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Editorial: Bring on the BID

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In theory, we have problems with the concept of BIDs or Business Improvement Districts. A Business Improvement District is a commercial area in which property owners agree to pay an assessment in exchange for increased services, ranging from more garbage pickups to increased security to advertising.

In essence a BID is a tax that business owners agree to in order to get services that should have been provided by the city in the first place. It's small wonder that Mayor Bloomberg and other city officials encourage the creation of new BIDs. Why wouldn't they?

That's in theory. But in practice BIDs have helped to revitalize many of the city's commercial districts. BIDs can create a sense of ownership among the merchants and other businesses operating in a well-defined area. The businesses acknowledge that they are joined at the economic hip - when the area prospers, the individual businesses will also prosper.

Downtown Flushing is ripe for a BID. In the last 20 years this community has experienced phenomenal growth. Already Flushing is the city's fourth largest commercial district with a thriving restaurant business, some national chain stores and the Sheraton LaGuardia East. But Flushing is also filthy. Trash clutters the streets and, despite the prosperity, many national retailers such as Barnes & Noble still shun the area.

The abandoned hulk of the RKO Keiths and the empty Caldor building are symbolic of the area's shortcomings.

Although the concept has been kicked around for decades, City Hall is now showing strong interest in creating BID in downtown Flushing. Hopefully the business owners will see the advantages of creating a BID. Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) claims this is "a cohesive community" and he is hopeful that the BID will be welcome. He has the support of virtually every local politician and the Flushing Chinese Business Association, Community Board 7 and the Flushing Chamber of Commerce.

Downtown Flushing was an economic miracle fueled by the investments of Asian immigrants. But that miracle has stalled. Something is desperately needed to take Flushing to the next level. In this case, that something just might be a Business Improvement District.

Editorial: A bad rap

We were surprised as reader Frank Skala to see Bayside High School described a "School of Fear" and "High School Hell" in the New York Post. The tabloid reported that Bayside ranked number 10 in serious felonies.

What a crock! Anyone who believes that Bayside High School is one of the most dangerous high schools in the city needs his or her head examined. Apparently, as Skala points out, the reporters at the Post cannot distinguish violent and nonviolent felonies. The felonies at Bayside involved burglary and, according to Skala who once served as the PTA president, six of the 10 reported incident were the work of one person.

In its reckless report, the Post has done serious damage to the reputation of a fine school. We wonder if the Manhattan-centric Post editors even know about the outstanding music and sports programs at Bayside High School.

Like any high school in the city - including the most prestigious private schools - Bayside High School has had its problems with fights and violence. But to suggest that this school is a "high school hell" does a tremendous disservice to the students, teachers and administrators of this school.

The editors of the NY Post owe Bayside High School an apology.

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