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Queens Chronicle

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Posted: Thursday, December 15, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 5:04 pm, Thu Dec 15, 2011.

Control guns now

Dear Editor:

The availability of illegal guns for people with criminal intent and others whose sense of moral responsibility is terribly impaired puts every one of us at mortal risk.The time isnowto change the way we are allowing this to happen before violent, random gun violence escalates and you and I and those we love and cherish wind up as the victims of lethal pieces of metal flying all over, no matter where we are, or what innocent thing we might be doing.

The past few weeks have presented a few cases that demonstrate the above. Riding on a bus on one’s way home from work didn’t prevent two people from getting their flesh being torn apart (ending one man’s life and disfiguring another) by bullets propelled by a stranger for no apparent reason except that he was angry. Another tragic incident involved a sworn guardian of our laws, a policeman investigating a robbery who was shot in the head and killed by lawless criminals without any compunctions about shooting a cop. We can safely assume that their guns were not legally obtained.

Isn’t it time for us in theseUn-United States to stand up and demand that the federal government throw off the shackles of the special interest groups that are hampering the growing necessity to control the manufacture, importation, and distribution of deadly firearms? Even though New York has fairly strict gun laws governing the possession of legal weapons, it is ridiculously and frighteningly easy for guns obtained in nearby states (whose gun laws are lax, and border on meaningless) to come here. As New Yorkers we are helpless in doing anything to stem this tide of metallic mayhem, and it is worsening as each week goes by.

The use of illegal guns in New York is reaching epidemic proportions. More and more innocents are bound to be maimed and killed as the flood of illegal guns fills the hands of those who would do harm unto others. In highly populated areas, where most Americans live today, easily obtainable illegal high-powered, hi-tech guns in the hands of persons of questionable character pose a real threat to our lives and our peace of mind.

Irene Shlakman

Howard Beach

 

RIP, Officer Figoski

Dear Editor:

It is a sad time for the NYPD and the community with the senseless killing of decoratedPolice Officer Peter Figoski, and an even sadder time for his family, friends and all those who knew him and are now grieving for the loss of a brave man. Here was a police officer who gave much to the comunity in which he served andwho truly did serve and protect those in need.

The problem facing New York is that more guns are coming into the city illegally and it must be stopped before more people die, including our brave men and women in law enforcement. Now the children of Officer Figoskiare without a father — and for what, a few bucks? My heartfelt prayers go out to his family.

Officer Peter Figoski, may you rest in peace.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.

Glen Oaks

 

Give us our greenway

Dear Editor:

Your Dec. 8 article about the rails-to-trails greenway effort related to the old Rockaway Beach Branch line (“Rails-to-trails push on old LIRR tracks,” multiple editions) was informative and timely, though it would be worth digging a little deeper into Community Board 6’s lack of support in 2007.

It should be noted that CB6 didn’t just “vote down a feasibility study of the project” — there was no funding at stake — incredibly, they voted against even supporting the idea of a feasibility study, a study which would undoubtedly have determined that their concerns about the proposed greenway are simply not valid.

How do people walking or biking on an elevated greenway make any more noise than if they were on the street? How is it possible that there would be more litter (and graffiti) than already exists on the line today? This abandoned and decrepit track is an eyesore and a blight running down the middle of our community, and has become a filthy dumping ground with no city oversight. The only impact on residents’ quality of life and property values would be positive.

I can clearly see part of the elevated track from the rear windows of my house, its derelict hulk overgrown with trees and weeds, and I can assure you that any steps taken toward fully realizing the incredible potential of this green space would be a step in the right direction. It would connect residential areas with commercial areas with already existing green spaces: We could walk or bike with our kids all the way from the FHYAA Little League and soccer fields to the Metropolitan School campus to Forest Park and beyond, all while avoiding congested streets and traffic signals.

Our own NYC Parks Department has a web page, nycgovparks.org/facilities/bikeways, that highlights the benefits of greenways: “for health, transportation, the environment, safety and fun.” There’s no downside. I fail to understand how the efforts of the Rockaway Beach Branch Greenway Committee aren’t fully supported by all of our community representatives and elected officials.

