2009-07-08 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Thanks To The Candidates! To The Editor:

For over a quarter of a century, the East Bayside Homeowners Association, Inc. has worked to prevent the annual blight that affects many neighborhoods each summer and fall, illegal political posters/signs/stickers placed on public property, a campaign that has been very successful in the Bayside area-with our civic organization loudly denouncing the occasional campaign that ignores the law and permits such violations, which has led to candidates losing!

This year, we are being even more "pro-active" with the 19th City Council race in this community, (with six Democrats and one Republican as announced candidates,) and we have asked each of them to "take the pledge" not to allow their supporters to place any such illegal signs, etc. on any public property! Such locations include: city trees, telephone poles, light poles, traffic signals, parkland, highway right-of-way, or at sidewalks or curbs, etc. (Note, we have no complaint about such "ads" on private property, where the homeowner/ business owner/property owner gives permission, as seen in some store-fronts.)

The E.B.H.A., therefore, congratulates, (in alphabetical order,) Steve Behar, Tom Cooke, Jerry Iannece, Dan Halloran, Kevin Kim, Debby Markell, and Paul Vallone, for each agreeing to respect our community in this way in the months to come. I suggest other community groups in other neighborhoods might want to take a similar approach to candidates who still "dis" those areas with such a misuse of all forms of public property! Of course, should any of the Bayside-area candidates "forget" their pledge, or "look the other way" when campaign staffers/volunteers do it "on their own", as that one candidate last year, we will most strongly bring such violations to the attention of Bayside voters!
Frank Skala

Stop Train Pollution

To The Editor:

Every morning, Monday through Friday at 7:34 a.m., the first one arrives on Borden Avenue in Long Island City, spewing diesel fumes and noise. Another one arrives at 8:07 a.m., and again at 8:34, then again at 8:44 with the last one at 9:36 a.m. And there they sit idle, all day, with engines running, discharging fumes into the air with noise that reverberates off surrounding buildings until the first one rolls out at 3:24 p.m., with the last one leaving at 5:52 p.m. This is life on Borden Avenue in Hunters Point with the Long Island Rail Road.

The Long Island Rail Road station known as Long Island City is not new. This station has been part of Hunters Point for almost 100 years. A lot has changed in Hunters Point over the years, but not as much [as] in the last three years. Construction is everywhere, with more and more new residential buildings, including several new residential buildings directly across from the LIRR station. More people breathing fumes from idling trains.

Every day in the news we are reminded that the MTA will have to raise fares because of expenses. Note to the MTA: Train engines running all day burn a lot of fuel. This could be a cost saving measure and at the same time stop pollution. Double bonus for the community, the environment, and riders who pay for the price of fuel. Saving money and breathing easier. Wow. What a concept for the MTA to grasp.

A tougher Idling Law went into effect in February 2009, but somehow the LIRR has not gotten the message. Polluting the air is against the law and we are asking the MTA to turn off the engines.

Hunters Point has changed. It is time for the LIRR to change. Stop the pollution. Stop the noise. Turn off the engines.
Joe Conley
Community Board 2
Long Island City

Pedestrians Beware

To The Editor:

While crossing the street pedestrians should be very aware of turning vehicles. Pedestrians and drivers both have the green light and many drivers are either unaware or [don't] care that pedestrians have the right of way. We must all become defensive walkers.
Aldona Savicunas
Forest Hills

Gas Pipeline Is Good

To The Editor:

The information in this letter was taken from the June 12, 2009 SitNews, Ketchikan, Alaska article entitled "Historic Agreement Moves Alaska Gasline Forward".

I want to commend Governor [Sarah] Palin and her fellow Alaskans for passing the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA), which set the stage for Trans Canada and ExxonMobil to enter into an agreement for the construction of a natural gas pipeline.

The pipeline will carry natural gas from Alaska's North Slope through Alaska and Canada and down to the lower 48 states. Eventually it will supply 8 percent of the U.S. annual natural gas requirements.

This clean energy project will create thousands of jobs and large revenues for Alaska and will help the U.S. continue to decrease its dependence on foreign oil and it will make a positive impact on the environment.

Government officials in the lower 48 states should emulate the Alaskan example and pursue increased domestic energy production, including the development of offshore oil reserves.

Congratulations, Governor Palin, for your hard work and perseverance to get the job done.

P.S. Alaska is a beautiful state. My wife and I visited Alaska in May and June 2008.
Donald A. Moskowitz
Londonderry, New Hampshire

Save Our Schools

To The Editor:

I am a former city teacher and am appalled at the direction Joel Klein and Mayor Bloomberg have taken the city schools in their efforts to "improve" the schools. Through harassment and daily abuse of teachers, they are chasing out wonderful teachers from the school system. Morale is extremely low and most teachers talk of leaving. Many are forced to endure false accusations brought against them and watch their files become thicker and thicker, all for trivial, insignificant "infractions".

Our schools cannot become a revolving door for educators. The worst thing that has ever happened is this attitude that schools should be run like a business. Schools are not a business and should not be run in that manner. And because schools are run like a business, business-minded principals are put in place. Since they control their budgets, their first order of business is to eliminate veteran teachers. Whether or not they are ready to retire is of little significance. After all, it's a business! We cannot allow this [to] continue any longer.

In the end, it's the kids that'll pay the price for all these bad decisions made by this administration. Recent reports that graduation rates are up and test scores are up seem ludicrous when everyone knows that teachers have spent a majority of time teaching to the tests and data may have been altered to make things appear more favorable to justify renewing mayoral control of the city's schools. All of a sudden under Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg, kids have made drastic improvements. Wow!

