuropean settlers followed byfarmers, estate owners, single family home owners, two or more attached multifamily homes, garden apartments andhigh rise apartment houses.Every year, thousands of businesses also come and go in neighborhoods all around the city. Changing, evolving neighborhoods isthe nature of life, progress and economic growth.
Each new generation of immigrants will make their own economic investments. Some will succeed and some will fail.The law of supply and demanddetermines the profitability of any business,value of land and usage.The new owner, Harshad Potel, eloquently illustrated this fact of life with no takers tohis public offer to sell the establishment at a $100,000 loss.
Over time, the free marketplace will determine if construction of a hotel at the site will be economically viable or not.In the meantime,consumers of soft ice cream including my wife and I will have to look elsewhere for a tasty treat on a hot summer day.
Larry and Wendy Penner
Out of touch with reality
As a parent of a Middle Village child in the 8th grade, I am going to have to pay $7,000 a year because I do not want my child to attend Newtown High School. Anyone who states the Middle Village/Maspeth area does not need a high school is out of touch with reality. I will not even touch the “monster” comments.
Buy more guns
I was sad to read that Ray Kelly, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and Councilman James Sanders Jr. are all in agreement on waiting several months for warmer temperatures to have better success on the 919 guns taken off the street. Look how long it took to get this gun buyback on the calendar.
Why let innocent people die before the warm weather comes? I feel waiting will let the community down with such a great program. Run with this. I feel it should still be in effect. I feel one gun off the street is one gun in the proper hands.
Help honor history
The Bayside Historical Society, headquartered in Fort Totten, is experiencing financial hardship because the state funding that it relies on in order to operate is frozen in Albany. Other nonprofits that also serve the community are experiencing the same problem.
The Bayside Historical Society is trying to preserve the wonderful history of Bayside and surrounding communities through exhibits, lectures and education programs. The organization has restored the Officers Club at Fort Totten, watches over the historical Lawrence Cemetery, preserves archives and provides interesting and relevant cultural events for everyone. The comprehensive educational program has been developing steadily and it is hoped that the program will continue to expand in the next few years so that children and adults alike can learn of and appreciate our impressive past, as we progress into this new century.
These are bad economic times for everyone. The organization does earn income from programs, membership dues, grants and rental of its facilities, however, not enough to pay all heating and building expenses, insurance premiums and administrative costs. We have cut staff and expenses to the minimum. But we need the state funds that were promised in order to keep functioning to service the community.
State Sen. Frank Padavan is doing all he can to convince Gov. David Paterson and Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith to release the necessary funds, however, those funds are still frozen at this time. Please call the governor at (518) 474-8390 and Smith at (518) 455-2701 and ask them to facilitate the release of the promised funds.
Organizations like the Bayside Historical Society, the Alley Pond Environmental Center, the Queens Farm Museum, the Poppenhusen Institute and the Queens Botanical Garden must be adequately funded because they educate and serve us all. They are assets to our community and our city. They all deserve the support of the public during these difficult times.
You may have read that the main gate at Fort Totten is no longer guarded. This is a very serious situation that needs to be addressed. Security at the fort is important for everyone’s safety and enjoyment of the facilities. The main gate must have a guard on duty at all times that the fort is open.
Our great republic
We constantly hear in the news media that our form of government is a democracy. This is not true. In our Pledge of Allegiance, we pledge to a republic and not a democracy.
A democracy is one of the worst forms of government that we can have because it is rule by a centralization of governmental power in a simple majority. This leads to a dictatorship, tyranny and eventual destruction. No nation has ever survived under a democracy. This type of government is never mentioned in our Constitution nor in any constitution in our 50 states.
A republic is rule by law. This form of government has made our country great. We have a system of checks and balances which allows our laws to be changed only through certain processes.
Our forefathers gave us a republic because they knew the tyranny from where they came. As Benjamin Franklin said to one citizen, they created “a republic, if you can keep it.”
Blame the bankers
The biggest steal just occurred at the Jacob Javits Center. It was reported that 375 foreclosed homes were being auctioned off with starting bids of $69,000 and discounts of 60 percent or more. I find this a terrible shame when you consider the fact it was the greed of banks and lending institutions that created the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Think about the fact these banks have or are going to be receiving billions of dollars in bailout money and at the same time hard-working Americans are being thrown out of their homes. I find this to be a total travesty, not to mention the destruction of the American Dream. It may be me but I think there is something wrong with this picture.
Frederick Bedell, Jr.
Need Medicaid money
(This is an open letter to Gov. David Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Sen. Majority Leader Malcolm Smith)
Dear Governor Paterson, Speaker Silver and Majority Leader Smith:
As all levels of government continue to grapple with the consequences of the worst economic downturn in over half a century, we are shocked by your announcement that the state plans to withhold a much larger share of the total state Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) allocation than was originally anticipated.
