Daily News from New York, New York on March 10, 2002 · 46
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Daily News from New York, New York · 46

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 10, 2002
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3' IDEAS & OPINION DAILY NEWS 450 W.3MSL, Not Yfc,M.V. 10001 2 CM O O CM sz e (0 2 s CO o Cl MORTIMER B. ZUCKERMAN, Chairman A Co-Publisher FRED DRASNER, Chief Executive Officer A Co-Publisher LES GOODSTTEIN, President A Chief Operating Officer EDWARD KOSNKR, Editor In Chief MICHAEL GOODWIN, Executive Editor ROBERT SAPIO, Senior Managing Editor BILL BOYLE, JANE FREIMAN, MICHAEL KRAMER, LOU PARAJOS, Managing Editor RUSS HOYLE, Deputy Sunday Editor THOMAS P. RU1S, Design Director RICHARD SCHWARTZ, Editorial Page Editor The President comes through In a Sept. 13 Oval Office meeting with the fires still raging at Ground Zero Sen. Chuck Schumer told President Bush that New York needed $20 billion in federal help to recover from the disaster. The President didn't hem or haw over the senator's request. He immediately pledged the money. And his word was good. As Mayor Bloomberg said in the Rose Garden on Thursday, "A promise made, a promise kept." Bush and his administration have produced an unprecedented assistance package. Recognition is due Schumer and his Senate colleague Hillary Clinton, who also had attended the crucial September meeting. New York's entire House delegation, led by Reps. Charles Rangel and Benjamin Gilman, was instrumental too. Outside Congress, Gov. Pataki, Bloomberg and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani were pushing things along. Yes, there were some bumps in the road, like last fall, when the White House hedged on specifics. That resulted in two upstate GOP-ers, Reps. John Sweeney and Jim Walsh, bravely taking on their party to fight for their state. But now, everyone, regardless of political affiliation, is together. Roughly half the $20 billion has been delivered. The rest is on its way. There will be money to rebuild downtown's infrastructure, from repairing the crushed subway lines to constructing a replacement station for the PATH trains that used to stop under the World Trade Center. And because federal emergency dollars cannot go to private companies, Bush has arranged for separate funds to repair Verizon phone and Con Edison electrical lines. To stimulate commerce downtown, medium and small businesses south of Canal St are eligible for a $2,400 tax credit per worker for four years. There are other tax incentives for investment in office and residential space. Under the package, public agencies will have additional flexibility in refinancing their debt, saving themselves and New Yorkers millions in interest payments. Uncle Sam in the person of George W has come through for New York. And New York extends its thanks from the bottom of its still-mending heart. E-ZPass Regents What is this, a limbo contest? No, it's the state Regents exam. You are merely confused by the lowering of the bar. According to critics, and a special Daily News report, fraidy-cat educators are doing everything possible to make the formerly rigorous tests virtually meaningless. In December, some Board of Regents members and other educators began pressuring state Education Commissioner Richard Mills to hang on to the low-pass score of 55 a grade intended to be in effect only for the five-year grace period after the tests went from optional to required. Mills is still pondering a decision. Now it has been learned that thousands of students who failed the test with a score of 48 have been allowed to try and try again on those portions on which they did the worst. To boot, the retests are dumbed-down versions of the original. For example, instead of essay-length answers, brief, two-paragraph responses are acceptable as, incredibly, are errors in spelling and grammar. Behind all this is fear. City and state educators taking full advantage of the loopholes and asking for more are afraid that if high standards are maintained, too many city teens will fail the exam and, therefore, not graduate. They should be afraid not of the standards, but of the reasons those standards are not being met. It's reasonable to expect that when students were promoted from one grade to the next without adequate literacy and math skills, it might be near impossible for them to make up the deficit in a couple of years. : But how much time is enough? Four years' worth of high school courses? A five-year transition period? Waiting for today's first-graders to get to their senior year? Do-overs and a grading curve are no substitutes for knowledge and skills. That's a lesson many in the education community have yet to learn. Serving one's country From the wires: LONDON (Reuters) The British Army is allowing single soldiers to bring girlfriends back to barracks overnight Close your eyes and think of England. rmx.8wiu!mhnn.Jib9 