I always enjoy reading The Chronicle; the July 5 issue was especially good.
I liked your editorial on city transportation (“Transportation dollars wasted”). Well-written and informative, it did, however, leave out the salaries of the people at the top and the endless perks of former employees who don’t pay to use subways and buses. Is this not wasteful? Do they get a free ride on the AirTrain, too?
I was impressed with Pat Adams’ letter (“A colleague’s kudos”). I also commend you on your ads for vets and the worthy piece on “ObamaCare” (“Most Queens pols applaud ruling”).
I noticed that Domenick Rafter is now an associate editor at your paper. I welcome him for his reporting skills and fine writing.
Perhaps someone can answer a nagging question in regard to James Solomon’s letter, “Assimilate already.” When an immigrant wants to become a citizen, hard study is required to learn our laws, language and customs. Why then are so many languages printed at our polling places? Adding Bengali, Punjabi and Hindi add enormous costs unnecessarily. I can rationalize the use of Spanish as the Canadians do French. Puerto Rico and the Philippines were grabbed by us, so they can be an exception.
Many of us had forebears who came from Europe, unable to speak English. Their children may have been born abroad, but thrust into public schools, became fluent in English even if another language were spoken at home. In later decades, people from all other regions came here for basically the same reasons: life and liberty back home were lousy or nonexistent. No one leaves home without a very good cause!
You may have visited the Queens Museum which had a display called “Crossing the Boulevard,” the title of a book written by Warren Lehrer and Judith Sloan (Norton, NY 2003) If the library can’t get a copy for you, Amazon.com or B&N.com can. It is a good investment and a very interesting read. Perhaps you caught “Finding Your Roots” on PBS (Channel 13). We are all connected. Learning English does not mean we abandon our heritage. It is a very tough language to speak and to read but it is vital so that our immigrants can get needed help when in danger, navigate our cities and travel throughout our unique and beautiful countryside.