Of the $11.1 billion in the FMAP funding for New York State, only $2.7 billion would be allocated to localities.Of this, New York City would receive no more than $1.9 billion, significantly less than the $2.1 billion in Medicaid financing expected over the next two years based on existing allocation formulas.
The outlined proposal undermines the state’s 2006 agreement thatlocal governments would only be liable for up to 3 percent of the annual growth in Medicaid costs, with the state picking up the amount beyond that.The 3 percent cap provides vital Medicaid relief, shifting the burden for additional costs back to the state, where decisions regarding Medicaid policy and parameters are determined.But under yesterday’s announcement, the state is reneging on the commitment to localities, forcing them to share a greater burden for growing Medicaid costs.
We understand the need at all levels of government to make critical adjustments in spending. It is of vital importance that these be made in a way that ensures core services and encourages the rebuilding of the economy.
Yesterday’s announcement threatens to take $200 million or more in badly needed federal stimulus aid from the city at a time when we are struggling to ensure that vital services are protected. For that reason, we urge you to reconsider the allocation of FMAP funding under the federal stimulus package to honor the state’s commitment to cap growing Medicaid costs.
Christine Quinn, City Council Speaker
Helen Sears, Councilwoman
David Weprin, Councilman
Leroy Comrie, Councilman
Melissa Mark-Viverito, Councilwoman
Joel Rivera, Councilman
Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Councilwoman
Sara Gonzalez, Councilwoman
Inez Dickens, Councilwoman
Thomas White Jr., Councilman
Dan Garodnick, Councilman
James Oddo, Councilman
Vincent Ignizio, Councilman
Melinda Katz, Councilwoman
Larry Seabrook, Councilman
(This is an open letter to Gov. David Paterson, MTA Chairman Dale Hemmerdingr and NYC Transit President Howard Roberts Jr.)
Dear Gov. David Paterson, Dale Hemmerdingr and Howard Roberts Jr.:
Once again the MTA has, by its failure to understand the historical significance of Jan. 20, understandably incensed the people of southeast Queens, and the community has put on record that they will not stand for it. We call on our elected officials to help the community be heard.
Several years ago, while MTA sought to tear up the Queens Village LIRR right-of-way and route hundreds of new daily trains past our crowded stations, MTA refused our demands for a hearing for the thousands of affected residents and riders in and near Queens Village. After demands from this community board and our elected partners, the LIRR president agreed to a meeting, but refused to tape or transcribe it or give it the stature of a public hearing. Instead, our residents had to travel several miles to hearings all over Nassau County to be heard on the record.
Now, the MTA has done it again. On Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, the MTA scheduled a public hearing in northwest Queens concerning a proposal for numerous fare increases and service reductions. For the people of southeast Queens, Jan. 20 was the equivalent of a national holiday. Everyone there was focused on a new president, not MTA hearings.
But the MTA had proposed major service reductions affecting our resident in Cambria Heights and Laurelton who have no alternative buses. These changes include the total elimination of the Q84 bus route and the Q110 route. In addition, the Q79 route weekend service was to be eliminated and weekday service reductions imposed. There was no advance discussion or notice to the community of the Q110 changes or the Q79 weekday reductions.
The timing on Inauguration Day and its location excluded the people in our area most affected by these changes. For example, an elderly person who relies on the Q84 bus would have to take four buses and two and a half to three hours each way to attend the hearing. This was discriminatory, disrespectful and totally unacceptable.
We do not believe the MTA would exclude members of some other communities the way you did our area. The community has demanded at a recent public session of this board to be heard at a full MTA public hearing in our area. I urge you to consider this request and contact my office as soon as possible.
Community Board 13
The problem with the stem-cell controversy is that nobody really knows the truth. As with global warming, supporters distort, exaggerate and lie about the facts in an effort to convince the public that stem-cell research is going to cure everything from Parkinson’s disease to spinal injury to heart disease.
Supporters of stem-cell research refuse to acknowledge that there are valid arguments on both sides of this issue. Any opposition is portrayed as nothing short of religious zealotry. The sad truth is that in our society today, there is more opposition to research being conducted on animals than on human embryos.
The Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day Parade is now called The Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I’m not in favor of the name change, but it got me thinking.
The Queens County residents living on the mainland have to pay a toll to be part of their great parade. These same people, in order to take the family to see one of the great oceans of the world, must pay a toll to experience its awesome power. The funny thing is that MTA records indicate that most of the toll money collected at the two bridges going to Rockaway basically funds the cost to collect these tolls.
These records also show that in some years these bridges operated in the red mainly due to these collection costs. I know this is hard to believe. However, I hope that our local political leaders would review the MTA’s records, as I did.
To resolve this crazy situation, I suggest that the authority transfer these two bridges to the city or state, and eliminate the tolls. In this way the bridges could be eligible for large federal subsidy funding, from the gas taxes we pay. The U.S. government does not provide funding to toll bridges or roads.