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Queens Chronicle

Letters To The Editor

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Posted: Thursday, April 22, 2010 12:00 am

A child’s privacy

Dear Editor:

As a trial attorney, I am known for being vocal in court. After seeing your cover story regarding Assemblywoman Ann Carrozza’s decision not to seek re-election, (“Who will replace her?” April 1, Northeast Queens edition), I feel it necessary to vocalize my objection to the accompanying photograph.

Almost daily, we’re inundated with news of child predators, rapes, murders, etc. As technology progresses, our private information becomes more and more accessible; information on public figures even more so.

While your story of Ann Carrozza’s decision was related in part on her maternal instincts, I fail to see the newsworthiness of parading a picture of her 4-year-old child on the cover of your newspaper. Granted, when a person becomes a public figure, they forfeit a level of privacy that extends to the general public. I think the right to privacy of the child in this photograph has been violated and as such, your newspaper has potentially unnecessarily put this child in jeopardy.

You can justify telling your readers of Assemblywoman Carrozza’s reasons not to seek re-election, even though the story relates to her child(ren), but you cannot justify the need for putting the child’s picture on the cover of your newspaper. For the safety of the child, this photograph should have been cropped to exclude him. The photo’s tagline included the child’s age, from which anyone can glean his school grade level. Further, since the photograph included a picture of Assemblywoman Carrozza’s home, along with her car, including her license plate number, you have all but provided all the information necessary for a child predator to strike.

News agencies such as yours must police themselves to balance newsworthiness vs. the potential harm of their articles.

My father tried in vain to persuade me to enter politics. If it means possibly putting the life of my young child in jeopardy, thank you very much, but I’ll pass.

Dana B. Friedman

Kleinberg & Friedman, Esqs.

Manhattan

Save the boards

Dear Editor:

Community boards are made up of unpaid community volunteers who consider various land use issues and other area concerns that may be occurring in the local neighborhoods that each board covers. These issues include rezonings, variances and other requests from local businesses and developers, landmarking issues and education, transportation, parks, environmental and health issues affecting the community at large. They also prioritize requests in the capital and expense budgets for projects needed in the area. All of the community board’s votes and decisions are advisory in nature. Other city agencies takes those votes and decisions into account before final decisions are made.

I have been a member of Community Board 11 since 2005 and a lifelong resident of Bayside. I am concerned to read and hear that funding for community boards may be deeply cut by the mayor. These cuts would effectively paralyze the boards. Some suggest that these boards may be entirely eliminated by the City Charter Revision Commission. Either of these scenarios would be devastating to the people.

Community board meetings are comparable to town hall gatherings, a cornerstone of our democracy. They provide opportunities for everyone to speak on the issues that affect quality of life. When issues come up for a vote at board meetings, I have found community input invaluable.

In order to work effectively, a paid staff and an equipped office is needed for each board. The money required to do that work is a miniscule amount compared to the entire budget of the city.

I would urge the City Charter Revision Commission to maintain and even strengthen the role of local community boards. I would also urge the commission to look for additional ways of making other city agencies more responsive and accessible to community needs and concerns.

The decisions of the Board of Standards and Appeals are final, unless challenged by a costly lawsuit. There needs to be a review and override process, probably through the City Council, to reexamine BSA decisions that go against community interests. The Department of Buildings needs an overhaul as well. Community leaders and residents have long complained about the efficiency and effectiveness of that agency. Many of our elected leaders have called for reform of these and other city agencies, most notably former Councilman Tony Avella. However, little progress has been made due to a variety of reasons, many of them political in nature.

The City Charter Revision Commission should be considering changes that will strengthen the public’s rights to determine what happens in their neighborhoods. The public’s participation and representation in the functioning of our city is of paramount importance and needs to be expanded, not curtailed.

Henry Euler

Bayside

Why call the cops?

Dear Editor:

Your April 8 article on Astoria auto break ins (“Shattered glass shocks Astoria residents,” Western Queens edition) occurring especially on 37th Street caught my eye.

