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Bringing Home the Bacon

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We confess we are not comfortable with the concept of member items, even when they are used to benefit local programs. Each year, City Council members give out millions of dollars in grants to nonprofits in their home districts. The taxpayer funds are doled out according to a political formula that has nothing to do with the needs of the district but everything to do with political power.

This is at best a flawed system but no politician has been able to eliminate member items and, it appears, no one wants to.

That said, we tip our hat to the Council members representing southeast Queens for their selections of truly worthwhile causes and the amount of funding they were able to distribute.

Councilman Leroy Comrie, the deputy majority leader, listed 144 member items worth more than a million dollars. His fellow southeast Queens members on the Council, Ruben Wills and James Sanders, also handed out more than a million dollars. Wills gave $28,500 to the nonprofit group Young Leaders Inc. to help fund after-school activities.

The member items are good for the local causes and good for the Council member doling out the money. And, as far as we can see, the organizations selected are all worthy. Still, we hope that someday a more equitable way can be found to distribute tax dollars.

Road Rage

We doubt there are many drivers in Queens who, at one time or another, have not shouted a curse or flipped the bird to an inconsiderate motorist. Things can turn ugly fast, but in most cases the cars soon go their separate ways and the anger subsides.

Road rage is part of city living. Sadly, a tragic incident that took place in Kew Gardens last week shows just how dangerous road rage can become. In a few moments an argument turned into a senseless murder.

The incident began in the early evening when two Kew Gardens brothers got into an argument when a motorist could not get past their double-parked SUV. The brothers pulled their car out of the way and it appeared the incident was over. Moments later, the driver pulled out a gun and shot both brothers, killing one.

This senseless killing has no place in a borough where the car is vital to everyday life.

Updated 11:59 am, October 12, 2011
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