When Lew Simon found out that I'd been having trouble in getting a wheelchair, he made sure he'd get me one, and he did.
Thank you, Lew- you are my hero.
Concerns Over Prison In Residential Neighborhood
The following letter was sent by Council Member James Sanders Jr. to Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff.
Secretary Michael Chertoff,
This letter is in reference to The Queens Private Correctional Facility located at 182-22 150th Avenue in Springfield Gardens, New York, operated by The GEO Group Inc. under contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and United States Marshall Services (USMS). My community and I are outraged at the placement of this prison and we demand that this facility be shut down! Furthermore, there are disturbing allegations of prison abuse that is completely unacceptable.
The poor placement of this facility leaves my community vulnerable. This prison is three blocks away from an elementary school, a women's shelter and moments away from a residential community. I advocate that a reasonable alternative would be to relocate the Queens Private Correctional Facility to one of the many undeveloped areas at JFK International Airport. This location, which is still in my district, is a more convenient and much safer placement for such a facility. Safety is an issue in every community, and to add a prison to a residential neighborhood is absolutely ludicrous.
Despite the fact that I find the Queens Private Correctional Facility to be an insult to my community, my regards for human rights do not waiver. Myself, along with my staff and members of the community, have organized and participated in protest around the prison and will continue to do so till it is shut down. During our August 19, 2006 and September 9, 2006 protests, prisoners were observed through the windows holding signs stating that there is "no food," "no medicine," "and no medical treatment."
My community and I, though hostile to the prisoner location, are insistent on the proper treatment of those prisoners. Though I do not agree with a prison being in our backyard, I do not condone inhuman treatment of anyone. I was ignored and rudely denied access into the prison to speak with either the prisoners or someone in charge to allay the community's concerns. Various calls have been made to the GEO Group headquarters to gain more insight on the situation and to check the validity of these powerful allegations. GEO headquarters referred me to their public relations specialist, who told me "all was well" inside the prison yet still denied me access to see for myself. This is an inadequate response.
I am requesting an intervention from your department on behalf of District 31. I am insisting on an investigation to be conducted into these allegations as well as the closing of the prison. I am also requesting a meeting with your office to discuss these matters further. I take allegations of prison abuse extremely seriously. It is imperative that all parties involved, residents and prisoners, have their civil and human rights preserved and my community is determined to see these matters through to the end. A prompt response is much appreciated.
COUNCILMEMBER JAMES SANDERS JR.
Your Voice, Your Choice
One year ago, we were granted the support of nearly 50% of Shareholders who voted in Dayton's 2005 Board of Directors election. As members of the Board, we set out to make a difference in the lives of all shareholders. Immediately, we were shocked to learn that though Dayton's accountants and management warned the Board of the severity of Dayton's financial problems, a faction of the Board members ( specifically those who had campaigned under the banner YOUR VOICE, YOUR CHOICE in 2004 ) ignored those warnings and instead increased Dayton's spending concealing the co-op's financial troubles from shareholders through exclusive closed-door meetings, "Executive Sessions" and forcing the removal of audiences from public meetings. Outraged, we sprung into action informing shareholders of what we learned behind the Board's closed doors. We held meetings, made flyers and wrote emails to city and elected officials trying everything to bring Dayton's crisis to light.
Several times, we presented motions that would both cut spending and collect the nearly $500,000 in outstanding arrears on Dayton's accounts. As members of the YOUR VOICE, YOUR CHOICE group are responsible for some of those arrears, and they control 11 of the Board's 15 votes, each of our motions failed. As a result, Dayton's operating budget deficit doubled to $1,430,000 in just a few months. Now, as these Board Members run for re-election they claim they are for "affordable living" still denying that a new increase of at least 18.18% is impending. However, the numbers don't lie. The fact is, Dayton Beach spent more money than it earns in income, and the near $2,000,000 Shareholders paid after the last 24% increase, and the $1,300,000 Dayton once held in emergency reserves is all gone. The Board's failure to be responsible in managing our money will again leave Shareholders to fix their mistakes.
