for breaking news visit www.qns.com DECEMBER 24, 2015 • times 13 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT www.qns.com DECEMBER 24, 2015 • THE COURIER SUN 17 oped A LOOK BACK Here’s another classic photo from our friends at the Facebook page, “You must have lived in Ridgewood if you remember...” This 1925 image shows Wyckoff Avenue looking northbound toward Myrtle Avenue on the Brooklyn/Queens border in Ridgewood. Note the trolley tracks amid the cobblestone street bed; before the advent of the bus, trolleys were the primary mode of public transportation for local residents through the rapidly-developing community, as they connected residents to local elevated train lines. Look carefully at right and you’ll see what appears to be the rear of a Ford vehicle, perhaps a Model-T or similar make of the decade’s most popular and prolifi c automobile. We want to see your historic photos of Queens? Email them to email@example.com, or send printed photos by mail to The Queens Courier, 38-15 Bell Blvd., Bayside, NY 11361. All mailed pictures will be carefully returned to you. letters & comments PREET CAN’T BE BEAT, SAYS ONE READER Congratulations to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. He found the silver lining-- namely Sheldon Silver lining his pockets and exposed Dean Skelos’ skeletons in the closet. Keep up the great work, Preet! Bill Lindauer, Long Island City ON THE 104TH PRECINCT’S MASSAGE PARLOR CRACKDOWN This captain has nothing else to worry about but illegal massage parlors. He wouldn’t go after drug dealers. He wouldn’t go after hardcore criminals or terrorists. Only a soft target like a poor chinese massage parlor! just to show the community that he is doing something! Well, shame on him. QNS user jojo NOT FOOLED BY CANDIDATE’S MUSLIM BAN PLAN Donald Trump wants to ban all Muslims, but how exactly are you supposed to tell who is Muslim and who isn’t? Can you tell who’s Jewish by looking at them? A Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist, Pagan or Satanist? Does Trump expect terrorists raise their hands and say “Oh yes, I’m a terrorist!” However, sometimes it is easy to identify an idiot just by listening to them. The other GOP candidates running against Trump want to condemn him, but they can’t be too harsh because when/if Trump crashes and burns, they want to gain these “GOP faithful” 43 percent of which still believe Obama is a Muslim. Robert LaRosa, Whitestone KEEP THE ‘BACKYARD’ OF QUEENS OPEN The following is an open letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio. We are writing to you because we are concerned to hear that therea re plans to rent out Flushing Meadows Corona Park to for-profi t enterprises like concert promoters. These rentals may affect the ability of local people to utilize the park for several days at a time. This we fi nd totally objectionable. So many people rely on Flushing Meadows Corona Park as a place for recreation and relaxation. It must always be open to the public. If this park is rented out to a for-profi t organization, there must be a policy put into place so that the park can still be used by the public. Along the same lines, no permit should be granted to any group whose request would essentially close the entire park to the public. Also, there are many other impacts that any type of entertainment event would have on the park and the surrounding communities that must be taken into account. We hope that all of these concerns will be addressed by you and other stakeholders so that the park is always available for public use. Flushing Meadows Corona Park truly is the backyard of the working class people of Queens, and that reality must be protected and respected at all costs. Terri Pouymari, president, and Henry Euler, vice president Auburndale Improvement Association SKEPTICAL OVER HOMELESS SERVICES SHAKEUP The homeless are not the problem. The problem lies with the condition of the city and state. Homelessness is the end result of those problems. QNS user Tillman FOR MORE NEWS VISIT QNS.COM Recalling pol’s efforts to protect babies from AIDS BY ASSEMBLYMAN MICHAEL SIMANOWITZ On Tuesday, Dec. 1, World AIDS Day, Governor Andrew Cuomo received the World AIDS Day Leadership Award from the End AIDS NY 2020 Coalition. The governor’s work and demonstrated commitment to ending the AIDS epidemic in New York State is herculean. However, more than 20 years before Governor Cuomo stood in the Apollo Theater announcing New York’s accomplishments, a selfdescribed “Jewish grandmother from Queens” stalked the halls of the Capitol in an effort to bring common sense to the way New York was dealing with the raging epidemic. In 1993, my mentor and predecessor, Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn, read an article in Newsday about a woman whose husband had become so ill, he had to be hospitalized. When she entered her husband’s ward, she found the doctors and the staff wearing masks and gloves. The doctors evaded