2006-02-03 / Letters

Letters

Boycott Gas Stations In Rockaway

Dear Editor,

I am writing in reference to the outrageous gas prices we are faced with in our community.

As I proceed east on Beach 116 Street I see Exxon and Mobil with prices that are utterly ridiculous that my biggest hope is that I don’t need to stop. As I enter Howard Beach/Ozone Park it is only then that I can “gas up.”

We need to be more conscious of our gas gauges so we can refill off the peninsula, because we’re suckers if we don’t.

It behooves me to think that our community must be subjected to these prices and feel we can only fight through this by gassing up elsewhere. We must stick together and do a simple chore: to be conscious of our gauges so we do not need to use the gas stations on the peninsula.

I would be curious to see the reaction by the station owners if we could all follow this simple chore. The difference over one month for one vehicle is substantial (as I know) and if we factor in half of you that read this, the reaction of such owners probably wouldn’t surprise us. Please think of what is happening. Can we do something about it? Are any elected officials looking into this? The answers are unknown to us but my message is to read, think and plan. We are only able to do so much. This much I know: Don’t run out of gas in ROCKAWAY.

JOHN RAPHAEL

Is Bin Laden Kidding?

Dear Editor,

Are you kidding me? Osama Bin Laden has popped up once again from his hole in the ground and produced yet another film production for mass circulation.

The thug states a new attack “is being prepared and you’ll see it in your homeland very soon” and then continues his pathetic chatter saying,” we do not mind establishing a long-term truce between us and you, based on just conditions.” Yeah, right.

As far as I am concerned, if he is that interested in bringing his production film play to New York or Washington, the Ossining Correctional Facility upstate New York sounds like a fitting, long-term truce and just condition for this wacko.

Sounds more and more as if he is hearing footsteps near his pillow. As for the Democrats in Washington who are helping to feed Bin Laden with raw meat to throw at us, it’s time to cease the verbal attacks on our elected government. The end result might not be so pretty.

KEVIN KAMEN

Fortunate To Have Pheffer

Dear Editor,

In response to two Letters to the Editor in your January 13 edition concerning Assemblyperson Audrey Pheffer, it should be noted that the reputation of Ms. Pheffer and her staff is one of always being available to the Bayswater community.

She has listened attentively and carefully and acted upon every concern presented to her. When addressing problems to other agencies and receiving no results, she has been able to effect change.

We feel we are fortunate to have such a sensitive, caring community leader.  She and her Chief of Staff, Jo Ann Shapiro have actively helped preserve and improve the Bayswater community.

BARBARA & MICKEY COHEN

Need More People To Ride

Dear Editor,

I am writing to you in hopes that maybe you can insert some information regarding the new Express Bus Service we have in Rockaway courtesy of MTA Bus. It’s not that this is new service as you know, but we now have new buses. These new buses are fabulous. They are coach buses with very comfortable seating. You would have to contact the MTA to get the specifics as far as how many passengers it holds. The fare is $5 per person via MetroCard or coins.

The link below will give you the schedule of these buses. There is one bus from Rockaway Park (QM16) and two from Far Rockaway (QM17). http://www.greenbus.com/2003summerpdf/QM16_QM17%209_4_00w.pdf.

I’m hoping that more people will fill up these buses in the Rockaways and Broad Channel, so we won’t have to stop along Woodhaven Boulevard all the way to the LIE to pick up passengers to fill the empty seats. If we could do that, it would truly be Express Service. There is no standing room allowed on these buses, once the seats are filled, the bus has to go to its destination.

As of right now, these buses are midtown buses. The stops start at 3rd Ave. & 34th Street and then it runs west to 6th Ave. and then north on 6th Avenue to 57th Street, where it runs east back to 3rd Avenue.

Hopefully in the near future, there will be Express Bus Service for our Downtown neighbors as well, but as of now they don’t have any bus service.

If you could let the Rockaway readers know of this service, maybe we can finally see better service for the Rockaways.

COLLEEN DONOHUE

No Need For Synagogue Controversy

Dear Editor,

This letter is in response to your article about a new home for the Derech Emunoh Synagogue.

