A party hijacked
First let me say, the Queens Chronicle has one of the best Letters to the Editor section of any of our local papers. The letters published are diverse, plentiful, unedited and within reason not limited in length. The Letters section has become an important part of the papers. It is interesting to read the thoughts of our neighbors and how those thoughts were formulated. Some of our other local papers could learn from the Chronicle’s generous venue set aside for letters.
In the Jan. 5 paper there was a letter by a Mr. Anthony G. Pilla. In it he decries the lamentable juncture of today’s Republican Party. His first sentence sums up the tactics of our present Republican Congress: “delay, obstruct, block or kill every Obama proposal.” Their simple mantra is echoed by the delusional wannabe 1 Percent: that for any plan set forth by President Obama, “Just say no!” Say no, even if it is a plan previously proposed by Republicans themselves.
What ever happened to the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower; with politicians such as Javits, Rockfeller and Lindsay — intelligent men of stature and quality? They have been replaced with the likes of Mitch (Top Priority) McConnell and John (No Compromise) Boehner, and the rest of Congress taking marching orders from an insignificant Grover (Under No Circumstance) Norquist; not to mention the sorrowful parade of candidates vying to be on the Republican Presidential ticket in 2012.
The Grand Old Party has been kidnapped by radicals such as the Tea Party who cry that they want to take their country back. Take it back indeed; back to what we were prior to finally developing a solid “United” States of America, back to packing a pistol anytime anywhere, back before civil rights, back to flying the confederate flag over civic buildings and even seceding from the Union (Hmm).
On the following week, Jan. 12, I read a defensive letter in the Chronicle (“Who’s Immoral?”), futilely refuting everything stated by Mr. Pilla. In it the writer states, “I am not a Republican.” Whenever someone volunteers, “I am not a ...” in defending his rant, you know, the “gentleman protesteth too much.”
If it looks like an elephant, walks like an elephant, sounds like an elephant and smells like an elephant ... it’s an elephant. Right on, Mr. Pilla, write on.
Shovel the snow
Again it snows here in Maspeth. Again the sidewalk next door to me is not shoveled from my house to the corner of 59th Place. The sidewalk from 59-48 60th to the corner of 60th Street is not shoveled either. Neither are the 60th Street bridge and the Andrews Avenue bridge.
I have a bad heart, but my sidewalk is clean. I can’t understand why these sidewalks are never cleaned after it snows and nothing is done about it.
Do you think this fair?
The writer is former president of the Maspeth West End Block Association.
FDNY double standards
Re “Reverse Discrimination forced on FDNY,” Editorial, and “Special recruitment for black FDNY candidates,” Jan. 12:
I am appalled, outraged, bewildered and everything in between that grown men could not keep track of their calendars and realize that they had to do something that could impact their lives by a certain date. Did they need larger, easier to read calendars? Maybe they needed to highlight the date?
My son and his friends are 18 years old and knew that they had to file and pay for the test by the required date. And what was that date, everyone? Sept. 15, 2011. Then it was extended to Sept. 19. Simple, right? Not simple enough for others; they needed an extension because they didn’t have calendars with the month of September included in them.
Now my son and everyone else has to have their dreams and hopes postponed because other people cannot follow guidelines and deadlines.
If this group of people can’t even show responsibility in applying for a job in a timely fashion, what makes them candidates for saving someone’s life? If they are hesitating on just completing an application, will they hesitate going into a burning building?
I agree with David Rivkin’s letter “What FDNY bias?” in the Jan. 19 edition: Make full public knowledge of the so-called discriminatory questions on the tests. It is hearsay at this point because one group is crying foul. If the same test is given to the same people, where is the discrimination?
Give us the facts, not whining — that some needed more time, needed more guidance, needed this, needed that. The reality is that there was one test and some people just could not pass it for whatever reason(s) and some others cannot face that fact. Be real, people.
City lies on taxes
During his recent State of the City address, Mayor Bloomberg made a statement which cannot go unchallenged.
