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To the editor,

Before any tolls are added to the East River bridges I want to see something that is decades overdue. Give us the ability to drive anywhere in the city within a reasonable amount of time. This is 2015 New York and when I travel in and out of the city to provide on-site services, I am now down to an average of 7.67 mph from 9726 Third Avenue to 154 W. 14th Street, a distance of only 8.25 miles that has yet to take less than an hour.

The city makes changes in the name of safety on the roads and highways before figuring out how to keep traffic flowing. It has attempted to fix traffic congestion. As a professional driver I can point out many things that are needed to get us going. As a Bay Ridge resident and business owner here is what I see is our neighborhoods problem:

I need to head downtown and into the city for most of my work. They have taken Fourth Avenue away from us as a thoroughfare. I used to be able to get downtown during the morning rush in 11 minutes. Now it takes more than 30 minutes. So you force us onto the Gowanus Expressway (which it is not). It has a major flaw that has never been fixed. Even beyond the rush hour the Gowanus is always backed up to Bay Ridge for two reasons — the one-way Verrazano toll and the limit of two lanes from the Gowanus into the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. And this happens again at the Brooklyn Bridge, with just two lanes. A permanent traffic backup exists.

The city should put together a panel of drivers to advise them on the problems we see and what we think are the possible solutions. We need traffic to flow for so many reasons beside business. Emergency vehicles, saving people time and fuel costs, getting the asthma cases down in children who live along the Gowanus, as well as keeping the cost of delivery of all the goods we consume or wear or use. We need flow and safety. When is someone going to make both a priority?Greg Ahl

Bay Ridge

Barnes dance

To the editor,

I almost fainted when I read that the “Barnes dance” will be coming back to Brighton Beach and Coney Island avenues (Feb. 27).

I also would expect it to return to Neptune Avenue and W. Fifth Street, since both communities have a large population of senior citizens. Finally the local government listened to the residents of Brighton Beach compared to the previous Department of Transportation which turned a deaf ear to our concerns. I applaud our mayor for making this great effort attempting to save the lives of the people of the city.

To anyone not familiar with this let me explain what is does. All the green lights give walkers the opportunity to cross diagonally on all four corners of the street where all the lights turn green. The way it is now we have 20 seconds to cross before cars are able to make their turns. Most of the time the cars will give you the right of way, but some drivers will overtake a car just to get past people in the crosswalks.

I hope all other city agencies will listen to the concerns of their residents and not do anything blindly, such as the previous mayor whose “my way or the highway” ideology was so out of touch with the rest of the city.Jerry SattlerBrighton Beach

Ariz. groaner

To the editor,

Living part time in Arizona I always enjoy reading your newspaper. It really keeps me up to date on Brooklyn happenings.

However being a former English teacher I have to mention that in I noticed to [sic] word errors in a recent issue.

In Stanley Gershbein’s “It’s Only My Opinion” column the Pew Research Center tells us that 40 percent of all newly weds [sic] are at the “alter” for a second time. This of course is “altar” not “alter.”

Similarly in the “Big Screecher Column” Carmine Santa Maria is introduced to “principal” not “principle” Jimmy Filatro. Spell check can only go so far. I would share this tip: the “school principal” is always your “pal.” That stops the confusion between the two words.

On another note, I understand that “It’s Only My Opinion” is just that — an opinion — but I would like to know where Mr. Gershbein got the “facts” that President Obama spent $120,000 of taxpayer money to train, I assume, the family dog and is flying barbers from Chicago to cut his hair or chefs from St. Louis for kid’s pizza night. I love that Michelle Obama has an over-sized staff. Compared to whom? Nancy Reagan and her staff, including her in-house psychic advisor. Just how big is Mrs. Obama’s staff? All the other paragraphs in this column have references to the source of the information, but not this paragraph. As they said so well on the TV show, Dragnet: “Just the facts.” I would add “just the facts with their documented sources.”

Carolyn Gayles

Tucson, A.Z.

Silver stained

To the editor,

The federal indictment of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, should come as no surprise to anyone in Albany. Speaker Silver rules the State Assembly with the iron hand of a Don Corleone. Like the Godfather Silver has all the politicians (members of the Democratic Assembly caucus) in his pocket, keeping him in power.

The majority of his loyal flock supplement their base pay of $79,000 per year with lulus for chairing dozens of useless committees and subcommittees. These are up to $41,500. This can result in a salary of $121,000 per year. This is supplemented by day-to-day meal expense accounts and reimbursement for travel to and from Albany.

