Springtime is one of the most beautiful seasons, with the flowers blooming and the trees starting to leaf out. It seems that everyone is looking forward to the warmer weather since the snow has melted.
Unfortunately, there is a serious problem that I have noticed this spring in terms of liter and trash on our streets. It is unfathomable why anyone would drop garbage and other debris in the streets, especially when we are lucky enough to live in such a great area. This problem, however, seems to be on the increase, especially in front of some of the local businesses.
I hope that the Department of Sanitation will continue to do their job of keeping our streets clean; however, it is up to each of us to dispose of our liter and trash properly. This includes dog waste. It is particularly irksome when people do not pick up after their pets and leave the dog poop on the grass or the sidewalk.
We all need to do our part to ensure that our communities remain beautiful and desirable areas in which to live. It really does not take a lot of effort, if we all pitch in, to keep our neighborhoods neat and clean and green.
Child care cuts hurt
Thank you for Jason Cohen’s article about cuts to child care (“Bloomberg cuts would send youngsters home,” April 21, multiple editions). The mayor’s plan to terminate child care for nearly 2,000 children in Queens and nearly 17,000 children citywide will make it difficult, if not impossible, for working parents to find affordable and safe care for their children during the day and stunt the education of thousands of young children.
While ACS is accurate in pointing out that federal and state contributions to child care have not kept pace with costs, that is no reason for the city to shirk its own responsibilities to its children. Under this plan, the city expects to save a tiny fraction of its $65 billion budget in a way that will devastate the lives of thousands of families in our borough and the rest of the city.
New York City has the ability to stop this devastating cut from happening.Mayor Bloomberg must show leadership and vision by making the education and care of New York City’s children a top priority.
The writer is a policy analyst with United Neighborhood Houses, a social service and advocacy umbrella organization.
Tough to teach
The interesting article Anna Gustafson wrote on April 21 about schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott visiting his alma mater (“Walcott talks budget, overcrowding at Lewis,” multiple editions) was very good but had no mention of two important items.The facts that more special needs and non-English speaking students pull down graduation and reading scores in the large academic high schools like Francis Lewis were not mentioned as problems.
When hearings were held a couple of years ago at Jamaica High School, the UFT chapter chairman of Francis Lewis came to testify that if Jamaica is closed, its special needs students and non-English speaking students would be shifted to Francis Lewis and other similar schools and pull theirscores down. This happened last year when the school had its standing dropped because six special needs students did not score high enough.
Wasn’t the problem of small charter schools not providing enough services to special needs and non-English speaking students — thus causing the students to go to other large academic high schools, thus causing their scores and standings to go down — discussed during the chancellor’s visit? Why not?
Funding daycare is key
Mayor Bloomberg, our self-proclaimed education mayor, as a cost-saving measure is eliminating approximately 17,000 of the city’s subsidized daycare slots, among the few safety nets low-income children and families possess. This travesty is occurring even when the city has a considerable surplus.
Publicly funded daycare centers promote job retention. The low-income families who utilize our services work at jobs that need them, pay taxes and contribute to our city’s economy. We also are a major employer in disenfranchised communities
More importantly, we provide young children an educational foundation that will leverage benefits for years to come.Daycare allows parents to leave for work knowing that their children are safe, educated, cared for and nourished during the time they are apart. By taking child care away from working poor families, the city is jeopardizing the welfare of young children, many of whom will be relegated to a TV babysitter. How can we expect positive outcomes when we are unwilling to invest in our youngest, most vulnerable residents?
The ultimate question should be why are we forcing parents, many of them single women head of households, to choose between working to pay rent and put food on the table or pay for unsubsidized childcare? If parents who rely on publicly funded day care are forced to stop working, public assistance and the cost of other entitlements will soar. Publicly funded day care is a win-win. We should be thinking about enhancing its funding, definitely not eliminating it.
Director, Cypress Hills Child Care Corp.
Boulevard of dumb
A photo on page 4 of the Chronicle’s April 21 Central Queens edition, related to the pedestrian countdown signal (“Queens Boulevard to get countdown clocks”), proves what one of the major problems with Queens Boulevard is. There are two people jaywalking. The walk signal above their heads clearly shows that they should not be walking in the direction they are headed. I’m not sure how this countdown signal will help them.
OSHA: 40 years of safety
In the 40 years since the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration was created, the agency has led the way to historic declines in workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. Today OSHA continues to make a difference in the lives of all workers by ensuring that businesses in New York City and across the nation provide safe and healthful conditions for their workers.
At the turn of the 20th century, death in American workplaces was all too common, working conditions were dreadful and few laws existed to protect workers. Through efforts by individual workers, unions, employers, government agencies and others, significant progress has been made in improving workplace conditions.
Since OSHA’s inception in 1970, workplace fatalities have been cut by more than 65 percent and occupational injury and illness rates by 67 percent. At the same time, U.S. employment has almost doubled to more than 107 million workers at 7.6 million worksites.
In 1970, on average, 38 American workers were killed on the job every day. That rate has now fallen to just over 12 workers per day. Still, there is clearly much work to be done to ensure that all workers can be productive and safe, while looking forward to a retirement free from disabling occupational disease and injury.
In Queens, fall hazards continue to be a serious condition that our inspectors find far too often. Between October 2009 and October 2010, OSHA’s Queens District Office conducted 123 fall-hazard inspections in the borough and assessed $290,121 in fines for 419 violations that were identified. Clearly, these numbers are too high.
