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Editorial: Every problem is not an emergency

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A year ago we might have agreed with state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing), who has sounded an alarm about the windows at PS 214 in Flushing. The windows on the first floor of the school need to be replaced. Nearly half of the windows can no longer be opened.

This is a problem. Perhaps it is even a serious problem. But it is not an emergency. Every problem must be seen in its context. The city is facing a $5 billion deficit in the coming fiscal year. The mayor has asked every agency to cut up to 20 percent of the budget.

And if Washington, Albany and the unions don't come through, city agencies will be looking at large-scale layoffs. The City Board of Education and the School Construction Authority have also been told to find ways to do more with less.

Under these circumstances, Stavisky can hardly expect the SCA to drop everything and begin replacing the windows at PS 214. If there were serious likelihood that the windows were going to fall out or if the ventilation of the building depended on opening these windows, this would be an emergency, this would truly be an emergency, but that is not the case.

To give more credibility to her cause, Stavisky adds that the windows may have been painted with lead paint, since they are quite old. If that's the case, the city has said it would not replace the windows while school is in session. As long as the children are not eating the paint from these windows, no one is at risk of anything more than inconvenience.

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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