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Local leaders, residents must fight to solve social, economic problems

As we resolve to meet the opportunities and challenges of a new year, we renew our resolution to learn from past failures and commit to the improvement of our neighborhoods, cities and state. Many of you have set goals for 2009 and we, as community advocates and leaders, will join you in ensuring that we succeed in getting what we have always fought for: a better quality of life and solutions to our community’s problems.

We must continue to fight for our collective interests; protect our children, working families and seniors; fight for better education, public safety, wages, jobs and healthcare; be more responsive to our friends in need; and be better stewards of our environment and neighborhoods.

With the many lows — the plummeting real estate market, increased cost of living and prescription drugs, high foreclosure rate, high unemployment rate, financial bailouts and collapse of financial institutions — it is hard not to acknowledge that 2008 was perhaps the most dreadful year for most of us. Families and small businesses in our local communities are hurting big time.

Added to that, we must now endure the pangs of despair in the face of a state budget crisis, and despite personal sacrifices, indecision as to which party will lead the state Senate after decades of dysfunction. When I stepped aside and endorsed and supported now−state Sen. Joe Addabbo (D−Howard Beach) for the Senate to avoid a divisive and expensive primary, I wanted our families to get the better life owed us on account of our delivery of this linchpin seat to secure the majority to Democrats after decades in the wilderness. We hope that mandate is fulfilled.

With the pending increases in property taxes, Metropolitan Transportation Authority fares, tuition and utility costs and the introduction of new taxes, such as music and obesity taxes, and budget cuts in healthcare, schools and the police and fire departments, New Yorkers are urged to keep the faith and fight and pray for a brighter and better 2009.

We deserve better from our government and demand more.

Albert Baldeo

Ozone Park

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