FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM JUNE 13, 2019 • THE QUEENS COURIER 31
WHAT WERE THEY
As a Forest Hills High School alum
(class of 1957), I’m glad that disgraced
principal Ben Sherman fi nally
resigned aft er heavy pressure from
students, parents and teachers.
But I’m angry that he was transferred
to the Department of Education’s
headquarters in the offi ce of First
Deputy Chancellor, “supporting our
comprehensive school improvement
eff orts,” as noted in a published DOE
Sherman’s base pay remains
$173,693 a year, plus he gets a $10,000
raise if he works an extra fi ve hours a
month, said the DOE. Th at’s what I
call “failing upward.”
Did DOE executives smoke the
same pot as Forest Hills High School
students did under Sherman’s tenure
when they made this dumb decision?
Richard Reif, Kew Gardens Hills
TO DA RACE
I have looked with interest at the
Queens District Attorney race, the
fi rst open primary in a long time coming
up in less than two weeks.
Receiving campaign brochures from
two of the candidates, Greg Lasak and
Melinda Katz, I have looked at their
qualifi cations for the job, as well as
how they present themselves: their
brochures trying to convince me to
vote for them.
Unfortunately, one of the candidates,
Greg Lasak, has gone deridingly
negative. His “Who would you trust
with the safety of your loved ones,
your children?” brochure is defi nitely
going toward the Dark Side.
I know, going negative is a political
tool, to show your opponent in a negative
light, but it has made me question
my support for Judge Lasak, in a contest
I thought I was decided on.
I am not suggesting that my fellow
voters cast their ballot for a specifi c
candidate running, but I lament the
use of negative advertising to prove
one’s worthiness for an elected position.
Must it be so? Isn’t it enough to
show one’s background, one’s qualifi -
cations for the position,
without showing their opponent in
a negative light?
In the brochure
I’m referring to,
Melinda Katz is
called a “Termlimited
P o l i t i c i a n ,”
give her credit for
her time working
the photo used
is defi nitely not
every sense of
the word. It is sad when someone
who seems so qualifi ed, for the elected
position, has to go negative to prove
his point and it will make me question
whom I should vote for on Primary
Day, June 25.
I fi nd I don’t want to reward someone
for going negative when it isn’t
Please go to your polling site on June
25; it’s important.
SM Sobelsohn, Kew Gardens
NO MONEY, MORE
PROBLEMS FOR BQX
Th ere is a fatal missing $1.4 billion
federal funding shortfall fl aw
toward funding the Brooklyn Queens
Connector streetcar overlooked at the
May 31 NYC Council meeting hearing
for the project.
Aft er four years, there has been no
real progress in securing federal funding
for the proposed project. In 2015,
Th e Friends of the Brooklyn Queens
Connector originally claimed it could
be built for $1.7 billion. In 2016,
the NYC Economic Development
Corporation said $2.5 billion. Today,
the estimated cost is $2.7 billion.
How many more billions might it
cost upon completion? It takes more
than a simple planning feasibility
study to turn it into a viable capital
transportation improvement project.
Th ere have been no environmental
documents or design and engineering
eff orts necessary to validate any basic
estimates for the $2.7 billion construction
Without a billion or more from
Washington, don’t count on riding the
Brooklyn Queens Connector in your
lifetime. Instead, try running simple
limited stop bus service on the same
Larry Penner, Great Neck
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Making his case
BY GREGORY LASAK
Th e next Queens district attorney will face
critical challenges at the crossroads of a rapidly
changing criminal justice system. Lives are at
stake. Fundamental issues of fairness are at risk.
On-the-job training is not an option.
Th e next Queens district attorney must make
needed reforms while safeguarding our families
from the scourge of violent crime. Above all, the
next district attorney must fundamentally ensure
equal justice. You cannot, however, make fairness
and equal justice your priority when you haven’t
the faintest idea where to start.
A career in politics is irrelevant experience
for running a prosecutor’s offi ce. Politicians are
focused on self-preservation. A district attorney
must be singularly focused on justice. I have
fought for justice for victims in their darkest hour
for nearly 40 years as a judge and as an assistant
district attorney. My career politician opponents
haven’t the slightest idea what that entails.
Starting in the 1990s, while some of my opponents
were fundraising and plotting their political
careers, I was prosecuting violent felons
and reinvestigating the cases of individuals who
were wrongfully arrested, indicted or convicted.
I worked to exonerate nearly two dozen innocent
men a decade before anyone had even thought of
a conviction review unit.
I have tried cases, supervised criminal investigations
and prosecutions, and personally conducted
wrong-man investigations. I served Queens as
an assistant district attorney, rising to the ranks
of chief of the Homicide Bureau and executive
assistant district attorney for the Major Crimes
Division, which was comprised of the Homicide
Trials, Homicide Investigations, Career Criminal
Major Crimes, Special Victims and Domestic
Violence bureaus. During my time in the Queens
district attorney’s offi ce, I spent countless hours of
my life as the legal adviser at crime scenes at all
hours of the night and early morning.
For 14 years, I served as a New York State
Supreme Court Justice, starting in the Drug
Treatment Court and rising to deputy administrative
judge, sitting in the homicide part and
overseeing some of the county’s highest profi le
cases. Th e District Attorney is on call 24 hours a
day, seven days a week and is ultimately responsible
for all legal decisions made by the offi ce.
In my career, I have always lived by the credo,
“Do the right thing.” Doing what is right and just
is not always popular. Anyone who knows me
knows I have never been afraid to stand up to
bosses, fellow prosecutors, cops or judges in the
pursuit of justice.
For me, doing the right thing meant investigating
and supervising the 1985 prosecution of three
police offi cers, a sergeant and a lieutenant who
were indicted for using a stun gun to torture suspects
in a police precinct. Before it became popular,
I was diverting low-level, non-violent off enders
to treatment courts and programs. And I have
always fought to protect the most vulnerable
members of society from those that prey on them.
I have spent my entire career pursuing justice
for all people in Queens. As district attorney, I
will continue to do so while keeping Queens safe
and implementing necessary reforms. Queens
deserves a district attorney who is committed to
fi ghting for equal justice for all.
Gregory Lasak is a retired judge and candidate
for Queens district attorney.