Falls are the type of preventable hazard for which there has long been in place common sense OSHA regulations designed to keep workers safe and earning a paycheck, while also allowing businesses to continue to operate without tragic interruption and the high worker retraining, insurance and compensation costs that accompany workplace injuries and deaths. On-the-job hazards can be prevented and eliminated by employers and workers laboring together to keep their workplaces safe.
Over the past four decades, OSHA has had a positive impact in the lives of all Americans. However, until every worker can return home safely, free from harm at the end of the day, we must celebrate cautiously and never lose sight of the fact that no job is a good job unless it’s also a safe job.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Queens District Office
I agree 100 percent with Joan Silaco’s April 21 letter, “No animals in circuses.” But of course that’s never going to happen. What I think should be done, to all circuses and any entertainment involving animals, is that that they should be inspected, and the trainers should also be inspected.
PS 153: a fine school
I have to reply to the story about Joseph Anderson, the boy who was handcuffed and taken from PS 153 in Maspeth last week to the psychiatric ward of Elmhurst Hospital after he became uncontrollable in class.
This had to be an isolated incident because I have been a parent of a child in special education at the school for two years, and I have never heard of something like this happening there.I volunteer at the school almost every morning and I have never seen any of the staff acting any other way but professional and gentle with the students there.
I am also an alumnus of the school, and I never heard of a child being mistreated during my seven years there as a student.
My daughter is a special education student in first grade at PS 153.When she started there in kindergarten she had tantrums in class.Her teacher would call the guidance counselor down and they would calm my daughter down.No handcuffs or police were needed.My daughter has been tantrum-free in school for over a year now.
I know I wasn’t there when this incident took place but I believe we don’t know the whole story.I don’t think the staff would overreact based on my experience with them.
There are 1,400 students in the gifted program, special education and general education at PS 153, and when I am there they are orderly.I am amazed at how they handle so many children every day with so few problems.
PS 153 is still a very good school.My daughter is the third generation of my family to attend the school.Even after this incident I would still recommend this school to people in the neighborhood.
Charlene L. Stubbs
Thanks, Lt. Salvato
Re: “106th Precinct honors retiring commander,” April 21, South Queens edition:
Lt. Joseph Salvato, we thank you for all your years of service with the NYPD. Enjoy your retirement, your family and Florida.
Danny Ruscillo Jr.
Cheering us on
Re: “Lady Bulldogs sink their teeth into cheerleading,” April 21, multiple editions:
Thank you so much for taking the time to compile this article. It is absolutely brilliant!
Jamaica Lady Bulldogs
Cut spending now
There are two sides to every story. This is the other side toCongressman Gary Ackerman’sApril 21 letter to the editor, “Prez gets it, GOP guts it.”
Recent actions by Congress and PresidentObama to cut $39 billion out of a $3.7 trillion dollar budgetwere too little, too late. The independent Congressional Budget Officereported that this cut was really smoke and mirrors with real savings under $1 billion.
Republican House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan is a true profile in courage. Unlike Obama and Ackerman, Ryanhas been upfront and honest with us. UnderAckerman’s watch, the long-term federal debt has increased from $3 to $14 trillion. America can’t keep borrowingwithout dire consequences to our economy and freedom.
Ackerman supported and voted for fellowDemocrat and formerSpeaker Nancy Pelosi’s commitment to drain the corrupt swamps of Washington and implement “pay as you go” spending. Two years later, we have added over $3 trillion in new debt under President Obama, Senate leaderReid and former Speaker Pelosi, all ably assisted byAckerman. It is no wonder voters have littlefaith in them.
Republicans proposedfirst returning to 2008 spending levels. There was nopublic outcryfrom Congressman Ackerman in 2008 thatthe sky wasfalling. He didn’t say that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and amulti-trillion dollar government safety net weregoing to end. The2008budget was prior tothe one-timestimulus, TARP, auto industrybailouts andcash for clunkers expenditures. Now everything needs to be on the table including the infamous “third rails” of American politics — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and military spending.
Considerimplementing “pay as you go” budgeting, means testing for all government assistance and sunset provisions for agencies and programs that have completed their missions. End pork-barrel member item spending, stop payingfarmers to notgrow crops and abolish corporate welfare subsides via tax deductions.
We have toclose down obsolete military bases abroad and reduce United Nations and foreign aid to thosewho offer us no support when needed. AskourEuropean andArab friendsto reimburse thecosts of our military adventure in Libya. End the wasteful war in Afghanistan. Additionally,we have to return toan open budget process rather than midnight omnibus budget adoptionand utilize the presidential line item veto when Congress fails to follow all of the above.
Failure to do so will result in America going from the world’s superpower to the world’s super debtor nation. The poor and vast middle class will suffer. There will be no safety net for anyone. We need real action today, rather than to wait until2023 to balance our budget, as Obama, Ackermanand their colleagues propose. By then it will be too late for America to save itself.
Great Neck, LI
The GOP House leaders John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan, previously known as the Andrews Sisters, have been singing a song called “Listen to America.” During the recent holiday recess they, and other GOP Congress members, have conducted town halls in their districts. However, their song has hit a sour note with their supporters.
It appears that their Republican followers are angry to the point of yelling, heckling and booing at them. Ryan (R-Wisc.), Charlie Bass (R-NH) and Robert Dold (R-Mich.) all had a rough time. The theme was the same at all three town halls: Don’t touch my Medicare and raise taxes on the rich to pay for our children’s future health costs. Simply put, no to healthcare vouchers.
Oh well, it looks like the “Listen to America” song will never make it to the Hit Parade's Top 40.
Anthony G. Pilla