The Sunnyside lesson

In a letter opposing landmark designation for Sunnyside Gardens, Senator George Onorato wrote, “Before landmark restrictions are imposed, perhaps greater effort should first be put into enforcing existing zoning rules.”
Councilmember Eric Gioia in a recent article stated, “The question is how best to preserve the neighborhood with as little governmental intrusion as possible.”
Neither has proposed alternatives to landmark designation nor have they asserted the Fifth Amendment in defense of homeowners’ property rights.
My question to Gioia is, according to the Constitution, which “intrusions” does he think are permissible?
A recent article about the Sunnyside Gardens experience warns of what is in store for our neighborhood. One resident in favor of modernizing the preservation rules claims many were “shut out of the public process and harassed by their fellow neighbors.” Still other residents claim there has been “spying” and that neighbors have been turning on each other, citing violations to the preservation rules drafted by the LPC. Some homeowners feel their hands are being tied and cannot afford landmarking. Replacement materials must be approved and can be expensive.
President Ronald Reagan warned the scariest words in the English language are “I am the government and I’m here to help.
Ed Konecnik

Dear Speaker Silver
With 72 percent of New Yorkers against Governor Eliot Spitzer’s executive order to grant illegal immigrants driver’s licenses, why is the state assembly not taking action and representing the people’s will?
Driving is a privilege - not a right - and only legal citizens need apply.
This issue transcends party affiliation and after the terrible murder of almost 3,000 people on 9/11/01, safety and common sense should prevail and should be the priority of every public official!
It is our firm belief that if the governor persists in defying federal immigration law on this matter, he should be impeached!
Thomas & Constance Dowd

Way to go Joe!
Congratulations to Joe Girardi on his being hired as the new manager of the NY Yankees. He will do a fantastic job! The team has to get it together. They are paid the highest salaries in baseball, yet, they did not play that well in the closing weeks of the baseball season. Joe Torre did a great job - now, Joe Girardi is the new skipper - Good Luck!
John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Improve mass transit first!
I wholeheartedly agree with Dan Hendrick’s letter this week that we need to secure a greater investment in our transit system before congestion pricing can take place. The mayor’s 2030 transportation plan is fashioned to address the future challenges facing this city.
Before any congestion pricing plan happens, though, everyone must comprehend the substantial impact it will have on our transit system, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority must undertake significant system upgrades to prepare for the anticipated boost in ridership.
The mayor’s plan recognizes that our roads, subways, and commuter rails barely meet the current demands. Recently, the city’s comptroller offered a proposal worthy of serious consideration and adoption before congestion pricing occurs.
Among his recommendations is one to accelerate spending by investing up to $500 million for capital projects and service improvements prior to assessing any congestion charges.
For the 2030 transportation plan to succeed there must be stepped-up investment in the immediate future to improve service, such as additional local and express bus service and an expanded LIRR service.
We must ensure that any dollars secured by congestion pricing aren’t shifted away from our downstate region for upstate uses. Currently, New York City receives a less equitable share of transportation funding, even though we shuttle a much higher percentage of riders than the percentage in dollars we receive.
If congestion pricing is on the horizon, then that horizon must be one in which mass transit riders are a top priority. As Hendrick said, the solutions are not complicated but they will cost money. The true investment should always be in our riders.
Alfonso Quiroz
Jackson Heights

Anti meat - all meat
A landmark study released this week by the prestigious World Cancer Research Fund has found a “convincing” link between consumption of red and all processed meats and an elevated risk of colon cancer, as well as a “likely” link with cancers of the lung, stomach, pancreas, esophagus, prostate and uterus. The study was based on 7,000 diet and health reports selected from a worldwide pool of 500,000 spanning the past five decades. (For more details, visit www.dietandcancerreport.org.)
Since 1992, the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), involving 521,483 individuals in 10 European countries, has published dozens of reports linking meat consumption with increased risk of cancers of the stomach, liver, kidneys, pancreas, gallbladder, colon, rectum, esophagus, lungs, breast, uterus, cervix, ovaries, prostate and testicles. Hundreds of other studies have found a correlation between meat consumption and some form of cancer. None has ever found an inverse relationship.
Like heart disease and other chronic illnesses, cancer is a largely self-inflicted condition. The American Cancer Society estimates that 62 percent of all cancer deaths could be prevented by quitting tobacco and meat products, as well as by regular screenings and exercise.
We’ve spent billions of dollars in search of a silver bullet to vanquish this dreaded disease, but we’ve had it all along. It’s the will to improve our diet and lifestyle.
Carl Conper

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