Sound Off to the Editor

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To the editor,

Having read Lenore Skenazy, while I found her new column refreshing, I cannot agree with her in every instance (“Why has 16 become the new 6?” Rhymes With Crazy, April 19), although she is the source of enlightenment in these troubled times.

I agree Lenore was correct in letting her 9-year-old son travel by subway alone; I did the same at 10 years old. However at a time when both children and adults are being hit by cars, due to inadequate lighting, lack of school guards or police to patrol the area, parental supervision is necessary.

The main priority at this time should be trying to make the city safe. Unfortunately, recent mayors have made reducing hit-and-run accidents a low priority, until Mayor Bill DeBlasio took office. Student marshals supervising other students, for which these students will get service credits, may not be such a fine idea, as some students dislike other students, and principals may take the word of a marshal over a student’s, even if the charges are trumped up.

I believe contraception should be provided by the school administrator, since many students live with just one parent, due to divorce or a parent serving in the army. I believe on open school week the children should be present, since some teachers will trump up charges against defenseless students, just because the principal will want to make his or her job easier and avoid a possible grievance by a teacher.

Lenore is absolutely correct that over-coddling is a monstrous absurdity, when 18-year-olds are old enough to enlist in the military and vote. The drinking age should be lowered. Groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving were responsible for having the drinking age raised from 18 to 21 because there were more accidents on the road, but this is not the only cause, especially with poor lighting or guards to supervise the given area. One school guard told me that a city official had told him that a light was unnecessary at his corner, endangering children and adults. Overall Lenore Skenazy is off to a good start.Elliott Abosh

Brighton Beach

Dissing Dan

To the editor,

I find disgraceful the comments made by Jessica Proud, spokesperson for the Campaign of Dan Donovan, the Republican candidate to replace Michael Grimm, who pleaded guilty to one felony count and was forced to resign his seat (“PAC man! Donovan gobbles up checks from political action committees,” online April 27).

The debate was sponsored by Bay Ridge Council on Aging’s Bay Ridge Chapter and held at the Fort Hamilton Senior Center. This organization is nonpartisan since it’s part of AARP. Ms. Proud stated that we “have now entered the silly season of a desperate campaign” (referencing the Vincent Gentile campaign) but the one that I, and others, believe is the candidate acting “silly and desperate” is Mr. Donovan. Ms. Proud stated that the debate was actually a “donor’s event.”

Funny, but I have attended many debates hosted by the Bay Ridge Council on Aging and I’ve never been asked for a donation. The only person I find to be “desperate” is Dan Donovan, since he doesn’t even know what the issues are (he didn’t even know what the federal minimum wage was and this should have been known by all candidates).

Mr. Donovan expects to win based on the fact that he’s the Republican candidate who lives on Staten Island, but Dan Donovan should remember that what’s “silly” is the total disrespect he’s showing all the voters in Congressional District 11, since we’re the ones who will be casting our ballots on May 5 and believe me, Dan Donovan’s no-show at this and several other debates changed a lot of voters’ opinion of him, as he showed a total lack of respect for them.

Rosalie Caliendo


Party bloopers

To the editor,

Although I don’t live in Sheepshead Bay, I was very disturbed by your article, “Party Poopers on Poop Deck” (online March 13). I think that having drunken revels on boats in Sheepshead Bay is a very bad idea, but, what really frightens me is David Pares’ idea of having security guards escort drunken, rowdy party-goers off the boats to their cars. How are they supposed to drive?

I think if they must have parties, they should have a row of cabs waiting to take the party-goers home, or would the powers that be rather have the drunken revelers kill each other off while trying to drive home?

Elaine Kirsch


Trump stink

To the editor,

I find that if people just looked up about the removal of the pollutants from Trump Village Shopping Center (Pungent pollutants under planned Trump tower,” online Feb. 17) they will see that there is a controversy over opening this can of worms.

When you open the area you release very large amounts of pollution at once. This is not acceptable in populated areas. If our representatives did a little research to protect their constituents they will find many more papers critical of this Department of Environmental Protection practice.Alan Hirsch

Trump Village


To the editor,

In my humble opinion, the proper response to the Holocaust is a strong vibrant State of Israel.Alan Levitt


Problem students

To the editor,

I totally agree with voicer Ed Greenspan about the discipline in the public schools. It is always the teacher’s fault. That is why the schools are not succeeding. If the blame is to be properly placed it should be at the discipline of the children.

