We the People: Working together is the solution

“Hope, a candle light, guides our way; as darker grows the night, it emits a brighter ray.”

We endure crisis after crisis and still problems exist in the world. We must keep our economy growing even as tax, budget and fiscal problems bedevil us. We can solve these problems if we work together.

At the March Community Board 10 meeting, a member informed us of notorious open drug use and quality-of-life crimes occurring around Fifth Avenue and 75th Street. Meanwhile, pedestrians are being mowed down on major thoroughfares of Bay Ridge. People spilling out of bars are brawling and discharging firearms during the wee hours. Is this the community that the people who work and choose to live here want for themselves and their families?

A federal judge wants to curtail police stop-and-frisk policies and lawyers sue to have the court appoint a monitor take over the NYPD to stop the alleged race-based stops. Apologist Christine Quinn already promised to create an NYPD inspector general in a naked effort to garner support for her mayoral candidacy.

Her mentor, Mayor Bloomberg, recognizes, “We cannot play election year politics with the safety of the city.” If Congress had a backbone, effective national gun laws would eliminate a need for a local stop-and-frisk policy. The NYPD uses “hot spot” policing strategies that target persons in high crime areas. The policy has made New York City the safest big city in America. I know that Ms. Quinn and Judge Scheindlin won’t be taking guns off criminals if the policy is eliminated.

Councilmember Gentile proposed adding police officers to enforce traffic laws and stop speeding drivers in Bay Ridge. State Senator Golden echoed his call and proposed higher penalties for hit-and-run drivers. We need to deter the behavior itself and an answer is languishing in Albany.

A bill to place speed cameras in New York City has not reached a vote despite strong support from city politicians. Councilmember Levin accused Golden of singlehandedly holding up that bill. These cameras, which cost very little money, have been effective in deterring speeders in Europe for years.

Critics claim that the method is not as effective as police enforcement. So what! How many children must be run over before we do something to protect them? The New York City DOT revealed their proposed method to deter speeders: a reduction to single lane traffic on Fourth Avenue through most of Bay Ridge.

Our community must reject this plan before the suggestion becomes a reality and get speed cameras placed on our busiest thoroughfares to protect pedestrians. Tell your representatives that you want a speed camera pilot project for Fourth Avenue as well as 65th Street.

Meanwhile, the head of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, is dancing a jig of joy after our soulless Congress dropped the assault weapon ban. The kooky head of the NRA once claimed that looting in New York City showed the world how any limit on gun ownership would make life terrible in America.

Shame on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Capitol Hill Cowards for not allowing the measure to be voted on by the Senate. If the horror of the Newtown massacre cannot loosen the NRA stranglehold on Congress, then we have to take the fight to Congress in the same way.

We must fund a lobby to advocate to Congress on behalf of the people to counter the power of gun manufacturers.

We must address these problems and if, in order to prevail, we must change the way we address them, so be it. Hard work and indomitable hope will prevail in the end.

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