2004-11-12 / Letters


Talk About Cooperation

This letter was sent to Arlene B. Feldman, the FAA Regional Administrator in response to a earlier letter that was published in The Wave.

Dear Editor;

In response to your letter that was published in The Wave, you state that 9 p.m. to 3 p.m. is generally the busiest at J. F. K.  Airport and this time period has to be preserved to efficiently manage operations at the airport. You also state the F.A.A. acknowledges the quality of life issues, impacted by aviation activities.

You speak about the cooperative relationship the F.A.A. shares with elected officials, community organizations and individual residents when addressing the difficult issue of aircraft noise abatement. The one thing you do not speak about is the INCREASE OF FLIGHTS out of J.F.K. airport, how does that help the Rockaway Peninsula residents.

Let’s now talk about cooperative relationship you speak about with our elected officials, Senator Charles Schumer who constantly pitched on the radio this year for his reelection on how he was so instrumental in getting more flights out of J.F.K Airport. Obviously Senator Schumer’s main concern for his reelection was not the Rockaway’s. Unfortunately Rockaway is not the main concern of many of our elected officials. More flights may be a benefit out of J.F.K. for the main land, it is not a benefit for the Rockaway Residents who have to cope with MORE flights above our homes. 


Things I’ve Done,

Since I Didn’t Die

Dear Editor,

These are some of the things that I’ve done since I didn’t die:

I had a drink of good Irish whiskey at my sister’s house with all my family on Thanksgiving. (The day after I got out of the hospital.)

I danced the chicken dance with my daughter at Maura Clarke’s Pasta Night at the Beach Club.

I started teaching my eldest son to drive and make stained glass.

I saw my youngest son catch the biggest wave of his life, as I was about to chase him out of the water because the waves were too big.

I had a wonderful impromptu sunset picnic with my wife in Battery Park City.

I watched my oldest son dance with his grandmother (my mom) to AC/DC at the first wedding of one of her 17 grandchildren – only 16 more to go.

Had my brother’s (may he rest in peace) oldest daughter ask me to walk her down the aisle at her wedding next year in Ireland.

I spent many wonderful days on the beach with my wonderful neighbors and family.

I ordered half a dozen pies from Ciro’s, or a dozen heros from the 101 Deli, so we didn’t have to leave the beach to go home and feed the kids.

I had some great boogie board rides in the beautiful clean water – maybe next year I’ll be able to surf again.

I rode hard with the boys on our weekly bike nights – slightly exceeding the speed limit on occasion.

I have met many friends from the PTA at Waldbaums and could just feel the good wishes and love from every one of them.

I also held hands with my wife, drank a good cup of coffee and did all the little things we take for granted.

On Halloween, my wife and I took a beautiful motorcycle ride along the north shore to St. Francis Hospital. We had a bunch of goodies for the staff and nurses in the intensive care unit who worked so hard for a month to keep me here. I am forever grateful to them, my family, friends, neighbors and God for helping me survive.

Life is a gift: embrace it and live it to the fullest everyday. Forgive some and thank someone. Tell someone you love them. Give back to your community. Fight for what you believe in.

Thank you, Rockaway.


Voting En Masse

Dear Editor,

My heart was very heavy with delight when I saw how many people came out to vote. It was like everyone was pulling together for the same goal. Even if Bush won, it wasn’t because the people were not pulling together.


Need Environmental Monitors

Dear Editor;

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, our state environmental regulators have proposed eliminating a longstanding policy requiring state monitors at most hazardous waste sites. The change would also allow the owners of most of the sites where monitoring would still be required to hire private inspectors.

This proposal worries many environmental and community groups, as well as individuals who care about the environment, all of which contend that the proposed change would gravely weaken the policing of the state’s worst polluters and jeopardize natural resources and the health of residents.

The current policy has been in effect for at least 15 years, which specifies a range of sites and activities that require monitoring by on-site inspectors from the D.E.C., including commercial hazardous waste landfills, commercial hazard waste incinerators, hazardous waste sites undergoing cleanup and sites that process and treat hazardous waste.

Under the policy change, state monitors would be required only at commercial hazardous waste landfills. Monitoring would no longer be required at the other sites, though state regulators could order it. In addition, in cases where the agency has required a site to undergo inspection, the new policy would permit the owner or operator of the site to hire private monitors who would report to the D.E.C.

About 70 state monitors currently work at about 300 waste sites around the state. Their job is to make sure that site operators meet the requirements of their operating permits. Under the current policy, site operators are required to reimburse the agency for the cost of the monitors.

Opponents of the proposal include environmental activists and citizen groups, legislators and the Public Employees Federation, the union that represents the Department of Environmental Conservation’s scientists and technicians, including its monitors, contend that private monitors hired by site operators would be subject to coercion by their employers.

We only have to look at one case in point: the now defunct site of New York Depot, Corp., a recycling plant that once operated on Bay Blvd, Inwood by Joseph Aragona Jr. The operation was a mess. Mr. Aragona tried many times to influence the community to make us end our opposition to his operation. Mr. Aragona also influenced the D.E.C. monitor with lies and highly questionable documentation about his business. If the D.E.C. “privatizes” the D.E.C. monitors, the public will no longer feel it has an environmental advocate on board. It will also make it more difficult to access documentation, voice complaints or verbally monitor progress (or a lack thereof) with the D.E.C. Spokesmen from the D.E.C. never gave accurate information to me when I asked. Everything else requested was required through the Freedom of Information Law (“FOIL”) which took weeks to request, then one would have to go to the D.E.C. office to view the requested documents.