When it is, then everyone starts screaming it is not the children’s fault. The children who are the disrupters are not punished.

Why? Because children yell abuse when being punished, and parents threaten legal action if the school tries to punish the child. The easy way out is blame the teacher.

Charter schools avoid the problem by discharging the children. As a result the children go to public schools. This cycle continues when these same children grew up to become adults. Instead of blaming the teachers the police are blamed. They get the blame when these disruptors as adults break the law and try to resist arrest.

This must stop, now. Let’s start to discipline these disruptors. Let teachers teach, so that children can learn.Norman Sorensen

Dyker Heights

Born in the USA

To the editor,

It is a shame that the liberal media is headlining the fact that newly announced Republican presidential candidate, Ted Cruz, was born outside of the U.S. to American parents. As far as I can tell the Constitution and all laws binding our nation together, states that being born of American parents, be it in Mexico or Mars, makes children natural-born American citizens!

I wonder where these media types were when our present president, of questionable origin, was anointed. Oh, sorry about that, he is a Democrat and he gets a free pass.

Robert W. Lobenstein

Marine Park

Swan song

To the editor,

The mute swans of Sheepshead Bay are the most gentle and harmless of creatures.

They are silent, don’t fly, don’t venture onto city sidewalks or streets, and seem to get along with the other birds of the Bay.

But the inhumane, heartless, and brutal Department of Environmental Conservation is intent on exterminating them, probably to enhance commercial development in the area. Where are the so-called animal protectors, including Mayor DeBlasio and People for Ethical Treatment of Animals? Why are they so silent and absent on this issue?

My personal solution would be to move all the swans to the Marine Park Nature Preserve which has the space to take on all the swans, but other suggestions would surely be welcome.Henry Finkelstein

Sheepshead Bay

Prez debates

To the editor,

Though I believe that it is way too soon, there naturally is much scuttlebutt and substantive talk about the presidential election (do we really need 19 months of this?) instead of conversation and effort toward solution of problems we are all facing today.

From my old days in the advertising-design game I learned all about “creation by committee,” that is, by collaborative effort.

I have no clue who the ultimate Democratic Party candidate will be, and frankly, I have no clue whom I would like it to be; it’s way too early in the game, and there are far too many significant issues that need to be described and resolved in theory or via stated platform by the potential candidates.

I am not in huge favor of a presumptive, coronation tour by possible candidate Hillary Clinton. It seems shortsighted and unproductive and rather boring; pretty much solely based on her resume and not on formative ideas on how to drive our country forward?

I would much rather see and hear Hillary Clinton debate the multitude of issues with other possible candidates, such as Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, Al Gore, and Brian Schweitzer to name a few that I researched and may or may not be truly potential candidates, but who could easily make the conversations about the issues far more substantive and diverse in terms of rhetoric and honest ideas toward solution. I’ve seen a longer interview here or there with Hillary really speaking through her thoughts, her ideas and she’s got what it takes when she does that, but she needs to be put in a position or place where she is forced to speak like a candidate, eliciting well-conceived points as she is well capable of doing.

I omitted Elizabeth Warren solely because she has made it clear very often that she is and will not be a candidate in 2016, but she must be part of the bigger conversations and searching for viable solutions that represent the needs of the 99 percent.

Education is key. No wonder the ruling class wants to make it more and more expensive to gain a healthy, open-minded education, and then others want to severely control what is being taught.

An effective argument and fight against the red party need to succeed in informing the voting public. To teach them the difference between facts and fabricated or purposeful lies, and to make them see, hear, and feel the reality of how they are voting against their greatest interests, when they vote based on bigotry instead of voting based on real issues, real facts and real solutions.

Barry Brothers



To the editor,

Mayor DeBlasio had better watch and learn how not to follow the methods of Baltimore’s mayor and police. The mayor tied the hands of her own police force by ordering them to give the illegal protestors their space to be violent and destroy sections of their own neighborhoods! Something that she now denies, but the media has on tape and is repeating her charges all over the networks. Good!

It is absurd to see how she gave license to these skells to loot and burn downtown Baltimore and put members of her own police force in harm’s way, as evidenced by the more than 15 severe police injuries reported.

Race relations all over this country are dipping to pre-1960s’ lows, as sadly whites see the death and destruction carried out by professional agitators setting back all the good that was done in previous decades. Someone’s house has to be put back in order and quite literally, it is not the government nor police, it’s members of the black community that bear this responsibility.

