IRS is people too
On Feb. 18 a small plane was intentionally crashed into a building in Austin, Texas where almost 200 IRS employees work. This wanton act of violence took the life of Vernon Hunter, 68, who served his nation as an IRS employee for almost three decades.
In today’s world, it is difficult for some to see beyond the labels — to see the person. Mr. Hunter worked for the IRS: a difficult and demanding job. But he did his job fairly and he did it well. He was a dedicated public servant who respected taxpayers and their rights.
There are tens of thousands of Vernon Hunters working at the IRS helping taxpayers navigate a difficult tax code that we did not write and collecting the taxes to keep our nation vibrant and strong.
For some in America, the IRS will always be viewed as a faceless bureaucracy. But they are wrong. In fact, it is an organization of hard-working people whose love of country and spirit of public service were embodied in Vernon Hunter — a spirit that lives on in them today. I sincerely hope that is one lesson we can learn from this terrible tragedy.
Commissioner, Internal Revenue Service
Religious activism is OK
In your editorial “Church and state” (March 4), you stated disapproval of Hiram Monserrate holding an anti-gay marriage rally with several members of the clergy in support. I agree that Monserrate (who should not beallowed back in public office) was using the issue to try to resurrect his political career and I find it disgusting that some members of the clergy would use the occasion to do gay bashing.
A basic tenet of Christian-Judaic philosophy is that we are all sinners and we should be more concerned with our own behavior than being concerned with others.Also, we should recognize that we are all God’s children. I believe that the vast majority of us opposing gay marriage agree with that statement and object to the Chronicle trying to imply that we are all like those who attended Monserrate’s rally.
I also believe that the clergy who attended that rally did so not so much to support Monserrate as to rally against gay marriage.For better or worse, the United States has a history of the clergy being involved in issues of importance to them.
If they should not be allowed to do that, then you should be intellectually consistent and say that Dr. Martin Luther King should not have spoken out against injustices. Who are you or any of us to judge what clergy activity should be allowed in the political arena? Does their activity have to pass a political correctness test? The idea of separation of church and state is really more concerned with the prohibition of the establishment of a state religion than silencing clergy.
Clergy should be allowed to discuss social issues of importance to them but should refrain from endorsing candidates.After all, religious institutions do get exemptions from paying income taxes.I just wonder why the Chronicle just now comes out against clergy endorsing candidates when it was silent in 2008 when scores of black clergy endorsed Barak Obama.Will you remain silent in 2012 if the president runs for reelection and the ministers sing his praises from the pulpit?The Chronicle should stop its selective moral outrage.
Liu and Asian success
The Feb. 25 article “Korean research center opens at Queens College” (Northern Queens edition) may or may not have intended its slant on how important it is for the Korean-American community to maintain their culture. There was no mention of how important it was for fellow Americans who are not Korean to learn to understand their neighbors.
The article said Koreans “are taking their rightful place in the borough” and that they and other Asian-Americans played an important role in the election of John Liu, our new city comptroller.
I voted for John Liu for comptroller, not because he is of Taiwanese heritage, but because he is a highly qualified American — the kind we need more of — thoughtful, well-educated, professional, public-spirited, energetic in pursuit of social goals. His Asian heritage — which he is as proud as anyone — is our added bonus. He serves as a prime example of what Asian-Americans can achieve when they learn how they can best serve America and thus learn how they can best serve America and thus serve themselves.
I have watched John Liu from the time he entered public service: from organizer and president of the North Flushing Civic Association (whose current president is Tyler Cassell) to committee chairman in the Queens Civic Congress through his service on Community Board 7 and then the City Council. He has been superb all the way. He does not indulge in grandstanding. He just does what he sets out to do, and we all benefit. We are lucky — all of us — to have him.
America should know
Thanks for your article about Jocko Graves, Revolutionary War boy soldier whose dedication to duty led him to give his life for liberty during the Raid on Trenton, so General Washington commissioned a statue to commemorate his sacrifice (“Dems celebrate black history,” March 4, multiple editions).
I wrote a play, “Revolutionary Christmas,” performed at Regent University Theater in 2003. See the opening scene with Billy Lee crying out to God about the removal of the anti-slavery part of Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence, and more here: spiritofwashington.blogspot.com/2003/12/americas-first-statue-of-liberty.html. See my Facebook page for highlights of my writing and my reference to your article.
Thanks again. America needs to know of this story.
James Renwick Manship Sr.
Mount Vernon, Va.
$6M later, still Triborough
In view of the fact that the MTA wants to reduce services that affect working people in order to save money, I would like to know who the bright mind was who made the decision to rename the Triborough Bridge at the cost of $6,000,000.00. This was our money, taxpayers. To what purpose, since we all still know its as the Triborough Bridge?
Teenage hate crime
I’m so sorry to hear about Phyllis, the woman who was attacked by teens on Crossbay Boulevard (“White woman says attack was racist,” March 4, multiple editions). She should absolutely bring charges up on these teens, they need to understand that their actions have consequences. What she assumed was an innocent compliment from the teen was most likely meant as a sarcastic remark from the teen, they apparently have nothing nice to say to people our age.
It is very disturbing that teens nowadays are so disrespectful and sad to think that they think is it OK to act this way, sadly you see it all over. Little do they know how low class they make themselves look. Nowadays more than one teen congregating is a recipe for trouble. Best is to try to not make eye contact with them while always keeping an eye on their whereabouts.
The corner of Liberty Avenue and Cross Bay Boulevard is becoming very seedy with teens hanging out at the bus stop even at the 6 p.m. hour. The ones who actually take the bus, push to get on the bus first despite there being a line of 15-20 people ahead of them and some haggle with the driver over having no money to pay the fare.
On the train it is even worst, hey talk so loud using foul language, they comment about wanting to get some of the latest technology that I do not even have or want, they will say they don’t have the money and another one will say “ Just rob someone and get it.”
You will see more robberies and problems when the student MetroCard is eliminated, not only on the subway but in the streets as well. All the best to Phyllis and sorry she had to be a victim of this kind of behavior, had this been the other way around this would have been all over the media as a race crime.
Great state officials
In answer to a letter to the editor from a Forest Hills resident regarding Aqueduct(“The house always wins,” Jan. 28) I say bravo to state Sen. Joe Addabbo, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and Assemblyman Mike Miller for encouraging a decision in regard to Aqueduct Racetrack.
Our borough of Queens has lost too much money, a million dollars a day, for too long. You can see this money leaving our borough and our state every day on buses to Atlantic City and Yonkers.Those riding buses come from all areas of Queens “throwing away their money” as this writer derogatorily has stated.The only change for these individuals is that they will not be throwing away their money but spending their money as they have done, but now to the benefit of Queens, New York City and New York State.
We the constituents of these our esteemed elected officials are very pleased with their part in this matter. It is my thinking that according to his letter, is that he is the only person that is “salivating” with his obvious dislike and disdain for our state representatives who were elected by we, their constituents.
This entire letter is mean spirited and bitter.But the writer got one thing right, when he stated sarcastically “Aren’t we lucky” yes we are lucky and yes “we can hardly wait to go to the track” in Queens instead of Atlantic City and Yonkers.