Get well soon
The recent news story about the 16-year-old high school wrestler from Long Island who has been stricken witha very serious bacterial infection really touches your heart. This fine young man is fighting for his life and we really all are praying for him and his family. We hope that he will make a speedy recovery to full health, and we hope that his family will continue to have strength and courage, as they are by his side while he is fighting for his life.
Please know that Nick and his family are in our thoughts and prayers each day.
NYC needs anti-terror funds
(An open letter to House Speaker John Boehner)
I write to oppose HR 519, which would cut $100 million in critical security funding for New York. This funding is intended to upgrade the security perimeter around the United Nations — one of the most significant terror targets in the world. Security funding for New York is a national priority, and I urge you to not bring this bill up on the floor.
The terrorist threat to New York has dramatically risen since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Since that day, there have been 12 known major terrorist plots against locations in New York City.Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has stated that the security of the UN is critical for New York, and has requested that necessary upgrades be made to provide adequate protection and address the structural deficiencies that create unnecessary vulnerabilities. It is my understanding that without these upgrades a car bomb would do extensive damage not just to the UN, but to the neighborhoods in the vicinity.
The NYPD has worked with the UN to identify specific vulnerabilities that are in need of addressing, and in response to these concerns the State Department made its commitment to apply certain unused United States contributions to the UN to make the security enhancements. The NYPD supports funding for the security improvements and opposes any efforts to compromise such funding.
I share a commitment to reducing excess federal spending in a fiscally responsible and prudent manner; however, this legislation is not the appropriate solution. HR 519 will put in jeopardy the critical security enhancements that have been identified by the NYPD and the UN. I strongly urge you to reconsider your decision to bring this flawed legislation to the floor.
United States Senator
Back Cuomo’s budget
Re “Boro faces teacher layoffs in exec budget,” Feb. 3:
Gov. Cuomo’s recently released budget plan follows the will of the people and delivers on his campaign promise: closing the $10 billion deficit with no new taxes.He did this by exposing the Albany insiders’ secret formulas that automatically drive up spending and therefore increase the bite the state puts on taxpayers.In reality, when these hidden gimmicks are taken out of the budget, the governor was able to close the remainder of the deficit with less than 3 percent in cuts!
But wait. Assemblyman Rory Lancman, channeling Chicken Little, immediately forecast the sky would fall, schools will become outdated and class size will expand dramatically. He says, “This cut goes to the bone.” Really?A 2.8 percent cut goes that deep, Mr. Lancman?Most families in New York, and in Queens particularly, have had to make economic adjustments in this economy, some far greater than 3 percent.
Perhaps the assemblyman’s view is colored by the company he keeps with all the other Albany insiders and lobbyists.Or maybe he truly believes that tax increases are always the answer of first resort. Whichever it is, Mr. Lancman shows himself to favor secret formulas, higher spending and increased taxes.The people of his district should bear this in mind when next he asks for their vote.
Spokesman, Committee to Save New York
Right on Walmart
In response to your editorial regarding Walmart (“It’s only fair to welcome Walmart,” Feb. 10), you hit the ball out of the park. Just who does the City Council think they are by telling us who can open a business in New York City?
I live in downtown Flushing, where there is an overwhelming number of businesses that do not use English on their signs, do not speak English and have shown no desire to change. Well, let’s welcome a store that speaks English and has signs in English, where people greet you with a simple smile, hello and thank you.
Wake up Christine Quinn and her posse; we want Walmart. Now it’s up to those of us who want this to happen to contact our City Council people and remind them that they work for us.
I hope we can make room in Flushing for Walmart.
Mary Ann Boroz
Wrong on Walmart
The Mighty Giant Will kill off small businesses just as it did in small towns and cities across the USA. And what replaced them? Pawn shops and loan offices!
I can see why your Feb. 10 editorial favored Walmart: They took out a full-page ad in your paper as in all media, small and large.
Barbara K. Brumberg
Editor’s note: Actually we favored the free market and your right to shop where you please long before Walmart’s reps called. And we’ve received far more in advertising over the years from small businesses. Anyone who missed the editorial can find it at queenschronicle.com.
Shop Walmart? Up to you
Many including myself would agree with “It’s only fair to welcome Walmart” (Editorial, Feb. 10), butsadly manyelected officials, including Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and many of her council colleagues, continue standing in the way.
Virtually all public opinion polls reveal that New Yorkers would like the opportunity to shop at Walmart. The retail, wholesale department store and other unions who oppose it make campaign donations and endorsements, run phone banks and provide volunteers to many of the same elected officials who oppose it. To avoid the appearance of conflicts of interest, they should have to return those campaign contributions.
Perhaps, your next editorial can expose the dishonorable role of council members who oppose the creation of jobs, good prices and tax revenues that would be created by Walmart. Walmart may actually pay higher salaries and offer more benefits than some of its competitors, such as Target, K-Mart, Costco and BJ’s, which are already here.
Several hundred thousand New Yorkers work off the books, full and part-time, with no benefits or insurance. Many existing retailers pay minimum wage with no benefits. Public officials who oppose Walmart never talk about these abuses.
It is time to allow Walmart the opportunity to compete in the city marketplace. “Politically correct” patrons don’t need to shop there, but they should allow everyone else a choice.
Great Neck, LI
No Walmart here
Re “Atlas Park Walmart?” Letters, Feb. 3:
How can you think that Atlas Park could have a Walmart? The tiny streets in this area can't support the traffic we get now and you want to triple it?
Second, why do you think Walmart will magically create more jobs? Most of the people who work for Walmart earn such a low wage they qualify for public assistance. Why don't you take a look at some statistics regarding Walmart before you beg for it to come in and ruin our city? Take a look at pubadvocate.nyc.gov/files/walmart.pdf.