Robert W. Lobenstein

Marine Park

Heave-ho, Steve

To the editor,

It seems that the devilish bargain that we first heard mention of some months ago, orchestrated by Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Sheesphead Bay) with the Parks Department has come to fruition. His beloved Oceana supporters and donors get their bathroom moved, and the Boardwalk is condemned and sacrificed to the Parks Department’s will, using funds provided by him.

Acting as a lapdog for the residents whose support he relies on while throwing the rest of us to the four winds will in the long run accrue to his detriment. It can only last for so long that a politician can act in such a calculatingly self-interested and dishonest manner before enough people get fed up and get organized to see that he is thrown out of office when the next election cycle comes around.

From the conversations I’ve heard recently, and those I’ve had with many of my friends and neighbors, the level of anger and displeasure being expressed indicates that time is quickly coming.

Cindy Chalet

Brighton Beach


To the editor,

I am deeply disappointed by the actions, or lack thereof, of local Assemblymen Alec Brook-Krasny and Steven Cymbrowitz. They ought to explain to the residents they represent why they have not offered any support toward Councilman Mark Treyger’s effort to have the Boardwalk be granted landmark status, something it richly deserves and which would serve our community’s interests in preserving a beloved local treasure. One would think that they would partner with him and write letters, make calls, and hold joint press conferences that show a united community front to push for what the councilman has initiated. That hasn’t happened and it is incumbent upon these two representatives to explain why they have not lifted a finger in this direction. Do they not think the Boardwalk is deserving of landmark status? Do they not care enough to assist in the effort?

Instead of positive actions, they have both maintained a monk-like silence on the issue. Silence may be golden in a monastery, but vigorous positive action is what is called for from our elected representatives! Worse, they have continued their funding for the Boardwalk’s demise. Additionally, it seems they have secured a deal with the Parks Department whereby they sacrifice the Boardwalk so that some favored constituents get a bathroom moved.

These sorts of political trade-offs, where the interests of our entire community are beholden to a select few, don’t sit well and make it difficult to respect these politicians. Instead of destructive and negative actions like these, and silence and inaction where they might make a critical difference, we, their constituents, at a minimum deserve an explanation from them of their behavior as well as their selective inaction, both of which are hurting our community.

William Burg

Coney Island

Bay boom

To the editor,

In 2005 at the height of the construction boom in Sheepshead Bay, Community Board 15 had the area downzoned, so the builders could not go more than three stories. Area residents, especially people living in the bungalow communities, wanted to keep the area like a fishing village. Then came Hurricane Sandy. Now the city wants to pay to elevate these homes. To me it makes no sense to put that kind of money into these water damaged, mold infested, 100-year-old shacks. One of these shacks I also happen to own and live in by the way.

I feel the best option would be, is to change the downzoning Law back to the way it was. Let the builders come and rebuild the bay with beautiful new buildings. Those who want to stay in the bay, could buy a new condo with the money they get for their houses from the developers. These are different times. The climate change poses a major risk factor. We must use common sense over sentiment.

Andrew Feinstein

Sheepshead Bay

Security obscurity

To the editor,

I was disturbed to learn that the City Council wants to provide security agents to private and religious schools at taxpayer expense.

While the initiative is supported by an overwhelming majority of councilmembers, it is nonetheless misguided and ill-advised. It violates the historic separation of church and state which has been a hallmark of our democracy. To ensure religious freedom the government must play no role in the activities of religious institutions. Government incursion, even when welcome, opens the door to restrictions on religious belief and practice. Furthermore the true cost of the proposal is unknown. Cost estimates range form $50 million to five times that amount. I am not suggesting that cost alone should dictate government policy, but as stewards of the public purse, the City Council has a fiduciary responsibility to determine and consider the costs of its initiatives. Would any sensible person buy a home without knowing the monthly payments?

The plans sponsor, Councilman David Greenfield (D-Bensonhurst), shamelessly demagogued the issue by stating that opponents of the bill do not support children’s safety. He knows full well that no fair-minded individual opposes school safety. The question is who should pay the cost of security at private and religious schools. Clearly this is not a public obligation. It is up to families that patronize these schools to bear the full cost of their children’s education. That means administrative as well as instructional costs. After all if choose to enhance the security of my home, I pay the cost. I do not expect the government to subsidize my this personal expense. For those families unable or unwilling to pay for private schools, public education remains available.