He controls whose bills come out of committee to a full vote, funding for member item pork barrel projects, staffing, mailings, and district office budgets. Speaker Silver also controls the Democratic State Assembly campaign committee which provides funding to the handful of members who actually have to run competitive races despite gerrymandered districts against Republican opponents. No wonder he was just re elected speaker by a near unanimous vote, including the 44 Republican members who live off of the crumbs that fall off the table. Who is going to bite the hand that feeds them?

This year would have marked the 22nd anniversary of Silver’s reign as speaker. Many wonder how he has lasted so long, given all the scandals committed by many former members of the Democratic State Assembly caucus over his tenure. Don’t forget the ongoing controversy about Silver earning between $650,000 to $700,000 per year from the personal-injury law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg. Now there is another investigation into Silver by federal authorities concerning payments to Silver from Jay Arthur Goldberg, a tax lawyer. Silver also works for Goldberg and Iryami, which manages property tax challenges. Silver has found the time in his schedule to work for these employers up to six days per week. He doesn’t work on Saturdays to observe the Sabbath. Evidently transparency in state government does not apply to disclosure of Silver’s outside employment hours and clients.

With five people replacing Silver in the proverbial room, the state will now be run by seven rather than three. Perhaps they should rent a suite at the Albany Hilton. Real reform to the cesspool of corruption in Albany will only come when all 150 members are in the room as equals free to speak their minds without fear of retribution from the Assembly speaker.Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

Credit gas-bags

To the editor,

I went to a gas station expecting to use my VISA card to fill up my tank. Imagine my horror when I was told that by my using VISA to pay for the gasoline, the price would be 13 cents more per gallon! Yes, $3.45 cash per gallon versus $3.57 VISA per gallon.

I always knew VISA to be 10 cents more per gallon, but now it’s 13 cents more per gallon if one uses a credit card. Aaarrrgh.A. Smith

Mill Basin

Freedom blighters

To the editor,

From now on Hollywood should run new movie scripts by all rogue nations and terrorists before wasting millions of dollars on movies they won’t be able to show because one of them doesn’t like it.

This should also apply to book writers and publishers, and other artists and teachers. This isn’t the first time I’ve been ashamed of my country since Obama became president, but it is the first time I ever felt so angry because we are losing a constitutional right — freedom of expression — that our men and woman in uniform fought and died for.Cronin Miller


Cell hell

To the editor,

Public school teachers have enough to put up with disruptions as is, now we’re allowing cell phones in school. Recalcitrant, defiant students will never surrender their phones to teachers. In fact, they will look to provoke the teacher and then have one of their classmates snap a picture of a teacher attempting to take a phone away by making it appear that the teacher was assaulting the student.

Students will use such phones to text other students in and out of the classroom. Whether it’s the police or teachers, we have a problem of a clear refusal by people to accept authority. These new rules are coming from a mayor and chancellor who are trying to end suspensions for unruly students to begin with. Instead of attempting to enforce discipline in our schools, those in charge are making an already bad situation even worse.

It is also shocking that the unions agree with lifting the ban. Perhaps, if they were made to teach classes they would see what teachers have to put up with during a course of the school day.Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Terrorist scum

To the editor,

It is a crying shame to see that Sony entertainment knuckled under to the demands of terrorist scum. Their cowardice has again empowered low-lifes to threaten our people and land, and possibly carry out another 9-11 attack. Each time Americans cower under threats we sink faster and faster into a shivering, sniveling, third-world power.

I say that the people of America, its leaders, military, and corporations come to terms of how great this country really is, grow a big pair, then stand up and launch a large scale 9-11 attack of our own. It’s time to silence and ignore the spineless, politically correct jellyfish that control our once-proud government, and put our full answer to terrorism where our military is.

The world is being taken over by threats from North Korean slime, Taliban cretins, and other religious and governmental dictatorships. The longer we and the remaining democracies let things slide, the more terrible the inevitable war between them and us will become.Robert W. Lobenstein

Marine Park


To the editor,

What really bothers me when I hear my neighbors in Brighton Beach and Coney Island complain about the lack of adequate police protection: Gee, the only time there are more police presence is during the summer, and mostly in Coney Island.