Why not allow the synagogue to occupy an “end unit” in the ABS project

itself? With slight modification, one of the current “models” could be easily adapted for a synagogue.

For example, those units already have two kitchens and the roof top terrace already has the “frame” for a great sukkah.

Not unlike the small neighborhood synagogues in other parts of Queens and Brooklyn that are imbedded in residential areas - such an approach allows attaining the legitimate goals of a separate facility for a house of worship while making less costly for both the ABS Project and the Derech Emunoh congregation.

We always work together to keep ALL houses of worship currently in Arverne - they are all peninsula assets already “in place” for members of

the community counting on them too.

This important Rockaway infrastructure must be sustained, albeit in a prudent manner.

There is no need for controversy at all.

DAVID LICHENTHAL

Three Kings Party A Success

Dear Editor,

I would like to recognize many in the Rockaway community for their support of the American Legion-sponsored “Three Kings” Holiday Party, held at the Knights of Columbus on Sunday, January 15.

On this icy and cold day, 50 patients from the St. Albans Veteran’s Hospital were treated to a delicious meal, entertainment and gifts. A warm Rockaway reception was provided by many volunteers of all ages and from differing walks of life. Many people, organizations, and businesses contributed to the success of this party.

A very special THANK YOU is extended to Grand Knight Richard Knott and members of the Knights of Columbus; the American Legion and Ladies Auxiliary; Sandy and Jate Doremus; and Mary Romas and her knitting ladies. A thank you is also extended to the Rockaway Rotary; Joseph Trainor Esq.; Ron Curry of Well Care; the Hansons and Roxbury USA; Ciro’s Bakery; the 101 Deli; and Kings Pharmacy, for all of their generous donations and product contributions to the veterans.

Finally, thank you to Ed Hazel for his 43-plus years of volunteerism in Veterans Affairs; and to our local politicians: Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer; Councilman Joseph Addabbo Jr.; and Congressman Anthony Weiner, for recognizing Hazel with city and state citations.

It’s events like this that make me proud to be a member of the American Legion and a Rockaway resident.

MIKE HONAN

More On Rewriting History

Dear Editor,

Your comments on the re-writing of history to suit the moment and the motion picture, “Munich” are 100% true. Some years ago we were on a tour of Lake Powell, Glen Canyon, AZ. Along the cliffs surrounding this artificial lake are remnants of Anasazi living quarters and artifacts. The National Park guide told up that, the sites have been and may still being looted. I said to the guide, “It’s not just artifacts that are being stolen, it’s history.” When revisionists re-write history to suit the moment, they steal the truth from present and future generations. Legends are made for the same reason, to re-write (or re-tell) history.

Hollywood contributes to historical revisionism by producing pictures without really checking out the truth. Or it just makes up “truth.” Let me give some simple examples: In the 1940’s picture, “Jesse James,” starring Tyrone Power and Henry Fonda, the outlaw was shown to be a nice guy, a “Robin Hood” who steals from the rich to give to the poor. We kids really got into it…Jesse was our hero. In reality he was a cold-blooded killer who couldn’t care less about anyone but himself. And John Wayne’s (among others) depiction of Davy Crockett going down taking with him a dozen or more Mexican soldiers? Not so. Evidence shows that he was captured, lined up with some other defenders in front of a firing squad and shot. They and the other dead were cremated on the spot. Max Baer was certainly not as depicted in “Cinderella Man;” The Navaho Code Talkers of WWII never had “protectors” such as Nicholas Cage’s character in a picture a few years ago and Errol Flynn’s (among others) Custer never had a noble, last “stand.”

I saw the picture, “Munich,” but I knew historical fact based upon what I read and the real documentaries that I saw before I viewed the film. The Israelis did not use an amateur to make bombs. They used an expert bomb maker who was not inept. The conversation between the Arab and Israeli agent never took place and he (the Israeli leader) did not remain in New York because he felt guilt. In fact I recently read that one of the writers of the film said that he felt that people have guilt when they kill someone, so he portrayed the Mossad agents as having guilt feelings about what they were doing. Get it? He wrote what he felt, not what was true. He stole history, but what’s worse is that pseudo-educators want to do the same.