The legislation also creates a dangerous slippery slope. Buoyed by their success, what will the bill’s proponents ask for next? Tuition tax credits? Subsidies for teacher salaries? Lunch subsidies? Where does it end?

Cost considerations aside, the proposal provides only a false sense of security. Do any its proponents seriously believe that a single school security agent armed with nothing more than a hand-held metal detector will deter or thwart attacks by terrorists with semi-automatic weapons? The plan seems to have less to do with school security and more to do with pandering to the orthodox community which is a powerful special interest.

The council needs to reconsider its support for this initiative which will compromise religious independence, will be costly, and provide little, if any, real benefit.

Arnold Kingston

Sheepshead Bay

GOP death wish

To the editor,

Apparently, the Republican Party shares the late Charles Bronson’s idea of a death wish. They have at their disposal to run on a platform of an abysmal foreign policy record of the incumbent president, and an apparent fiasco at Benghazi regarding Hillary Clinton. Instead of starting to concentrate on this, candidates Marco Rubio and Chris Christie begin to attack Medicare and Social Security, respectively.

In 1964 candidate Barry Goldwater told a group of senior citizens in July of 1964 that he wished to make Social Security a voluntary system. What boss in his or her right mind would contribute to the system if it were voluntary? Social Security would go bankrupt in no time. It was said that Goldwater lost the election on that night. Ronald Reagan knew that Social Security and Medicare are never winning issues and therefore kept quiet about them during his 1980 and 1984 campaigns.

The Republican Party shall continue to lose presidential elections until they realize that Social security and Medicare aren’t punching bag issues. May I remind the GOP that senior citizens vote in elections and you are only turning them off with your diatribe against systems that so many Americans depend upon.

Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay


To the editor,

National Pot Day on April 20 made sense. Consumption of marijuana for both medical and recreational use is part of mainstream America, transcending generations. Creative entrepreneurs will always provide the citizens’ desire, regardless of government approval.

Consumers have voted with their dollars, making marijuana consumption a multibillion-dollar enterprise today. Legalize it and add a sales tax. Revenues will more than cover the costs of any abuse. Our tax dollars will be better used if police and judges spend more time prosecuting those who commit real crimes against individuals or property than going after those who consume or distribute marijuana. Citizens have more to fear from murder, arson, rape, muggings, robberies, auto and identity theft or home break-ins than individuals who get high in the privacy of their own home. Law enforcement authorities should be free to pursue those who commit real crimes against citizens and property.

At 18, you are old enough to vote, be a parent, pay taxes, own a car, take out a bank loan, serve in the military and die for your country — but not consume marijuana. This makes no sense. What consenting adults consume, inhale, perform, read or view in the privacy of their own home or private social club isn’t the concern of government. Individual economic and civil liberties prosper best when government stays out of both the bedroom and marketplace. Let us hope that we have finally learned from the obvious failures of Prohibition. It is time to permit consenting adults to access any so-called illegal products or substances without fear from government harassment.

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

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

Bad economics

To the editor,

Is there real reason to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the New York City Economic Development Corporation? New York City prospered and successfully grew prior to creation of this group and it’s predecessor, the N.Y.C. Public Development Corporation which was created in 1966. In 1991 the N.Y.C. Public Development Corporation (P.D.C.) was merged with the N.Y.C. Financial Services Corporation (F.S.C.) to form the N.Y.C. Economic Development Corporation. In many instances projects supported by these government corporations have been heavily subsidized by taxpayers, commonly known as corporate welfare. Between direct government funding, low-interest and below-market-rate loans, and long-term tax exemptions, the bill to taxpayers in the end is greater than the so-called public benefits.

There is also a relationship between pay-for-play campaign contributions from developers to elected officials looking for favorable legislation, private-property condemnation under eminent domain, building permits, public infrastructure improvements, along with direct and hidden subsidies. In some cases city and state development corporations actually compete against each other attempting to outbid each other in offering potential investors the best deal. This translates to the highest subsidies at taxpayers’ expense.

Don’t forget the conflict of interest for senior staff from municipal regulatory and permitting agencies. Too many leave in the twilight of any mayoral administration to become employees or consultants to the same developers they previously oversaw.