So the bottom line is other precincts lose officers because they are on detail elsewhere. Under Mayor Bloomberg he decided to cut the starting pay for police rookies, so why would anyone think of becoming a police officer

Where are the auxiliary cops that once were a presence in Brighton Beach? What happened to the uniformed officers I’d see on a daily basis walking up and down Brighton Beach Avenue? I’m aware that the 60th Precinct has undercover cops, but seeing uniformed cops would be a greater deterrent to any potential crime.

I’ve have been going to the community council meetings month after month, and the constant concerns from the resident about shootings seems similar to Chicago. To quote Councilman Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island), the police force needs to keep pace with the city’s population growth,

Many years ago Chicago had high-rise projects where crime was rampant. People did not know who their neighbors were, and shootings became a way of life. What the smart politicians finally did was to take down the projects and replace them with small townhouses. Then people began taking pride in their neighborhood and got to know their neighbors. Jerry Sattler

Brighton Beach

Toll-light robbery

To the editor,

The article on the toll of the Verrazano Bridge was more telling than you know (“Bridging the gap: MTA wants to raise Verrazano tolls to balance budget,” Nov. 20). So there are 180,000 vehicles crossing the bridge daily with a daily revenue of $936,000, according to a transit spokesman. If you take half of the 180,000 and they pay $10 for EZ-Pass and have the other 90,000 vehicles ride free, that would still bring in a revenue of $1,800,000. Realistically, where is all the money collected in tolls really going?Joe Donato

Park Slope

Problem students

To the editor,

It has often been said that teachers and the police know the city best. Both have been under the gun by either the Bloomberg or DeBlasio administrations. What’s the liberal answer for unsatisfactory schools? More teacher training. What’s the liberal answer to alleged abuses by police? More police training.

Let’s stop the nonsense and put the blame squarely where it deserves to be put. Our schools are failing because of the students who get away with everything and as a result feel that they can continue their disruptive ways as adults. Hence they meet confrontations with the police and soon learn that with the police you don’t play.

Let’s examine the school records of all those accused of crimes, and who did not follow police instructions not to resist.. We would find unsatisfactory behavioral records in schools. As students, they caused such mayhem that the teacher probably got blamed for not being able to “control” them and therefore received unsatisfactory ratings. Let’s end this cycle of stupidity and concentrate on the students who are disruptive in school. When nothing is done, they will invariably become emboldened criminals as adults, fully eager to challenge authority. There is a complete lack of respect for authority figures. That’s when our problems begin.Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

War heroes

To the editor,

When I read that soldier Brent Grommet’s German shepherd was taken from him when they returned from war, it made me very sad and as mad as hell. This young soldier and his dog, Matty, were together from the beginning at basic training to deployment in Afghanistan. Both were injured by a roadside bomb.

Specialist Grommet suffered traumatic brain injury, hearing loss, chronic pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder. This soldier who fought for his country, sustained serious injuries, and was almost killed only wants his partner and best friend back with him. This is not only a very small price to ask for, but it is also the law. Robby’s Law passed in 1990 and was signed by Bill Clinton.

This hero was told by higher-ups not to speak to the media about Matty the dog or he would wind up in Leavenworth. Talk about loyalty. These two want to be together again and deserve to be. Didn’t the government already do enough to disrespect and harm our veterans with the Veterans Administration scandal? I’m not holding my breath for the return of the dog to his best friend, after we saw the way the U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi was held in a Mexican prison for more than 200 days, but I sure will be praying that Specialist Grommet and Matty are reunited. I would hate to think some bigwig took the dog home to his family and won’t give it back or worse. This is the very least we could do for one of our hero’s who was willing to put his life on the line for us.

I think those monsters being held in Gitmo are being treated better than we treat our own veterans. Our president authorized the release of five monsters for the return of one army deserter. Mr. President can’t you authorize the release of one dog for a hero?Rosie Boxer

Rockaway, N.Y.


To the editor,

I saw in the paper that so many children were absent more than 10 percent of the time during the last school year. This doesn’t take into account the students who are marked present and then proceed to cut classes and cause mayhem during the day.

My favorite was when parents would come to school and inform me and other teachers that they were going on vacation for 10 days to two weeks and demand that we give them the work in advance so that their child wouldn’t fall behind. This is absolutely ridiculous. If the child was not there when the work was being taught, the best the teacher could do was to give them pages to read and questions to answer from the texts. The supervisory staff should have stepped up to the plate to remind the parent that school was in session and that these vacation days were totally illegal. This was never done because principals fear parents.

