Airport noise abatement plan

To Manny Weiss, Regional Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration:
I recently received some correspondence from Warren D. Kroeppel, the LaGuardia Airport General Manager, describing efforts he has undertaken to discourage airlines operating at the airport from scheduling aircraft operations before 6 a.m. and after 12 midnight in order to reduce the impact of noise from early morning and late night flights on the surrounding community. Although this would be a voluntary decision on behalf of the airlines, I wanted to let you know that I strongly support this effort, as well as Mr. Kroeppel’s suggestion that the airlines also utilize the quietest Stage 3 aircraft available for flights between 6 and 7 a.m. and between 10 p.m. and midnight.
As the representative of the 12th Senate District in Queens, I am aware that significant progress has been made in recent years to reduce the impact of LaGuardia flight noise on the surrounding community, but I am hoping that even greater efforts can be made to reduce disruptions. In this light, I am asking that the Federal Aviation Administration also express its support of these noise mitigation strategies to the airlines operating at LaGuardia.
I appreciate your attention to this matter, and look forward to hearing from you.
George Onorato
State Senator, 12th District

More testing = less learning
As a legislator and as a father of two New York City public school students, I am deeply troubled by last week’s announcement by Chancellor Joel Klein that city public school students will take four to five additional tests per subject each year. Separate from the city’s testing, the state gives annual exams to students in grades three through eight in order to comply with the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. Our children do not need to spend more time preparing for and taking standardized tests.
The emphasis on testing is turning our schools into test-preparation factories that neglect physical education, art, music, and science in favor of rote test-preparation drills. New York City’s children are going to school in the cultural capital of the world, and focusing on test preparation limits opportunities for exploring the rich art, music, and civic experiences that the city offers. The narrow focus on specific test subject matter denies students access to a broader curriculum.
Today’s classrooms rarely devote time to current events, yet we expect the next generation to understand an ever-changing world and to grapple with the weighty issues of our era. Education should help our children to become informed citizens, dynamic leaders, and well-rounded individuals, not test-taking robots.
The city’s plan for more testing is a step in the wrong direction. Let’s aim for a comprehensive approach to academic assessment. Schools should use a variety of tools, including tests, writing samples, and teacher-designed evaluations, to assess student achievement. More testing does not mean more learning; on the contrary, it means less learning.
Assemblymember Mark S. Weprin
Little Neck

It is all about families
The bipartisan immigration bill proposed by Senate leaders in Washington is a step in the right direction. However, I am troubled over the provision of the bill that requires the head of household to return to their home countries as a requirement of citizenship. It is impractical, and quite cruel to the young children in the family.
This would also be a severe burden on the family financially. Additionally, the world will see us as a nation that separates families and that is not a good thing. As Americans, we pride ourselves in the preservation of families.
I hope Congress sees the folly in this provision of the bill and does the right thing by eliminating this requirement. We have undocumented aliens here who have been here for many years and are working very hard to make a better life for themselves and their families. We need new immigration laws but we need to show compassion.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.

Candidate Rudy
The recent endorsement by the New York Republican Party State Committee of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani for President is no surprise to Queens residents who know Rudy best.
He is a profile in courage. He is independent of the Washington lobbyists and the Beltway crowd, and supports campaign finance reform. His is the voice of reason on behalf of taxpayers who can also cross the political aisle to engage in constructive dialogue with Democrats on issues that transcend both ideology and party.
He is a proven crime fighter. During his administration, crime was reduced, streets became both cleaner and safer, economic growth and the creation of jobs were on the upswing, and the city budget was balanced.
After the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, he served as a beacon of strength for all New Yorkers who survived to go on with life.
Giuliani can place many formerly safe Democratic states such as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, California and others in play. Any Republican ticket with Giuliani for President or Vice President in 2008 would be a great choice for voters. Without Rudy in the race, another Clinton in the White House is likely.
Larry Penner
Great Neck

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