STEPHEN YAEGER

Pheffer A Positive Force In Bayswater

Dear Editor,

I am writing to respond to a letter printed in the January 13, 2006 edition of The Wave. I am the head of the Bayswater Security Patrol and a member of the Bayswater Civic Association. I was at the last open meeting in which references were made that Assemblywoman Pheffer would not engage in conversation with the president of the Civic Association. I was waiting to discuss a patrol issue with Assemblywoman Pheffer and after ten minutes of her talking with our president I said goodnight and had to leave.

I also have had many dealings with Assemblywoman Pheffer with issues pertinent to both the Patrol as well as the community and each and every time I have gotten a timely response, usually followed by a resolution to the issue in hand.

As a matter of fact we have never had any negative dealings with our politicians in general, as former Senator Al Waldon and current District Attorney Brown are both honorary members of our Patrol and have even been photographed wearing our Patrol jackets.

I could not disagree more about the comments made, as I have been witness firsthand to too many dealings over the years with Assemblywoman Pheffer, and I always got a return call or letter each and every time!

MICHAEL GLINER

BAYSWATER SECURITY PATROL

Let’s Recognize Pat Kelly!

Dear Editor,

My husband, Jim, and I read the Historical Views, American Irish Hall-Rockaway Beach, New York, 1977, by Emil Lucev in the 1/6/2006 edition of The Wave. Since Pat Kelly was the founder and leader of the American Irish Band, his name should have been mentioned. Every band member would agree that Pat Kelly was the heart and soul of The Shamrocks. Let’s remember and give thanks to Pat Kelly for his love and dedication to the American Irish Band.

JIM AND MARY KELLY

Can’t Abandon Senior And Handicapped Housing

The following letter was sent to Senator Malcolm A. Smith.

Dear Senator Smith,

I am writing to you about a very serious matter: the elimination of Senior Citizen and Handicapped housing.

I am referring specifically to the Roy Reuther Houses at 711 Seagirt Boulevard in Far Rockaway. They consist of four inter-connecting buildings containing 900 apartments. They were built in 1971 to be used exclusively for Senior Citizen and Handicapped housing. I believe this was part of the government loan agreements. According to the terms, after a period of 20-25 years, when the mortgage was paid up, this stipulation no longer would exist, and the owners could rent to anyone.

Did the government agencies have a MAGIC WAND they would wave, along with the politicians, after the period of 20-25 years, causing Senior Citizens and the Handicapped to no longer exist?

A representative of a local politician in a telephone conversation stated to me, “Nothing is forever.” I beg to differ. Senior Citizens and the Handicapped are forever! They will always be with us, no matter how much time passes. We cannot abandon them.

Can we allow certain government agencies and politicians to become “Indian Givers,” when it comes to Senior and Handicapped housing? I think not. They are here to serve us, not play with us.

I do not blame the new owners for this wrongdoing; they just took advantage of a business opportunity that existed. I place full blame on certain politicians and government agencies.

What we need now is legislation to reverse this wrongdoing, and keep it from happening again to others.

How could local politicians know about this and not fight to keep it from happening, especially when they keep saying in newspaper articles, “We need more Senior Citizen Housing.”

We now turn to you in desperation for this legislation, for as I stated before, Senior Citizens and the Handicapped will always be with us, no matter how much time passes. We cannot abandon them by taking away housing built especially for them.

ANTHONY LUCEV

Missing Ernest Fazio

Dear Editor,

Arthur Ernest Fazio passed away suddenly last Thursday. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that almost everybody in our community either knew or recognized him, whether it was as a neighbor on 128th Street, as the guy on the bicycle built for two, the guy in the Mercedes, or just simply as good old Artie. Those who knew him best knew about his love for his grandchildren, and how it kept him going even on the roughest days. They knew about his love for fancy jewelry, how he liked to play the Godfather theme on the organ, and how he loved buying his Lottery tickets, which, appropriately enough, he had just bought moments before he left us for a better place. But mostly, they knew him because of his smile, his kind words, and his selflessness. He would tell you about how tired and sick he was feeling, but only after he had asked you how you were, asked how your family was, and telling you about how he had missed the take five by just one number. He was a true character with true character.

