Prayers for Firefighter

It is sad indeed that we have lost another one of our bravest who died while fighting a fire in Brooklyn. Firefighter Daniel F. Pujdak of Fresh Meadows was only 23-years-old and had so much more to give and so much more life to live. Our heartfelt prayers go out to his family.
Our city owes much to these firefighters that respond when they are called upon to do so and give their all to save lives and property.
And as Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “It reminds us how dangerous firefighting is, and how much we owe to the men and women who put their lives on the line every day for us.”
May God bless and protect our Bravest.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.

No breaks for renters
Although it is great that the city is giving some people a tax break, the way politicians choose which citizens are entitled to receive any benefits is very disturbing. Just because someone is fortunate to own a home does not make that person more deserving of a city tax break.
The city budget surplus did not come about because of real estate taxes alone, yet those who are more-well-off profit. How many renters in this city are making it possible for someone else to own a home? The politicians have no problems with this. What is disturbing is that they do not make an effort to hide this affront.
Owners can deduct real estate taxes on their federal income tax returns. Renters do not have any such deduction. Nor is there a deduction on city income tax returns for renting. Yet renters also have to pay city income tax and city sales tax on purchases.
Not all renters are covered by rent-stabilization or other rental breaks. What the politicians have stated is that renters’ taxes are to be used for the benefit of others. Why don’t they just state that if you do not own you are not entitled?
The politicians can increase their salaries and benefits at will, and bestow profits upon those they decide are worthy.
Are they the new Robin Hoods?
B. Gaf

A DOB complaint
I have a problem with the Department of Buildings (DOB). The person across the street from where I live in Astoria has an illegal parking lot. His address is 44-21 Newtown Road, Astoria, 11103. He cut the curb, paved his yard, put up no parking signs, painted a yellow strip on the curb. This person takes three valuable parking spaces from the street.
The DOB inspected his area and found his parking lot is not a violation. I have been in touch with Frank Marchiano of the DOB, the project advocate for Queens. He told me when the inspector was at this address there were no cars parked in the lot. I asked him if this area could be inspected at 7 a.m. when there are 5-6 cars and trucks parked in the lot.
He told me the inspectors only work regular business hours. This is absurd. In this big city, there are no DOB inspectors on the streets other then between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.? I am asking for your help in getting an inspector to check this illegal parking lot.
I am a disabled person and these parking spaces on the street are extremely important in this area.
Herb O’Driscoll

What is an “American?”
The debate about immigration reform and illegal aliens has raised an important question: what is an “American?”
As I stroll through my neighborhood, a once familiar environment is now alien to me. As I look around at the indecipherable signs, ads and posters, I feel excommunicated. This is not multiculturalization but multicolonization. Will it be necessary to learn the languages of all the “colonies” to communicate with neighbors?
Most immigrants came to America inspired by the American ideals of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” These common ideals and a common language are the threads that link the diverse cultures of the United States. Communicating in English is not a repudiation of your “roots” but a means of sharing your own heritage and understanding all others.
It is ironic that I am able to communicate more easily, read more signs, ads and posters in my ancestral homeland than in the beloved land of my birth. Must I emigrate to “somewhere else” to be finally recognized and accepted simply as an “American?”
Ed Konecnik

Legalize marijuana sales
The fact that both Governor Eliot Spitzer and members of the New York State legislature are debating the merits for the legalization of medical marijuana use is a breath of fresh air to residents of Queens and other communities who cherish individual civil and economic liberties.
Consumption of marijuana for both medical and recreational use has been part of mainstream America for decades. Despite the best efforts of both government and the moral majority social police to outlaw consumption, just like alcohol prohibition in the 1920s - both have been total failures.
What consenting adults consume, inhale, perform, read or view in the privacy of their homes or private social clubs is not the concern of government. Individual economic and civil liberties prosper best when government stays out of both the bedroom and marketplace.
Creative entrepreneurs will always provide whatever products citizens desire regardless of government approval. Consumers have voted with their dollars over a long period of time to make marijuana consumption the multibillion-dollar enterprise it is today. Legalize it and add a sales tax. Revenues will more than cover the costs of any abuse. Law enforcement authorities will be free to pursue those who commit real crimes against citizens and property.
Larry Penner
Great Neck

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