Keeping the Home Front Safe

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A call for involved fathers and making the streets safer Memorial Day is officially over and June 16th is Father's Day, and neither must be one day of remembering in a year of forgetting. Yup, we say that about most holidays, but as a wise man, Samuel Johnson, discovered, "We often need as much to be reminded as informed." And we remind ourselves of important things time and again, because, regrettably, our often out-of-the-box "information" is just not being remembered. Nothing is more important than being a good father. Infinitely more must be said about why too many fathers, especially the young ones, don't want to parent. More must be sung about it too. I remind you of that too little known country ballad, "Happy Birthday to a Little Girl" which premiered last year by the New Amsterdam Boys and Girls Choir based in East Harlem. It's about an absentee daddy (prodigal daddy?) who longs to get back into the life of his now six year-old daughter. Now, if only more fathers would pick up on that song and the need for family love songs and stories in general, make good fathering a top value, and there'd be fewer intractable, tragic and very costly social problems to overcome. Which, of course, relates to keeping the home front peace and how we need to be informed and reminded of Tom Allon's impassioned concern for this most basic need found in his "No Safe Bets in Mayoral Race" essay published in this paper's May 30th edition. Allon is a devoted daddy, and as this paper's former publisher and a native New Yorker, really knows the city's history and remembers how as a teenager he was twice mugged in broad daylight. Although no longer a mayoral candidate, he couldn't be more concerned that we've "heard little from the present field of leading Democrat contenders that offer comfort that New York will continue to be the safest city in America, in the post Bloomberg-Kelly era." All elected officials need reminding that government's first duty is to protect public safety. It's surely the mayor's first job, says Allon, who worries that the next one may rescind some measures that have made New York so safe. And this is a relevant sidebar for countless New Yorkers, especially elder ones, who feel threatened by the mayor's infatuation with bicycling without enforcing the laws governing two-wheeled operation. It has made even prudent walking more stressful and sometimes outright dangerous and may be a factor in the city's high fatal heart attack rate, even for tourists. And the Bike-Share program in a high density city with great public transit brings more private wheels to streets and likely walkways, and more novice riders. The racks are an eyesore and sometimes block access to buildings; recently ambulance personnel had to detour to pick up a patient. What about fire trucks? This safe traffic/public transit advocate believes just because other cities have Bike-Share, doesn't mean it's good for Manhattan, the nation's walkingest urban center, one blessed with superb public transit, which, remember, is by far the safest wheel travel mode. Bringing more private, non-emergency wheels, into this already high density borough, is not in the general public's best interest. But, again Tom Allon's informed concern that we not let the criminally-minded take back the city, needs to get - and stay - out there. Remind the candidates and media. Big time! Remembering your father and mine with very much love.

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