Sound Off to the Editor

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To the editor,

Once again Shavana Abruzzo proves what an ignorant, racist, anti-American foreigner she really is (“America is the world’s garbage dump,” A Britisher’s View, June 20).

If she had a Brooklyn public school education, she would have known the quote from Emma Lazarus’s “The New Colossus” she misuses was in defense of immigration, not opposed to it. But no matter, if Abruzzo thinks that my America is a “garbage dump,” she is free to go back to England or any other country stupid enough to have her.

My parents immigrated to this great land from Europe in 1949 as refugees. I never regretted their decision. God Bless America. Happy Independence Day to all true, loyal, patriotic Americans. Abruzzo’s loyalty lies elsewhere.Henry Finkelstein

Sheepshead Bay

Opa, Bklyn!

To the editor,

It’s wonderful to hear how families came together to celebrate the Greek festival at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Bay Ridge (“A taste of Athens comes to Brooklyn,” June 13). It’s always a treat when you experience and learn about the various cultures and customs that Brooklyn has to offer.

As an educator and community education advocate in Coney Island, I’m always looking for new and creative ways to engage my students in the learning process. Sometimes, it’s important for educators to step outside of the box. At this time, let’s talk about field trips.

Field trips give students educational experiences away from their regular school environment. Popular field trip sites include zoos, nature centers, community agencies such as fire stations and hospitals, government agencies, local businesses and science museums. Field trips provide alternative educational opportunities for children, and benefit the community if they include some type of community service. Students visiting different educational facilities learn in a more hands-on and interactive manner than they do in school.

Science museums, for example, often have displays that children can touch to help them understand the material that is being covered. Zoos, nature centers, and botanical gardens show kids animal and plant life up-close, and often have areas where kids can touch displays, such as petting zoos and interactive computer programs. Learning in assorted ways can appeal to varied learning styles, helping children to succeed whether they are visual, auditory or kinetic learners. Learning is fun when you are engaged in it.Scott Krivitsky

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

Illegal apts.

To the editor,

State Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) and Rep. Michael Grimm (R–Bay Ridge) distributed a letter decrying the spread of illegal apartments in Bay Ridge, a problem that has always existed and for which solutions remain difficult.

As a career-long Brooklyn architect, I have seen from first-hand experience that the Department of Buildings does not have the manpower to vigorously enforce the building codes, leaving our community and may others vulnerable to these dangerous illegal units. However, many of the illegal apartments in our district are in the cellars of good working-class folks who build them to rent out for extra income. This issue is far more widespread than the letter lets on because it only focuses on one kind of illegal apartment. Many Grimm and Golden supporters probably have illegal units in their own cellars.

Some answers that have proven effective in reducing this problem, both here and in other cities are more affordable housing, subsidized by city, state and federal governments because it benefits everyone; expanded rent controls to prevent the city turning into a playground for the exclusive use of the rich; and controlled growth to allow the neighborhood to develop as population moves in, including “granny-flats” in rear yards and rental units above garages.

These steps would remove incentives for unscrupulous or economically hard-pressed landlords from building these illegal units in the first place, making the enforcement piece easier.

Down-zoning is a futile attempt to freeze urban growth at some random point in time by limiting the approval of new legal residential units. Meanwhile the demand for housing keeps growing unchecked. This misguided policy has only exacerbated the problem. This is a crisis we brought upon ourselves through poorly thought-out land-use policies that were enacted for the wrong reasons. Robert HuDock

Bay Ridge

Simple pleasures

To the editor,

This morning, with the threat of rain looming, I took my umbrella with me, or so I thought. I took a car service to work and when I got to my office I saw that although I was holding my briefcase, I couldn’t say the same about my umbrella.

