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Queens Chronicle

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Posted: Thursday, June 30, 2011 12:00 pm

Firehouses saved

Dear Editor:

The residents’ of Woodhaven joined the rest of New York City in breathing a sigh of relief upon hearing the news that a budget agreement was reached, and the planned closure of 20 firehouses was averted. There will be much said about the negotiations and the mayor’s need to threaten vital services, so we won’t repeat those thoughts here. Instead, the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association would like to take a moment to thank some of the people that came together to fight the good fight for Engine Co. 294.

Elizabeth Crowley of the New York City Council, who also chairs the Fire and Criminal Justice Committee, led the fight for the firehouses citywide, attending every rally, and urging people not to give up. Our other local electeds, and those who came out to the rally for Engine Co. 294 — state Sen. Joe Addabbo, Assemblyman Mike Miller, Councilman Eric Ulrich, Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz — all spoke eloquently and forcefully about what tragic consequences could have resulted here in our community if Engine Co. 294 had been allowed to close.

The WRBA would also like to thank the Richmond Hill Block Association, led by President Wendy Bowne and Richmond Hill One Stop’s Simcha Waisman, for all their hard work in organizing the rally, and spreading the word. It was wonderful to see the residents of Woodhaven and Richmond Hill working together so closely for a common cause. We’d like to thank the volunteers who stood in the street, handing out fliers and, of course, a big thank you to everyone who came out to the rally to make your voice heard.

And finally, to reiterate something that I said about Engine Co. 294 at the rally, and it is true for every firehouse across our great nation: we sleep comfortably each night, knowing that these men and women will put their lives at risk to save ours, rushing into situations that others run from. They have our eternal gratitude.

Edward K. Wendell

President

Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association

Power to the people

Dear Editor:

I agree with your thoughtful editorial “Let the people decide” (June 23).

Now that9th District Queens/Brooklyn Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner has resigned from office, many are speculating on who his replacement might be.Congressman and Queens County Democratic Party Chairman Joe Crowley and his counterpart, Assemblyman and Kings County Democratic Chairman Vito Lopez, will want Gov. Cuomo to call a special election.This will afford them the opportunity tomake the decision behind the scenes and select the one Democratic Party candidate to appear on the ballot. Their respective loyal state committee members will quickly follow up andendorse the anointed successor.

If Gov. Cuomo is going to match up his actions with his rhetoric as areformer, he will ask that the seat be filled as part of the previously scheduled Sept. 13 primary.This wouldallow any registered Democrat who can obtain sufficient signatures to run in an open primary against the choice of Crowley and Lopez.

Cuomo will have to quickly decide between his friendship with Crowley and Lopez and opening up the process beyond the traditional local and county Democratic Party clubhouse to the voters.

Larry Penner

Great Neck, LI

Socialize, seniors!

Dear Editor:

I was unsure that I would enjoy attending a local center that catered to senior citizens. However, my curiosity won out — my husband and I found ourselves “religiously” attending certain classes that interested both of us!

Folks, there really are options toviewing television.The center we are now members of, offers discussion groups, yoga, arts and crafts, current events, tai chi, computer studies and more.

Socializing with like-minded people is always a rewarding experience. The opportunity to make new friends is also pleasurable.

And so folks, come and join a senior center. You will both learn and have fun!

Leonore Brooks

Whitestone

Quit complaining

Dear Editor:

The Queens politicos are complaining that the “city plan to hike parking rates is outrageous.”

How is it that these career elected officials, many with relatives on the city payroll, never discuss where the city will get the $65 billion to run the Big Apple? Apparently some of our City Council people think that the fairy godfather will pick up the tab.

Of course, if the council members cut the amount of people working for the City of New York and lowered their high salaries and pension and healthcare benefits (that we pay for) there wouldn’t be a need for drivers to pay the extra few cents when they park. Needless to write, if you compare the salaries and extras in the private sector with city pay and benefits, the comparisons would be shocking.

Kenneth Lloyd Brown

Forest Hills

Reagan’s bad legacy

Dear Editor:

Last fall President Obama promised he would have solar panels once again installed atop the White House “before the end of spring.” Now it’s summer. Come on Obama; rekindle the Carter initiative while the noble man is still alive.

