2006-02-10 / Letters

Letters

What Can

Once again, we are blessed with the bi-weekly simplicities and heart-felt pleadings from Stu Mirsky. Okay, so he really, really likes George W. Bush. I’m convinced. Yet, as one  vassal said of his friend, the truly loyal subject, ‘Wouldest that the king were ever so deserving of such devotion.’

Perhaps, Stu, you would consider taking time from your busy schedule to reply to some basic questions; that is, of course, if you feel your writing is worthy of serious consideration and debate by your audience.

If this president can designate you a terrorist and throw you in jail, deny you a lawyer, never charge you with a crime, nor admit that he has even taken you from your home, send you off to a foreign prison, have your fingernails forcefully removed in the name of ‘legal coercion’ (torture), listen in on all your families frantic calls as they desperately try to find you, and finally, keep you in solitary for the rest of your life, can you perhaps tell me just one thing that George W. Bush would readily admit that he, as President, can NOT do? Just one thing?

Is this what our founding fathers had in mind when they risked their lives to gain our basic freedoms from an absolute monarch whose desire was to hang every one of them?

Should we now defer those very same hard won freedoms because we deem this war to be more deadly than the one they fought, or for that matter any other war this country ever fought?

Lastly, as the true conservative you profess to be, advise us please; what should we now do with the constitution they wrote and which this president now finds a bit of a nuisance?

IRA FELDMAN

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

 

Pheffer Supportive

Of Bayswater

Dear Editor:

I found the letter to the editor published Jan 13, 2006 regarding Assembly Woman Audrey Pheffer deeply disturbing. Anyone new to the community might believe everything that was written. However, one must look at the motives of the writer as to why such an attack was made.

I am a resident of Bayswater, Far Rockaway for over 40 years, and I have attended most Bayswater Civic Association meetings. At every meeting that involves Bayswater, Audrey Pheffer or her representative have always been supportive of and a good friend to our community.

In all fairness, I believe letters in support of Audrey Pfeffer should also be published by your paper. Thank you.

MARCIA GLUCK

 

Raskin’s Views Not Reflecting Civic Association’s

Dear Editor,

As Board Chairman of Bayswater Civic Association, I want to make it clear that the views expressed by Ed Raskin, president of our organization, in a recent letter to the editor were entirely personal and in no way represent the views of the Association.

Audrey Pheffer, our Assemblyperson, is not only our representative in the State Assembly, but is a longstanding member of our Civic Association and has supported us for all these years in more ways than I can count. I hope she will continue to do so as we will continue to support her.

ENID GLABMAN

BCA Members Speak Out

Dear Editor,

My husband and I are writing as individuals who live on the Rockaway peninsula. We are members of the Board of Directors of the Bayswater Civic Association (BCA) of which Edward S. Raskin is president. While he identified himself as the president of a “civic association,” his name is known on the peninsula for being president of Bayswater Civic Association. His comments are completely his own and do not reflect the BCA’s thinking.

Assemblywoman Pheffer is a resident of Bayswater and the Rockaway peninsula, who has given years of her life in service to her constituents both on and off the peninsula. Her concern for these constituents can be found in the committees on which she serves and in the bills, which she has sponsored. Her efforts on behalf of her constituency is such that we as individuals and as board members of the Bayswater Civic Association have the utmost respect for her and we wish her well in all her endeavors.

PHYLLIS and HARVey RUDNICK

Any Way You Slice It,

It’s Still Rockaway Beach

Dear Editor,

From Beach 9 to Beach 149 Street, whether you call it Neponsit, Belle Harbor, Rockaway Park, or Far Rockaway, this peninsula that I was born and raised and have grown to love is collectively known as Rockaway Beach. I’m sure most of its residents would agree.

Regarding the growth of Rockaway’s new businesses, especially Accentuate, Status Hair & Tanning Salon and the Belle Harbor Steak House, I applaud it. Pioneering businesses in certain areas of Rockaway could only improve those areas not hurt them. In my opinion, for stores located on beautiful New York City beachfront property, their prices are quite reasonable. It sounds like certain people would prefer there be more “Rockaway Park” 99 cents stores instead. I for one think we have more than enough of those.

