Sound Off to the Editor

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To the editor,

I just wanted to thank you and your staff for your efforts in getting the 63rd Precinct back in the Police Blotter.

That is always the first page I go to when your newspaper arrives in the mail.

My husband and I are senior citizens, and I am always telling him to be careful with his phone and his wallet because even in our seemingly safe neighborhood, crime does happen. Again, my thanks.Mary Whitaker-Bing

Mill Basin

Special mom

To the editor,

I am on the same page with Stanley P. Gershbein when he mentioned the cruelty of people who have little tolerance for the mentally challenged (“Stan’s angrier than Carmine!” It’s Only My Opinion, online March 10).

My beloved mother Norma Marie had a cerebral aneurysm when she was in here early 40s, leaving her with some brain impairment. Nevertheless, she continued to work, not to keep busy, but to combine her pay with my father’s, so that me and my brother could have a better life.

She was a union employee for many years, and had worked at the Federal Reserve Bank, the Veterans Administration, among her assorted jobs. She also helped her uncle, a physician who had tutored her, in caring for his patients. Yet my mother was belittled and taken advantage of by some of her neighbors because of her many disabilities.

Unfortunately, her life was taken in 2011 to a second cerebral aneurysm. She was an extraordinary mother and a wonderful person to all who knew her.Amy Kaye

Sheepshead Bay


To the editor,

I applaud Principal Maria Timo and parent coordinator Cari DiMari for hosting a science night at Bay Academy to show the importance of science in our everyday lives (“Learning by doing science,” April 4).

The school enlisted the support of outside agencies to demonstrate how science is utilized in their specific job fields.

As an educator and community education advocate in Coney Island, I’m always looking for new ways to engage students in education, especially science. Let’s talk about expanding this wonderful model for showcasing the field of science throughout the rest of District 21 schools.

Remember, while it is appropriate to introduce older students to science history and expect them to learn facts discovered by others, young children should also learn science and all other areas of study through active involvement and through first-hand, investigative experiences.

Teachers can’t give children wonderful ideas. Children need to discover or construct their own ideas. Developing new concepts or ideas is an active process and usually begins with child-centered inquiry, which focuses on asking questions relevant to the child.

Moving forward, we have to think of the big picture when we promote science and other fields of study. The important objective is to help children realize that answers about the world can be discovered through their own investigations. It’s time to bring back the wonder of discovery in education.Scott Krivitsky

The writer is a teacher at PS 188 in Coney Island.

Word war

To the editor,

I haven’t stopped laughing since I read the letter by Larry Penner (“City ‘scam,’ ” Sound Off to the Editor, April 4).

Larry has to be kidding when he states that the United Federation of Teachers is a powerful organization. Cockroaches running amok in apartment building incinerators are stronger than this agency.

It lost power after the 1975 strike and has never fully recovered. Strength? The U.F.T. has been dominated for more than 50 years by its leadership known as the Unity Caucus. They win elections in landslides because before you start counting the votes, secretaries, guidance counselors, psychologists, social workers and other non-classroom personnel vote.

They vote overwhelmingly for the caucus since they are not part of the classroom experience. Yes, they work very hard and should receive benefits as well for their service. However, they should be represented by a separate bargaining unit within the U.F.T.

Larry talks of strength. Within the last 10 years, Unity Caucus has given up the following to the city: Loss of seniority, and transfers and bumping of less senior people. The loss of the latter allowed the city to create the Absent Teacher Reserve system and as a result, thousands of teachers have been displaced and relegated to substitute status.

I have been retired from the system for nearly 13 years. When I was still teaching, the U.F.T. boasted about expediting grievances over class sizes. Fast forward to current times and you will find that class sizes are burgeoning throughout the city.

The U.F.T. keeps quiet about this. They said virtually nothing when Leadership Academy principals, many of whom have never taught a day, but have headed schools and created hostile working conditions with staff.

Discipline is a dirty word for the U.F.T. Disruptive children have more rights than children who come to school to learn. Why isn’t the union demanding the restoration of the 600-school concept for troubled youngsters? The union even kept quiet when our rookie mayor opened schools this past winter despite heavy snow.

Larry, you call these things strength? Unions are desperately needed, but the Unity Caucus should have been voted out years ago.Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Crime wave

To the editor,

I recently attended a special meeting at St. Joseph’s College on crime, auto break-ins, and theft (“Smash and nab,” March 14).