If only Mayor Bloomberg ran the Department of Buildings the way he ran the Department of Education, maybe people wouldn't have died in construction accidents over the past few years.
Julia Rose

Political Maneuvering

To The Editor:

"Maloney Signals She Will Run For U.S. Senate" (I On Politics by John Toscano, June 17th) was enlightened reporting by one of the best political reporters on the beat.

The state legislature under Senator Charles Schumer's Albany allies Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate [Majority] Leader Malcolm Smith selected Governor David Paterson, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to fill their respective public office vacancies rather than the voters.

Now we have Senator Schumer lobbying the White House. This resulted in President [Barack] Obama calling potential 2010 Democratic Senate primary contestant, Long Island Congressmember Steve Israel [and asking him] to drop out even before declaring his candidacy! Quickly following, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer also gave up. Count on Long Island Congressmember Carolyn McCarthy to soon receive a phone call from President Obama making her a call she can't refuse [sic].

In exchange for Israel, Stringer and McCarthy dropping out, there will be the standard political quid pro quo.

Watch Schumer work hand-in-hand with President Obama, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to deliver pork barrel member item projects, favorable passage of pet legislation to special interest groups and employment opportunities in Washington for friends of Israel, Stringer and McCarthy.

In Albany, Schumer will work with Paterson, Silver and Smith to ensure favorable continued gerrymandered districts after the 2010 census. This will guarantee both congressmembers another decade in office. Schumer's multimillion dollar Pay for Play campaign machine will also assist all four in fundraising efforts.

How ironic since in the 1970's as an outsider, Schumer had no problem challenging the establishment in open primaries which he won for the offices of state Assembly, Congress and Senator. Now "Boss" Schumer advocates selection by the clubhouse leadership denying voters a choice. His usual hysterical fear of serious Republican opposition in the Fall continues to be a myth. The leading Republican candidate to challenge Senator [Kirsten] Gillibrand, former GOP Governor [George] Pataki has been out of office for four years. His own financial Pay for Play and campaign apparatus is long gone. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by over 2 million. Pataki never ran or financed serious candidates during his 12 years in office against either former Senator [Hillary Rodham] Clinton or Schumer. Pataki presided over the destruction of his own party resulting in the loss of numerous public offices.

New York's home grown 1970's liberal Democratic reform Brooklyn state assemblymember and congressmember has come a long way. He has morphed into Washington's most powerful inside the Beltway career Senator today. As the late President [Franklin] Roosevelt would say "We have nothing to fear, but fear itself."

Lighten up Chuck, and allow the voters rather than yourself a choice for Senator in a 2010 Democratic Party primary. The winner is a lock to win the General Election against any Republican.
Larry Penner
Great Neck, New York

Norwood Wants R4B

A copy of the following letter was received by the Gazette. Dear Queens Department of City Planning, John Carusone, Chair of CB1Q Zoning Committee, Mayor Bloomberg and elected officials:

Norwood Neighborhood Association members and residents have been fighting for R4B zoning since 2002 after a four-story apartment building busted the continuity of a beautiful and architecturally significant row of attached 1-family homes on 36th Street in Astoria. Our fight made the Daily News and all the local papers.

Over the past seven years, NNA members have logged in hundreds of man- hours, working hard behind the scenes on zoning concerns. We've met with residents many times. We've also consulted with land use experts, urban planners, civic leaders, community organizations, preservationists as well as our elected officials. We have gone door to door on 35th, 36th and 37th Streets and found that the majority of property owners (and renters too!) want Norwood Gardens to be zoned R4B not R5B. Do City Planners incorporate the overwhelming needs and desires of the community that will be rezoned and the community's vision for the future?

NNA applauds this long overdue rezoning initiative and proposal for Astoria. We appreciated Ian Haegerty's meeting with NNA's representatives and explaining how an R5B designation would protect Norwood Gardens from commercial overlays, curb cuts, front yard depth minimums and building line up. R5B works well for the residential blocks whose character reflects an R5B zone. We can't emphasize enough how highly unique our three blocks are. Only R4B zoning will give Norwood Gardens adequate protection!! Let the signatures of over 100 property owners speak for themselves! We demand R4B zoning for our three unique blocks and the height restrictions (24 feet) and protection only R4B offers. We invested in the low-rise neighborhood of Norwood Gardens and want to protect our investment! Our quality of life is under attack by inappropriate development. Norwood Gardens has had two blows to its character. We need R4B protection now. Enough!

Zoning and visionary planning should go hand in hand. Norwood Gardens' R4B designation will benefit more than the property owners. An attractive neighborhood with a discernable character (think of Greenwich Village) increases in value over time and offers a high return and many benefits to everyone, residents and businesses alike. 30th Avenue has a vibrant street life. Much of this due to the special nature of Norwood Gardens' attractions and contributions to our area. Astorians love 35th, 36th and 37th Streets' leafy low-rise setting. It is this character that draws visitors from all over NYC. Let's not have inappropriate zoning for the next 50 years!

Out of context development has ravaged so much of Queens and is taking its toll on our community. 38th Street between 31st Avenue and 30th Avenue is a sad street, ugly, lacking continuity and stripped of its character. 38th Street will never recover from the destruction and disgrace developers brought and which inappropriate zoning permitted. Shame! Please, we urge you, do not make the same mistake for Norwood Gardens. R4B is the contextual zone which most closely reflects our community.

Norwood Neighborhood Association members met June 23 in preparation for the upcoming CB1 zoning that [met] 6/30/09 at Astoria World Manor. Our chief topic of discussion was should Norwood Gardens (35th, 36th and 37th Streets between 30th Avenue and 31st Avenue) accept an R5B designation. The response was a resounding NO- we vote for R4B!
Respectfully yours,
Norwood Neighborhood Association

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