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Queens Chronicle

Letters To The Editor

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Posted: Thursday, June 17, 2004 12:00 am

Another View

(Editor’s Note: This letter was sent to Reverend Dr. Charles Norris, Jamaica)

Dear Editor:

Reverend Dr. Norris: I am writing to you on behalf of the Broward County, FL NYPD “10-13.” I have received an e-mail news article (South Jamaica Leaders Protest Naming Center After White Cop by Keach Hagey, June 3rd, The Queens Chronicle) detailing your vehement protest in connection with a community center in your parish being named after assassinated hero New York City Police Officer Edward Byrne. You are quoted in an article stating that “It’s a slap in the face to the African-Americans who will use this facility.” “In this African-American community, we would think that there was an African-American police officer who was slain on active duty whose name would be more appropriate.”

Your statements and those of Betty Dopson and Danielle Kearsley are inflammatory, demeaning and an insult to every NYC police officer white or black. Let’s just look at your statement. Are you telling me that the center will only be used and open to black people, that white people are not allowed? This center is a gift to the people of Queens, all the people of Queens. You are a man of God and as such should not be spreading controversy and racial disharmony.

Do you treat white parishioners different from black parishioners? How can you advocate separation, any separation of police officer to police officer just because one is black and one is white? What in God’s name is wrong with you?

Eddie Byrne was murdered in the 103rd Precinct protecting black people against out-and-out racist murdering drug dealers. Police Officer Edward Byrne is a hero, not a white hero or a black hero, a hero. A hero of the best kind. He laid down his life to protect others. He never asked on that fateful night, February 26, 1988 whether the people he was going to guard were black or white. It didn’t matter to him. He was doing his sworn duty as a police officer, human being and devoted Catholic and in doing so paid the ultimate price, he paid with his life.

Not only did he pay with his life, his parents, friends and co-workers are still paying for the loss of a loved one. Why is the fact that he is white matter to you or anyone in the 103rd Precinct? He sacrificed himself for the people of the 103rd Precinct. Jesus Christ sacrificed himself 2004 years ago for all mankind.

The name Keith Williams is mentioned in the article…Detective Williams and his family would be appalled to know that his name is being used to disparage the name of another police officer who was brutally murdered in cold blood especially while protecting witnesses who are black. Please, do yourself a favor, don’t try to pit officer against officer based on race because we (police officers) are all blue, not black or white.

I implore you as a man of God to stop this racial dividing. Americans, all Americans have enough to worry about without any additional pressures from within this great country of ours, all of ours. What matters here is that the children of the 103rd Precinct and children everywhere are not subject to these stupid petty differences. They need to be taught how to get along with all people. Right now it’s hard enough for our kids with the atmosphere of terrorism in our country. Teaching children racism can only destroy everyone’s futures.

Police Officer Joseph Johnson, NYPD (Ret.)

Secretary, NYPD Broward County 10-13,

Margate, FL

Save Hospital

Dear Editor:

As you may be aware, St. Joseph’s Hospital in Flushing, is being considered for closure by the board of directors of St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center. Many of our residents in Flushing, Fresh Meadows and Queens know very well that St. Joseph’s Hospital is a special place of healing since many of the staff have been working there for over 10 years and others for much longer. Patients over the past 40 years have gotten to know the staff at St. Joseph’s and are on a first-name basis with them. The hospital is user-friendly.

The hospital has a well-known Eye Center run by Dr. Grasso and Dr. Weissman; a Podiatry Department run by Dr. Grisafi and Ambulatory Department staffed by Dr. Wadhwa; a Wound Care Center with hyper-baric chamber devoted to healing non-healing ulcers; an efficient Emergency Room where waiting time is less than an hour; a busy operating room that performs, on average, 20 surgeries a day; a full-service hospital, complete with intensive care and telemetry monitoring and full-service inpatient psychiatry.

It seems a shame to believe that with so much to offer and such a good reputation for caring, that such a hospital could possibly be considered for closure.

Dr. Patricia Ann Thomas,

Committee to Save St. Joseph’s Hospital,


Wake Up

Dear Editor:

While most out-of-towners mistakenly believe Manhattan is New York City and some shadowy netherworld lies beyond the rivers, the truth is Manhattan ranks third among the city’s boroughs in population and last in land mass. Within the city limits, some 412 million New Yorker’s live east of the Narrows on the largest island in the continental United States, Long Island. The Manhattan-centric shibboleth is seen as less than humorous by this often-maligned majority, which is entitled to a fair share of the city’s resources and the full attention of planners and administrators in public affairs.

