Memorial Day Parades

It’s time again to remember those that gave their all trying to protect you and me. So come one, come all and salute and praise all those that march past you and I.
Queens has many parades like Little Neck-Douglaston, the biggest by far, but there are others to attend, right near our homes.
Let’s all come out Memorial Day and salute our brave men and women from the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine too!
Our Bravest and Finest and all our community groups will be there too, so let’s all get out and wave our flags and salute the red, white and blue.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.

Congestion Pricing
As a Queens resident and a commuter, I support the Mayor’s congestion pricing plan. Critics of this proposal are trying to cast this bill as elitist, but what is elitist is taking the side of the five percent of New Yorkers who drive to work in the congestion pricing zone over the 95 percent of us who take the bus or subway, walk or bike or do not drive to the zone.
Everyone would benefit from the nearly $500 million a year that congestion pricing would generate for improvements in mass transit, improvements to air quality, reduction of childhood asthma, and lessening our impact on climate change.
As Mayor Bloomberg said, “it is not if we want to pay, but how we want to pay.” Congestion pricing or not, our city will get bigger, and we can just watch traffic get worse, or we can do something about it.
Michael Fordunski

No to pet supplies tax
Recent news concerning Senator Frank Padavan’s proposal for a 3 percent sales tax on pet supplies to support animal shelters made me wonder if he has been consuming too much catnip. Residents of Queens and New York State are already the most heavily taxed in the nation.
Real supporters of cats and dogs like my wife and I, along with millions of other Americans on a regular basis, both adopt and make regular charitable contributions to animal shelters.
Like Padavan, many elected officials have had the best of intentions in proposing similar minor tax increases, which would be dedicated for noble causes. Over time, their colleagues diverted major portions of these tax revenues into the general state revenue pool resulting in most funds being spent on activities that were never intended to be funded.
Most New Yorkers would prefer that elected officials stop looking for new ways to tax us. Perhaps Padavan can host a fundraiser for Animal Haven in Flushing, or another local animal shelter. He could ask his regular campaign contributors to pitch in instead of picking the pocket of taxpayers.
Larry Penner
Great Neck

Education, not pro sports
I am writing regarding Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PlaNYC2030. The majority of the attention on television and in the newspapers has centered on the congestion pricing issue, a very regressive tax, which I believe will negatively affect Queens residents.
The mayor’s task force was formed to come up with proposals on how to serve a population that is expected to grow by a million residents by 2030. They had to deal with the impact that increases pressure on housing, energy, sewage, transportation, parks, playgrounds, and infrastructure.
I believe that nothing reveals the flawed priorities of this administration more than the fact that more than twice as many new seats in sports stadiums will be created over the next five years than new seats in schools.
It’s hard to fathom 117,000 new seats projected for the new Yankees, Mets and Nets stadiums, with only 63,000 new seats in our schools.
It’s hard to fathom 117,000 new seats projected for the new Yankees, Mets and Nets stadiums, with only 63,000 new seats in our schools.
Let’s remember that these privately owned - but publicly subsidized in the form of corporate welfare - sports teams will receive sizable amounts from the City’s coffers in the form of substantial tax-subsidies and tax-exemptions.
The recently settled, Campaign for Fiscal Equity case determined that we needed at least 120,000 new school seats to eliminate overcrowding and reduce class size in all grades - not even taking into account any population growth.
The $9.2 billion in capital funding provided in the recently approved NYS budget was to provide smaller class sizes (Nolan/Lancman bill) and build new school libraries, science labs, and other improvements to our children’s schools.
Yet the Bloomberg Administration plans to create only 63,000 seats. Incredible as it might sound, since they received all this new funding from the state, they have actually cut back the capital plan by 3,000 seats.
Every effort must be made by Chancellor Klein and the Mayor to face the urgent need for more seats and smaller class sizes in our public schools.
David M. Quintana
Ozone Park

Beware of the bureaucrats
It is an unfortunate reality that we are increasingly surrendering and ceding power, authority and control to politicians and bureaucrats who have come to regard the state and all affairs of the state as their private property.
By virtue of Landmark Laws, unelected bureaucrats can now determine whether we own the exterior of our homes. It is their creed that the public business as well as our property is theirs alone to manipulate as they see fit.
A homeowner defending his property rights, was described by a bureaucrat as an “ultra minority … who didn’t want to be told what to do,” and as a result would “ruin the entire thing.” The hypocrisy is self-evident; since no vote is permitted on the matter, how does one recognize an “ultra minority”?
Furthermore, the Constitution protects even the “ultra minority” from the power of disingenuous bureaucrats seeking to extend their influence and impose their worldview on the community.
Our constitutionally protected individual rights are what separate us from the myriad oppressive societies that do not respect the rights of minorities and whose citizens are constantly being “told what to do” . . . or else.
Ed Konecnik

Letters To The Editor
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