It’s funny...you go through life taking it for granted that someone will always be there for you, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, because that’s just always how it’s been. Then, something tragic happens, and you find yourself wishing you could have just five minutes more with them...to tell them everything you always should have, but never did. Everyone around you tells you that it’s okay, if you love someone they already know these things, but you’re still always left with a feeling of guilt, wishing you could have done more. However, I realize now that these are selfish thoughts…because as much as I wish I could have told him I loved him one more time, I’m sure he wished he could have done the same for me…the same for all of us. But I can take comfort in the fact that we’ll both get our chance when we meet again someday.

Arthur Ernest Fazio was my Dad by law for about a decade, but by love for a lifetime. He is a part of all of my fondest childhood memories, whether it was a Christmas Eve or a Saturday morning making pancakes. Always there with a kind word or a helping hand, Artie was truly one of a kind. To try and get the word of his passing out to everyone that knew him and considered him a friend would be impossible, but maybe by reading this, those that were unaware can hopefully smile at the thought of him.

Well Pop, I’ll definitely miss you, but it’s going to be a long time before I can let you go. Like Irving Berlin said, “the song is ended but the melody lingers on.” I’ll keep this brief like one of Artie’s one liners, but let me finish by saying that I think a man’s true worth can be measured by the amount of friends and loved ones he has in his life...and if that is truly the case, then Artie could have stopped playing Lotto a long time ago because he was already a millionaire many times over.

Thank you to everybody for their amazing support to my family, and I’d like to give an extra thanks to Artie’s neighbor Joe, for his kind words at the Funeral Mass and to Father Gerrarty at St. Francis de Sales Church for being so generous to us both in words and actions.

GREG GUINARD

Thanks SJEH

Dear Editor,

It is a great pleasure for me to take the time to write this letter of gratitude and appreciation for the entire staff on Tower 10 at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital. This letter is long overdue and I apologize for the delay.

During the week of December 19, 2005, I was a patient on Tower 10. I received excellent patient care from the medical and nursing staff as well as the housekeeping staff. The entire personnel on Tower 10 were warm, caring, friendly, and polite. The staff never lost sight of their professional commitment to the well being of their patients.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all ever so much for making my stay on Tower 10 as painless and accommodating as possible during my recuperation.

ANNETTE LORD-COHEN

An Outstanding Teacher

Dear Editor,

I am writing to you about a teacher who brought out wonder and talent in our children, someone who had a profound influence on poetry, art, literature & history.  I am so grateful that my children were fortunate to experience the teaching talents of Nancy Meritt.  We experienced her amazing teaching abilities, her wonderful sense of humor, her love for children and her quest to share all the knowledge that she had gathered throughout her years.

For those of us whose children who will be forever touched by this incredible woman, we share a special bond.  Thank you Nancy for sharing yourself and your vast knowledge with our children.

Thank you for your friendship and the friendships that were bonded by sharing our mutual admiration for you.  Your presence will be missed, but a lifetime friendship will prevail!

BENITA LACHNER

Encourage Water In Schools

Dear Editor,

Why isn’t water mandated with our children’s school lunches like milk is? I agree that milk is healthy, but some kids are allergic to milk, and may get diarrhea from drinking too much of it, especially on those hot days when they can go out to play and it curdles in their stomachs, causing some to vomit.

We can never get too much water. Water is a very healthy and essential part of our diet. Kids should get a “quarter” water (a small container of water) on each tray, along with their milk. They say to drink six to eight glasses a day, and part of a child’s days is spent in school. I notice a lot of pails filled with milk that the kids throw away. At least try this for six meals and you’ll notice the pails of milk is more than the pails of water. I’m not saying to eliminate milk, just add on an essential drink.

Especially in the hot months when we need to prevent dehydration, and especially because of the way kids play! A lot of them look around for water to quench their thirst, like people working out at the gym or jogging along the beach; they carry water, not milk. And our kids look for a water fountain, not a milk fountain.