The mayor said, “We said we’d ... hold the line on taxes. And in partnership with Speaker Christine Quinn and the City Council — we did.” This is patently false.
The mayor raised property taxes again, and the speaker and City Council rubber-stamped the hikes again. Specifically, I own a single family home in Queens, and my tax rate went from 17.364 percent to 18.205 percent of assessed value. While that might not sound like much, it translates into a 9.68 percent increase in property tax, or a whopping $575.24 a year.
Since Bloomberg has been mayor, he has proposed raising property taxes every single year (and in 2010, actually two times) and like clockwork, the City Council has approved all of them. In fact, my property tax has been raised about 150 percent, which works out to an increase of around $3,800. Other homeowners in this city have had to suffer through similar astronomical increases.
For the past three years, Mayor Bloomberg has publicly stated that he has balanced the city’s budget without raising taxes. Not true. He has raised property taxes. On Speaker Quinn’s website, she states that she has not raised taxes since she has been speaker, which has been since 2006. This is also not true. We must remember this when she runs for mayor in 2013.
Apparently, both the mayor and the speaker subscribe to a new and unique economic theory — that property taxes are not taxes. They both have been, or will be, the cause of more and more middle class homeowners fleeing this city.
Obama must fight
In the State of the Union address the president served notice that henceforth he has finally accepted that working with the Republicans in Congress is a non-starter. For three years the Republicans have waged war upon Obama. His response until recently was to try to breach the partisanship that stymied the administration.
The onslaught by the Republican contenders for the nomination consists of never ending attacks upon Obama. There is a racial overtone to their attacks by rhetorically asking the crowds what country the President is representing. The retort by audience members was “Kenya!”
Newt is just as nasty as Romney but tosses in the media. Gingrich hopes by attacking the press that he will silence its investigation into lobbying and his lousy leadership and shenanigans while in Congress and his marriages.
Romney paints those who seek tax fairness as “envious.” The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street both detest unfairness from rather different angles.
Regardless of their obvious contradictions many of their supporters will find Romney’s description as hard to swallow when the tax rate most are subject to is double his.
The presidential campaign promises to be as mean as any has been. With political action committees spending millions without control by the candidates or transparency, the public should expect a TV blitz that will be nauseating.
Obama is in a street fight without rules. For the velvet gloved president this means to say what he stands for while changing from a community leader to a warrior.
Dem lousy lies
I had to laugh when I read the juvenile attempt at portraying Republicans as heartless monsters for resisting the president’s
stimulus spending, healthcare boondoggle and pervasive entitlement schemes (“GOP immorality redux,” Letters, Jan. 19). These parrot opinions have always been lodged at libertarians who oppose government-as-charity. Republicans often don’t, but should, reject socialist programs like Social Security, which assumes that government can redistribute wealth from working families to the more-affluent retired class.
Putting people on food stamps is not generous, it is very dangerous.
At least one in six Americans are on government assistance because collectivist schemes have put them there and our long-term economic stability is increasingly at risk. The only way anyone in Washington can help the unemployed is by protecting property rights, keeping taxes low, and otherwise standing clear of the creative forces that built America. If there is anything at all to be done by government, it must be local. Let the states experiment in aid to the chronically poor.
Though it is often derided and usually misunderstood, capitalism is the only thing that can raise an entire nation’s standard of living. No other system can better provoke enterprising individuals to generate real wealth and spread it around. So, in fact, if anyone’s morality is to be brought into question, it would be those who wish for the federal government to do more. Such meddling do-gooders keep the poor struggling and dependent while middle-class families are gradually pushed to join their ranks. It is time we stop judging statist policy-makers by their good intentions and start taking heed of their bad results.
The day the welfare system made it more desirable to stay on the dole than to marry, work and achieve something, was the day the Democrats declared war on America’s poor. Genuine conservatives like Ron Paul who embrace the principles of free markets and private property and limited government are the real champions of relief for 50 million poverty-stricken Americans. If Republicans get serious about nominating a candidate as unlike Obama as possible, we can be sure the American people will make him a one-term president and the weakest among us will have a chance at prosperity once again.