On the morning of April 7 on 37th Street off Ditmars Boulevard, I observed a black male approximately 30 years old steal the two side view mirrors off a parked pickup truck. I yelled at the perpetrator, who fled on a bicycle.

I called 911, whose operator showed no interest and said it was put in the “system” and that I should hold on for a taped message. The message stated in essence that all units were busy. No one ever responded.

The 114th Precinct in my opinion is a bunch of glorified meter maids. I will never call 911 again except for an ambulance.

George Higgins

Astoria

Thank you

Dear Editor:

A year ago, my family was dealt the tragic news of my niece being severely burned at a camp fire. A fundraiser was established to provide support for her and her family.

Easter Sunday 2010 was the first time that many of our family had visual contact with her since the tragic news. Although painful to many, our emotions were contained and we continued this blessed and miraculous day.

With skin grafting and plastic surgeries she has endured this devastating injury. Her education has now come into the mix and she is handling it well.

Her road to recovery is a long one but she will persevere. When she emerges into the light from her “tunnel of darkness,” not only will her family be there but everyone who made it happen.

Without your generosity and prayers this would have never occurred.

My family thanks you and may God bless each and every one of you.

Frank DeLessio

Ozone Park

Pols could save the MTA

Dear Editor:

There is a way to stop what’s reported in “Transit agency sets dates for citywide service cuts”(April 1, multiple editions).Each of the fiveborough presidents,51 CityCouncil members, 62 state Assembly members,24 state Senators, 14 members of Congress and two U.S. senators could each donate $1 million of theirrespective member item discretionary pork barrel funds to the MTA.This could raise $148 million dollars, which couldassist the MTA in the preservation of free school passes along with canceling theproposed elimination of some bus and subway routes orreductions in frequency of service.

Elected officials could use a small portion of their “pay to play” campaign funds to take out advertisements on bus shelters, subway stations, buses and trains taking credit for preservation of specific routes within their districts.This could generate additional revenues for the MTA from their advertising vendor. It might even garner a few votes for some public officials.

Larry Penner

Great Neck, LI

Chronicle’s right on taxes

Dear Editor:

Kudos to whoever wrote the editorial of April 15! (“No new taxes on Wall Street”)

It’s about time somebody finally understands basic economics. It is the “middle” workingclass and small business owners that ultimately suffer when the wealthiest 1 percent of citizens (or businesses) are taxed at ridiculously high rates. “Trickle down” economicsis not a theory but

a fact.

I especially agree with theeditorial’s implication that money is used much more wisely in the hands of the private sector than the hands of politicians.Businesses, both large and small,are inthe business of increasing their wealth. That’s called incentive. Politicians are in the business of being re-elected. And that means catering to the will of unions, vocal special interest groups and the wishes of their constituents, whether wise or not.

Over the past several decades we have already seen countlesscorporations taking their business out of the United States. High taxes and unrealistic union wages and pensions have driven the “out-sourcing” movement, taking middle class jobs toMexico, China, India and Southeast Asia. While manufacturing plants inthe U.S. continue to close, increasing the number of citizens on welfare rolls, everything from clothingand shoes, furniture and appliances, to Hershey’s chocolate is produced outside our borders.

Try calling the customer service number when you have a problem with your new electronic device. Chances are, you’ll speak to a technician in New Delhi. Check the labels on your clothing, shoes and accessories. Good luck finding an item made in the U.S.

Remember Robin Hood? Hesupposedly took from the rich to give to the poor. But he kept quite a bit of booty forhimself. Sound a little like today’s corrupt politicos?

Taking from the rich to give to the poor did not work in the Soviet Union, it did not work in China. It won’t workhere.

Kathleen Louis

Broad Channel

No, tax the bonuses

Dear Editor:

In your April 15 editorial you disputed Comptroller Jon Liu’s comments on a proposal to put a 50 percent tax on bonuses earned by Wall Street financiers. You state that such money earned by the rich is used to “hire people at the companies they own; buy products made by middle- and lower-class workers who might be unemployed otherwise; or investthe money — giving banksthe funds they need to make loans.”

