File photo
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (right) with the late Detective Luis Alvarez, a staunch advocate of the extension of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund. Maloney helped write the bill that Congress passed, but was apparently excluded from the July 29 White House ceremony where President Trump signed it into law.

It’s no secret that the current president of the United States has complete disdain and disrespect for those who disagree with him. In recent weeks, he’s hurled remarks on Twitter to sitting members of Congress, duly elected by the people of their respective districts, with thinly veiled language that came across as bigoted and offensive.

One of these targets happens to be Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the freshman upstart representing northeast Queens and the Bronx. 

Ocasio-Cortez is an American, born in the Bronx and of Puerto Rican descent. Last month, the president of the United States falsely claimed that she and three other congresswomen of color were not Americans, and ought to “go back” to where they came from. 

It was a blatantly bigoted and disrespectful remark, and it was shamefully puppeted by the president’s closest supporters. Regardless of what you may think of AOC’s politics, the president’s remarks were flat-out wrong.

Despite a formal Congressional rebuke (split along party lines, as usual), the president didn’t learn his lesson (also as usual). 

Last weekend, he attacked another Congress member of color, Elijah Cummings of Maryland, and the city of Baltimore which he represents. Again, the president used hateful, demeaning language to trash a sitting lawmaker and the people who elected him.

If that wasn’t bad enough, on July 29, the president went out of his way to disrespect yet another lawmaker, Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan and Queens. (By the way, that’s the second Queens lawmaker whom this president, a native of this borough, slighted in a month.)

Maloney says that she was not invited by the president to attend a signing ceremony at the Rose Garden for the extension of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund — a bill for which she served as head author and sponsor. The White House claims that it sent invitations to the ceremony to all members of Congress.

Somebody’s lying about this, but who?

Why would Maloney, who played such an instrumental role in having the 9/11 fund extension passed in Congress, falsely claim to not have been invited to the signing ceremony? It would have been one thing for Maloney not to attend for whatever reason; New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand didn’t participate in the ceremony, citing a prior commitment.

Surely, if Maloney wasn’t able to make it, she would have said so, just as Gillibrand did. The congresswoman had nothing to gain by lying about the non-invite.

The Constitution created three equal branches of government. For the president to be so disrespectful to lawmakers is a slander on the Congress, and an insult to the people who elected them to Congress.

The president of the United States serves the people of this country, not just those who voted for him. He’s supposed to work with the legislative branch, not just those who continue to support him. Donald Trump continues to fail to live up to these high standards, and his disrespect for our lawmakers is intolerable.

All Americans should condemn the president for his rhetoric and behavior — and demand that he demonstrate to everyone the civility and respect he demands for himself.

Snaps: Photo of the Week

This week’s photo, titled “Commuting in Woodside,” comes to us via Instagram, @rochdalian. 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 editorial@qns.com (subject: Queens Snaps).

Your Voice: Letters to the Editor

Expert blasts boulevard bike lane

I have served on Community Board 11 for 50 years, 30 years at its chair and until this year  chaired its Transportation Committee. Simultaneously, I was the managing partner of one of the largest and oldest consulting bridge and highway engineering design firms in the country. 

The bike lane on Northern Boulevard at the Cross Island Parkway is an outrage. There is no other bike lane in New York City, or probably anywhere else, in front of exit and entrance lanes to a major highway. 

Board 11 proposed, before the current bike lane was built, to use the existing 15-foot sidewalk as a shared bike and pedestrian greenway and connect it to Joe Michaels Mile on the east side of the Cross Island Parkway. 

After two years, the NYC Department of Transportation came around to our idea but had no funding to convert the 15-foot sidewalk to a greenway. What a shame!

Bernard Haber, Little Neck

 

The rising cost of drugs

I am very troubled over the rise of drug prices by pharmaceutical companies. More than 3,400 drugs have reportedly boosted prices in the first six months of 2019. 

The average price hike is said to be 10 percent, which is five times the rate of inflation. Another 41 drugs have reportedly boosted their prices by 100 percent. 

I can attest to that. I’m 70 years old and my wife and myself are both on Social Security and Medicare plus supplemental insurance. And yet we struggle with drug price increases. I’m working part-time to pay for some of these higher costs for my wife and myself. 

The other day I put in a prescription for medication which I have paid for about $15 to $18 over the last few years. Now I am told it is now $30. Well, that’s about 100 percent increase in my co-pay. 

I thought Congress was to address this problem for the millions of Americans paying excessive prices for their medication. What’s that all about? It has come down to this: paying for medication or buying food, paying rent or paying the mortgage. 

This is a most sad situation. Something needs to be done and now!

Frederick R. Bedell Jr., Glen Oaks Village

 

Explaining the recount

As a poll worker for three years, I think your readers would like some additional information about the recount for the Queens DA race, and how the votes were recounted. 

If a voter fails to fill in the circle next to a candidate’s name or makes some other mark on the ballot, the optical scanner does not record the vote. There is more to it than that, though. Since I was a scanner inspector in the election in question, I can attest to what happens next with that vote and the ballot in question.

The voter is given a choice: to have their ballot accepted by the voting machine, but their vote is not counted, or they could return to the ED (Election District) table they got it from and be given a new ballot, to replace the one filled out in error. 

As for the first ballot, it would be labeled as a “voided” ballot and placed in a separate envelope to be given to the Board of Elections after the poll site is closed.

Every scanner inspector has a specific procedure to go through when the voting machine does not accept an offered, filled-out ballot. Our goal is to make sure every vote is counted and if that involves the voter going back for a new ballot, so be it. We want every regular ballot to be accepted by the voting machine, but problems do occur. 

Therefore, the ballots the optical scanner did not record are the ones either voided by the process above or it was the voters who decided not to obtain a new ballot.

I let the voter know what his or her options were and all of them decided to go get a new ballot, to make sure their vote counted in such a close race. 

As for the affidavit ballots, which are not scanned into the voting machines, a different procedure is used to insure that the public’s vote is counted.

It might be that the voter’s name was not found in the voter registration lists, given that they were dropped from the roll for some reason, or that they came to the wrong poll site. Whatever the reason, the voters are given the option of marking an affidavit ballot so that their vote might be counted. Whether it is or not is determined by the Board of Elections and that is happening right now. 

The problem is, the Affidavit Oath, which is filled out by the voter, on an Affidavit Ballot Envelope, is a longer process than voting.

That process involves filling out several sections on that envelope, for the person’s name, address, birth date, why an affidavit ballot was necessary, voting history, a way to identify the voter and which political party they belong to. It takes way longer to fill out that Affidavit Oath than it does to mark the ballot and mistakes do happen. 

Given that this was a primary election for Democratic voters to choose the candidate on the Democratic line in November, making sure all the voters were Democrats is important.

It’s no wonder that it took so long to make sure every legitimate vote was counted.

SM Sobelsohn, Kew Gardens

 

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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