Years ago if a child was absent excessively, the child was not promoted. This would never occur today, as supervisors look to get rid of children who are chronic discipline problems and whose absences are a relief both for them and the teacher.Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Dems the breaks

To the editor,

Yes, it’s super important to be informed and to have opinions but a constant, repetitive drone of negativity, cynicism, anger, and fear accomplishes nothing. It’s far too easy to be critical of others. It’s much more difficult to devise something positive and or good, or to invest the time and effort necessary to become actively involved in local or larger issues and programs in place, or to spend some time trying to offer up something positive: an idea, a movement, or even something already in place that might spark change for the better.

C’mon, two wrongs do not make a right. Just because the other (red) side does it does not mean “we” should too. “We” lost the 2014 midterm elections because the right messages weren’t getting put out and what was being said did not engage the voters enough to get them to actually vote. Maybe it’s time to try other tactics?Barry Brothers


Blott Stringer

To the editor,

Comptroller Scott Stringer is a spoiled child having a temper tantrum. Perhaps he needs a time out. Who knew that taxpayers are paying for members of the NYPD Intelligence Division to serve as his personal security detail. Stringer recently fired four of New York’s Finest from this security detail because they were late in picking him up from his expensive Manhattan home one morning. Is anyone aware that Stringer is the target of any terrorist groups which would merit this level of protection? I seriously doubt that al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Islamic State or any other terrorists are even aware of his existence.

Municipal employees could never get away with the same abuses. They could not use city vehicles during work hours to chauffeur spouses around town. At a minimum, they would have to reimburse the city for the costs of all these personal trips. The Department of Investigations needs to take a look at this serious potential waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayers dollars.

Let Stringer assign one of his several hundred staff members to serve as his personal chauffeur. Better yet he could set an example and follow Manhattan Councilman Dan Garodnick’s bill requiring employers with 20 or more workers to sign up for transit checks. Stringer could do likewise and give up both his free parking space at City Hall and his special police parking permit. He can use his transit check to purchase MetroCards. This will afford Stringer the opportunity to join several million constituents who use public transportation on a daily basis and also contribute to a cleaner environment. Stringer talks about being a friend of the 99 percent, yet he prefers the perks of a one percenter.Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.


To the editor,

There was a time long ago when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s etiquette campaign to bring back good manners — “It’s A Subway Car, Not A Dining Car” and “Stop the Spread Please Its a Space Issue” — was not necessary. In the 1960s it was common to find both penny gum and soda machines dispensing products at 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.

Today riders have to deal with conductors who close the doors while crossing the platform attempting 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 aggressive panhandlers, people eating as if at home or in a restaurant, those hogging two seats, yawning, coughing or sneezing without covering and the release of flatulence. Women are periodically accosted by gropers while perverts engage in other unhealthy sexual activities.Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

Helping hand

To the editor,

I remember when you could get a Kit Kat chocolate bar for 50 cents. In my Brooklyn neighborhood there are places you can get one for a dollar, but a few nights ago, with a certain hunger in my stomach I walked past a certain drug store and when I handed the clerk my Kit Kat bar I was reminded that the last time I was in there I was surprised that it cost $1.51. It seemed outrageously high, but like I said I was hungry, so I said to the clerk, “It’s $1.51, isn’t it?” She smiled while scanning it and said, “Yes.”

I said, “If I had travelled through time from 30 years ago and was told $1.51, I would be stunned.” She smiled and took my two dollar bills and handed me 49 cents in change. I walked outside the store and thoroughly enjoyed the eating experience of the four long, thin pieces of chocolate that make up the bar. So to the point and so sweet. Now, somewhat less hungry I made my way up the avenue. looking forward to my arrival home to have a full dinner. Maybe because I still had a growling in my stomach I stopped in my tracks when I saw a bedraggled-looking man who seemed to be homeless leaning against a building with a sign in front of him with a cup out. I reached into my pocket and thought if I didn’t have any change I didn’t want to give him a whole dollar. Then I remembered the 49 cents change from the outrageously overpriced Kit Kat bar. I dug deeper into my pocket and even though I could feel no change I knew it was in there and I kept digging until I found that one quarter that was in there. When I located it I pulled it out and walked over to the man and before I even dropped the quarter into his cup he looked at me with appreciative eyes and said, “Thank you so much.”

