Sound Off to the Editor

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To the editor,

I have been using Marine Park for most of my life, and still do today. It is beautiful, and this time of the year it is in full swing.

Little Leaguers are out there playing baseball, the basketball courts are full, tennis courts are being used, runners and skaters are out, people are walking their dogs, and cyclists are riding their bikes. The children’s playground is full of kids, cricket and soccer players are playing their games, and people are sitting on benches, chatting, thinking, and enjoying all of this activity.

Marine Park would even be better if there was more garbage pails around, if everyone picked up after their dogs and themselves, if there were a few portable potties around for the summer season, if people kept their dogs leashed, if Sunday morning softball league players wouldn’t use foul language, if people who rent those bikes that hold up to six people would stay in the correct lane and go the right way, and if we all just abided by a few simple rules to make our park a beautiful and safe place to spend quality time.

Cronin Miller


El Do-road-o

To the editor,

As a senior citizen, I know that our reflexes and vision are not as sharp as younger people’s. However, I do not think that regularly testing all drivers of any age, as Elliott Abosh suggests, would be financially or otherwise feasible or necessary (“Driver’s Ed,” Sound Off to the Editor, June 12).

I do not drive, but I have seniors friends, who are excellent drivers. However, many drivers do need to have their vision and reflexes tested regularly as they age. My late father was one of them. He insisted upon driving in his 70s, although his vision was deteriorating and he was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. He was never called in for testing by the Department of Motor Vehicles until he had an accident. It was very fortunate that nobody was hurt or killed, but he finally gave up his license. Therefore, I know that as drivers age it is important that they have regular vision and, possibly, neurological checkups, as Abosh suggests.

I have two suggestions that might help older drivers, as well as others. One, improve the service on Access-A-Ride and other means of transportation for seniors who can’t drive or no longer wish to drive. No senior who can no longer climb subway stairs should have to choose between driving himself or herself through dangerous city streets or waiting an hour or more for an Access-A-Ride that may or may not arrive at all. The city must provide adequate, and prompt, transportation for all seniors who need it.

My second suggestion is for designated parking spots for seniors who can still drive, but cannot walk 10 or 12 blocks from the nearest parking space to their senior center or their doctor’s office. My center does not have parking for miles unless you arrive at 6 am. I have friends who arrived at the center at 9 or 10 am for morning classes and had to turn around and go back home because they could not find parking. I think senior drivers should be given placards, as are the handicapped, and should have parking places reserved for them near senior centers, doctors’ offices and clinics, and shopping malls.

Senior citizens are constantly being advised to get out and keep active in order to improve our mental and physical functioning. It is the responsibility of the state and city governments to make sure that all seniors have the means of getting where they want and need to go in a safe and timely fashion.

Elaine Kirsch


Global warning

To the editor,

Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change has highlighted the message of mass destruction and extinction that environmentalists have been screaming about for years, but which often got lost in scientific language. Pope Francis made this message clear for common folk to understand.

I call on our political leaders do the right thing. This, in particular, is addressed to Gov. Cuomo. He has been committed to bailing out coal plants, despite their emissions of global warming gases. In addition, these plants poison the air that surround them, leading to lung disease and asthma. This does the opposite of what Gov. Cuomo promised to do: protect New York citizens. He can bring truth to his original oath of service by shutting down these coal plants.

I hope the Pope’s encyclical brings us better days.

Makayla Comas


Boardwalk talk

To the editor,

I run on the Boardwalk every day. I am a university professor teaching politics, not a conspiracy theorist, but you’ve got to wonder if someone is not being paid off, why would the Parks Department destroy the majestic Boardwalk?

It’s not enough that they commissioned hideous bathrooms that look like the Starship Enterprise shuttle crafts hitched onto rat mazes. Now, they want to turn our beloved Boardwalk into a concrete driveway. Where is Mayor DeBlasio? He is supposed to be the people’s mayor. Why is he letting something near and dear to beach-goers be destroyed?