Take Seth Pinsky, former executive director of the N.Y.C.E.D.C. who went on to become executive vice president of the RXR Realty. Some developers try to purchase the support of local community groups by making so-called voluntary donations. They also make promises for capital improvements, which after the major project is completed don’t always appear. Other commitments for creation of permanent new jobs and tax revenues frequently do not meet expectations. If these projects are worthwhile, why can’t major developers use their own funds or obtain loans from banks, like medium and small businesses?

Real business people who believe in capitalism build their companies on their own. How sad that some don’t want to do it the old fashioned way by sweat and hard work. They are looking for shortcuts in the form of huge subsidies at taxpayers expense and favors from elected officials.

Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

Made in Brooklyn

To the editor,

There are myriad ways to view Manhattan’s skyscrapers, including from the 102nd floor top deck of the Empire State Building.

Alternatively you can cross the Brooklyn Bridge and take advantage of the emerging building boom in Downtown to purchase a new apartment with a view of the East River, and coincidentally the Manhattan skyline.

Recent Brooklyn activity reports say that construction is experiencing such an upturn that the next few years of building will far exceed the total of the past decade. Approximately 6,000 new housing units were built since the area was rezoned in 2004, but more than double that number are in the pipeline now.

The surge will generate economic opportunity, since at present approximately $6.5 billion in primarily new residential or mixed-use projects are either planned or moving through the system. About 20 percent of the new units will be condos, with a significant percentage set aside for affordable housing. But as in all investments, buyers should beware.

Profit margins shrink when land prices and construction costs escalate, possibly leading to shortcuts. Workmanship might suffer. While the overall number of complaints is not excessive at the moment, some development professionals are voicing concerns that as the building boom takes hold there could be far more complaints down the road.

Less than two million square feet of new office space has been created since 2004, but the vacancy rate is less than four percent, leaving little room for new kids on the block. However, there are suggestions that municipal incentives could be created for developers, convincing them to devote some of their plans to new business space.

Overall there is far more growing in Brooklyn these days than just trees. The borough has become a destination, which makes it a prime area for investment, so long as investors keep their eyes open and proceed with appropriate caution.

Mark Seruya


The writer is a vice president at Morgan Stanley.

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 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.

Cop cop-out

To the editor:

Is excessive force the new norm? The police go through an extensive period of training in hand-to-hand combat, use of a nightstick, pepper spray, and Taser guns. The purpose of this training is to keep the cops safe, have his orders obeyed and in the event of a physical altercation, for the other person to survive and face justice. Killing a person should be the last resort and then, only on the rarest of occasions.

This is not the case: excessive force is the new norm. This allows cops to use excessive force with impunity. Whether this occurs out of malice or fear is irrelevant, the result is the same — dead civilians, and cops who go on as if nothing happened.

As a first-year college student at Bard’s BPI campus, a victim of the criminal justice system, and a man who has studied and practiced law for the past 16 years, I am well aware of how our criminal justice system works, or rather does not work. In my own case, the district attorney and every witness testified that I used a .38 caliber revolver. At the age of 17 that was used to indict and convict me. According the medical examiner and an NYPD ballistics report the victim was shot with a 9mm gun. Guilt, innocence, and evidence are irrelevant, the district attorney will trump all else.

Cops, who are not given consequences for killing civilians, sends a message that cops can kill with impunity. No race of people is safe, as cops kill more white people than any other race. It has been reported that cops have killed everyone from kids to old ladies. None of these cops are locked-up. This encourages a cop versus civilian atmosphere. A civilian has no way of discerning a good cop from a bad cop, a killer cop from one who will not kill them or someone around them. People have video footage of some of the deadly incidents and have seen the footage explained away as inaccurate. This leaves people in danger at the hands of the police, prosecutors, and judiciary. Accountability for cops is not on the horizon.

A civilian that kills a cop is put in jail, generally with no bail, or bail that should be called a ransom. They will remain in jail for years facing either a death or life sentence, before the case is adjudicated. Their conviction is almost certain. In contrast, a cop who kills a civilian, in the extraordinarily rare instance they are charged and indicted for the person’s death, will remain free on bail for years. They will usually not be facing a death or life sentence. Once the case is resolved, which statistically results in an acquittal, or a conviction of some lesser included offense, but not the murder they will go about life with no more than a slap on the wrist. This reinforces the notion that cops are beyond the law, and their lives are more valuable than civilians are.

