By Queens Courier Staff |

They’re baaack!
I guess Obama has chosen Hillary to be Secretary of State because of all her foreign policy experience, i.e., shopping with the wives of foreign dignitaries while her husband was playing President. I was hoping that Obama’s victory over Hillary meant we were finally rid of the Clintons. However, they just seem to keep sticking around, like gum on your shoe.

Reading between lines
With Obama choosing Robert Gates to continue as Secretary of Defense, he joins a long list of Anti-war Democrats who are forced to make a reluctant admission: that President Bush’s Iraq policy worked. If it were a failure as the Democrats had originally hoped, Obama would choose a new Defense Secretary to begin a new strategy. Instead, he knows the only smart choice is to continue the policy that is working.
Michael Chimenti
Oakland Gardens

Kudos for 109th Precinct
I wish to commend the Police Officers of the 109th Precinct, NYPD, here in Flushing for the apprehension of three males who were apparently involved in criminal activities on Monday, November 24, at approximately 4 p.m. on 136th Street between 63rd Road and 64th Avenue.
Walter Kowsh, Jr.,
President, Cedar Grove Civic Queensboro Hill Homeowners Association, Inc.

Idea for MTA
I have an idea how to save some money at the MTA…
Every year many lawsuits are filed against the MTA’s agencies. Some of them are well justified, others - are frivolous; some - are asking for millions of dollars, others - just for several hundreds of dollars.
So, would it not be appropriate for the MTA to satisfy a reasonable claim of a few hundred dollars without wasting thousands of dollars in legal expenses? I think so.
Several years ago, I (a retired NYCTA Electrical Engineer) filed a Small Claims lawsuit against my former employer for my one-day salary.
On Friday, August 15, 2003, the next day after the Blackout-2003, many New Yorkers could not get to their jobs because the subway did not operate.
All city agencies excused their employees for that missed day, but the NYCTA wanted to be “different,” and it forced its employees to take a vacation day. The union filed a grievance, and, eventually, because of arbitration, the NYCTA was ordered to restore the vacation day accounts of employees who were unable to report to work on August 15, 2003. Nevertheless, since the grievance was brought on behalf of the union members (i.e., current employees), the NYCTA refused to pay (a one-day salary) to all employees who had retired after the Blackout-2003. A simple logic suggests that everything that happened after the Blackout was absolutely irrelevant, but the NYCTA’s logic is different, and they decided to punish its former employees (who gave tens of years of dedicated service to the agency) for exercising their Constitutional right to retire.
If you want to sue a government agency, you have to file a claim with that agency first, and the so-called statutory hearing must be held. At that hearing, a court reporter takes notes and then prepares a transcript. Only after that hearing (if the agency refuses to pay), can you go to court.
After my hearing, a 71-page transcript was prepared. At $4 per page, its cost has already exceeded the amount of my claim. But it was just the beginning… After that, the NYCTA filed four legal documents (totaling 103 pages), and its lawyers had three court appearances. I think that my case is a good example how the MTA is wasting the taxpayers’ money.
[I lost on a technicality because the judge had misguided me…]
Victor Maltsev
Rego Park

Rebate debate
Intelligent voters can learn much from the debate over the homeowners’ $400 dollar tax rebates. Mayor Bloomberg offers solutions in facing a $4 billion dollar debt while others are more concerned about positioning themselves for future elective office. NYC Council Finance Committee Chairperson and 2009 candidate for NYC Comptroller David Weprin’s position supporting rebates speak volumes. Just how does Weprin propose finding the $256 million to support this refund? His naive belief that both Albany and Washington will come to the rescue makes no sense. They have their own respective budget shortfalls in the tens of billions and hundreds of billions.
Prior to his election as Councilmember in 2001, the City Finance Department revealed that Weprin owed the City of New York $6,734 in unpaid property taxes going back to 1999.
In past years, Weprin supported giving out $400 tax rebates even if the homeowner owed the city other debts. Weprin opposed denying the $400 rebate to property owners who have debts, because “one has nothing to do with each other,” he said in a published report.
Larry Penner
Great Neck

Money is power
If all the wealth of the world were divided equally among all the people in the world, within days there would again be “rich” and “poor.”
The false premise that the wealth of citizens belongs to the government and may be redistributed at its discretion remains unquestioned, unchallenged and even accepted by many Americans. Liberal politicians with power to tax and spend at their discretion may feel an obligation and great debt to their fellow man and propose to pay off with your money; others may wish to “bail-out” their friends and business partners with loans, credit, rebates, tax credits, etc. In either case, it is not their money. The Constitution does not guarantee happiness nor does it provide for reimbursements.
Politicians would have us believe that an omnipotent government will benefit us all and enhance individual rights; this is as oxymoronic as you can get. This only fosters the delusion that we can all live at the expense of everybody else. Thomas Jefferson warned that a “government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have.”
The power and control that comes with the “power of the purse” is immeasurable. Politicians know that if they “rob” Peter to pay Paul, Peter belonging to the upper 5 percent income bracket and Paul to the remaining 95 percent, they can count on the support of the Pauls.
The writer P.J. O’Rourke observed, “Giving money and power to the government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”
Ed Konecnik