Today’s news:

The Civic Scene: Queens should step up efforts to fight graffiti

As the new school year begins again we should think of the many ways we can improve our quality of life, such as by better controlling graffiti, improving air quality and cracking down on gangs, drug dealers and bullies.

One blight of our society is graffiti. Some ways to stop these offending sights are by cleaning them off or painting over them; many officials participate in these activities.

We also could keep our public places clear by passing a law requiring property owners to cover over graffiti in, say, a week. A law of this type is working very well in Yonkers, N.Y. City agencies could be required to do the same on public buildings. But graffiti is not the only area in need of cleansing.

A way to reduce air pollution would be to pass a state law requiring a reduction of carbon dioxide from cars and trucks. Gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles and light trucks should not be exempt from the law. California passed a law of this nature although the automobile industry lobbied against it.

The New York state Legislature has such a bill, but as far as I know it has not been acted upon. It seems that 40 percent of the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming in California come from engine emissions. It probably is the same here.

We also could reduce the number of asthma cases if we clean up our internal combustion engines. This would save us a lot of money that we have to spend to treat asthma and other lung illnesses.

Another way we could save money and improve our quality of life would be to eliminate gangs, which drain so much from our society and ruin so many young lives. Our lives would be much better if our federal and city governments could do more to target teenage and adult gangs. Los Angeles has been fighting gangs for years.

I just read about gangs requiring members to kill someone as part of the initiation process; they drive by and shoot someone. Then there is the extortion and drug dealing in which many gangs are involved. We have to support our police and help them eliminate the scourge of gangs, as well as drugs, which encourage other types of crimes.

For instance, drug users must have money to support their habit so they rob, kill, maim and steal in order to buy drugs, which destroy much of our human resources. We spend money to incarcerate drug dealers, money which could better be used on so many other socially useful activities.

Yes, our governments do a lot to treat drug users and keep drugs out of our country but more stress on the problem might lead to more and better solutions. We have to keep aware that drug use is a threat to our society.

Another threat to our quality of life is school-yard bullies. According to the Education World Web site, an estimated 160,000 U.S. children stay home daily to avoid bullies.

We can’t forget that some of those teenagers who committed massacres at their schools had been tormented or teased by other students. The tormenting had not been detected or if it had been reported, was not stopped. Our school officials and law enforcement members must stop the bullying and protect those being bullied. This type of protection is just another need in our modern society.

Good and Bad News of the Week

It is a year since the tragedy of Sept. 11. To understand the magnitude of what happened one just has to look at area newspapers to find stories about people lost that fateful day.

They still are identifying the remains of those who died and still are printing photos and stories about them. It is good that they are being remembered but it is sad that there are so many.

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