A local councilwoman and cops from the 88th Precinct spoke. Evidently, approximately 120 policemen service an area with multiple city housing developments, large apartment complexes, and public schools that is 1.5 square miles.

I have seen no uniformed patrolmen on the beat. One officer told us how a man living in the adjacent Ingersoll Housing Projects has been arrested 35 times and is a known drug addict. He will soon be re-released. Sadly, heroin again is on the rise. We seem beholden to a system unable to either keep this man in jail or better yet, rehabilitate him. It is believed he is likely responsible for nearly half of the more than 50 recent auto break-ins.

Further discussion revealed that a study on inadequate street lighting a few years ago revealed it fell way below average. Evidently, when a local college wanted to improve its lighting, the city prevented it, even though adequate light deters crime.

If I was a city policeman, I would wonder why I should bother to risk my own life to prevent crime in a system which acts as a revolving door? No one is being served. The perpetrator still has a drug problem, and the public spends more money on lawyers, judges and jails for what purpose? Where are our needed local police, on our local beat?

I finally left, after having our church burnt down in the tumultuous 1960s, our house repeatedly robbed, my grandmother mugged across the street from her home (suffering a broken hip and bed ridden till she died), as well as having two cars stolen. Our neighbor, a doctor responding to a late night call, bled to death in the street, after he was knifed in his car. No one called for help around the giant housing complex. His wife suffered a nervous breakdown and the family, like so many others, ran.

Health and safety is number one for us all. Our local public library is also shut. I see no uniformed police on a beat. I see no emergency units that you used to be able to pull, if witnessing a crime. No pay phones either. That combined with a plagued public school system makes me wonder how the city maintain its communities.Barbara Skinner

Staten Island

What the blazes?

To the editor,

I read with interest your commendable article, “Free fire alarms for seniors” (online March 24).

I called the phone number provided at the end of the article several times on behalf of my elderly, hearing-impaired mother in an effort to determine her eligibility for the cited program.

Unfortunately, the fire department officials implementing this program never bothered to answer the phone nor did they respond to multiple messages.

I sincerely hope that no senior citizen is ever adversely impacted due to their failure to be responsive to routine inquiries. Donald Kempler


Teen guns

To the editor,

I want to know where juvenile delinquents, whose parents are completely absent in their lives, are getting guns from to kill people on our city buses, street corners, grocery stores, and playgrounds?

Something needs to be done. A teen killer walked on the B15 bus a few weeks ago to hunt down a rival gang member, killing an innocent bystander, while three deranged lunatics on Staten Island lured a delivery man to his death.

The parents — if indeed the authorities or even the kid himself knows who they are — also need to be charged with murder.

Nobody is doing anything about it. Nobody.Name withheld upon request

Schmutzy subways

To the editor,

Straphangers Campaign “schmutz study” revealed the dirty state of our city subway train cars, but it wasn’t always this bad.

In the 1960s it was common to find both penny gum and soda machines dispensing products at many subway stations. Clean and safe bathrooms were readily available. It was a time when people respected authority and law.

Previous generations of riders did not litter subway stations and buses leaving behind gum, candy wrappers, paper cups, bottles and newspapers. No one would openly eat pizza, chicken or other messy foods while riding a bus or subway. Everyone paid their way and there was no fare evasion.

Fast forward to today. Commuters have to deal with conductors who close the doors while they are crossing the platform to transfer from a local to the express train. Try looking for the proper way to depose of your old newspaper, as more trash cans are removed from more stations. Riders have to deal with people panhandling, eating freely, hogging two seats, yawning, coughing or sneezing without covering up, and flatulating. Women are routinely accosted by gropers while perverts engage in other unhealthy sexual activities.

Rather than reduce the number of garbage cans, the city should consider installing separate cans for recycling newspapers, plastic and glass, along with regular garbage. Selling advertising on sides of cans could generate revenues to help cover the costs of more frequent off-peak and late night collection and disposal. If asked, the Department of Sanitation would consider doing the same on the street adjacent to subway station entrances.

There are also solutions to dealing with waiting for or riding the subway and having the “urge to go.” Until the early 1960s, most subway stations had clean, safe, working bathrooms with toilet paper. Revenues generated from a 10-cent fee helped cover the costs. Why not consider charging a fee between 25 cents and a dollar? That would generate revenues to assign a matron, along with covering security and maintenance costs. This could help provide secure, fully-equipped bathrooms at most of the 468 subway stations.

Many riders would gladly pay this small price to ensure working bathrooms, rather than face the current unpleasant alternatives, which contribute to dirty subways.Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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