Thirty years ago, the Long Island Rail Road went bankrupt and the city took the Rockaway Beach Line property in lieu of back taxes. Instead of improving track and renovating the antique stations, some dim-witted city bureaucrat deactivated the line, thereby completely severing all north-south mass transit in western Queens.

Imagine the same situation occurring in Manhattan—no north-south train service, no way to get from Wall Street to Lincoln Center except by car, no subway service from City Hall to Yankee Stadium except by limo (perhaps, little inconvenience to the mayor, but everyone else might find it insufferable).

Manhattan would slowly grind to a total halt, a deception on the surface that seems to take place daily, except most of Manhattan’s traffic is rapidly moving from place to place underground. Manhattan without north-south mass transit is unthinkable.

Why then is a similar occurrence, the total lack of north-south mass transit in western Queens tolerated with a shrug by city officials? Because it has no effect on Manhattan seems the obvious answer.

Woodhaven Boulevard and the Van Wyck Expressway are the only contiguous north-south passageways in western Queens and the resulting buildup to almost complete immobility during rush hours, directly stems from the absence of any north-south train service. The city exacerbated the situation by changing the laws to shelter shopping mall builders from environmental studies, which had effectively stopped mall construction because they added traffic to the already choked thoroughfares of Western Queens. So the big builders got relief and the borough’s residents got greater traffic snarls—a fair deal to politicians reaping a windfall from the largest lobbying campaign in city history.

New federal funds for mass transit are reinforcing the Manhattan-centric view of New York City, as yet more track and flashier stations are planned for Manhattan. Even planning in the boroughs centers on increasing the flow into Manhattan. Wake up Mr. Mayor and shake off the past, peer from the depression of Lower Manhattan to the millions of people east of the river. Look closely at their needs—north-south mass transit 30 years overdue, the need to move masses of people quickly and efficiently, the need for a well-planned, well-oiled, smooth-running society, simple concepts even a Baa-stonian can grasp.

Joseph Tiraco,

Forest Hills


Dear Editor:

New York City hit rock bottom by not closing down city government on Friday, June 11th, for the state funeral for former President Ronald Reagan.

While federal and New York State government offices were closed, to pay proper respect to a great President and human being, the city of New York not only stayed open, but also granted permits for protests and other venues.

Even Presidential Candidate John Kerry had the courtesy to cease his campaign until after President Reagan’s funeral. It seems that the rest of America, myself and whatever Americans are left in New York City, were caught up in the emotions of the five days of national mourning.

Not only were there heads of state, former foreign leaders, political figures from both sides of the aisle and allies attending the service for “The Gipper,” but also a former major adversary Former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev attended and paid his respects. I think this alone speaks volumes of what a great President and human being Reagan was.

He bought down that “Evil Empire” without even firing a shot. But where was New York City? Going along as if nothing was going on.

John Severa,

Forest Hills

Great President

Dear Editor:

Your editorial “Remembering Reagan,” was shameful, partisan and factually wrong.

President Ronald Reagan was unquestionably the greatest President of the 20th century. Thirty-three minutes after he took the oath of office, the American hostages were released.

When he took office, the top marginal tax rate was 70 percent. When he left office, that rate was down to 28 percent and revenue to the treasury was doubled.

His belief in smaller government and a stronger military was what brought the Soviet Union to its knees and freed millions from Communist oppression around the world.

His “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” works. As every parent knows, we tell our children that you must help yourself to the great things this country affords you. No one is going to give you anything for free, you have to earn it.

You are correct when you say taxes were raised, but you failed to tell your readers that for every dollar in tax cuts, Congress spent $1.84. It is Congress that spends the money. And finally, you seem to want to blame President Reagan for the spread of AIDS. This by far is the most disgusting part of your editorial.

As a proud Conservative Republican who, like Reagan, I am not afraid of political correctness. Let me tell you the truth about AIDS. AIDS is a behaviorally-spread disease. If we as a nation were not as promiscuous as we are, this disease would be gone. The prosperity that you speak of during the eight years a Democrat was in office is a direct result of the Reagan and Bush policies. Your president was too busy getting oral sex from an intern.

You end your editorial with “Let history speak for itself.” Fortunately history is written by historians and not editorial writers and history will show that President Reagan was a great president and President George W. Bush will be right next to him.

John Bluemke,

Hamilton Beach

Who Support?

Dear Editor:

In your Democratic Ranks Split in Flushing Over District Leaders story “Both Harrision and Rosario say they have nothing against Grodenchik…” So why would they no longer support him?

We should be grateful to have such a hard-working Assemblyman. If Harrision and Rosario are not supporting Grodenchik for Assembly, then who are they supporting?

Jeremy Jacobowitz,


Welcome to the discussion.