I had a sinking feeling that I had left my rain protector in the car or at home. At lunchtime I needed to go back home and it was no surprise that the missing umbrella was nowhere to be found. Adding insult to injury, when I called car service a few minutes later, I had to take an old umbrella from the closet that I had avoided conscientiously for years for many reasons. I walked out of my building and saw the same driver from four hours ago. Hoping against hope, I asked him if he had found my umbrella. He picked up my umbrella from near his seat and handed it to me. “Is this yours?” he asked, not realizing he was intruding on the sweetness of my reunion. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that mean so much. Alan Magill


Courier to rescue

To the editor,

Does anyone remember how much a locker cost in Ravenhall?Jane Pignatelli


Editor’s note: Brooklyn Courier’s diligent staff zeroed in on your query in the comments section of late Lou Powsner’s Speaking Out column, “The Ravenhall Baths and the downfall of Coney” (Nov. 10, 2011 issue).

We conferred with our Ravenhall expert, none other than knowledgeable “Big Screecher” Carmine Santa Maria, who spent his errant youth and summers as a lifeguard patrolling the deep-end of the pool for brave swimmers who dared the depths without floaties — we knew he would stream the answer quicker than Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

The keeper of the cabanas informed us that a single room was $16, and metal lockers were $8 with a season pass. Hope that answer’s your query, Jane.

Bam’s bombs

To the editor,

Did you miss President Obama’s recent fund-raising stops at Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel and the home of actress Sarah Jessica Parker, co hosted by Vogue Magazine Editor Anna Wintour? One event was hosted by the Democratic Senate Majority political action committee which accepts “unlimited donations.” The second enabled people to rub elbows with Ms. Parker and other celebrities for $34,000.

How ironic that Obama comes to the Big Apple at a time when seven percent of New Yorkers are out of work. Is this the change we can believe in that Obama promised? This most recent visit disrupted travel for thousands of New Yorkers, but Obama continues to enjoy building up his frequent-flyer miles with dozens of political campaign fundraisers. Each trip on Air Force One costs taxpayers a fortune for logistics and Secret Service protection. We are stuck with the tab for police and traffic support.

No previous president has spent so much time away from Washington, D.C., to participate in a record number of fundraising events than Obama.

“Do as I say, not as I do” applies to Obama and Congressional Democrats. Bash the wealthy with one hand, but get the big bucks with the other hand. Those in attendance included the usual one-percent crowd along with Wall Street, lobbyists, trial lawyers, real estate developers, Hollywood celebrities, special interest groups, millionaires and the pay-for-play crowd. At those prices, the 99 percent working or middle class people were hard to come by, except in the kitchen or serving. What is that tired old refrain about the Democratic Party being the friend of the working and middle class, while those nasty greedy old Republicans are the wealthy big buck fat cats? Seems like Obama prefers hanging out with the one percent.

With all the current crises, including the spike in illegal border crossing, veterans not being treated, illegal IRS investigations, along with civil wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, one would think the president would spend more time at work. He reminds me of the famous Mad Magazine character Alfred E. Newman, who was famous for saying “What, me worry?” with a big smile on his face. Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

Capitol ‘Hill’

To the editor,

So Hillary Clinton is flying across the nation pushing the sale of her new book. During a recent TV interview she admitted that when the Clintons left the White House, the family’s finances were mismanaged and in a shambles. They were in debt, owing in excess of $12 million.

Now she is running for the highest office in the land and wants to handle “your” taxes and the American government finances. And you are voting for her to be president?Robert W. Lobenstein

Marine Park

Damn Bam

To the editor,

Sadly, our United States is unraveling; it’s being destroyed. President Obama so loves the poor, he is creating millions more.June Petrocelli

Mill Basin

True blue

To the editor,

Should the national anthem be sung before sporting events? I’m not for any over-the-top marketing or proselytizing as such, but sure. There should also be some type of mandatory civil service programs and agreement for citizens between 18 and 22, and new immigrants and citizens.

The draft is long gone, but there are many national and state programs that would be greatly beneficial. For example, the Peace Corps should continue offering services overseas, but should have programs that operate right here in the good ole U.S.A., too.Barry Brothers


Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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