It is true that there are water fountains in some school halls, but you just can’t sit eating lunch and then roam through the halls looking for a fountain.

I encourage parents and the school system to encourage children to drink more water.

CYNTHIA SMALLS-WILLIAMS

St. Virgilius School

‘A Wonderful Gem’

Dear Editor,

There is a gem on the island in the middle of the bay. It’s St. Virgilius School.

After being put on a waiting list in one school, we scrambled around the peninsula looking for the right school for our child. In our search we discovered a small school over the bridge that filled our needs. Small class sizes (which is hard to find today), extremely caring and dedicated teachers, and a curriculum that could rival any school on the peninsula. An added plus is a principal who is warm, kind and approachable.

Making the choice to send my child out of the neighborhood was a hard one, but St. Virgilius made it easy. I have met many wonderful and friendly parents that have made us feel right at home.

We would just like to publicly thank the teachers, staff and parents of St. Virgilius for making my child’s school experience an exceptional one.

THE MORONEY FAMILY

Sincerity and Warmth

Dear Editor,

After having read Joan Diehl’s letter last month about Mr. Grill, I felt compelled to write as well. I have thought about writing since my first PTA meeting this year, when I actually had tears in my eyes due to his sincerity and warmth.

As an educator for 12 years and a 114 parent during Doris Satler’s tenure and since, I must agree wholeheartedly with Ms. Diehl’s glowing praises for Mr. Grill. He is very down-to-earth, warm and friendly to the parents and the students. I am on leave this year and am spending a lot of time in the building as a volunteer. I have witnessed first-hand and have been impressed by the teachers’ feelings of camaraderie and confidence, rather than the fear and loathing that I saw in my colleagues’ eyes.

PS 114 is our children’s home away from home. The teachers and administrators have a tough time adhering to all the mandates from the DOE, and they do an admirable job of juggling. I hope Mr. Grill will be there to lead the way for a long time to come and that he remains as caring, open, and honest as he is now.

LIZ GRAHAM

B. 116 Merchants Should Ban Together

Dear Editor,

I recently happened upon the December 23, 2005 issue of The Wave and reread Tori Toth’s article “Parking Nightmares Continue on Beach 116 Street.” I’m glad I did.

You see, the thought occurred to me that a clever and aggressive attorney could use Ms. Toth’s article as the perfect starting point for a class-action lawsuit by the Beach 116 Street merchants against Community Board 14, The Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways, the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) and the developers of The Ocean Grande. The case can also be made that the parking fiasco was intentionally designed to destabilize the Beach 116 Street merchants, thus making those properties easier to obtain for condo development.

For starters, if Mocean lost their whole fall season and 60% of their Christmas sales, along with Christmas being a disaster for The Shaggy Dog Inn, then all the other merchants on Beach 116 Street lost business as well. And it can all be proven quite easily- lower comparable revenues, laid-off staff, etc.

Secondly, the reality of the situation is that construction projects, especially ones undertaken by the City of New York, ever get completed on time. Period. So, although the Community Board, the Chamber and the DOT swore up and down that all would be finished by Thanksgiving, they had to know that delays and problems would push this project into the Christmas season. More importantly, the Community Board and The Chamber, whose responsibility it is to pursue the best interests of the community and the merchants, have to know that the Christmas season is, more often than not, make or break for a retailer.

And lastly, people who did frequent Beach 116 Street during the reconstruction had their cars relentlessly ticketed for no reason whatsoever. So the message was clear. Stay away from Beach 116 Street. Go shop someplace else, anyplace else.

What was the rush? There was no great cry from the community to change the parking plan. Lew Simon didn’t organize any public protests. Nobody was collecting signatures on a petition. The Wave wasn’t writing articles about the dangers of zig-zag parking. Letters to the Editor were minimal to non-existent. The Graybeards weren’t called in to save the street. And given all the real problems that Rockaway Park has, the parking on Beach 116 Street wasn’t even a bleep on the radar screen!

Why didn’t the Community Board and The Chamber err on the side of caution and wait for January or some other time, when the retail pressure was off? These people are supposed to be on the side of the community and the merchants. But I just don’t see it. I don’t see it at all!