As a parent of a second grade student in District 25, I have observed some disturbing trends over the last several years in schools citywide and in the one my daughter goes to. For one, our wonderful, veteran teachers are being forced into early retirement by abusive administrators. They were often the teachers you turned to for educational advice. Many of our schools are now filled with inept and inexperienced principals, many from the Leadership Academy, and novice teachers who are not lasting more than a few years.
In addition, there is a widespread use of a balanced literacy reading and writing curriculum also known as Teachers College and a fuzzy math program known as Everyday Mathematics. At best, the programs are lacking in many ways and need to be supplemented with other programs because of their deficiencies.
My daughter spends the majority of her day working with a partner, reading on her own or sitting in the meeting area just listening to her teacher. Little, if any, content is taught.
It doesn’t get any better in the upper grades and I’ve learned that proponents of balanced literacy believe that focusing on those things stifles creativity. But how can you be a successful writer when you haven’t mastered basic writing skills?
Math experts from all over the country have analyzed the Everyday Mathematics program and have stated that the program is so lacking, it should never be used in elementary schools because it does not prepare students for higher math. But administrators are prepared to tell parents that it’s a “spiraling” program, and if your child doesn’t master a skill the first time, he or she will master it next time. And if your child has any difficulty, just reach for a calculator. Math professors argue that these are poor methods of teaching basic math skills and leaves kids behind.
After some careful research, it became clear to me that the DOE made the wrong move with these programs.
Parents should speak with principals and demand they remove these terrible programs from school. Many principals know the harm of these programs but keep them because it’s cost-effective to do so. Some parents in the district have been successful having these two programs removed from their schools. It’s time they are removed from all schools.
Local students first
PS 130, located on the corner of Francis Lewis Boulevard and 42nd Avenue in Bayside, is a K-3 elementary school specializing in science and technology. The school is geographically located in District 26 but serves District 25 students who are bused in, while local students are bused to various crowded elementary schools in District 26.
Historically, the school served local students, but many years ago, in a political decision, the school was closed to neighborhood children. For a long time, community groups, residents such as myself and elected officials have been lobbying to ensure that local students have first priority in attending this wonderful school. Local students are allowed to attend PS 130 only if there is room after District 25 students get first dibs. Then the locals have to go through a lottery system to gain admission.
I recently attended the open house at PS 130 and was told that this school year all students who applied from District 26 were accepted. This is a positive step forward, however, why should local children have to stand in line to attend their neighborhood school? It is outrageous and it is time that children living within walking distance be given first priority placement to attend. If there is then room for other students they should compete for the remaining seats. The program for children with special needs on the first floor of this schools should remain there. It is a terrific program.
Busing children in from District 25 to PS 130 and busing local students to other schools just doesn’t make sense in these economically difficult times. During this cold and snowy winter, I see children within easy walking distance of PS 130, standing on street comers in the early morning hours waiting for their bus to come. It certainly is not fair or pleasant for them or their parents.
I learned at the open house that the deadline to apply to attend this school in the fall is March 4. I would urge all parents who live near this school and who have children entering grades K-3 to look into this program. If it would be beneficial for their child, they should file an application. Also remember to file for your zoned school in case your child is not accepted.
It is not anyone’s intention to disrupt the education of the District 25 children attending PS 130. However, there must be a change in determining gets priority. Even if it takes several years, the school should return to serving neighborhood children first.
Parents and our parish
Your story “St. Mel’s priest resigns after parental pressure” (Feb. 3, multiple editions) was an affront to St. Mel’s parishioners who consider the “outraged parents” misguided in their understandable reaction to the discovery of a convicted serving as a CCD volunteer with approval of the Brooklyn Diocese.
Our pastor, Father Turczany, dismissed the offender as soon as the up-to-date facts were known so this incident could not justify the “outraged school parents” demanding his ouster. However, as your story details, it was called “the final straw” by a small group that sees the school as a private institution divorced from the church community of the parish, despite the fact that parishioners without children in this excellent school regularly subsidize it.
Your reports of the “parents and parishioners” who have come forward as “unhappy for several years” give an accurate account of the controversial cell phone antennas, except that they were erected before Turczany arrived and continued to provide much needed subsidy for the school; you carefully add, “Many blamed Turczany for the towers.” Following the protests, he had them removed after a long contractual struggle with the cell providers. In your story the Fox News motto — “We report. You decide.” — was followed by “not so much.”
The two dramatic events of 2006, the year Fr. Turczany arrived, were also reported: a custodial employee who wounded himself in his home with an unlicensed gun and a stolen Christmas collection of $30,000 (mostly checks which were stopped and never cashed) whose thieves “were quickly arrested.” Your report that “parishioners say [the safe] was not well protected” seems inadequate. The procedures regarding the safe had been working for 40 years; Fr. Turczany changed them immediately after the theft. We, the parishioners, thought he did the right thing.
Finally, you reported a “parent” saying that parishioners and parents were “furious” when the rectory was sold and the money was used to convert the old convent (attached to the church building) to a rectory because “the parents” wanted a gymnasium for students. The parish needs include the school budget; downsizing the physical plant helps to subsidize the school budget. Most of us parishioners thought he did the right thing. How many of the “outraged school parents” are parishioners? How many of them are not interested in our parish at all? Your story does not say.
Fr. Turczany is one of the most efficient, diligent, productive administrators St. Mel’s has had in the last 45 years. Any implication that his administrative style caused or encouraged these events is based on misguided or malevolent interpretations. Your paper might do all our Queens Catholic parishes a service by investigating the root cause of this injustice — the basic dichotomy between the motivations of some vociferous school parents and the concerns of authentic parishioners.
The writer has been a parishioner of St. Mel’s since 1965.