Michael Kirshtein

The writer is an inmate 96A7220 at Eastern Correctional Facility, Naponoch, N.Y.

Tunnel vision

To the editor,

Your story “Tunnel Aversion” (March 26) concerning the proposed Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel which might connect New Jersey to Brooklyn and Queens is under consideration again. In theory, it might move thousands of trucks on a daily basis off the roads and on to railroad tracks for significant portions of the journey between New Jersey and Long Island. It reminds me of the long-forgotten proposed tunnel between 69th Street in Bay Ridge and St. George on Staten Island. The concept was to extend subway service from Brooklyn to Staten Island. Ground was broken with entrances at both ends in the 1920s, but the project quickly ran out of money and was abandoned to history. When living on Shore Road in Bay Ridge, friends and I would look to no avail in attempting to find the abandoned site filled in decades earlier. Flash forward almost 90 years later and we have the proposed “Cross Harbor” rail freight tunnel project.

Construction of any new freight, public transportation tunnel or bridge project can take years if not decades by the time all feasibility studies, environmental reviews, planning, design, engineering, real estate acquisition, permits, procurements, construction, budgeting, identifying, and securing funding is completed. This is before the project reaches beneficial use. Construction for the 2nd Avenue subway began in the 1960s. Bond money intended for this project in the 1950s was spent elsewhere. The latest completion date for the first segment of three stations between 63rd and 96th streets on the upper east side of Manhattan is 2016 at a cost of $4.5 billion. Construction for the original tunnel to support bringing the Long Island Rail Road from Queens into Grand Central Station began in the 1960s. The latest completion date is now 2023 with a cost of $10 billion. No one can identify the source for the estimated $16 billion to build a new tunnel for New Jersey Transit and Amtrak known as the “Gateway project” to gain additional access to Penn Station from New Jersey. Ditto for paying back the $3 billion federal loan which covered a majority of the estimated $4 billion for replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge in Westchester. Any guess who will find $5 to $10 billion or more needed for construction of a new Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel? This may be just another in the continuing series of feasibility studies sponsored by various governmental agencies and public officials over decades. They generate some money for consultants, along with free publicity, for elected officials who promise a bright future, but all to often move on to another public office before delivering. You are frequently left holding an empty bag with unfilled promises. At the end of the day just like the long abandoned Brooklyn to Staten Island subway project, don’t count on seeing any shovel in the ground before the end of this decade. Don’t count on completion of any Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel in our lifetime.

Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

No ‘Ted’ fan

To the editor,

A short while ago a friend sent me an email that included the following Susan B. Anthony quote: “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.” and out from my fingers came this:

At the behest of a friend I watched the short speech Ted Cruz gave the other day in announcing his candidacy for the 2016 Presidential election. Ugh, it was not easy to make it through.

Ted Cruz, an anti-establishment candidate, is extremely biased in his views and hopes for the country; what he expressed is not inclusive of the many. The mere fact that he chose to announce at a strictly Christian university speaks to his affirmed bias that negates the inclusion of far too many citizens.

Constitutionalists like Ted Cruz are extremely focused on the issue of “freedom.” They feel that government and freedom are not great bedfellows and that many governmental decisions impinge upon freedoms. The other side of the coin is that there are many who believe that without governmental oversight, absolute freedom allows those in positions of power to retard access and progress of those who are less “wealthy” or to harm the environment without care, or responsibility should harm be done. Often time they feel that those who are strict constitutionalists interpret aspects of it to their own beliefs which negates those of others. They use the correct wording that “every child, every citizen,” but their conservative backgrounds and leanings negate the needs and beliefs of far too many citizens. The whole concept and usage of the “G” word in itself offends many citizens.

Their concept of “liberty” and “freedom” is limited, and far from inclusive of everyone. They use their fundamental religious and constitutional rhetoric to disguise their disdain for the poor and needy, for people who are not like them.

I was just informed that after bashing the Affordable Care Act relentlessly, that he was “forced” to see medical insurance via Imagine this bigoted nincompoop is not re-elected in Texas? Can hardly imagine that after seeing the reception and responses Cruz got from the born again audience at Liberty University. The cheering they offered up each time Cruz mentioned things like lessening accessing to food stamps or health care for the poor, or putting up electrified fences around the country’s borders, or mentions the guns issues around the Second Amendment. Imagine how aghast I was at this creep using the “imagine” image of John Lennon as the theme for his announcement.