I disagree that personal bonuses paid to the tycoons of financial businesses and hedge funds have any such effect. It is the culture of Wall Street to pay large bonuses regardless of performance. There is a serious problem in our society when failing financial institutions such as Citibank, Bank of America and AIG, all of which needed federal bailouts to survive, pay bonuses to the same executives who caused their failure.

Furthermore, these bonuses are personal payments to executives of these institutions. The recipients do not go out and hire people to expand their firms. These payments are used to maintain their luxurious living styles. They are used to buy multiple homes (some overseas), private jet planes and yachts and to pay country club dues. Instead of investing in businesses, the funds are used to invest in artwork and jewelry. The impact on our economy is minimal. If instead of paying out bonuses, the companies plowed back these funds in their businesses, the effect on our economic recovery would be greater.

If these “fat cat” bonuses were uniformly taxed at a 50 percent rate by all states (preventing people from shifting their income to other states to avoid paying taxes), the taxes collected would be better used to rebuild our infrastructure, improve our schools, healthcare, etc. This is a far better use of this money than the purchase of yachts, planes, mansions and artwork.

Bernard Weisenfeld

Laurelton

Turn arrow needed

Dear Editor:

(An open letter to Councilman Eric Ulrich)

I would like to bring to your attention a serious community traffic safety problem of great concern to myself and my neighbors.

At the intersection of 156th Avenue eastbound and Crossbay Boulevard in Howard Beach there is a traffic signal but no left-turn arrow. We feel there is an immediate need for a left-turn arrow at this location since on a green light vehicles going eastbound on 156th Avenue are permitted to turn left and vehicles going westbound on 156th Avenue are permitted to turn right at the same time. Pedestrians are also permitted to cross the intersection at the same time. This is a very dangerous mixture.

The city Department of Transportation has been advised of this traffic safety issue and the request to install a left-turn arrow at this location but has been dragging its feet in making a decision for the past year and a half.

As our councilman, we are asking for your help in getting the DOT to expedite our request.

Stephen Geffon

Howard Beach

The writer is a regular contributor to the Queens Chronicle.

A legendary cop

Dear Editor:

In regards to your article concerning Peter Vallone Jr.'s upcoming trip to Italy (“‘Fortunate’ Vallone taking a trip to Italy,” April 15, Western Queens edition): You actually rate having been friends with Teddy Roosevelt an “accomplishment?”

NYPD Det. Lt. Giuseppe “Joe” Petrosino had far more real accomplishments under his belt.All of which, I might add, were omitted from your article. Allow me, please, to enlighten your readers.

He created the first police bomb squad in this country’s history.

After being promoted to lieutenant, he was put in charge of the NYPD’s elite Italian Squad to deal with the twin problems of the Cosa Nostra and the Black Hand in this city’s Italian-American community. He was so effective in this capacity that crime in New York’s Italian-American neighborhoods dropped an incredible 50 percent!The Italian Squad (later called the Italian Legion) became the prototype for later organized crime task forces throughout the country.

He pioneered witness-protection and intelligence-gathering programs to aidlaw enforcement officialsintheir war on organized crime.His group set up a vast network of both paid and unpaid informants.

He rescued legendary Neapolitan tenor Enrico Carusofrom the clutches of the Black Hand, who had been demanding monies from him in exchange for his life.

He uncovered convincing evidence that anarchists in upstate New York were plotting tomurder President William McKinley.He passed this information along to the Secret Service.Then-Vice President Theodore Roosevelt vouched for Petrosino’s skills as a police investigator.Tragically, McKinley ignored the warnings and was shot in Buffalo by Leon Czolgosz on Sept. 6, 1901, dying eight days later.

According to Petrosino, his greatest accomplishment was rescuing one Angelo Carboni from certain execution in the electric chair for murder by finding the real culprit and bringing him to justice.

As I stated earlier,it was these that were hisreal accomplishments, not merely being a drinking buddy of “Old Rough Rider.”

In all fairness to you, however,nowadays it’s not what you do but who you know that determines your status in society.Just ask people like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian.

Nicholas J. Narducci

Whitestone

Welcome to the discussion.