SAMUEL GRASSINI

Look Elsewhere For Dinner

Dear Editor,

My husband and I went to eat at Belle Harbor Steak and Seafood Restaurant on Tuesday, January 31. We parked on Beach 116 at 6.07 p.m.  I gave my husband six quarters to cover our time in the restaurant since the meters now run through 8 p.m. He came back to the car and said the meter would only allow him one hour.  I was disappointed but noted the time and we went into the restaurant.  After an hour (interrupting our delicious main course) he retrieved his coat and went outside to put another three quarters in the meter so we could finish our meal.  WE HAD A TICKET.  The meter had expired two minutes earlier and the ticket was already under the windshield. 

An hour limit on a meter where one is eating a sit-down meal is inappropriate.  What about someone at a hairdresser?  I know that service often takes two or more hours. 

We certainly want to patronize our local businesses on Beach 116 Street, but due to our experience we will be forced to go elsewhere.

JO ANNE ELLIS

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

Verizon Not Telling

The Truth

Dear Editor,

I’ve just learned from the state Public Service Commission that Verizon won’t have our neighborhood’s phone service back up until Wed. morning...

Supposedly, the reason given is “2 copper lines were severed at the same time.”

Well, I don’t think so. I think if that were all that was wrong, Verizon would have fixed the problem by now. I suspect they’re using this as an excuse to upgrade their system, to compete with cable companies. Not that any of us should use this monopoly utility ever again.

After 36 years in Rockaway, and many of those years before that in Brooklyn, I have never encountered loss of phone service of this length of time.

CAROLyN RUSHEFSKY

St. Andrew’s Location Discovered

The following letter was written in response to a Historical Views column that asked the location of St. Andrew’s Episcopalian Church, which once stood somewhere in the Belle Harbor area.

Dear Editor,

St. Andrew’s was a mission church, as was St. John’s Episcopalian Church in Far Rockaway, which later merged with Trinity Episcopalian Church in Hewlett.

St. Andrew’s was razed to make way for a nursing home on the corner of Beach 126 Street (on the same side as St. Francis de Sales R.C. Church). A few members who were left joined the First Congregationalist Church on Beach 94 Street, if they didn’t want to travel to the Five Town area.

Trinity St. John’s Episcopal Church, with its churchyard for burials, is one of the oldest churches in the area (with original Tiffany windows).

My great-grandparents came from Europe to Rockaway, and my grandparents and parents were all born in Rockaway.

ROBERT C. MILLER

‘Fired’

Dear Editor,

Long, long ago, since George Washington’s time, cartoonists have captured the political events of the day.

A history of the conflicts confronting the United States, reflecting national mood, incidents and personalities are revealed by America’s satirists. No one is spared. The editorial cartoonist waves a powerful pen. His/her message is graphic and the impact is felt by millions.

Ulysses S. Grant is purported to have said in 1868, “Two things elected me, the sword of Sheridan (a great general) and the pencil of Thomas Nast (a famous cartoonist).” The word “nasty” comes from his work.

Editorial cartoons also reveal social history. Costumes of men and women, slave drivers, Bowery boys, popular songs, colloquialisms, slang of the past, slogans, banners, food, drink, tobacco, and street scenes are all depicted.

Symbolic figures such as Uncle Sam, the Republican Elephant and the Democratic Donkey can likewise be traced through these cartoons.

As long as the United States has a free press, the pen and ink satirists of every newspaper will be busy capturing important moments forever.

A friend of mine, a colonel in the army, emailed me from Iraq. He asked if a cartoon of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld inspecting a soldier whose arms and legs were amputated, deeming him to be “battle-hardened,” was grounds for firing the cartoonist.