Sadly, but not surprisingly , in retaliation for exposing the truth, YOUR VOICE, YOUR CHOICE members used their controlling vote on the Board to place a proposal on this year's ballot to remove us from the Board on the grounds that our " disruptions at Board Meetings interferes with the Board's ability to conduct the cooperative's affairs. " In truth, this group has fought with shareholders and former Board members alike, filing police complaints against one another, continuing the battle for control of the Board's power they've been waging for over ten years. Our removal ( if successful ) would eliminate two of the Board's only four votes against another increase and ensure this group control of 14 of the Board's 15 seats without having their actions questioned or exposed.
Shareholders, as a new election approaches, here we are again. An increase of nearly 20% will mean that we will have to endure paying 44% more than we paid in maintenance just three years ago. The proposal to double the purchase price for shareholders waiting on the INTERNAL waiting lists is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to get shareholders to pay more to cover-up the Board's irresponsible management of millions of our dollars. This year, let's use our votes to finally put an end to the double-dealing policies that work to hurt us all. There are still major opportunities to cut spending and balance Dayton's budget, avoiding or minimizing another sizable maintenance increase. Together we can elect members whose professional experiences will help bring real solutions to the problems faced by all Shareholders and stop the preferential treatment that only benefits the friends and family of these Board members.
Stand up for yourself and for Dayton Beach Park, VOTE NO on all three proposals on this year's ballot and NO to re-electing the YOUR VOICE, YOUR CHOICE members to the Board of Directors. Get involved and informed on the real issues and refuse these tactics to shut you out from the truth. We cannot afford to sit back silently and allow another fiscal crisis threaten our investments and our homes.
JENNIFER GRADY &
Rockaway voters should thank Stu Mirsky for devoting his time to bringing some significant issues to our attention. As a prolific columnist, he has expressed himself on many issues, but I shall limit my comments to five issues listed on a campaign card he is personally distributing:
Bring reform and change to Albany
Mirsky is the candidate of the Republican Party which has controlled Albany since Gov. Pataki was elected in 1994. We can work with groups like NYPIRG and Common cause which have written detailed plans to reform Albany. We can vote for Eliot Spitzer and hold on until he takes office in January.
Get waste, fraud and abuse out of our Medicaid program
The Republican Congress forced through a prescription drug bill which is taking billions from our Seniors and giving it to huge drug companies. This corruption may not be ended until we remove the present occupant of the White House. Spitzer will direct the State Health Department to review Medicaid costs at adult homes, nursing homes and Medicaid mills.
Improve ballot access and end gerrymandering to foster electoral competitiveness
Democrats have drawn the districts for the State Assembly while Repubicans have drawn the maps to elect their Republican majority in the State Senate. Nonpartisan academic experts can draw all districts and give more voters competitive choices and end the practice of protecting incumbents. One of those incumbents protected is Sen. Serf Maltese, the Queens County Republican Chairman. Can Mirsky get him to support an end to gerrymandering?
Give New Yorkers the power of "initiative and referendum"
With Republicans in full control of Washington and the Albany State Senate, not only are citizens unable to initiate legislation, but members of Congress cannot bring bills to the floor of the Congress unless approved by the Republican leadership. When Mirsky speaks out against these abuses we should take his stated goal of initiative and referendum seriously.
Reform our education system so poor and middle class parents will have the financial means to choose the best available schools for their children, be they public, parochial, or private
All our state courts have found that the current Albany leadership has failed to give NYC schools the required financial support. Governor Pataki has delayed the solution to this problem until he is out of office, and another generation of children has suffered from inadequate financing. Where is Mirsky's outrage over this defiance of our state constitution?
Rockaway voters know better than to entrust our future to the Republicans. We will of course reelect Audrey Pheffer, Malcolm Smith, Michelle Titus, Gregory Meeks and Anthony Weiner. The highest priority is bringing accountability in Washington. I urge those who can, to send a contribution to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, www.dscc.org/contribute , (202) 224-2447. Our own Senator, Chuck Schumer, is chair of this committee and will see that the money goes to the candidates who will use it most effectively.