I heard the coin hit the other coins in the cup and I wished him well. He smiled and then I noticed what his sign said: “Thank you for any kindness.” So to the point and so sweet. I resumed my walk home and about a minute later it hit me — the Kit Kat bar had not been outrageously overpriced. It had been the right price, for it enabled me to have that quarter change to give to that man. It reminded me that whatever hunger I have in my stomach there are people much hungrier, and when we can, it’s good for us to lend a helping hand.

Alan Magill


Martial schools

To the editor,

I was about to come up for tenure when Hugh Carey defeated Malcolm Wilson to become governor of New York in 1974. The United Federation of Teachers wholeheartedly supported Carey. No sooner was he governor than tenure was changed to five years, and therefore myself and others had to wait two additional years to achieve this job protection.

At the time the union urged membership to donate to vote for the Committee on Public Education to get the tenure back to three years.

Gov. Cuomo is falling into the same trap as Gov. Carey did. It doesn’t matter how many years of teaching is required as long as the system allows us to work under the same abysmal conditions. City classrooms have the largest classroom registers and consequently disruptive children in them. No matter what is tried nothing will work until we attempt to resolve the problems of class size and children who refuse to behave themselves in school. It is ridiculous that people who never spent one day in the classroom as a teacher attempt to make rules that classroom teachers have to work under.

When it comes to class sizes, the union pointed out years ago that it had established an expedited grievance procedure in dealing with large classrooms. What expedited procedure? I’ve been retired now for nearly 14 years and the problem persists. Similarly the problem of disruptive children is ignored because no one wants to touch the issue. It is much easier to blame the teacher for the behavior of children who either will not or are unable to control themselves in classrooms. The 600-schools for problem children were done away with years ago, and now the mayor and chancellor are talking about eliminating suspensions for the unruly. The mayor and other critics of teachers desperately need to get back into a classroom and see what goes on during the course of a day.

Stop with the liberal nonsense of total child, alternate assessments, and other jokes, and institute military discipline in those schools requiring it. Any teacher cannot teach without discipline — Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina knows that.

Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

TV ‘drivel’

To the editor,

It was sad to see that the only “free,” 24-hour, over-the-air news station, CBS-TV digital channel 2.2 has ended. In its place is another mindless series of old TV shows from the 1950s and 1960s.

Since the inception of digital television almost a decade ago many stations have added many sub-channels, which are nothing more than bastions for old movies, vintage television series that no one watched even when they were new, and other “fluff” to fill in the hours.

CBS-TV gave viewers not wanting to be shackled to cable or satellite TV a much-needed flow of news, information, traffic and weather reports. Now due to greed, yes greed, it is gone. It seems as though they will make much more from advertising revenues ending the news and replacing it with garbage.

I guess that the 80 some odd channels of Spanish language sitcoms, Chinese docudramas, Indian comedies, and the usual network drivel will push me, and thousands of other New Yorkers, back to the radio and Internet for news from now on.

Robert W. Lobenstein

Marine Park

Pataki’s DOA

To the editor,

One, two, three strikes you’re out! At the annual Conservative Political Action Conference presidential pool of Republican Party primary activists former Republican Gov. George Pataki came in dead last behind all other potential GOP 2016 presidential candidates, including undecided with 0.1 percent of the vote. Just like in 2008 and 2012 Pataki’s presidential aspirations are dead on arrival.

It is time he set his sights on something more realistic. Perhaps consider running against Sen. Charles Schumer in 2016.

Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.


To the editor,

Looks as though the veterans’ affairs chief was caught with his foot in his mouth, lying about his military service, and on camera too! It is a sad state of affairs as one by one, our leaders, our so-called impartial newsmen and the people that seek the trust of the populace are exposed. Especially when they boast of experiences they never had or college degrees they never earned, though, most have an excellent B.S. in bull!

My generation was taught not to trust anyone over 30 (I’m 63 now), and my father had a saying that pretty much covered his opinion of politicians and glad handlers: “They all lie — like a rug!” As each politician is disgraced or carted away in handcuffs, it only reinforces my opinion of these leaders. Dad was only too right.

Robert W. Lobenstein

Marine Park

Jeb Boo-sh

To the editor,

If Jeb Bush runs for president he will not get my vote. He is a job killer. Back in 1989 he outlawed “dwarf tossing” in Florida. Many little people lost their income because of this ban. It was a safe sport mostly played in bars. The dwarfs wore helmets and other protective gear and were tossed onto a mattress or against a wall of velcro. They made a pretty good living until then-Gov. Bush stopped it. Who is he to decide what people do for a living?

Nick Finer

Hallandale, Fla.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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