Our Voice on the shameful voter apathy in Queens, Your Voice on married priests, tolerance and tax reform

Jenna Bagcal/QNS

This week on QNS, Queens’ leading breaking news website, we begin our new “Our Voice, Your Voice” feature in which we share our editorial and your letters to the editor. Feel free to leave a comment below or write to editorial[@]qns.com. 

Our Voice: The shameful voter apathy in Queens

Public defender Tiffany Cabán says she won Tuesday’s Queens district attorney primary. Her main opponent, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, trails by 1,200 votes and says the margin is narrow enough for her to wait for a full count of all votes before making any concession.

We won’t know the winner of this race until on or about July 3, which is when the city Board of Elections will begin counting paper ballots cast in the race. However, we do know for certain that the borough once again lost — not because of the choices cast at the ballot, but because so few Queens voters chose to cast a ballot at all.

Sure, Caban voters turned out in large numbers in the northwest, and the “establishment” that supported Katz couldn’t get out the vote in the same volume elsewhere. 

Even so, based on the unofficial count from the Board of Elections, about 11 percent of registered Queens Democrats participated in this election. Approximately 85,447 ballots had been scanned as of Tuesday night, and if you factor in about 3,400 paper ballots left to be counted, that brings the total to just shy of 89,000. 

Eighty-nine thousand votes cast in a borough with 2.3 million residents and some 766,117 active registered Democrats, according to the state Board of Elections, in a race to determine who will be the next guardian of law enforcement in this borough.

This is shameful!

Don’t tell us that you didn’t know about the election. 

We wrote weeks of stories about the race online and in print. The candidates took out ads in print, online, on social media networks, on television. There were televised debates on local news channels and even on our own Facebook page. Mailboxes across the borough were inundated with flyers from the candidates touting their credentials, slamming their opponents and urging people to vote on June 25.

And yet, when June 25 came, just 11 percent of the borough’s Democrats bothered to show up and vote in the first contested race for Queens district attorney in nearly three decades. 

New York City and state are finally making a real effort to boost turnout, including the approval of early voting (to come later this year) and a new law that mandates employers give their workers paid time (up to 3 hours) to go out and vote. Still, the apathy persists.

The Board of Elections must institute further reforms to make it more convenient to vote, such as same-day registration at the polls, a vote-by-mail system similar to one set up in Oregon and a later deadline to change party affiliation (currently, if you want to change your party, you have to do that more than a year before the next general election).

Regardless of what the Board of Elections does, all of us must fulfill our duties and responsibilities as voters by participating in elections when they are held.

There are two popular adages circulated around election time: “The people get the government they deserve,” and “If you don’t vote, then don’t complain.” 

For Queens, we indeed get the government we deserve, and because we don’t vote, we shouldn’t complain about the end result.

Your voice: Letters to the editor

Time for marriage for the clergy

It is high time that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Rome face the hard facts that until the law forbidding Catholic priests to marry is changed, there will continue to be a marked and serious shortage of priests throughout the world.

It makes absolutely no sense at all for the Church hierarchy to continue this inane and ridiculous edict. In other faiths, there are married clergymen and women, and marriage should also be permitted for the clergy in the Catholic Church.

Catholics in the U.S. are becoming increasingly frustrated and fed up with the Church’s overall conduct — the sex abuse certainly is and continues to be right at the top of the list of issues angering the faithful. Also, there was a lot of physical and verbal abuse of students by some nuns, brothers and priests who taught in the Catholic elementary and secondary schools, as well as in some of the seminaries. 

The Catholic Church really needs to get its act together, from the Pope on down. As a Catholic, I am totally fed up and disgusted by the lack of empathy that the Catholic Church has not shown regarding all of these issues. It has addressed the sexual abuse by the clergy of children, but has not done nearly enough dealing with that issue, in addition to the others aforementioned above.

John Amato, Fresh Meadows

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Be compassionate, be accepting

Pope Francis has said, “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” Pope Francis has also said that there is a need to be more compassionate toward LGBT people. 

There is a need to welcome LGBT people in our churches and not to exclude them from God’s mercy. Well, I totally agree. 

Back in the 1970s, I had rented a room from two gay men. I saw firsthand their love for one another. I had also once had dated a girl whose mother was gay and whose mother showed a generous kindness toward my two sons and bought them two small bikes for Christmas, which I couldn’t afford at the time. 

Those who are different than us from a sexual point of view should be accepted, for they have such love in their hearts and we should show them love and compassion. We are all God’s children, and are all brothers and sisters that our heavenly father loves.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr., Glen Oaks Village

* * *

Not all funding needs to be equal

A report released by the Rockefeller Institute of New York claiming that New York sends more money to Washington than we get back, resulting in our being shortchanged, is nothing new. 

The report repeats the same old Democratic playbook continuing to blame Washington for all of our problems just like their political ancestors from past decades. 

Moving tax dollars from New York to Washington redistributes the wealth from the haves to the have-nots. The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan documented how New Yorkers sent more money to Washington than we get back. Other states could make the same argument. This imbalance also holds true in the distribution of state aid from Albany to the 62 counties of New York state. 

Within NYC, residents of Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Bronx and Manhattan (or each of the 59 community planning boards) don’t always get back the same amount of money sent to City Hall, Albany and Washington. Within any of our 62 counties, you could take this analysis down to every town, village and local census tract in our state.

Since this imbalance will never change, we would be better off leaving tax levies at the most local level of government. There will be significant savings in administrative costs and a greater percentage of locally generated revenues remaining in our communities. 

Generating, keeping and spending local funds in your communities also allows greater accountability and oversight by public officials and citizens from the same neighborhoods.

Larry Penner, Great Neck

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Email your letters to editorial@qns.com (Subject: Letter to the Editor) or leave a comment to any of our stories at QNS.com. You can also send a letter by regular mail to Letters to the Editor, 38-15 Bell Blvd., Bayside, NY 11361. All letters are subject to editing. Names will be withheld upon request, but anonymous letters will not be considered for publication. The views expressed in all letters and comments are not necessarily those of this newspaper or its staff.

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