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Hey, Marty Markowitz! Our readers say ‘Yer out!’

The Brooklyn Paper
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To the editor,

Aren’t we lucky that we have term limits for elected officials? That way, their overstuffed egos have only eight years to bully their constituents and screw them royally (“Yer Out,” May 26).

The only exception is Councilwoman Letitia James. Term limits should not apply to her.

Bob Ohlerking, Park Slope

• • •

To the editor,

New blood is indeed needed to keep our democracy fresh and responsive to new ideas. Unfortunately, the fresh blood we really need is on the City Council and in the Borough President’s office.

Currently these positions are held by the same old political hacks that desperately hang onto perks and power without representing the will of the majority of their constituents.

It is truly time for a change!

Natalie Burrows, Cobble Hill

From underground

To the editor,

Real managers lead by example: Mayor Bloomberg supports a cleaner environment and, lo and behold, often joins millions of his fellow New Yorkers on the subway. Why can’t City Comptroller Bill Thompson, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and Council Speaker Chris Quinn do the same?

Too many public officials enjoy having staff members drive them around town at taxpayers’ expense. All have the perks of free City Hall parking.

The Brooklyn Paper should conduct of survey of all Councilmembers and their staffs. See how many contribute to gridlock by driving to work versus those who use public transportation.

Larry Penner, Great Neck, New York

Gersh’s bagel hole

To the editor,

Gersh Kuntzman’s opinion piece (“Battle over arena…bagels!” The Brooklyn Angle, May 19) casts the opposition to Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project as bullies intimidating small-business owners.

Yes, people are frustrated about Atlantic Yards’ lack of openness, $2 billion in public subsidies, racial divisions encouraged by Ratner, and the dozens of other reasons the project is a looming disaster. And, yes, some opponents spoke with Arena Bagel’s Ravi Aggarwal. But there was never talk of an organized boycott by any of the groups fighting Bruce Ratner.

Equally strange, Kuntzman condemns Aggarwal’s decision to rename his shop as “caving in.”

We see it the way Aggarwal does — “I can’t do anything that goes against the neighborhood because I’m a neighborhood guy. These are my customers and I can’t go against them.”

We applaud Ravi Aggarwal for taking the time to listen to his customers and neighbors. It’s more than Bruce Ratner has ever done.

Kuntzman also drew an unfortunately connection between residents’ discussions with Aggarwal and our ongoing “Think Before You Drink” campaign against Steve Hindy’s Brooklyn Brewery. Our intent is to inform beer drinkers that buying Brooklyn Lager aids and abets Ratner’s skyscrapers and the destruction of Freddy’s Bar – a neighborhood institution whose early support of Brooklyn Lager has been repaid with Brooklyn Brewery’s support for a project that will lead to the bar’s destruction.

The boycott didn’t “fizzle like week-old beer,” as Kuntzman said. Ask Hindy — he’s still being asked about it by the media. Countless beer drinkers have switched brands.

It’s all a fair response to Hindy’s support of the Atlantic Yards and the Green­p­oint/Willi­amsburg rezoning — both harming their respective neighborhoods, sending rents and living costs through the roof.

Why is it unjust to target Hindy, who uses his business to promote ruinous public policy, but OK for Hindy to target Brooklyn with those policies?

The Brooklyn Paper has taken many principled stands over the last three years regarding the Atlantic Yards, from insistently challenging the fiscal gaps to reporting on Barclays’ slavery/ap­artheid/Nazi connections.

But Kuntzman’s regrettable attack on Yards opponents leaves us stunned.

Scott Turner, Prospect Heights

The writer is the producer of the Fans For Fair Play Web site.

Overrated Arabs

To the editor,

I feel compelled to write after reading Josh Cohen’s letter about Arab contributions to civilization in last week’s issue (“Without Arab contributions, we’d be in the Dark Ages,” May 26).

Arabic Islamic contributions are far less than our politically correct information and educational outlets preach.

Most technological and cultural contributions that are attributed to the rise of Islam were lifted from the declining Byzantine Empire that they conquered. Additionally, Islamic law gives “non-believers” three choices: convert, pay high “Infidel” taxes or die.

The “Infidel” tax transferred huge amounts of wealth from non-Muslim to Muslim communities annually. Funding for their development was extorted from Christians, Jews and a host of subsequently defunct, but highly tolerant, polytheist faiths.

For almost 800 years, the Muslim world has contributed virtually little but po­ly­gamy, bigotry and violence. Go to Alexandria, Egypt, and visit the minority (and heavily persecuted) Coptic Christian section, which is a bastion of culture and gentility.

And Mr. Cohen was also wrong in his aside about the navigators of Christopher Columbus’s ships; historians say that they were most probably of Jewish background (who most likely converted to Christianity), not Arab Muslims.

I might also add that the allegedly civilized “Moors,” who invaded Spain were predominantly Berbers, not Arabs.

Michael G. Leventhal, Park Slope

Updated 4:29 pm, July 9, 2018
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