Thanks to the D.E.C. monitor, New York Depot Corp. is no longer in business. He abandoned his site, just like we predicted, but the height and volume of materials left for the primary lessee of the property to clean up is substantially less than when our fight for the health of our community and environment first ensued. Mr. Aragona also had over $1 million in assets seized and faces multiple lawsuits on a variety of issues related to his business activities.

The public health and safety of our communities are at risk. This cost savings measure to the D.E.C. does not serve the best interests to the public. The D.E.C. was first established to serve the public and they shouldn’t forget about that.

There are no plans for public hearings before this policy is implemented, which is dead wrong. Please write to our public legislators and Commissioner Crotty to oppose the privatization of D.E.C. monitors.


The Old Days – And Today’s Trouble With The Bank

Dear Editor,

On March 29, 2005, I will be 94 years old. I served my country in World War II and have had many interesting experiences. Times were so bad that when we met someone we wouldn’t ask them about their health – you’d only ask them if they were working. I was able to get along on 17 cents a day (2 cents for the News or the Mirror, 5 cents for subway fare each way and 5 cents for an apple.) At night I would eat a Goodbar which cost 5 cents, not $1.95, and listen to Bing Crosby on a radio that I bought at the time for $10.00 – one dollar down and fifty cents a week. When I married, my wife and I lived in a room, I said to her, “Gee, honey, if we only had $20, we could live like we were in a palace.”

Well those were the good old days. Yesterday I was really trapped by the Greenpoint Bank. Over a period of nine days, $170 was charged to me. The bank could have taken money out of one account and transferred it to the other account, or tell me that the account was overdrawn and asked me to correct it, but they did not. This was an act to take advantage of a customer.


Always Had A Bad Rap

This letter is a response to an earlier letter in The Wave supporting PS 225.

Dear Editor,

Please do not be embarrassed or ashamed that your school, P.S. 225, has a bad reputation. It has had one for as long as college age parents can remember. Unfortunately, time does not change things, nor will it.

Now let’s get one thing straight: I did not make any outlandish comments. What I did was speak the truth. How dare you say that I was unwilling and uncooperative in making my sons have a successful transition to a new school?

Also, please be advised that I did not have to go out of my way at all to negatively and untruthfully portray your failing school. P.S. 225 did that to itself. I did not say anything untruthful. I hope we set the record straight.


Problems in Albany

Dear Editor,

The Wave has had articles, columns and letters about what would be best for Rockaway, from parking and transportation to school rezoning, beach access and urban renewal. Your editorial on reforming the state legislature showed that what would be best for the Rockaways includes issues affecting all citizens throughout the state.

To accomplish anything now, the State Senate and Assembly pass separate bills which are sent, (but only if Assemblyman Sheldon Silver and Senator Joseph Bruno agree to do so) to a conference committee to iron out differences and to send a uniform bill to both houses for a vote.

Because of this dysfunctional system, some urgent legislation was not passed:

1. New York will not have new, improved reliable voting machines that, under the Help American Vote Act, would have been paid for by the federal government.

2. New York City schools will not receive the fair, increased share of funding that had been mandated by the courts. The money was not allotted. Our children here in Rockaway are being short changed.

3. New York State will not have needed ethics, campaign finances and lobbying reforms. Both the Assembly and Senate passed separate bills, but somehow never get together to work out a unified act.

Assemblywoman Pheffer and many other legislators have long supported and voted for ethics reform bills. But if there is to be any real progress in ending the dysfunction of New York State legislature, the current system needs to be changed. The first step must be the passage of the recently introduced bill to democratize the legislative process by taking it out of the control of two or three politicians.

The Wave was right when it said that we, as voters, must let those we elect fight for the necessary reforms.

Thank you for alerting your readers about this problem. I urge you to continue to write about and support efforts to make our state government one that truly represents the needs of the people.


Thanksgiving Poem

Dear Editor,

The following poem was first published in 1973.

“Thanks Indeed”

We come O God with Thankful hearts on this “Thanksgiving Day.” We praise Thee Lord and grateful too more than words can say – For every day for us Dear Lord is our Thanksgiving Day, Thy tenderness, Thy love and care as we walk the narrow way.

We thank Three Lord for our great Land Thou has so richly blessed, and Thank Thee for abundant crops the soil and all the rest – The Cattle on a Thousand Hills, the streams so clean and fresh – For blessings both great and small we know that God is over all.

We Thank Thee Lord for priceless gifts that money cannot buy – Our health and strength, our hands and feet, the sight within the eye – Our lips O God that they may speak only of Thy love, and never cease to give Thee Thanks for blessings from above.

We Thank You Lord for loving us so that to Cavalry Thy Son did go – The perfect One who knew no Sin that you and I may Enter in.

And so each day for us, is “Thanksgiving Day,” when Christ dwells in our hearts – He plants the seed of Love inside, that we may constantly abide – For He is the Vine and we the Branch for this Dear Lord we give our Thanks.


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