On the throws of this, the Danish embassy was set on fire. Angry crowds protested a cartoon depicting the prophet wearing a turban shaped like a bomb.

We fought for freedom of expression.

We are now liberating people in the hope of their achieving this right.

These embassies should not be set on fire.

The cartoonist should not be fired.

ROBERT SARNOFF

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

Pheffer Has Always Supported The Community

Dear Editor,

I found the letter to the editor published on January 13, 2006, regarding Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer deeply disturbing. Anyone new to the community might believe everything that was written. However, one must look at the motives of the writer as to why such an attack was made.

I am a resident of Bayswater, Far Rockaway for over 40 years, and I have attended most Bayswater Civic Association meetings. At every meeting that involves Bayswater, Audrey Pheffer or her representative have always been supportive of and a good friend to the community.

In all fairness, I believe letters in support of Audrey Pheffer should also be published in your paper. Thank you.

MARCIA GLUCK

Keep Diner Open

Dear Editor,

  My name is Alison, and I was upset to hear that the Rockaway Sunset Diner was going to be closing and knocked down.

It was enough to see the Beach Club turned into a catering hall, and closed as a restaurant, since my family and I, and also numerous other people of this community, shared so many memories there.

Now the last family restaurant will be closed for business. I hope the plans will be changed and we will keep our beloved diner.

ALLISON MCGOVERN

AGE 12

Should Be Out Of Job

Dear Editor,

I just wanted to thank Assemblywoman Michelle Titus and Fred Simmons of State Senator Malcolm Smith’s office. I truly enjoyed the Action Center show last weekend and also all of the vendors, from HIP Insurance to the Sponge Bob clown.

Based on the letter from Ms. Doe in last weeks paper, I guess the school district did not know that an Assemblywoman was going to be bringing her kids to the event. Maybe if they had known, the rides would have been in the gym. And since when did a janitor become the boss over the school principal and regional superintendent?

Does that man still have his job? I am sure if he were black he would not.

BARBARA BROWN

No Mason/Dixon Line

In Rockaway

Dear Editor,

When my child went to MS 180, the school was 90% black and 10% white. My kids had to contend with broken, dim lights in the cafeteria, broken gym floors, and chipped paint on walls. It was amazing to see last weekend when I was at the Action Center program that there was light in the cafeteria, no broken tables, a new gym floor and brightly painted walls. Could it be the fact that the school now is 90% white and 10% black that the changes were made? Hum, I wonder. Could the Region have been somehow afraid that by letting in all those little black kids the building would be messed up for their kids? Could they have worried that we would see the changes and put two and two together? Telling the Action Center to go to MS 198 is to me the same as the Mason/Dixon line in the South. Stay on your side of the tracks. We won’t have it. I can walk to MS 180 from my house, and walk to it I will. Let them try to mess with you and the Action Center, Ms. Doe, and they will see more angry parents than they can imagine. What I think will shock them is that all of us will not be black, but folks who know the value of what you bring to the peninsula and to our children. You have kept your promises to us, and we will keep ours to you. You have done more to bring this community together than the Region ever did. There will be no Mason/Dixon lines. You can count on that.

PIETRO MALINO

Supports Action Center

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the letter to the Action Center parents. I have a child in The Action Center and I am one of the parents who questioned Ms. Doe as to why the program at MS 180 was different this year.

I do appreciate her response in the paper. I do want to say, however, that while Doe might take the Superintendent’s word for it that this will not happen again, I do not.

I want Doe to know that if the Action Center has another problem, not only will the 600 parents who were at the performance come out to support them, but we will bring four family members each with us. We appreciate what the Action Center has done for our children and us.

They have taught so many of us parents that we do not have to settle for the worst education for our kids, or accept being locked out of a neighborhood building. I know I am not just speaking for myself when I say this. So many of us parents had the same reaction to her letter. We are here for you and we will be watching very closely to see how the Action Center is treated. If you need us Ms. Doe, we will come and be there for you, just as you and the Action Center have been here for us.

RENEE BROWN

 

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