FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM JANUARY 9, 2020 • THE QUEENS COURIER 25
oped letters & comments
It’s time to stand
up to hate
This rising wave of
anti-Semitic attacks in and
around New York City is
Here in Queens, we take
pride in being the most diverse place on Earth. But
that can no longer just be a talking point on tourism
literature. Th e Jewish community — and all
those threatened by hate-fi lled violent acts — want
action to combat domestic terrorism. It’s time to
close out of Twitter, put down the phone and roll
up our sleeves.
It’s on all elected offi cials to ensure anti-Semitism
and all forms of hate are nipped in the bud.
In October, I proposed creating a Department of
Diversity & Outreach within the Queens borough
president’s offi ce. Politics aside, whoever wins this
race should refocus staff to counteract the national
wave of xenophobia and white nationalism. We
need to transform the conversation and the interactions
of our communities by directing more
resources education, public safety and outreach.
A Department of Diversity & Outreach should
be the go-to place for community-based organizations
who know their blocks better than anyone
else. Th ey should have a direct line to Borough Hall
when a piece of racist graffi ti pops up or a targeted
Th ese smaller incidents can sometimes be a sign
of things to come in a neighborhood. We must also
employ people who refl ect these neighborhoods,
so that there is a member of the Jewish community
who can serve as a trusted, knowledgeable liaison.
Th e Queens borough president should play a role
working with the mayor’s offi ce to ensure more
funding for programs that promote understanding,
spread the world about a proposed hate crime, or
step up police presence if necessary.
Th e next Queens borough president should also
put a renewed focus on having their staff in communities
as well. With satellite offi ces in key locations
throughout the borough, our residents will
have a place where staff speak their language, so
they may confi dentially report acts of hate or bigotry.
We need to show neighborhoods now more than
ever that their governments will not abandon them.
Whoever takes this offi ce must also serve as chief
spokesperson for the more than 2.3 million people
who call Queens home. Th at means working
with our state partners to make New York state the
national leader against domestic terrorism. We must
send a message that anyone who attacks one of us,
to strike fear into their hearts, is attacking all of us.
And we will respond with justice for those crimes.
Th ese are uncertain times in which no single person
will have all the answers. Democracy dies in
that kind of vacuum. As the son of a Jewish mother,
I cannot overstate the risks of not working together
— or sitting idly by, with thoughts and prayers,
in hopes someone else will come along to solve the
It’s time for us all to act.
Costa Constantinides is a candidate for Queens
borough president. He currently represents Astoria
and Rikers Island as well as parts of Woodside,
Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and Long Island City
in the New York City Council, where he also chairs
the Committee on Environmental Protection.
AUDIT WAS A
WASTE OF TIME
Governor Cuomo’s 86-page
$900,000 forensic audit report prepared
by the consulting fi rm Crowe
LLP on the MTA’s $51 billion 2020-
2024 Five-Year Plan was not worth
the paper it was printed on.
It was a waste of time, money and
did not tell those of us in the transit
industry anything new.
How many internal MTA, MTA
Offi ce of Inspector General, State
Comptroller, City Comptroller, NYC
Offi ce of Management and Budget,
Federal Transit Administration Offi ce
of Inspector General and other audits
have come and gone?
What about numerous newspaper
investigative reports on waste, fraud
Another audit will not result in
any signifi cant changes to the MTA
upcoming Five-Year Capital Program.
Larry Penner, Great Neck
A HEALTHY RESOLUTION
Th e end-of-year/New Year holidays
seem to whiplash us from one
extreme to the other: eat, drink and be
merry vs. the customary New Year’s
resolutions — reduce social media,
reduce weight and embrace a plantbased
One-third of consumers already
report reducing their consumption
of animal foods. Hundreds of school,
college, hospital and corporate cafeterias
have embraced Meatless
Monday. Even fast-food chains such
as Chipotle, Denny’s, Panera, Subway,
Taco Bell, White Castle are rolling out
A dozen startups, led by Beyond
Meat and Impossible Foods, are creating
healthy, eco-friendly, compassionate,
convenient, delicious plant-based
meat and dairy alternatives. Meat
industry giants Tyson Foods, Cargill
and Canada’s Maple Leaf Foods have
invested heavily in plant-based meat
development. So have a number of
Microsoft , Google, Twitter and PayPal
According to Plant-Based Foods
Association, plant-based food sales have
grown by 20 percent in recent years, 10
times the growth rate of all foods. Sales
of plant-based cheeses, creamers, butter,
yogurts and ice creams are exploding
at a 50 percent growth rate. Plantbased
milks now account for 15 percent
of the milk market.
Th e plant-based New Year’s resolution
requires no sweat or deprivation
— just some fun exploration of your
favorite supermarket, restaurants and
Freddy Green, Flushing
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