This is in response to Bucky Turco of Manhattan:
Come to Astoria and see all the graffiti. It breaks your heart to go out in the morning and see all your neighbors’ doors and houses tagged. Maybe you should have given your address so all the taggers can visit you.
We are lucky to have a crusader like Councilman Peter Vallone. We grieve for Ari Kraft’s family. If they win their lawsuit, maybe they’ll donate it to clean all the tags in our communities.
This is an “open letter” to the majority (Democratic) party, here in Queens and in America.
All the polls have shown disagreement with the war in Iraq, the proposed “troop surge” and even with President Bush himself. All of the elected Democrats, including all those from Queens, expressed similar anger and resentment and promised to change things, in the majority.
They now have the power to end the war today, by “defunding” all operations and bringing our troops home and saving their lives.
You voted for them to do this, but now they refuse. They continue to blame the president, yet won’t vote to end the war themselves. Now they hold the blame for this war continuing.
And what will you do about it? You’ll talk and scream, then do nothing. Then vote for them again and again.
How lucky can an elected official get? I wish I was an elected Democrat. It doesn’t take much to fool you people.
So, enjoy the lies.
Bayside High School
The recent cloud cast upon our school hinders the illumination of the many successes involving our English language learners at Bayside High School. The Queens Chronicle’s Jan. 18 story, by Colin Gustafson, has prompted me to describe the successes of our English language learners as a tribute to them. They have proven that the human spirit can transcend the many obstacles of learning a new language, adjusting to a new culture, and redefining the self. The article cites data provided by the New York State Department of Education that the English language learners did not meet the graduation requirement, which was 1 percent less than the state minimum.
The data does not reflect the number of English language learners who achieved proficiency and were mainstreamed into regular classes, the number who excelled in standardized exams, those who achieved honor roll status, and those who upon graduation were accepted at some of the top universities and colleges. The data do not include the number of first prize winners of citywide essay contests and the publication of one such essay in the New York City Department of Education’s Performance Standards manual.
These successes rarely reach the public’s attention and I often wonder why. It would be a tribute to all students, not only to those of our school, to know that their struggles to achieve academic success touched the hearts and souls of others. Should the 1 percent failing rate negate these successes and should a cloud be cast upon an entire school of 4,000 students who have exceeded the graduation requirements?
I realize that we must strive to meet the needs of every student and to create learning environments that take into account all the variables such as linguistic and cognitive learning styles, small classes for individualized instruction, socioeconomic factors that often impact attendance and learning, and other significant factors. As stated in the Chronicle’s Jan. 18 editorial, “holding them to a single academic standard, then calling them failures for not living up to it, is unconscionable.” If the criteria used for evaluating academic progress are based on “unconscionable premises,” it follows that any conclusions based upon them lack validity. This is the truth that needs to be revealed in your front page headline. It is as evident as the statement: “Beauty is truth; truth beauty.”
English as a Second Language teacher,
Bayside High School
The president’s 2008 budget proposal is a real disappointment for families that need after school programs, and for all of us who want to see children in safe, supervised activities with opportunities to learn and grow each afternoon.President Bush proposes to spend less than $1 billion for afterschool in fiscal year 2008 — far less than the $2.5 billion authorized by the No Child Left Behind Act for Fiscal Year 2007.At a time when 14 million K 12 kids in this country are unsupervised in the afternoons, we must do better.
After school programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and help working families, and there’s no question that we need more of them. National polls tell us that an overwhelming majority of Americans want after school programs to be expanded. A national 2006 survey found that 72 percent of voters agree that our newly elected public officials in Congress should increase funding for after school programs. That’s true here in Queensas well.
Let’s hope that when Congress develops the Fiscal Year 2008 budget, they keep our kids in mind and increase funding for after school.
Deepmalya Ghosh,director of Youth Development Programs, The Child Center of New York,
In response to Michael Tortora’s Don’t Quit Iraq letter from the Feb. 1 edition, I say, the man from Crawford, Texas, who currently resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., has a failed policy of bringing democracy to Iraq.
