Save Our Homes And Neighborhoods – QNS.com

Save Our Homes And Neighborhoods

As a Jackson Heights resident, I've always had a fondness for the community’s historical architecture, green foliage and diversity. I was extremely disappointed recently upon noticing a quaint, three-story home being razed to pave way for what likely will be an oversized mixed-use structure.
New York City admittedly must address pressing affordable housing needs but these should not steamroll other needs such as neighborhoods retaining their individuality. Developers need to be mindful that scale and design should enhance – and not overwhelm or detract from – a neighborhood.
Several older, large single-family homes still exist on 75th, 76th and 77th Streets between 37th Avenue and Roosevelt Avenue. Although they may not have been labeled &#8220historic” or designed by household-name architects, we need to work together to ensure that they are protected and preserved, because their presence adds character and beauty.
Alfonso Quiroz
Jackson Heights

Please Respect Our Service Men & Women
At the end of August, my wife, my two children and I traveled on vacation to South Carolina, traveling through airports in Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Savannah. Unlike previous family trips, we noticed a huge number of uniformed military personnel at the airports, many of whom seemed to be in transit, presumably either on their way home from or their way to Iraq or Afghanistan.
These men and women, of all different races, were disproportionately young. Without their uniforms, one might think they were a bunch of teenagers hanging out at a local mall or a group of college kids on spring break. Their presence was a stark reminder that while many of us spend our time complaining of $3.00 per gallon gasoline, there are well over 100,000 Americans risking their lives in war zones overseas. While we're driving our cars or flying planes to our vacation destinations, they may be driving armored vehicles over land-mined roads, or flying in helicopters being shot at from snipers on rooftops.
Regardless of how one may feel about our nation's involvement in Iraq or Afghanistan, we should not forget to treat these men and women, all volunteers, with the respect and dignity they deserve. It is their job to go where they are told. They do not get to choose and they just can't quit when the job is not to their liking.
We should teach our children to say &#8220thank you” to a service man or woman when they see them on the street. Moreover, it only costs a few dollars to buy a group of soldiers a round of drinks at an airport bar as we continue on our way to the beach to swim or to the mountains to ski. They would never ask, but they will appreciate these small signs of respect.
Bill Viscovich

Willets Point No Eminent Domain Case
Government, through eminent domain, has the power - as indeed it should - to take private property for public use and to pay just compensation. Traditional examples are schools, public roads, transportation and government buildings.
The Supreme Court by a 5-to-4 decision - in Kelo vs. City of New London decided in June 2005 - equated economic development with public use. In short, private property can be taken under eminent domain by government and turned over to a private for-profit developer if it is done to enhance economic development.
The trouble with the concept of taking property for an alleged economic purpose, apart from the speculative nature of a purported project, is that it often ignores the ugly reality that such projects involve private entrepreneurs. The application of eminent domain is all too often the result of political shenanigans, with the public effectively shut out of any meaningful say in the matter.
A recent study by Hunter College found there are some 225 businesses in Willets Point, employing more than 1,400 people. These are viable businesses that serve an important public need, support many families and pay taxes. That they do not deal in silk and lace is of course irrelevant. In short, we are not talking about an economically depressed area, but in fact a vibrant one.
The notion these businesses should be thrown to the wind for a hotel and a convention center is absurd. Within walking distance, there are many hotels in that area, so ascribing that another hotel in the area is an economic plus is without probative value.
One hopes the Willets Point businesses do band together and oppose the taking of their livelihood on the dubious ground an economic purpose would be served thereby. I believe they would have an excellent chance of trouncing the fat cats and the myopic politicians who run this city. Willets Point should take heart from the fact that Justice John Paul Stevens, who was one of the five in the Kelo majority decision, thereafter expressed discomfort with the case, and recently, Ohio's highest court declined to follow the Kelo case.
Benjamin M. Haber

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