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Queens Chronicle

Letters To The Editor

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Posted: Thursday, January 29, 2009 12:00 am

Save St. John’s!

Dear Editor:

Queens faces a very real health care crisis, as it is confronted with the potential imminent closure of St. John’s Queens Hospital. St. John’s has provided quality healthcare for years to a large segment of the population in Queens. The termination of these services would create an irreplaceable void that would adversely affect the health and well-being of people residing in the area served by St. John’s.

In the absence of St. John’s, valuable time would be lost in transporting emergency patients to more distant facilities. The benefits of local health care delivery in a quality institution would no longer be available, to the detriment of the many who rely on the necessary services that St. John’s provides.

Additionally, many Queens residents who have been employed at St. John’s for years — providing essential health care services to many patitents in dire need of such services — will become unemployed. The impact of such a situation, especially in the context of our troubled economy, is self-evident. This would be a devastating blow to those who have dedicated their lives to caring for the sick and infirm.

No institution is perfect. There are examples of flawed performance in every field of endeavor. That there may have been some negative experiences by patients over the years regarding their treatment does not justify the closure of a facility that, in the vast majority of instances, has performed satisfactorily.

While local and state governments are feeling the pinch of our sluggish economy, and expenditures must be prioritized, it seems unquestionable that priority should be given to the provision of essential healthcare services. If massive bailouts can be provided to mismanaged profit-making companies, it appears manifestly unjust to withhold the funding necessary to ensure the existence of vital healthcare institutions.

It is sincerely requested that the state infuse cash into the bloodstream of St. John’s Hospital to keep it alive in its hour of need, just at St. John’s has provided life-giving treatments to its myriad patients over the years. The primacy of the health and well-being of the many Queens residents served by St. John’s demands no less.

Joseph Suraci

Middle Village

Sanitation issues

Dear Editor:

The last few snowfalls have once again shown how Sanitation enforcement picks and chooses who is ticketed for what — and as usual, makes absolutely no sense. Many of the sidewalks in front of the businesses along Liberty Avenue between 109th and 116th streets are never cleared, are extremely icy and lack even a sprinkling of salt or sand.

As usual, the sidewalk, landing and steps of the 111th Street A train station are in that same condition — creating a real hazard for commuters. Yet, in the time I spent on Liberty Avenue on those icy days, I watched Sanitation enforcement drive past more than once and do absolutely nothing; but on recycling days — watch them go to town searching for an errant can or jar that might make its way into the trash, or the greatest violation of all … a pizza box with some splotches of sauce on its inside that gets put in with the paper and cardboard. While I agree that recycling is important, it is hardly the pedestrian hazard created by an icy sidewalk. Somewhere along the line, some common sense must be applied. I’m talking about a governmental agency — how dare I mention common sense? Please withhold my name lest the Sanitation police decide to pay special attention to my address.

Name withheld

Ozone Park

Late Christmas

Dear Editor:

Can someone kindly pinch me to make me realize I am not dreaming?

Within a week we have a new senator who is not a liberal or Caroline Kennedy, we finally got rid of Hillary Clinton and Carolyn McCarthy is irked over the new senator’s approval by the NRA.

A little late, but there is a Santa Claus. There is hope for this state after all.

Edward Riecks

Howard Beach

Don’t cut pensions

Dear Editor:

As a retired union worker for the Board of Education, I was appalled by the politicians who think the ways to get out of the economic woes of New York City are to “reform” pensions and health benefits for union workers. These same politicians — who base most of New York’s revenue on Wall Street, who don’t see anything wrong with giving millions of tax free bonds to sports teams or billions of dollars to banks, and are very hesitant to tax the wealthy — want public employees who average $35,000 a year to have reduced pension and health benefits. This is barbaric.

Pensions are not luxuries, because in a civilized country, to feel one can meet old age without terror of impoverishment should not be a luxury. The so-called ‘bloated union contracts’ provide wages that enable a child … to have good meals and a nice house to live in, and a chance for a college education.”

There is an all out assault on pensions and healthcare benefits for one reason only — to try and save our economic system. In 1970, Eli Siegel, educator and founder of the philosophy “Aesthetic Realism” showed that an economy based on profit for a few had failed because it was unethical and based on contempt for people. He defined contempt as, “the addition to self through the lessening of something else.” It is sheer contempt for humanity that now has millions of Americans worried whether they will be able to live with dignity in their old age.

The only solution for us to have an economy we can be proud of is if it is based on ethics and goodwill for every person.

Barbara Kestenbaum


Take back the subway

Dear Editor:

The philosopher Diogenes is still searching for an honestpublic official, after reading “Queens pols express anger to hearing about MTA budget” (Queens Chronicle, Jan. 22), to come out publicly when a fare hike is appropriate.You have to wonder how many Councilmembershave a MetroCard anduse it, versus having a staff member drive them to City Hall.

In the meantime, will either the City Council, city comptroller, mayor, state Legislature, state comptroller or governor advocate increasing funding by several billiondollars which may be necessary to support keeping the current fare structure, maintaining basic state of good repair and system expansion?

How will they be able to find more dollars, when both the city and state are facing current and future year multi-billion dollar budget shortfalls accompanied by declining tax revenues?

What existing programs might they propose reducing, as a source of funding to increase support for transit? Don’t forget that both the city and state face long term debt of over $55 billion dollars. New York City, New York State and the MTA along with California and Massachusetts comprise the top five public bodies with the greatest respective long-term debt.

Only the current champion of long-term debt, Uncle Sam atten trillion dollars and growingexceeds them.Intelligent riders who are taxpayers and voters are waiting for a brave elected official to come forward and tell us the truth instead of pandering on the issue.

NYC has the legal right at any time to take back control of its assets, which includes the subway and most of the bus system as well. Actions speak louder than words. If municipal elected officials feel they could do a better job running the nations largest subway and bus system, why not step up to the plate now and regain control of your destiny?

Larry Penner

Great Neck

Why close schools?

Dear Editor:

I am the parent of a child in St. Helen’s Catholic School.The kids there are getting a great education both in “school subjects” as well as in their faith.

My wife and I work very hard to afford the tuition to send her there, because we want to give her the best we can.The choice to send your child to a Catholic school is not necessarily an easy one, but must be made by the parents, not the neighborhood.I do not want my ability to choose taken away from me.

I wonder sometimes if everyone who says “close the schools” knows what would happen if that did occur.The public schools would be inundated with new students.Would the public schools be able to handle this influx?It would more than likely strain resources to the breaking point.That is, if they are not strained already.

It is very easy for people to say “close the schools” when they are not involved in them.I went to Catholic school and chose to send my child to one as well.She is getting the education she needs, and she is having her spirituality tended to as well.

Allow me to make my choices, as I respect your right to make yours.

J. Gillespie

Howard Beach

Bloomberg’s generosity

Dear Editor:

It has just been reported that Mayor Mike Bloomberg is the 9th-ranked giver in America. He truly walks the walk and talks the talk. He has done it with his wallet and donated $235 million.

I’d like to salute the mayor who truly cares about those in need. He should be an example to us all, whether it be giving a few dollars to those in need in these hard economic times or even donating our time to a worthy cause.

I think it truly exemplifies what President John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” President Obama has also called for all of us to give of our time, talents and resources for the greater good. Let us all respond to the call of our neighbors in need.

Frederick Bedell Jr.

Glen Oaks Village

Welcome to the discussion.