The committee is asking those interested in supporting this project to sign a petition which can be found on their Facebook page at facebook.com/rbbgreenway. (You don’t have to be a Facebook subscriber to view the page and sign.) I guess they’ve determined that it’s unlikely anything will happen until the community’s voice is heard.

Michael Gallagher

Rego Park

 

Thanks to GCHS

Dear Editor:

I would like to thank the students and staff at Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood for a wonderful evening Friday night. They had a Winter Wonderland for students and parents from PS 153, PS 71 and PS 81. They had many events for the children who attended, such as ornament making, cookie decorating, face painting and greeting-card making, and the GCHS Drama Society performed a play called Chriswanzakah. They even had Santa and you could take your own photos with him.

All of these events were carried out by the students with the staff supervising them. All the students I encountered were cordial and friendly and helpful. They get a bad reputation in this neighborhood but anyone who thinks only gang bangers attend that school should go to these events and see the ones that I do. They would see that the students who attend this school are getting a very good education and learning to give back to the community.

I plan to send my daughter to that school when she becomes high school age. I went to GCHS, not a specialized high school, which is the trend now, and I think I got a very good education. After Friday night I see the school’s quality of education has not gone down since I was there.

Charlene L. Stubbs

Maspeth

 

Mayor keeps wages down

Dear Editor:

Three weeks ago, the City Council overwhelmingly passed a bill which curtails the city Department of Correction’s cooperation with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement in notifying them of an illegal alien’s release from custody. The mayor supported this legislation.

Currently, the Council is considering a second bill, which the mayor is against, which seeks to create an $11.50 per hour minimum wage for workers whose bosses received public subsidies.

Superficially, these bills have nothing in common, but, if we dig a little deeper, we realize that aliens, legal or not, are typically the ones working at low-wage jobs. And you may recall the mayor’s past desire to turn New York into a sanctuary city for aliens (for example, police are never allowed to inquire about a detainee’s residency and even if it is discovered in the course of an investigation, they’re not allowed to share it with ICE).

As any economist will tell you, supply and demand sets the price for a commodity. So, if you want to keep wages low, you increase the supply of labor and keep the market free of minimum wage controls. ‘Atta boy, mayor!

Jerry Nutter

South Ozone Park

 

Occupy gets it

Dear Editor:

What is it about these avid (read rabid) Occupy Wall Street haters? What blinds them from seeing, seeing what OWS is all about? Why is it so difficult for some to comprehend the outrageous disparity of wealth that is the reason for the Occupancies throughout our country? The 99 percent will not and cannot be stopped.

I read the same old letters from the same old clueless writers, the ones that attempt to denigrate words like occupiers, progressives and liberals by tagging the 99 percent as socialists, communists, nihilists — any negativists one can think of rather than realist, empathist or humanist, which is what they are. These misguided critics do not even realize that their need to elevate their self-esteem and to paint themselves as superior to the protesting “riff-raff” does not make them a part of the elite 1 percent. They are merely stooges and facilitators and those 99 percent out there actually represent them as much as they represent nurses, teachers, firefighters, etcetera ... as well as the police ordered to keep them contained.

One need only view the graphic proof indicating the comparative rate of income growths having taken place in the last 30-some odd years. The middle class has virtually flatlined while the wealthy have exploded exponentially. Why?! There are those simple-minded who contend that the root cause for the lack of growth of the middle class is that they work not hard enough. Is there anyone naive enough to suggest that the ever-growing disparity was and is because the wealthy had each year worked several times harder than the previous year while the middle class has just sat traditionally on their lazy old butt year after year? Obviously, nonsense.

The reason that the middle class has such a near impossible task of upward mobility is the barriers set up by that exclusive club of the 1 percent, making certain it is kept exclusive. Typical barriers set up to keep the middle class back in their place are reducing support for education and teachers and rising college costs, to keep them uneducated; cutting healthcare to keep them poor and hopefully disappear sooner; and doing away with unions to deprive working people of any power concerning their wages.