her questions and fi nally one nurse approached her and said “please get yourself tested for AIDS.” The article went on to point out that the nurse probably broke the law by even suggesting to the woman that her husband was infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The doctor and staff that refused to answer her questions were simply following the law at the time which prohibited notifying even the spouse of someone suffering from AIDS that their partner was infected. As it turned out, her husband was being treated for AIDS and eventually succumbed to it. Unfortunately, it also turned out that she herself was infected. After looking into the situation, Nettie introduced the Partner Notifi cation Bill, which would basically have treated HIV as any other sexually transmitted disease and require that if someone tested positive for HIV/AIDS, the Health Department had to notify their spouse or other known sexual partner that they may have been exposed to the virus and should themselves get tested. Knowing that the bill would have an easier time becoming law if she had organizational support, she reached out to groups that historically played a leading role on women’s issues. The response she got was both shocking and hugely disappointing. Nettie, who had been named the NOW (National Organization for Women) Legislator of the Year in 1989 for her support of choice, gay rights and every other liberal issue of concern to women and the gay community, found that all of these same groups were opposed to her bill. The powers that be, often referred to as “the AIDS industrial complex,” had determined that AIDS was to be treated differently than any other deadly communicable disease – the privacy of the infected individual would be more important than stopping the spread of the virus by that individual to others. It was then that she got her fi rst exposure to the organized coalition determined to protect what she coined “AIDS exceptionalism.” She then went to the New York State Medical Society for support and while they offered their support of her Partner Notifi cation legislation, their representatives told her something that made her put her life on hold. Every newborn in New York State was being tested for the HIV/AIDS virus anonymously as part of a program run by the Centers for Disease Control to track the epidemic. Public health offi cials knew somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,800 babies in New York were testing positive every year – but New York State law said you could not tell the mother that the baby had been exposed to the virus because that meant the mother herself was infected and that she had a right “not to know.” Even worse was the fact that so many of these HIVexposed infants were not actually infected but were simply carrying their mothers’ HIV antibodies. If their HIV-infected moms knew to avoid breast feeding, a known method of HIV transmission, their lives could be saved. Unfortunately, the powers that be simply didn’t care. Nettie then introduced legislation requiring all newborns in the state be tested for HIV and that their mothers be notifi ed of the results, thus allowing the babies and their mothers to receive necessary and, in the case of the infants, life-saving treatment. Despite support from almost every public health professional and organization in the state, even this simple proposal took years to gain legislative approval because of privacy and civil rights concerns. When the legislation fi nally went into effect in 1997, many warned that disaster would strike: mothers would refuse to go to the hospital to give birth, domestic violence would increase and discrimination against women with HIV would explode. None of those predictions materialized. As the governor’s announcement shows, in less than 20 years, we have eliminated mother-to-child transmission in New York State. Nettie didn’t stop there. After the Baby AIDS Bill passed in 1996, Nettie spent the next two years fi ghting for passage of her Partner Notifi cation bill, and then her bill to give rape victims access to the HIV status of their attacker. Then working with the very doctors treating HIV and AIDS, she challenged the regulations surrounding so-called “informed written consent” which again treated HIV differently than any other disease. Again, she won against all odds and fi nally brought some common sense to the treatment of this totally preventable disease. Nettie endured protests at her home and offi ce. But she never backed down. Nettie fought and fought and fought because she knew that her cause was just and that lives were at stake. I am hopeful that under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, New York will soon celebrate a year with no new infections at all and that Nettie will be recognized for the countless lives her tenacity was responsible for saving. Simanowitz represents the 27th Assembly District.
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