As we speak, the community of Rockaway Park, especially the Beach 116 Street corridor, is up for sale. And not necessarily to the highest bidder. And certainly not to any buyer/developer who cares about the quality of life in the neighborhood. No more longboards, jams and cool sunglasses at the Surf Shop. No more decent sneakers at Mocean. No more Friday night pizza at Ciro’s. No more beautiful windows at George’s Florist. No more friendly and expert services at Brown’s Hardware. And no more bacon, egg and cheese heroes at Pickles & Pies, on the way home from Jameson’s or The Circle. Poof! Gone! Just like that!

The merchants on Beach 116 Street have been sold down the river, by the very organizations that are supposed to promote them. The merchants should ban together and find that clever and aggressive lawyer, who will take the case on a consignment basis and stick it to Community Board 14, The Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways, The DOT and the developer of The Ocean Grande.

Be mad as hell. Don’t take it anymore. Take your neighborhood back!

RICHARD J. VENEZIANO

‘Audrey, Keep Up

The Good Work’

Dear Editor,

My husband and I are residents of Bayswater and are Board Members of the Bayswater Civic Association.

We want to go on record as stating our personal opinion of Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, who was maligned by Ed Raskin in the January 13, 2006 edition of “Letters.”

As Bayswater residents, Audrey has never refused to help us if it were in her capacity to do so.

If she could not personally help us, she always made sure that someone from her office came to us in her place.

Audrey, keep up the good work. Audrey, we’re with you all the way.

LEATRICE AND SIDNEY SOLOWAY

The Wave Is A ‘Tabloid’ Paper

Dear Editor,

I do not wish to renew my subscription to your “tabloid.”

It is regrettable that you chose to sensationalize an accident report on your front page (Judge Edward Re), along with a report concerning prostitution, etc.

The Judge has never, and would never, harm anyone or anything, verbally or physically. This was, so sadly, an accident. Our focus is on the well-being and recovery of the child who was involved in this accident. We send our prayers and love to her.

In previous issues, your tabloid reported auto accidents, some with fatalities, on the same insensitive “thrill” level at the expense of the involved families.

If I enjoyed this type of reporting, I would subscribe to the Daily News or The Post, but I do not.

JOAN FOGARTY

Letter To Pheffer

The following letter was sent to Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer, in regard to Kelo v. New London- eminent domain- U.S. Supreme Court.

Dear Audrey,

Reference is made to Kelo vs. New London, in which the Supreme Court held that state and local governments can take people’s homes and businesses, and sell them to private developers. I wish to thank you for the copies of several bills on the above subject, which you sent to me under cover of letter on January 19, 2006. They arrived on January 21, 2006, and I took the opportunity to look them over last night.

My first impression is that they contain some valuable provisions, to protect homeowners, and fail to specifically address the plight of the small business owner. Furthermore, they do not address my constitutional concerns. Let me approach the subject from your perspective as a legislator. Let’s say that the Assembly and Senate pass a bill on some subject, and the Governor signs it into law. Then let’s say the new law becomes the subject of litigation, where the meaning and application of that law is in issue. Then let’s say that the New York Court of Appeals attaches to that law a meaning never intended by the Legislature, and actually contrary to the legislative intent. I think it would be an understatement to say that the members of the legislature who voted for that law would not be pleased.

I have studied all 85 of the Federalist Papers, the debates of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, some speeches in state ratification conventions, and many of the Anti-Federalist Papers. At the time of the adoption of the Bill of Rights (including the Fifth Amendment) in 1791, the concept of, and the general understanding of a taking of land for “public use,” was limited to condemnation of land for forts, government buildings, naval facilities, public roads, and other governmental uses. Indeed, the constitutional term “public use” is synonymous with “governmental use.” The drafters of our Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalists, the Anti-Federalists and the several state ratification conventions never contemplated the term “public use” to include governmental taking of private property for re-sale to other more favored private interests, because the proposed re-development would result in high rise housing, factories, shopping centers, a larger tax base, job opportunities, etc.