o)isoii9s(sii :JiDitt-3 VOICE I like Mike Brooklyn: Mayor Bloomberg is unique. He's not like past mayors. I approve of what the mayor has done so far. Mayor Bloomberg, I like your style. Juanita Shepard God is watching Bay Shore, L.I.: To Voicer Christopher Birdsall: You want to know where God was on Sept. 11? He was watching us in despair. He gave us His laws and free will. If people choose to do evil to others in His name, they violated His commandments. He told us what He expects. It is not His fault if we disobey. The blame is on the people who choose evil of their own volition. Linda Garramone Beat it! Bronx: To Voicer Christopher Birdsall: If you don't like the phrase, "God Bless America," why don't you move to Afghanistan? . Susanne Patau Abusing free will Staten Island: As to God's whereabouts on Sept. 1 1, He was doing - the same thing as the rest of New York grieving. I'm sure He was also heartbroken at yet another abuse of man's free will. As for "God bless America" becoming tiresome, it will never become tiresome as long as it is meant with all one's heart, which has been the case. May He bless and watch over us all, regardless of sex, race, color or belief. MikeWhelan Don't forget Arafat North Babylon, L.I.: Voicer Abbas Hamideh puts all the blame for the situation in the Middle East on Israel's doorstep, ignoring the fact that Yasser Arafat started the bloodshed 18 months ago. Hamideh wants the U.S. to stop arms shipments to Israel. The Daily News reserves the right to edit letters. The shorter the letter, the better the chance it will be used, include signature, street address and daytime phone number. Write in care of Voice of the People or - fax your letter to (212) 210-1505. Send E-mail letters to voicersediLnydaOynews.com .l8uohs zirii ss(o) uoi noahq ni OF THE PEOPLE Will he also ask his fellow Arabs to stop shipping arms and bomb-making equipment to Arafat and Hamas? Neil Rotter Faulty logic Forest Hills: To Voicer Abbas Hamideh: If one were to believe that Israel is unilaterally making war on a defenseless civilian population under occupation, one would also have to believe that the Israelis are masquerading as Palestinian suicide bombers and blowing themselves up. Linda Sperling Waiting for a train Babylon, L.I.: The Long Island "Fail Road" has been launching campaigns lately, such as the clean train campaign, the campaign to keep your feet off the seats and the campaign to reduce, cell phone usage. As a long-suffering passenger, might I suggest an on-time train campaign? Steve Curtis Hangup & walk Bronx: If you can't drive a car with a cell phone in your hand, you shouldn't be able to walk Leave no child behind Manhattan: Re your March 6 article "City puts day care expansion plan on ice": The budgets of Mayor Bloomberg and President Bush hurt poor children and working parents. The mayor proposes a $79 million cut in child care funding. Bush wants flat funding, with no adjustment for inflation, for the Child Care and Development Block Grant that provides federal dollars to states for child care that costs more than public college tuition. Welfare reform has made the market for affordable child care tighter. The 38,000 children on New York City's waiting list is an outrage, but it doesnt reveal the desperate need because many parents don't even bother to sign up on waiting lists that go nowhere. The only way poor parents can continue to work is with child care assistance. Yet only one in seven children eligible for federally-funded child care gets it. Bush and Bloomberg must work together to solve this critical need, and not leave our children behind. Donna A. Lawrence, Children's Defense Fund wov slhw ol viherb s zb loyeM .DBlq across the street, either. It's jusfd. matter of time before a pedesttv. an gets run over because they aVfcr not paying attention to oncoming traffic as they walk antPtalkS Who is everyone talking to; anyway? Mike KelerchiaiP More, not less . Brooklyn: The city could cut back on costly garbage exports by expanding rather than curtailing recycling. This could be funded by a tax on all types of packag-ing. The 5-cent can and bottle redemption program could be expanded to include all beverages. John Casson McKay's a class act Manhattan: Thank you, NBC, for the good sense to have the legendary Jim McKay as a guest commentator throughout the Olympics. He brought back years of nostalgia with his unique 'wa; of expressing his point of view:' McKay added that touch of class that comes with years of expert- ence. Grace Munozj Justice for all Warwick, -N.Y.: If Charles Schwarz is destined for another farce of a trial, then let there be real and complete justice. In the adjoining courtroom should be Abner Louima, his cousin and their friends, who all lied about what happened. You can't, have your cake and eat it too. H Kevin Murphy" io rmiD hsM ot -jb&m v jflJ anoil

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