While he calls on Americans to focus on his “win at all cost,” his vice president, the real brains behind this war, was granted five deferments during the Vietnam War. Remember those “sound bites” Bush made three years ago? — “We will get Osama bin Laden — dead or alive,” and the one I really like: “Bring ’em on,” referring to the numerous insurgent groups created after his military occupation of Iraq.
As one who taught American history to high school students for 35 years, I can only say that the Bush 43 presidency will rank last in presidential standings. Move over James Buchanan — George W. is now dead last.
Bungling Bus Routes
The city defends its bungling of school bus routes by rebuking its critics, saying “they have no experience in doing anything,” perhaps suggesting bungling is better than doing nothing. It is the height of arrogance to mock the aggrieved parties who have mistakenly placed their trust in government to do the right thing. There is ample evidence the government has bungled many things, many times, in many ways and, by virtue of its omnipotence, extended and intensified countless deleterious effects on all its citizens.
It is reasonable to assume that if bus routes can be bungled, not to mention mail delivery, so can our property rights if placed in the hands of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. President Ronald Reagan warned that “the most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
Re:“Little Neck Seniors Lose Convenient Drugstore,” by Liz Rhoades in the Feb. 8 Queens Chronicle, the story was a healthy dose of interesting information, which is just another reason why we look forward to each issue of the Queens Chronicle. Your comprehensive coverage of local news from all neighborhoods around Queens is appreciated.
We are regular patrons of the Little Neck Drug Store located at 254 23 Horace Harding Expressway as part of the Deepdale Shopping Center complex, just off Little Neck Parkway. This independent drugstore is open seven days per week and is accessible by both the Q79 Little Neck Parkway and Q30 Long Island Expressway buses. The owners and staff are friendly, courteous and know many customers personally. The Little Neck Drug Store offers better prices on many items than Eckerd, CVS, Duane Reade and other big name pharmacy chains.
If we don’t continue to patronize and shop locally, more and more stores are going to follow the path of Patrick’s Pub by closing and moving out of the neighborhood. Leave your car at home, get some exercise and walk around the neighborhood. There are many other great independently owned stores on both Northern Boulevard and the Long Island Expressway between the city line and Douglaston Parkway that would welcome your patronage.
Larry and Wendy Penner,
Off Duty Cop In DWI
Re:“Wounded Student’s Dad Vows To Sue City, NYPD” in last week’s Queens Chronicle,I wish to share my utmost concern and sympathy for young Nickossi Mathurin and his family. The tragedy they have suffered must be unbearable. If Police Officer John Duggan was intoxicated and it led to the motor vehicle accident, then he has a terrible burden to bear.
However, I do not believe that the city of New York nor its Police Department should have to bear the burden of paying for Duggan’s actions.After all, who is the city of New York? It is me, you and all of the Chronicle’s readers.High monetary judgments against the city cause all of us financial distress. Plaintiffs, and their attorneys name the city as a defendant because of its deep pockets.The city seems to have become a general whipping boy and easy target.
I certainly do not mean to suggest that Mathurin should not be compensated and made whole for his injuries and suffering.I sincerely hope the best for his recovery.But I do not believe that the city or the NYPD should be held liable if an off duty officer becomes intoxicated, operates his vehicle and causes an accident. Again, when the city pays, we all pay.
The More Things Change
Re: “Cutting Regions Turn Old Problem Into New: Parents,” published on Feb. 1,community superintendents under this new system, for the first time, will be responsible for the evaluation of principals in their districts according to your article. It should be noted that, under New York state law, community superintendents have always been the rating officers for principals of middle and elementary schools.
The chancellor or his designees are responsible for high schools. This new system is just reiterating what is already in place, by law.
Council of School Supervisors
Two stories on Jan. 25 and Feb. 1 about the death of retired Bayside Police Officer Cesar Borja gave incorrect details about his work at ground zero after 9/11.
Borja did not work 16 hour shifts for five months. As reported in the New York Times on Tuesday, Borja’s NYPD logbooks recorded that he worked 12 hour shifts near ground zero for a shorter period of time. He first reported for duty in Lower Manhattan in December 2001 and was not a first responder.