What I can imagine is this jerk disappearing into the vile woodwork of his inner demons, getting himself and his minions to secede from the republic to turn back their clocks to any century they want, leaving me and my ilk far, far away and free from their hell. I’m quite sure that other can easily continue this “rant” by pointing out many examples of the great hypocrisy that exists between the rhetoric they spew and the decisions they try to enact on behalf of the citizens they represent while in Washington, D.C. Come all future elections, city, state and federal, if the preponderance of voters choose to stay home again, instead of voting with a clear and thoughtful mind and heart, they’ll get exactly what they deserve, and I’ll have to move somewhere, far away.

Barry Brothers


Bklyn then and now

To the editor,

Did you know that the first game to be played at the Brooklyn Dodgers Ebbets Field was an inter-league exhibition game against the New York Yankees on April 5, 1913? Ebbets Field officially opened on April 9, 1913 against the Philadelphia Phillies. The original Brooklyn Dodgers name was derived from residents who would dodge trolley cars when crossing streets for decades, until their own decline and final death in the 1950’s. If it had not been for mega builder Robert Moses, along with both the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers leaving the Big Apple in 1957 for California, there may have been no Barclays Center or Brooklyn Nets.

The golden era of baseball in the city took place in the 1950s with a three-way rivalry between the American League New York Yankees, and the National League New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers. All three teams claimed to have the best center fielder in baseball. On street corners all over town, citizens would argue whether the Yankees’ Mickey Mantle, Giants’ Willie Mays or Dodgers’ Duke Snider was champ.

Ordinary Brooklyn natives could ride the bus, trolley or subway to Ebbets Field to see their beloved Dodgers. Working and middle class men and woman of all ages, classes and races co-mingled in the stands. Everyone could afford a bleacher, general admission, reserve or box seat. Hot dogs, beer, other refreshments and souvenirs were reasonably priced.

Team owners would raise or reduce a players salary based on their performance the past season. Salaries were so low, that virtually all Dodger players worked at another job off season. Most Dodger players were actually neighbors who lived and worked in various communities in the County of Kings.

Residents of the era sat outside on the neighborhood stoop, shopped at the local butcher, baker, fruit, and vegetable stand. Television was a relatively new technology and the local movie theater was still king for entertainment. Brooklyn still had its very own daily newspaper — the Brooklyn Eagle — which ended publication some time in the mid-1950s.

During the 1950s, Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley tried to find various locations for construction of a new baseball stadium which he pledged to finance using his own monies. With limited seating capacity at Ebbets Field, he needed a new modern stadium to remain financially viable. City master mega-builder Robert Moses refused to allow him access to the current-day Barclays Center build on Atlantic Yards. This location was easily accessible to thousands of baseball fans from all around the Big Apple via numerous subway lines and Long Island Rail Road.

Thousands of fans who moved to other neighborhoods in eastern Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk County would have had direct access via the LIRR. Imagine how different Brooklyn would have been if elected officials had stood up to Robert Moses and allowed construction of a new Dodgers stadium in downtown Brooklyn. Without the departure of both the Brooklyn Dodgers (becoming the Los Angeles Dodgers) and New York Giants (San Francisco Giants), there may have been no national league expansion in 1962. There would have been no Colt 45s (original name of the Houston Astros), our beloved New York Mets, or the Barclays Center hosting the Brooklyn Nets basketball team.

Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

Lesson 101

To the editor,

In reality, it doesn’t matter how long tenure is. Even tenured teachers can be fired. Principals just don’t want to go through the paper work in the process. If a principal doesn’t like you, you will be assigned the most difficult classes and therefore with unsatisfactory results and the lack of discipline in these classes, you shall be terminated.

When Spiro Agnew resigned from the vice presidency in Oct. 1973, Nixon tapped New York’s Gov. Nelson Rockefeller to be vice president. Lt. Governor Malcolm Wilson became governor and ran against Hugh Carey in the 1974 election. Carey won and thanked the teacher’s union for its support by going along with the legislature and increasing teacher tenure to five years. I vividly remember this because myself and others had to wait an additional two years to be tenured.

While this was occurring, Unity Caucus, which has run the union for more than 50 years, strongly recommended that we give money to the Committee on Political Education in order to get the tenure reduced to three years again. Had we stayed with Gov. Wilson, we wouldn’t have encountered this mess. Increasing tenure will only cause novice teachers to leave in droves.

