Appalled by hate crime

I write to you not only as a proud Howard Beach resident, but also out of disgust for the one-sidedness my neighborhood has been experiencing. This past Halloween we witnessed a violent attack on our own streets - young boys were chased and beaten while being called racial epithets.
To me it is terrifying that a large mob of dangerous men can come into my neighborhood, provoke racially charged violence, and not be charged with a hate crime. I call this mob of 40 dangerous, not because of the color of their skin, but because of their size as a mob and their malicious intent.
Using racism as an explanation for all violence that occurs with white provokers and black victims, and not calling it racism when the victimizer is black and the victim is white is racist in and of itself.
Why is it that the city cannot take a stand when Howard Beach and innocent young white kids are being victimized?
I call on District Attorney Richard A. Brown to open his eyes and see this incident for what it is - a hate crime! The social justice system needs consistency; justice should be served with parity - hate crime for one, hate crime for all.
To quote the Reverend Al Sharpton, “We cannot live in a city, state or nation where people cannot safely be in the streets or anywhere else because of the color of their skin.”
When a mob of angry men enter your neighborhood and terrorize children, beating them and calling them racial epithets, you cannot feel safe on your streets. We need justice; we need the DA to send a message that racial intolerance will not be tolerated. Unless he decides to charge this as a hate crime, he will be doing just the opposite.
Giuseppina Licata
Howard Beach

Shame on the MTA!
Imagine having to face the news of a possible increase in yet another service. MTA is considering a 6.5 percent fare increase and is proposing so called inflation-adjusted increases every two years.
Proposing an increase in the face of a billion dollar surplus? Shame on the MTA! Working families need a break from all the increases we have faced this year. From property taxes, to gas, to rent, to milk- everything has increased.
The MTA is justifying this unconscionable increase by blaming the under-funding by both the state and the city. Although the MTA currently operates with a budget surplus, the CEO indicated that the current soaring pension and health cost is a cause for concern.
With the current state of the city’s transportation system, how can anyone pay more for a service where there is no improvement? We will still suffer the overcrowding at peak hours, the untimely schedules and frequent breakdowns. This is certainly not an incentive to pay more.
Albert Baldeo,
Community Advocate

Greedy politicians
The New York City Council continues to be the best place for “Pay for Play” campaign contributors to influence elected officials. New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, City Council Finance Committee Chair David Weprin and many of the other 34 term limited Council members running for higher public office in 2009 have already collectively raised several million dollars in $500, $1,000 and $2,750 donations from various special interest groups.
Imagine how much more they will attempt to stuff into their campaign accounts before the $250 limit kicks in on January 1, 2008. Lobbyists are making investments today on behalf of their clients for future favors at taxpayers’ expense. See for yourself and contact the New York City Campaign Finance Board or log on to their web site at www.nyccfb.info. The list of special interest groups makes interesting reading.
Larry Penner
Great Neck

A good holiday idea!
As we approach the holiday season, which starts with the celebration of Thanksgiving, we should not forget that people of various religious denominations will be celebrating too. The Jewish people will celebrate Chanukah in early December, the Christian people will be celebrating Christmas on December 25, and the African-American people will be celebrating the feast of Kwanzaa on December 26. We will all be celebrating New Year’s Day on January 1.
This is supposed to be a happy and joyful time of the year, with people showing good will toward each other. I hope that everyone will be able to enjoy their respective holidays, and be able to remember that we are a diverse culture, and that it is important to respect each other’s religions and customs.
Moreover, there should be public displays of Nativity scenes, Menorahs and the candelabra for Kwanzaa - all together on public property for all to see and share in the joys of the holiday season.
Let us not start bickering about whether it is proper to have these displays in public areas of our city. Happy holidays to all people of all faiths, and a Happy New Year to all!
John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Campaign 2009 begins
As the presidential race continues to gear up, I am proud to throw my unequivocal support behind Senator Hillary Clinton for president.
Senator Clinton has pledged to end the war in Iraq, to achieve affordable healthcare for everyone, to combat terrorism and to care for our dedicated veterans, all lofty goals that are of the utmost importance.
Senator Clinton has been a strong advocate for New York, and I am sure that she will bring this same resolve to the White House as this country’s next president.
In 1995, I was selected as an Official White House Intern during the first term of Bill Clinton’s Administration. I was a firsthand witness to Senator Clinton’s strength, knowledge and grace. Although I have been involved in public service since I was 18 years old, I never encountered an individual as committed to public service and community involvement as Hillary Clinton. She is an inspiration, and I will be proud to pull the lever for her next November.
Alfonso Quiroz
Jackson Heights

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