The problem with Kelo v. New London is not as much inadequate procedures to protect property owners, as it is the willful distortion of the constitutional term “public use” to include “urban development,” “industrial development,” “economic development,” and all other euphemisms for taking property from one owner and selling it to a new and more favored owner. In reaching its decision in Kelo, the Supreme Court has de facto amended the Constitution to fit its own political concept of what the Constitution ought to say. However, Supreme Court decisions are not provided for in Article V of the Constitution, as a mode of amending the Constitution. To put it in legal language, Kelo v. New London violates the legislative intent expressed in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I express no opinion concerning the New York State Constitution, because I have not yet studied it.

I conceive that it is the obligation of the New York State legislature to follow the lead of other state legislatures, and enact legislation to protect the rights of property owners in this state, where the U.S. Supreme Court has failed in its obligation to protect us. None of the bills which you have sent to me attempt to provide such protection. I would hope that you will introduce such legislation.

On the whole, the several bills which you have provided to me will, if enacted, ameliorate the harshness of the current condemnation environment and provide procedural protections for property owners, particularly homeowners. I particularly like the provisions requiring the payment of 125% or better yet 150% of fair market value to homeowners. I am a former municipal attorney, and have litigated land and the first question an appraiser asks an attorney is, “How much do you want me to appraise the property for?” The condemning authority will always get low-ball appraisals, thus forcing the property owners to hire attorneys to litigate the value of the property. The judge will split the difference somewhere in the middle of the two appraisals, and the property owner’s attorney will get 1/3 of the amount over the government’s appraisal. The condemning authority should be required to pay all of the property owners’ litigation expenses, where the property owner recovers more than the government’s appraisal, and this should include attorney’s fees. This burden should provide an incentive to condemning authorities to offer fair amounts, so that property owners will not be forced to litigate over the value of their properties.

The various bills contain various protections for homeowners, particularly Bill #9050, to amend the eminent domain procedure law. Business owners require the same protections. They are more at risk than homeowners. If you take and pay for someone’s home, he/she will be forced to move to a new community. But, if you take someone’s business, you take their ability to support themselves. If you take a whole neighborhood, as was done in New London, you destroy the local business there, and they cannot relocate. Business owners should have the same rights as homeowners, because businesses stand to be destroyed, not just relocated. Section 201 © (1) provides for service personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested, of the notice of each public hearing. Personal service is not likely to be used, and certified mail is not likely to be delivered. If no one is home at the time of delivery, the addressee will have to go to the Post Office to pick it up during hours when they are normally working. Many people are afraid to receive Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, and will avoid it like the plague. I suggest that an additional delivery by hand to each property owner be required, if they have a residence or business address within a specified number of miles from their subject property, in those cases where personal service is not effected. The public hearings should be in the evenings, so that people can attend. For example, it makes no sense to have a public hearing before the City Council at 1 p.m. on a weekday, when people have to be at work, frequently at locations remote from lower Manhattan (Section 203).

I wish to thank you for considering this letter, and respectfully request legislation, which will limit condemnations to governmental uses.

It is further requested that you send me a copy of the legislation, which was enacted in the special session of the Legislature between late December 2005, and the first part of this month.

EDWARD S. RASKIN

Friend of Bill W

This letter was sent to Wave columnist Beverly Baxter in response to her column of alcoholism that appeared in last week’s edition.

Dear Beverly,

I was completely overwhelmed with your wonderful article “On The Beach.”

As a born and bred resident from Rockaway, a reader of James Frey’s book, a graduate from Hazeldon and almost two years sober I can truly appreciate your words. The important message you have is there is hope. In life we are all dealt with challenges, some greater than others. The disease wants us dead!!!! 

The first step is to realize you have a problem and you can’t do this alone. The last two years of my life have been the best. Without Alcoholic Anonymous I would not be writing this. Program “AA,” family, work!!! Without the first I wouldn’t have the others.

I’m a better husband, father, employee and human being all because of AA. I’m writing this to you because if someone is out there hurting, there is HOPE, just ask, you are not alone.

FRIEND OF BILL W

 

 

 

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