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For years the Parks Department has extended a courtesy that permitted dog owners to let their dogs run unleashed in city parks from 9 p.m. at night until 9 a.m. in the morning. It was a policy that appeared to be working well, striking a balance between the thousands of dog owners in Queens and other park users. That was until last week when a homeowners association in Bayside asked Queens Borough Parks Commissioner Richard Murphy to ban the unleashed dogs and their owners.
Led by their president, Blanche Felton, the members of the John Golden Park Block Association said they didn't want dogs to run unleashed in John Golden Park at any time. The group claimed the dogs were making the park dangerous for joggers, walkers and other everyday users. Felton said the poop left behind by the unleashed dogs created a health hazard for children using the ball fields. (If memory serves us right, this same block association also opposed the ball fields.)
In an effort to be accommodating, Murphy suggested creating a fenced-in dog run in the park. He noted that there are only two dog runs to serve the entire borough. But that didnt satisfy Felton, who said, Once you encourage people to come in, it could get out of hand completely. We have had people that have been attacked.
Enough already. If people have been attacked by dogs leashed or unleashed the owners should be held accountable. If dog owners are not cleaning up after their dogs, they should be ticketed.
But it would be unfair to punish all dog owners for the sins of a few. They have as much right to enjoy this park as Ms. Felton. For many Queens residents, playing fetch and watching their dog run free is one of the simple pleasures of life. They mean no harm and neither do their four-legged friends. Many Queens residents dont have a fenced-in yard, if they have a yard at all. There arent enough dog runs and there wont be enough in the foreseeable future.
Felton and her association are barking up the wrong tree. The current policy addresses everyones needs and shouldnt be tampered with.
Editorial: Power play
Although we recognize the need to build additional power plants, we think Borough President Helen Marshall is correct in questioning the building of a new plant in Rockaway that will primarily serve Nassau and Suffolk counties. Marshall has questioned how much of the power generated by the Jamaica Bay Peaking Facility will actually benefit Queens residents.
Critics say most of the power generated by the 54-megawatt plan will be used in Long Island. And all of the pollution created by the plant will be a problem for Queens. A spokesman for LIPA said we dont have years we needed electricity yesterday.
We dont doubt that this is the truth. But the question remains: Why build a plan in Queens that is intended to serve Long Island? And if it is too late to put the brakes on this project, it is not too late to demand that LIPA and the state put into place a plan that will address the environmental damage that comes with the territory with even the most environmentally friendly plant.
©2003 Community Newspaper Group
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