for breaking news visit www.queenscourier.com SEPTEMBER 17, 2015 • The queens CourieR 37 oped A LOO K BACK letters Reader: To hell with a deal, just bomb Iran Right now, Iran is going full speed ahead to develop an atomic bomb. They have already upgraded their long-range and short-range delivery systems. If this Iran deal passes, the U.S. will support a country that hates the U.S., that has killed hundreds of Americans over the years and that can’t wait to bomb Israel and other nations. This deal will free up Iranian money to finance terrorism around the world and beyond, and it will find its way to our shores. I hope Israel will take it upon themselves and bomb Iran’s reactors — both the obvious and hidden ones. Israel must do this for their own survival. I am sure the U.S. will back Israel, although not publicly. Frank Blarney, Bayside Knowing the value of landmark status In its effort to obtain NYC Landmark status, the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners’ Association is again asking the homeowners to express their support in favor of landmark designation. This request disingenuously implies that homeowners have input and can participate in the landmarking process. According to the law, landmark designation is not the subject of a vote by the community or homeowners and notification to homeowners is not required. Designation requires homeowners to apply for and receive permits for most work: to paint wood, masonry or handrails a different color, install exterior light fixtures, install new window sash or frames, paint doors and door frames a different color, replace roofing material, install yard lighting, etc. Invoking the Landmarks Law to resolve problems resulting from unenforced building codes is neither the intent nor spirit of the Landmarks Law. The focus should be on improving, updating and enforcing zoning and building codes and not on limiting the rights of the homeowners and creating fertile ground for more bureaucratic corruption. Restricting and regulating homeowners’ property rights may stifle their proclivity to enhance and enrich the “gracious sense of place” they created in the first place. The character and “sense of place” the association cites that distinguishes our neighborhood consists of many elements. Among them are the increasing number of local storefront signs, ads and posters that are indecipherable to many residents. In the interest of “preserving our neighborhood,” perhaps BFHA should instead seek landmarking of the English language. Ed Konecnik, Flushing advice for parents As the new school year is in its infancy, be reminded that parents don’t need to be told what to look for when judging their child’s school. In fact, it’s better not to listen to the jargon and the public relations talking points originating from or relayed through the chancellor’s or principal’s office. Parents: just keep your eyes open and get the buds out of your ears. Follow your heart. You’ll know the quality of the school at least as reliably as could be conveyed by any data report or survey. A poor school could conceivably have a lower dropout rate and a higher graduation rate. A fine school could possibly have a higher suspension rate and less cutting-edge classroom gadgetry. Every school has a mixture of gifted and mediocre teachers. That’s also true of doctors on staffs of hospitals. And every school has a blend of motivated and apathetic students. Don’t simplistically praise or criticize. In the real world beyond school, we all experienced, had to cope with and survived the full range of people in all kinds of situations. Let your kids do the same. If a teacher is not perfect, don’t go hunting to shoot down that teacher’s career. Support your children and their school by the right balance of conscientious aloofness and hands-on engagement. Ron Isaac, Fresh Meadows A Look Back Bars looked very different at the turn of the 20th century. Here is a picture of Fogarty’s Saloon, which stood at the corner of Cypress and Cooper avenues in Ridgewood, as it looked in 1906. At the time, many local drinking holes served beer exclusively from local breweries. In Fogarty’s case, J. George Grauer’s Lager Beer, produced from a plant on Weirfield Street near Cypress Avenue, was the beer on tap. But the suds weren’t long for this world, as the Grauer Brewery closed in 1910, two years after the founder’s death. Have a historic Queens photo you’d like to share with us? Email it to us at editorial@ queenscourier.com. CONGRESS MUST DO MORE FOR CONSUMER SAFETY by CON GRES WOMAN GRACE MEN G Teething products causing gagging, dolls presenting choking hazards, toys containing excessive amounts of lead — these represent just some of the harrowing cases of dangerous imported consumer products of the past year. As global trade accelerates inexorably, we must be more vigilant than ever about the quality and safety of imported products. Fortunately, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has developed a new, state-of-the-art risk assessment program that has proven itself capable of protecting Americans from unsafe imported consumer products. But Congress is woefully underfunding the program, imperiling the safety of American families. In 2013, more 235,000 importers brought a total of $723 billion worth of consumer products into the United States, an average of about $2 billion per day. And in that year, more than 80 percent of consumer product recalls involved an imported product. In response to the rise in consumer product dangers and recalls in the past decade, the CPSC developed a Risk Assessment Methodology (“RAM”) pilot program for identifying dangerous imported consumer products. Through the program, the CPSC has stationed more inspectors at ports, and it has developed a risk-scoring software that identifies potentially problematic consumer products and the containers on which they are traveling. This pilot program has proven effective. In 2013, CPSC conducted 26,491 screenings at U.S. ports — screenings which led to more than 12.5 million units of violative imports being prevented from reaching the hands of consumers. But the RAM pilot program is relatively small, with funding enabling surveillance on only 1 to 2 percent of imported goods within CPSC jurisdiction. Due to resource constraints, the CPSC has only been able to staff about 5 percent of the more than 300 U.S. ports. Notwithstanding the great success of the RAM pilot and the low levels of funding, the budget proposed by the House Republicans could result in even lower funding for this valuable program and its software development. House Democrats should therefore seek revision of the CPSC funding bill in order to strengthen the RAM program and set it on a sustainable, long-term course. I will also be introducing legislation that would authorize a small CPSC user fee at our ports, bringing in significant resources for the RAM program at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer. The evidence is clear: put import surveillance on a sustainable course, and the country will be safer. Congresswoman Meng represents the Sixth Congressional District covering much of northeastern and central Queens. EVENT DATE CHANGE: Please note The Family Health & Financial Expo At Christ the King High School has been postponed from September 20 to November 8. Please call 718-224-5863 for more information.
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