Our Voice on the divisive Queens DA recount, Your Voice on Canadian geese in parks and Triboro X train plan

Workers sorting ballots in Middle Village on July 9 at the start of the Queens DA Democratic primary recount.
Photo: Mark Hallum/QNS

Recounts may determine the winners of hotly contested, close elections — but they always leave the taste of defeat in everyone’s mouth.

The surprising automatic recount in the Democratic primary for Queens district attorney between public defender Tiffany Cabán and Borough President Melinda Katz already is leaving Queens residents feeling bitter. They are both candidates of the same party, albeit from different wings — and yet, they’re acting as if they’re implacable enemies.

Though the numbers were clearly against her — Katz had to win a majority of the thousands of paper ballots to regain the lead — she refused to concede and opted to wait for all votes to be counted. Turns out that she was right to do so, as by July 5, her 1,100-vote defeat turned into a 16-vote lead. 

Katz claimed victory, and the Cabán campaign was quick to allege that the Queens County Democratic Party — which they referred to as “the machine” — had undue influence over the Board of Elections appointees, and therefore, the paper ballot count itself. In essence, it accused the machine of favoring Katz and meddling in the race.

The Katz campaign responded by refuting those allegations as baseless — then added its own gasoline to the fire by claiming the Cabán campaign sought to dismiss affidavit ballots from what they termed to be “communities of color” in southeast Queens. In essence, it was accusing Team Cabán of being racist.

Accusations of political misconduct and racism only beget mistrust from the public. Keep in mind that the winner of this contest will likely be the next chief prosecutor in Queens — but the acrimony being stirred now threatens to leave the eventual winner of this recount having alienated a large chunk of their own constituents next year.

These cynical accusations may also lead to an unintended consequence: further killing voter trust in a county where few people, as it is, participate in their own democracy. 

If Cabán voters feel that a District Attorney Katz was installed into power through machine politics, they may not be so inclined to vote next time. The same could be said about Katz voters who believe a District Attorney Cabán used lawyers and tried to dismiss certain affidavit ballots to secure power. 

Nobody’s asking for the Katz and Caban campaigns to join hands and sing “Kumbaya” on the steps of the Queens County Criminal Court House. However, both camps, and others associated with them, must take responsibility in this testing time to tone down the rhetoric, let the process play out and refrain from the temptation of tearing down the other candidate.

More than just an office is at stake here. Katz and Cabán would be wise to remember that.

What’s your opinion on the reaction to the Queens DA recount? Send us your thoughts by emailing editorial[@]qns.com. 

Snaps: Photo of the Week

This week’s “Snaps” photo of the week is titled “Sunny days at the LIC waterfront” and comes to us via Instagram, @jeffwaltersphotography. Send us your photos of Queens and you could see them online or in our paper! To submit them to us, tag @qnsgram on Instagram, visit our Facebook page, tweet @QNS or email [email protected] (subject: Queens Snaps).

Your Voice: Letters to the Editor

Drowned by ‘snowflakes’

The snowflakes fell heavily in Queens, even though it’s still summer.

First came Tiffany Cabán’s apparent (but not yet officially confirmed) Queens DA primary victory. She wants to de-criminalize sex work, prosecute ICE agents, end cash bail for all offenders. 

Now, Queens City Councilman Donovan Richards wants the NYPD to notify minors and their parents when entering their names in a database of suspected gang members. He claims police conduct racial profiling and wants to eliminate this database completely. 

Donovan echoes the sentiments of fellow Councilman Rory Lancman, who condemned the database for racial bias. But police tapped this tool to arrest 14 members of the Trinitarios gang for the killing of 15-year-old Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz in the Bronx last year. Five of them were convicted of murder. 

Police also used the database to arrest MS-13 members for other violent crimes. What should they rely on instead, a list of suspects approved by the ACLU? 

Cabán, Donovan and Lancman are part of a growing pack of felon-friendly politicians who want to replace the rule of law with a wave of sympathy for criminals. If they win, we all drown. 

Richard Reif, Kew Gardens Hills

Don’t kill the geese!

The TimesLedger [a Queens Courier sister publication] recently published a very disturbing article on how thousands of Canada geese in our area are being forcibly removed from Fort Totten in Bayside and taken to an upstate slaughterhouse and killed. 

Apparently, the officials who run the Port Authority’s local airports feel that this method is the only way to prevent and avert bird collisions with passenger jets. 

While safety of all air travelers should always be the number-one priority, there must be a more humane method of trying to prevent planes and birds from interacting. The Jamaica Wildlife Refuge has been there long before the Port Authority constructed and opened Kennedy Airport in 1948, which was then called Idlewild Airport. Why an airport was constructed so close to a National Wildlife Preserve made absolutely no common sense.

It is time for the Port Authority officials to work with the Humane Society, PETA and the ASPCA to find less severe ways to deal with the problems with Canada geese, as well as seagulls and other birds, as well as other wildlife who nest and live near all three major area airports. There is absolutely no reason to cull and kill so many innocent birds, and other wildlife, and it must stop  immediately.

John Amato, Fresh Meadows

The Triboro X fantasy
Bronx Assembly member Latrice Walker calling for the MTA to study potential construction of the Triboro connector which would run from Co-op City in the Bronx via Queens to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn may be a waste of time and money.   

In 2016, the Regional Planning Association updated release of an old proposal from 1996 for construction of the Triboro X new rail service. Just how did the RPA come up with a potential cost of $1 to $2 billion? My experiences of over 31 years in the transportation field tell me it could easily cost several billion more.  

Any proposed extension of the route from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn to Staten Island would require construction of a tunnel and additional station at the St. George Staten Island Ferry Terminal.  This could also provide a connection to the Staten Island Rapid Transit station and system. This additional work alone could easily cost $5 billion.

The proposed route will traverse dozens of neighborhoods impacting several hundred thousand people living nearby. How will they react to potential noise and visual impacts of a new elevated subway? There are serious legal and operational issues to be resolved with the Federal Railroad Administration. 

They have regulatory jurisdiction over significant portions of the proposed route which would run adjacent to existing active freight tracks. Subway and freight trains have to coexist on the same narrow corridor.   

Project costs will probably include a series of new stations with elevators and escalators. This is necessary to provide transfer capacity with 15 subway and four commuter rail stations that intersect along the route.

History has told us that construction of most major new transportation system expansion projects have taken decades. There is the completion of feasibility studies, environmental reviews, planning, design, engineering, real estate acquisition, permits, procurements, budgeting, identifying and securing funding to pay for all of the above before construction can start.

There is not enough space here to list many other transportation projects in NYC whose costs range from $50 million to $6 billion that might be considered a higher priority than the “Triboro X” line.

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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