FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM JANUARY 31, 2019 • THE QUEENS COURIER 27
oped letters & comments
BY JOHN CIAFONE
I was troubled to see the staged protest against
Amazon by a few people and organizations that don’t
represent the mainstream beliefs of Queens residents.
Businesses such as Amazon do help the economy
by providing goods at decent prices and more importantly,
hiring workers who pay taxes and pass their
hard earned money into the local economy boosting
restaurants, cafes, eateries, bars, delis, laundromats,
supermarkets, dry cleaners, gyms, beauty salons, tailors,
nail salons and taxi services, to mention a few.
While a company like Amazon didn’t need tax savings
and other incentive packages, their impact in
Long Island City and in New York City will make
us exceed Silicon Valley in the number of technology
jobs, adding to an economy already boosted by
Cornell Science Technology Center and Google in
Th e old adage in business is that you have to spend
money to make money. While New York is hemorrhaging
people every year to other states and the
continuous downturn in jobs from Wall Street to
major NYC banks, Amazon in LIC is much added
relief to our challenging economy. Make no mistake,
Amazon is not a saint. It has destroyed retail corridors
throughout our country by giving a consumer
the ability to shop electronically for almost anything
and receive it on their doorstep within two days, free
of postage. All you need to do is walk down Steinway
Street, in Astoria, to see the real damage.
But we can’t blame Amazon. It is technology that
changes our course of events. It is technology, coupled
with the internet that has eliminated the need
for many mundane jobs.
Technology has brought enormous and mind-boggling
wealth to individuals like Jeff Bezos, Mark
Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Warren Buff et and Michael
Bloomberg. We must embrace technology along with
its good and bad eff ects.
However, we do not need to demonize Amazon or
even Target. We must embrace them for what they
will provide to us and our economy. Had Amazon
not selected Long Island City, it could have gone to
Brooklyn, Manhattan or the Bronx, New Jersey and
Chicago; the latter three off ered billions of dollars
of more tax incentives and grants than New York
in obtaining Amazon. In Long Island City, Amazon
promises to build a new school and provide 25,000
Long Island City should be proud. I remember the
days when I was a high school student at the old Long
Island City High School near Queens Plaza. It was
the late 80s. Th e half-naked prostitutes were roaming
the streets during the early aft ernoons. Th e crack epidemic
was rampant and needles littered the streets in
Long Island City.
Crime was unbearable, and I recall many times
where I was robbed as a student coming home from
school. Like Times Square, you wouldn’t risk being at
Queens Plaza aft er dusk out of fear for your life. How
times have changed.
Th e addition of Amazon and other companies prevents
us from the ravages of Detroit, which was once
cherished and now downtrodden.
Let’s all come together and accept that we live in
America and not some communist country that seeks
to demonize the wealthy and successful individuals
who dared, worked hard and earned the American
dream. I love Long Island City and welcome my new
neighbor, Amazon, with only the best.
John J. Ciafone is a practicing attorney and a lifelong
resident of the Astoria/Long Island City area.
HOOKED BY A
I am surprised that the 105th
Precinct has not informed you that
“mailbox fi shing” has crept south
into Queens Village.
I was a victim of identity theft
(grand larceny scale) in late
December, when a check was stolen
from a mailbox on 217th Street,
south of Hillside Avenue, in the
vicinity of 90th/91st Avenues. My
only checks unaccounted for date
from September and early December.
According to my bank, the thieves
were pretty thorough. Th ey didn’t
“wash” the check yet. Th ey used the
information on the check and available
for purchase online to create a new me!
I think it’s imperative that your
readership know that “fi shing” for
mail has spread, and is no longer
confi ned to Bayside, and that they
should be guided accordingly.
Name withheld upon request
Editor’s note: As Th e Courier has
reported in recent months, mailbox
fi shing is a problem the NYPD is
dealing with borough-wide. Police
have advised residents in northeast
Queens to avoid using mailboxes that
have not yet been upgraded with thin
mail slots designed to prevent mailbox
fi shing. We continue to monitor
the situation and will provide further
updates as they become available.
WHO PAYS FOR
There is more to NYC
Comptroller Scott Stringer’s proposal
to expand the Long Island
Rail Road Atlantic Branch southeast
Queens Commuter Rail Fare
Equalization program to all NYC
Th ere are signifi cant unresolved
fi nancial and peak service capacity
issues. Th is would allow NYC residents
to pay a discounted fare on
both Long Island and Metro North
Rail Roads including a free transfer
to the NYC Transit Subway.
Why didn’t Stringer also include
a reduction in the cost of any
NYC Transit or MTA Express Bus
Service from $6.50 to $2.75 as well?
Many traveling from two-fare (bus
to subway) neighborhoods understand
that they are paying for a premium
We are all already aware what
happens due to equipment malfunction,
switching or crossing gate problems
on the LIRR. Don’t forget service
disruptions, due to storm or signal
problems in the East River Tunnels.
Who will cover the cost of $100 to
$200 million in revenue losses for
the LIRR, Metro North and NYC
Transit? Th e $32 billion MTA 2015
- 2019 Five Year Capital Program
includes no funding to implement
this proposal. Th e MTA has no surplus
operating dollars available to
cover these costs. Neither Governor
Cuomo nor Mayor de Blasio are
off ering funding for this new program.
Larry Penner, Great Neck
I am appalled over a decision by
Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice
Ruth Shillingford who gave a gangbanger
what amounts to a slap on
the wrist for permanently leaving a
police offi cer with brain damage.
Detective Dalsh Veve suffered
brain damage at the hands of
Justin Murrell, who was a 15-yearold
at the time. Murrell was driving
a stolen Honda and dragged
Veve for three blocks. Murell had
a lengthy record. He should have
been convicted of attempted murder
but was convicted with a lesser
As Police Benevolent Association
President Patrick Lynch said, “Th e
judge spit on every shield on every
chest in the city.” I totally agree!
Th is egregious decision by the
judge is a insult to Police Detective
Veve and to his family who only
wanted justice. Th is is a travesty
and a insult to police offi cers everywhere
who only want to protect the
many from harm.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.,
Glen Oaks Village
Editor’s note: Murrell received
a prison sentence of between 1 ⅓
and 4 years after his conviction of
an assault charge, which carried
a maximum sentence of 10 years
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