During his term, President Carter faced a crisis from a combination of economic problems, failed policies of his predecessors and finally an Iranian revolution that cut access to some Middle Eastern oil. Hemet theproblems by starting sweeping oil-reductionreforms.

“Up until President Carter, we were getting about 20 percent of our energy from oil generation,” saidJay Hakes, director of the Energy Information Administration,” ... and post-Carter, it went down to 3 percent.” (The EIA was later dissolved by the incoming Reagan administration).

Carter insisted that U.S. automakers build more fuel efficient cars with a goal of 27.5 miles per gallon over the following decade, a requirement passed under Gerald Ford but put into force by Carter. He offered incentivesand deductions for using solar water heaters. He even had solar collectors installed on the White House grounds. After the Reagan election in 1980 those solar panels immediatelycame downand his aides guttedCarter’ssolar research program.

In came Privateer Reagan, banner carrier for corporate big business, initiator ofthe downward spiral of our country’smiddle classand the president who was to put our country’s futureon the credit card in order to give the illusion of prosperity. He not only destroyedall alternative energy incentives but borrowed more money than all prior administrations combined.

Championing the free market,Reagan and his conservativeslet solar tax benefits expire and to the joy of the American automotive giants did not continue to increase the fuel efficiency initiatives started by President Carter. “Although the corporate average fuel economy, or CAFE, standards already were saving three million barrels a day, they could be saving usa further three or four million barrels a day if they had been ramped up as intended by President Carter,” said Dan Becker of the Sierra Club in 1986.

Nicholas Zizelis

Amagansett, LI

The writer’s primary residence is in Bayside.

Raise the debt ceiling

Dear Editor:

Americans overwhelmingly are opposed to raising the debt ceiling. It is a knee jerk reaction to a Washington that has shown no leadership in years. The partisan divide that has rewarded the extremes on both sides of the aisle have learned to enflame support insuring their reelection rather than concerning them with the welfare of the Republic.

Relying upon the Greek economic debacle those who see rampant government spending as a curse raise fear by claiming the U.S. is next. Reality does not alter their doom saying. The numbers deny the U.S. is on the precipice of becoming another Greece.

That is not to say that spending must be curtailed for it must. The retirement age should be increased and means testing is responsible when individuals do not require government aid. Revenues must be increased.

The Tea Party is redefining Republican foreign policy by demanding withdrawal of American involvement in Afghanistan. They only consider the money that will be saved. Not only have they forgotten that the Taliban cooperated with al-Qaeda but that isolationist policies failed in the 20th century.

The budget proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan includes the U.S. borrowing for years to come. The debt ceiling must be raised.

Edward Horn

Baldwin, LI

Debt growth in U.S.

Dear Editor:

Sen. Mitch McConnel (R-Ky.) GOP Minority Leader, recently said on Fox News with Chris Wallace, that our “$14.4 trillion federal debt is making America look more like Greece.” Let’s review the history of America’s debt to see which political party did more to get America to look more like Greece.

The United States was always in debt. The federal debt started in 1791 with $75,463,476.52 when George Washington was out first president. It reached it’s lowest point $33,735.05 in 1835 when Andrew Jackson was in the White House. The debt passed $1 billion in 1863 under President Abraham Lincoln, and exceeded $1 trillion during Ronald Reagan’s 1980’s administration. On the flip side of the coin, Woodrow Wilson was the first president to reduce the debt by more than $1 billion in a single year in 1920. The singe most significant reduction to the debt occurred in 1947, by more than $11 billion when Harry S. Truman was in office.

In 1950, our debt stood at $253.4 billion. The following presidents: Ike, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford and Carter, raised the debt to $997.5 billion. Reagan and Bush, 41, drove the debt to $3.3 trillion. Bush, 43, saw the debt climb by $6.1 trillion. Obama’s 2 1/2 years has increased it by $2.4 trillion to it’s current $14.4 trillion. It should be noted that the debt ceiling was raised seven times under Bush, 43.

To recap ... the GOP presidents have caused the debt to grow by $9.4 trillion, while the Democratic presidents increased it by $3.9 trillion. I will defer to your readers as to which party did more to help America look like Greece. Credit for my data goes to treasurydirect.gov.

Anthony G. Pilla

Forest Hills

Welcome to the discussion.