DOT Debacle In Rockaway
I would like to thank The Wave for continuing weekly comments arguing against the roadway changes made arbitrarily by M. McCarthy at the Department of Transportation. I think it is agreed by all who drive in/around Rockaway that such changes make no sense at all. NOW IT'S TIME FOR OUR LOCAL ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES including PHEFFER, ADDABBO, GASKA, SIMON AND THE REST TO SEND OPEN LETTERS TO THE DOT AND MAYOR VOICING THEIR OBJECTIONS AND TO BE PRINTED IN THE WAVE AND TO BE SEEN BY ALL. You have all told me you are opposed. Now let's see it in writing. We are waiting! Your efforts would be appreciated by many. Thanks.
What Rockaway Needs
Congratulations to the Editor on your September 1 Wave editorial (Editor's Desk) and the vision for our community and its ongoing prosperity!
Your vision is my vision and is shared by many. I am a recent property owner in Far Rockaway following a long exile in Brooklyn. I've been following the chain of events of development in the Rockaways and now, I can say it is my turn.
I understand the residents of Far Rockaway who object to the new wave of development with its accompanying temporary inconvenience in lifestyle and ongoing fears of parking congestion and increasing traffic. Some of you are using the old zoning book to restrict, hold hostage and delay new development momentum in our residential areas.
You've quickly forgotten how most of the eastern areas of Far Rockaway used to look, so let me remind you: drugs, shootings, fatalities on the roads due to accidents, no traffic lights. Most of all, no one wanted to invest or move here due to its dangerous and neglected reputation.
Areas of Far Rockaway were forgotten and left to fester. In recent years, developers came with courage and new money to invest in our beautiful peninsula. New small businesses are moving in as new residents come to live here. A few residents object to these new developments; they are spreading fear throughout and insist on downzoning the area as a cure for anticipated parking problems. However, downzoning will discourage investors.
There is a simpler solution: insist that new developments include parking in their multiple dwelling designs. Public beach access can still be maintained through a parking lot; there is still quite a bit of open land including deserted parking lots between housing and the beach. These can be developed into newer parking areas. (Beach 31) I hope it will.
'Stop Referring To Race
In All Matters'
I was angered to see on page 4 of The Wave under "Opinions" a title "Black on Black Violence, Drugs Must Be Eradicated." Everyone is entitled to their "opinion," and I will not argue that. But the term "Black on Black Violence...must be eradicated" is a racist comment that suggests that Black on White, or Black on any other race is just fine and acceptable.
I am tired of these double standards...Black Entertainment Television...Black Awards Night...Black Actors Guild...Black Networks...100 Blacks in Law Enforcement...Black this and Black that. God forbid you saw White News or the White Entertainment Network...White Awards Night...100 Whites in Law Enforcement...the uproar would be heard across the country. We all know it's not right, but we still allow it.
I do not believe these "white" organizations should be allowed any more than the "Black" ones. As a white person I know Blacks and other races have had great hardships for centuries, but we do not advance past that by "reversing" the racial discriminations. All of us must take a stand and say, "I won't tolerate this anymore...WE won't tolerate this anymore." Stop referring to a person's gender and race in all matters. And the minute racism of any kind raises its ugly head...WE smash it as ONE.
It is my "opinion" that the story in question should not have been titled "Black on Black Violence, Drugs Must Be Eradicated," it should have read, "Violence and Drugs Must Be Eradicated." Until we realize this and take a stand, people of all races will remain targets because of the color of their skin. We all need to stop talking and writing about it and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
All letters submitted to The Wave, including those sent via e-mail, must contain names, addresses and phone numbers. All letters are subject to editing and publication at the discretion of the editors. The Wave will no longer publish letters in which the name is withheld, unless, in the opinion of the editorial board, there is a compelling public interest to do so.
If you didn't see your letter this week, don't despair. The volume of letters
we receive each week dictates that some be held over for the following week.