$354 million call guy

It is hard to believe that the mayor was willing to prostitute his hard working constituents for a one shot sum of $354 million from the Federal Government. The city should be entitled to federal money for its mass transit system without strings attached, and without his so-called Congestion Pricing Plan (CPP) which is nothing but another tax increase on those who can least afford it. Please spare us from your double-speak Mr. Mayor.
The Traffic Mitigation Committee, which was set up to analyze this matter, was nothing but a sham. Then, all of the special deals to get City Councilmembers to change their vote in favor of this misguided plan is another example of government at its worst.
Now, the revelation of secret budget slush funds has to make one wonder if some of this money was used to buy votes. I also wonder how much of the CPP fees would have been earmarked to feed these slush funds.
The bottom line when all is said and done is that congestion would not be noticeably reduced, free working citizens who may have no other option would have been paying more than $2,000 in additional nondeductible “taxes,” and the mayor would have tricked more people then the girls at the Emperor’s Club.
Frank Eliano

Thank you Sheldon
I would like to applaud the New York State Assembly, its members and Speaker Sheldon Silver, for delivering a knockout punch to Mayor Bloomberg’s wrong-headed Congestion Pricing Plan (CPP).
Much as I support the idea of reducing vehicular traffic and alleviating chronic asthma conditions in NYC, most people in Queens were very upset by the CPP. They saw it as a new regressive tax and I agree.
We in Queens have the worst public transportation in the city and the longest commutes in the nation. Folks from outside the city already take tolled bridges and tunnels, so the Mayor’s plan would have hit the people who use the free East River bridges hardest. Being a borough of middle class folks, we use these free crossings because we do not have the extra disposable income to pay for the more direct and expensive methods.
In my lifetime, I can honestly say that southern Queens always is screwed by Manhattan projects. Moreover, you know the additional CPP funds would end up paying for the 2nd Avenue subway line and the Fulton Street station in Manhattan, not spent here in Queens.
I think the proposal was just another way for the Manhattan-centric mayor to make Manhattan an island for only well-heeled, wealthy people, like himself and tourists. By making CPP so cost-prohibitive, it was just Bloomberg’s way of keeping the riff-raff from Queens from having access to our own city.
I feel we all owe a debt of gratitude to Sheldon Silver and the NYS Assembly for not allowing Mayor Bloomberg to bully the residents of Queens into a misconceived plan and for making it dead on arrival in Albany.
David M. Quintana
Ozone Park

Shame where it belongs
As President of Glen Oaks Village, a co-op in eastern Queens with 10,000 residents and a candidate for the City Council in next year’s Democratic Primary, I have been a vocal opponent of congestion pricing since the issue first surfaced a year ago.
Congestion Pricing is nothing more than a regressive transportation tax that will disproportionately affect the residents of eastern Queens and the small business taxpayers that live in our communities and often make service calls into Manhattan’s central business district.
This scheme to create a high-priced tolled moat around the island will soon cost these small business folks $21 for the privilege of entering Manhattan to earn a living. What is their alternative - to carry a 100 lb. bag of tools on the bus?
The board of directors of Glen Oaks Village voted unanimously almost a year ago to oppose the imposition of these high priced tolls on the FREE East River crossings. Those bridges are part of the fabric of our local streets and have been free for more than a century. It is an outrage that term-limited councilmembers who will not even be in office next year have left us such a legacy. To Eric Gioia, John Liu, Hiram Monserrate, James Sanders and Thomas White the only Queens councilmembers to vote for these tolls, I say SHAME ON YOU!
Bob Friedrich
Glen Oaks Village

Say no Willets Point
While everyone is entitled to an opinion, an opinion based on platitudes, an opinion completely lacking in any substance and hard demonstrable facts to support that opinion, is not only intellectually abysmal, but also worthless. In addition, when expressed by an elected official, it is not in the public interest. A case in point is Assemblymember Mark Weprin’s Op-Ed article in The Queens Courier (Develop Willets Point – April 3, 2008). If one were to ask Mr. Weprin the following questions, he could not give the answers.
a) The name of the developer?
b) Of 5,000 housing units, how many will be luxury, middle class, low rent or subsidized?
Some more questions beg answers too. Since there are many hotels in the Flushing and LaGuardia Airport area, what is the point to a 700-room hotel?
Given the fact taxpayers of this city and state are committed to spending at least $1.4 billion and possibly more to enlarge the Javits Convention Center, what is the justification for a 400,000 square-foot convention center in Willets Point?
Since Weprin is the Chair of The New York State Assembly Committee on Small Business, the fact that he supports the destruction of 225 small businesses with over 1,000 employees in favor of some fat cat developer, suggests a high degree of hypocrisy.
The public should be concerned as to whether the Willets Point proposal represents a legitimate public need, or is it a taxpayer rip-off on a grand scale?
Benjamin M. Haber

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