Finally, to keep that 99 percent in their place and their 1 percent in their ever-skyrocketing growth pattern, tax dodging is brought to an art form and loopholes like a minefield are dug everywhere possible. The wonder is not why the 99 percenters feel something stinks; the wonder is why the delusionary, would-be 1 percenters do not.

Nicholas Zizelis

Bayside

 

The great Gil Hodges

Dear Editor:

As a boy growing up in the late ‘40s and ‘50s, my interests focused on cowboy heroes like Hopalong Cassidy, the Lone Ranger and Gene Autry. However, from April to October each year there was no question where my attention was directed. My life was baseball and I worshipped the Brooklyn Dodgers. What kind of days I had were dependent upon whether Duke hit a homerun; Clem won in relief; the number of bases Jackie stole; and whether Carl threw a baserunner out at home plate.

The Dodgers were not a team. They were a cultural phenomenon. They were an integral part of the community where they played. Unless you lived through that time period and were a Dodger fan, you could never understand the significance of 1955 or the symbolism and essence of the team and its players.

This past week, Major League Baseball and its Hall of Fame had a unique opportunity to make amends for an unjustified and grave injustice, while redeeming baseball’s declining professional and character image. Instead baseball was able again to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory; they failed to accept Gil Hodges into the Hall of Fame. That decision warrants a change of name for the Hall of Fame to the Hall of Shame.

No player in the history of the game more clearly represented sportsmanlike conduct, perseverance, integrity and tenacity than Gil Hodges. He was, in every way imaginable, a role model for American youth, a gentle giant and more importantly, a gentleman. He was a resident of the community where he played and in every way a friend and neighbor to those who went to Ebbets Field

On the field he was the finest defensive first baseman of his era and one of the best-hitting players in that position. His numbers speak for themselves. His accomplishments are legendary. He was an integral part of the greatest team in baseball history and was its hitting star in the final game of the 1955 World Series, the greatest series in baseball history. He would later go on to manage the first New York Mets World Series championship team. His sudden death at a relatively young age created a void in baseball that has never been filled.

What major league baseball and the Hall of Fame have done in rejecting the admission of Gil Hodges is to send a message that impeccable character, moral values and fine playing are not relevant.

I am a grandparent now. I take two of my grandchildren regularly to MCU Park to watch the Cyclones. Over the years I have found that the Cyclones and MCU Park (formerly Key Span) have an ambience reminiscent of Ebbets Field. On the way there on the Belt Parkway, I always point out the bridge named after Gil Hodges and explain the kind of individual he was and why the bridge is a monument to his memory. At MCU Park, there is a gallery focused on Brooklyn’s major league experience, including its players. As my grandchildren get older, I will explain why that gallery far more reflects the golden age and character of baseball than the Hall of Shame in Cooperstown.

Joseph B. Margolin

Valley Stream, LI

 

Postal $olutions

Dear Editor:

There are alternatives for the United States Postal Service’s financial situation that were not brought up in “Tempers flare over USPS job-cut plan” (Dec. 8).

Consider untapped revenue sources available to reduce operating deficits and perhaps even turn a small profit. Sell advertising space on the sides of mailboxes, inside and outside the post offices along with the small jeeps, regular trucks and heavy-duty long-haul trucks. Sell off some of the valuable real estate and move to less expensivelocations.

Why not join banks and fast-food restaurants that sublet space at Walmart and other big box stores to open smaller post offices? Generate both revenue and customers by subletting excess capacity at underutilized post offices to other city or state agencies along with private sector businesses. License corporations to sponsor stamps for afee.

Have members of Congress, the state Legislatureand other elected officials pay the real, full costs for their annoying frequent bulk-rate mailings to constituents. Our own Congressman Gary Ackerman, who recently sent a letter to the USPS urging the agency not to eliminate any mail operations from the Queens Processing and Distribution Center in College Point, could start paying the full costs of his own numerous mailings. They are nothing more than free re-election campaign brochures subsidized bytaxpayers.

Charge the full price for all junk mail. Future increases in the price of stamps should be directly tied toinflation.

Why not apply free-enterprise solutions to provide a more cost-effective product, reduce deficits and prevent more branches fromclosing?

Larry Penner

Great Neck, LI

Welcome to the discussion.