Today’s news:

Editorial: Church of the bigot

Perhaps the best proof that the Reverend Matt Hale and his Peoria-based Church of the Creator are a bunch of idiots is the fact that they chose Woodhaven to launch their white supremacist blitz. Residents of this racially and ethnically diverse Queens neighborhood woke up one morning last week to find fliers from the hate-filed Hale warning that “the Jewish controlled media” and children of color will be “the death of the white race.”

One of the fliers included a picture of babies of various races with the question “Will your children look like this?”

The saving grace of Hale and his followers must be that they are not very bright. Like cockroaches, this congregation is busiest at night. Had they come to Woodhaven in the daylight, they would have seen that people of every race – blacks, whites, Asians, Latinos and none of the above – live in relative harmony here as they do in communities throughout Queens. You are too late, Mr. Hale. Our children do “look like this,” and we are damn proud of it.

Hale told our reporter that he started his white supremacist “blitz” to mark his 30th birthday. He claims this “church” has 81 branches and more than 60,000 supporters. The Southern Poverty Law center, an organization that tracks hate groups in America, said Hale’s church has no more than a thousand members. But even one bigot like Hale is one too many.

The call to racism and hatred can never be taken lightly. Even a handful of nuts can do great damage. It was only a decade ago that a group of bigots burned down a home in Flushing that was used to provide housing for babies born with the AIDS virus. Ignorance and fear are a dangerous combination.

But as long as Hale and his hatemongers are here, if indeed they still are, we suggest they travel east to Flushing, the birthplace of religious tolerance in America. In Flushing they will see Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist temples standing alongside synagogues and churches. In fact, there is no race, culture or religion that is not represented in Queens in some way.

We hope Hale and his haters have learned something from their visit here, although we doubt it.

Editorial: Let there be lights

There is a fundamental flaw in the way that the Department of Transportation decides which intersections merits a traffic signal. It is not enough to show that an intersection is dangerous. All too often nothing gets done until someone is killed.

This is the case in Maspeth where the neighborhood has been asking for years to have traffic signals installed on 65th Place where it intersects with 52nd and 53rd avenues. Local residents say that a steep slope in the road creates a blind spot that makes it impossible for drivers to see pedestrians until it is too late to stop.

In recent months, two people were killed at these intersections and a 12-year-old boy was seriously injured. George Kesanidis suffered a compound fracture of his leg while crossing 65th Place. He came to a rally in his wheelchair last week to plead for a traffic signal.

DOT cannot give in to every demand for a traffic signal. To keep federal highway funding, the city must follow strict standards. On the other hand, it shouldn't be necessary for people to get killed before something gets done. There are intersections that are clearly dangerous. If drivers can't see pedestrians crossing, then something must be done. The DOT rejected the first request for a light on 65th Place. Tragedies have proved that the community was right.

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