No one wants to admit that unruly pupils are the causes of the ills of the public school system. You could make 10 years a requirement for tenure and you shall encounter the same problems. Start allowing discipline back in the schools and you would see those teachers being rated ineffective improve rapidly.

Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Scott String-along

To the editor,

City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s report that New Yorkers spend more time traveling to work than those who commute in other cities told us nothing new. This has been previously documented in numerous other taxpayer-funded studies and newspaper articles.

Older generations moved to two fare zones in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island in search of more affordable housing, safer neighborhoods, better air quality and better schools. They knew full well that they would be living in a two-fare (bus to subway) zone with longer commutes to and from work. Newer generations looking for the same quality of life moved to the suburbs. They had to deal with driving to a commuter railroad station, riding the railroad and transferring to the subway before arriving at work. More recent generations moved beyond the old inner suburbs to newer outer suburbs with even longer commutes.

The real questions Srtinger failed to look at is who is providing the appropriate level of funding to improve everyone’s commute and how those dollars are being spent.

For decades under numerous previous Metropolitan Transportation Authority five-year capital plans, both the city and state collectively cut billions of their own respective, financial contributions. They repeatedly had the agency refinance or borrow funds to acquire scarce capital funding formerly made up by hard cash from both City Hall and Albany. This has resulted in long term agency debt, doubling from $15 billion to more than $32 billion. More money has to be spent on debt service payments. This has resulted in billions of fewer dollars available for both operating and capital improvements for safety, state of good repair, and system expansion capital projects and programs. While Washington has consistently provided billions, it is both City Hall and Albany that have retreated from properly financing the capital program since the 1980s. How much money did Stringer bring to the city as a member of the State Assembly and Manhattan borough president? How much money has Stringer asked Mayor Bill DeBlasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and the City Council to provide in the municipal budget? Talk is cheap, but actions speak louder.

Stringer and other career politicians continue to miss how both the Department of Transportation and Metropolitan Transportation Authority manage their respective capital and operating assistance programs. Both the city and the agency combined have an active portfolio in billions of ongoing capital projects and programs. This includes almost two billion dollars of yearly assistance from Washington. These dollars are supplemented by billions more from various discretionary federal funding sources, including post 9-11 aid, American Recovery Reinvestment Act, and Hurricane Sandy funding.

Stringer’s staff time would have been better spent auditing both the city and the agency, along with their respective sub recipients and operating agencies, to see how prudent they have been in managing all those billions of dollars from Uncle Sam and Albany.

Stringer could give up both his fee parking space at City Hall and his special police parking permit. He can use his transit check to purchase MetroCards. Why not ask his wife to do the same? 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.

Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.


To the editor,

I left my Brooklyn apartment around 10 p.m. to do shopping at the corner supermarket. Pushing my shopping cart out the door I suddenly broke out into song. I do this sometimes to give me a boost, keep me awake. As I turned down the avenue to walk the long half block to the store, I was giving myself a Beatles concert. But I wasn’t singing loud because that’s what you do when you’re crazy and out in public. I was crooning at a moderate decibel level, enjoying my own company, when I heard footsteps behind me coming closer. I immediately decreased the volume of my singing to low, as it embarrasses me to sing out loud in public in front of perfect strangers. Then I saw her. A woman half my age walking for a moment or two right beside me. Hers were the footsteps I had heard. Then she bolted out to the avenue. Immediately I was concerned that she thought I was nuts or a scary figure on that dark isolated stretch of sidewalk and she needed her distance from me. But it was so dangerous out there on the avenue with traffic zipping by, and tenuous footing and she was dressed in black. I hoped beyond hope that she was only going out on that avenue to get to her parked car. But for the next 50 feet as she walked parallel to me I saw that it was no car that she was looking for. As I wished for her safety I almost called out to her, “Lady, come back! I’m not crazy!” But to say that I might have only confirmed her original concern about me. So I said nothing and a short time later arrived at the supermarket and saw that she was shopping there. When she made eye contact with me I was glad that she did not run out of the store screaming. For her sake and for mine, as if you cause that kind of reaction even a few times you could develop a complex. Now, weeks removed from this episode, and in a much calmer state, I am happy to note that she got through this whole experience safely. Who knows? Maybe there was a logical reason to why she bolted out into that avenue that had nothing to do with my mental status. Maybe she didn’t like the Beatles.

Alan Magill


Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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