FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM MAY 30, 2019 • THE QUEENS COURIER 29
FOREST HILLS CELEBRATES MEMORIAL DAY // PHOTO VIA INSTAGRAM @mitrahakimirealtygroup
Send us your photos of Queens and you could see them online or in our paper! To submit them to us, tag @qnsgram
on Instagram, visit our Facebook page, tweet @QNS or email firstname.lastname@example.org (subject: Queens Snaps).
letters & comments
Albany needs to focus
on policies that matter
BY JAY MARTIN
In politics, it’s a lot easier to blame others than shoulder
any responsibility on your own. Case in point – the
recent rent regulation debate in Albany.
With the laws governing aff ordable rent stabilized
units set to expire on June 15th, state lawmakers have
an opportunity to seriously tackle the housing aff ordability
crisis that has befallen our City. Unfortunately –
but not surprisingly – we are not seeing the leadership
required for such an intricate issue.
That’s why our organization, the Community
Housing Improvement Program (CHIP), which represents
4,000 property owners across all fi ve boroughs
who own or manage one-third of the City’s rent stabilized
housing stock, is putting forth proposals that
focus on giving working class and poor New Yorkers
the housing security they deserve.
Our members are mostly small business owners who
understand the diffi cult balance of maintaining safe and
high-quality aff ordable apartments, with still earning a
living in such an expensive city. Many members have
worked here for generations and have seen the City
climb out of the depths of urban decay into a community
that attracts new residents and visitors every year.
Part of this success stems from state policies such
as the Major Capital Improvement and Individual
Apartment Improvement programs. These key mechanisms
incentivize property owners to maintain their
buildings by permitting them to recoup the costs of
upgrades through small rent increases, but only upon
the submission of evidence to regulators that the projects
met stringent guidelines.
The programs have delivered – since the 1970s,
there has been a 90% drop in blocks that are blighted
with boarded or broken windows. But other policies,
including preferential rents and vacancy allowances,
also contribute to the overall upward trend in the quality
of rental housing.
And yet, Albany politicians are more interested
in currying favor with a small subset of activists by
upbraiding property owners than helping New Yorkers
aff ord their homes.
We see this lack of leadership with the complete mismanagement
of NYCHA. The government is the largest
landlord in the city, but cannot get its own properties
to meet even the lowest standards of livability.
Th at’s why we have recently announced an aff ordability
plan that is intended to refocus the housing
Specifi cally, New York should pass the Home
Stability Support Program. The legislation would
expand supplemental housing aid for individuals and
families on public assistance.
The city and state must also support appropriate
funding levels for the NYC Rent Freeze Program,
which help seniors and disabled individuals aff ord their
rent stabilized units. Veterans should be included in an
Additionally, the lowest-rent apartments should be
reserved for low-income New Yorkers by making rent
stabilized units means-tested.
CHIP members have been part of this city for
decades, and we will always remain committed to our
home and yours.
With only a few weeks left of debate before a major
vote on housing reform, we’ll do our best to make sure
Albany lawmakers actually assist the most vulnerable
New Yorkers, not just indulge the most vocal activists.
Jay Martin is the executive director of the Community
Housing Improvement Program (CHIP), which represents
4,000 property owners that manage 1/3
(400,000) of all rent stabilized units throughout the city.
SPEND OUR TAX
It was recently reported that
Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to cut
$10.4 million from NYC’s public
libraries, including one in Park
Slope that he oft en used.
Th ose funds can be restored by
diverting them from the $13.6 million
that tax-payers shelled out to
lawyers to defend the mayor and
his cronies, whom he called “agents
of the city,” from federal and state
charges resulting from investigations
into his Campaign For One
New York and meddling in upstate
Bogus Bill broke his promise to
pay these legal costs. Th at makes
him about as trustworthy as the
“My Pillow” guy in TV ads. Our
City Council members and City
Comptroller Scott Stringer must
make sure those funds go to public
libraries, not private law fi rms
charging $900 an hour.
Richard Reif, Kew Gardens Hills
Th ank you for your recent editorial
asking for safer streets for cyclists.
Safer streets for cyclists are also safer
streets for pedestrians. It’s incredible
that 100+ pedestrians and cyclists
die every year at the hands of careless
motorists in NYC.
Contrary to the points made by
a letter writer last week, many cities
in Europe have a higher population
density than NYC yet they have
a better cycling infrastructure and
more dedicated bike lanes.
Free on-street parking is not a
God-given right. Protecting the
most vulnerable is what makes our
society unique. Anything we can do
to protect pedestrians and cyclists
should be considered, like more bike
lanes and fewer parking spots.
While most drivers are courteous
and respectful, we wouldn’t need
any of this if all drivers were more
careful about the lives of others.
Jeff Vogel, Queens
MILESTONE FOR MAIL
& RIDE PROGRAM
May 2019 is the 44th anniversary
of the successful MTA’s LIRR Mail &
Ride ticket program. Over 160,000
Queens, Nassau and Suff olk County
residents benefi t from this program
riding the LIRR on a daily basis to
commute from home to work.
As a long time Mail&Ride member
starting in the class of 1983
before retiring in January 2015, I
know fi rst hand how user friendly
LIRR Mail and Ride is. Few remember
a brief period in the 1980s when
the LIRR off ered a one-year ticket
which arrived monthly.
By prepaying for your monthly
pass once per year in advance, you
received a 4% discount. Sadly, there
were only several hundred of us
including myself who took advantage
of this amazing bargain so it
was quickly discontinued.
Fast forward to today and you
can also purchase an unlimited
MetroCard with your LIRR monthly
ticket. You end up with savings on
your LIRR monthly fare plus unlimited
monthly NYC Transit rides.
Th is aff ords incredible savings for
those who use the subway to and
from Penn Station, Hunters Point,
Long Island City, Woodside, Jamaica
or Flatbush Avenue Brooklyn. Th e
savings are multiplied with local
trips at lunch time or aft er work.
Th e card also provides you with
unlimited free transfers to NYC
Transit, MTA Bus and Nassau Inter
County Express NICE Bus.
More LIRR riders continue to purchase
tickets via Mail & Ride, ticket
vending machines or various Apps.
By 2021, the new MTA One Metro
New York (OMNY) fare collection
system will be coming online.
Staff ed ticket windows and offi ces
may go the way of the dinosaurs.
Larry Penner, Great Neck
Email your letters to editorial@
qns.com (Subject: Letter to the
Editor) or leave a comment to any
of our stories at QNS.com. You can
also send a letter by regular mail
to Letters to the Editor, 38-15 Bell
Blvd., Bayside, NY 11361. All letters
are subject to editing. Names will be
withheld upon request, but anonymous
letters will not be considered
for publication. Th e views expressed
in all letters and comments are not
necessarily those of this newspaper
or its staff .