Norman Finkelstein


• • •

To the editor,

How creative and generous of the Parks Department to reach out and partner with artists, furniture makers, jewelers, and most recently with the city of Milan, and provide them with our Boardwalk’s wood. Now if they could only seem to value and maintain the Boardwalk we already have here, what a blessing that would be.

However the management of our Boardwalk by the Parks Department has for many years been characterized by a lack of care for the entity itself, as well as by a lack of caring about what the people who live here think or want. There has been little to no appropriate maintenance provided, to the point that whole sections have become dangerous. The initial and major damage is due to their own heavy vehicles which they refuse to run on the beach. Any alternative suggestions are dismissed by them out of hand.

Their final solution to their vexing problem of how to have and maintain a real boardwalk, that is, one made of wood — which almost all other boardwalk communities throughout the country have not been similarly perplexed by — is to deal it a final death knell by turning it into a concrete-and-plastic nightmare. Their explanations — when they decide to provide any, since they rarely answer inquiries — are marked by half truths and disingenuousness. Their claim, for example, that no suitable alternatives to their chosen materials exist, has been shown to be false. There are black locust wood and sustainably sourced rainforest wood to name but two. Let them call around and see what other boardwalks are using rather than sending off our wood to construct a boardwalk in Milan!

They claim that they need a concrete path for emergency vehicles, when, as was pointed out in your article, no such vehicles ever go on the Boardwalk. As to their claim that concrete is more resilient in a major storm, they need to be reminded that the Boardwalk is not a storm barrier, and that whatever material is used will likely be destroyed. Let them look at the remnants of the concrete esplanade that used to extend from Brighton Beach to Manhattan Beach that was destroyed and smashed a hole in the nearby apartment building during Hurricane Sandy.

Since the Parks Department clearly lacks the will and the vision to conserve and maintain our Boardwalk, and since it treats our local community residents as pariahs, inviting them to comment on their conversion process after it is underway, let’s keep our Boardwalk and replace the Parks Department’s management of it with a Boardwalk Conservancy, since it is a city agency whose only desire and capability it seems, is to destroy it!

Cindy Chalet

Brighton Beach


To the editor,

Enough with the circus. Just save what is left of our Boardwalk.

Clare Kopel


To the editor,

The Parks Department has no problem wasting millions of dollars to move the site for the bathroom in its secret deal with our say-one-thing-do-another Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Sheepshead Bay), yet when it comes to our Boardwalk they suddenly become penny-pinching fiscal watchdogs, to the exclusion of all other important considerations. It’s as though they wish to do the cheapest and easiest thing right now, rather than what’s desirable and makes sense for everyone in the long run. Such a lack of vision is not merely a disappointment, it’s destructive. To not cherish what we have, and maintain and enhance it, is sinful.

A few years ago when one of our community members asked a Parks official what research they had conducted that convinced them that concrete and plastic were appropriate materials for a Boardwalk, that official responded, “Research, what research? We didn’t have time to do research. We had to spend the money!” How concerned then are they really about using our money wisely? I would have to conclude that their decisions seem based more on laziness and ineptness rather than any real understanding or caring about how we use the Boardwalk and what it means to the vast majority of us that live here. The sad and infuriating fact though, is that we who live here are made to suffer as the result of decisions made by these uncaring, unknowledgeable bureaucrats, all of whom live elsewhere and have shown that they don’t at all care what we think. Sending off our wood to Milan is only the latest misstep from an agency that has a long list of missteps, poor decisions, and ill treatment of our Boardwalk to its discredit.

William Burg

Coney Island

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.

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.

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.

‘Stupid’ Dems

To the editor,

Pee on the southern Brooklyn Democrats for being so stupid as to endorse the underground Republican spoiler for the Republican Party, James Inne, masking as a progressive candidate for Green Party U.S., not to be confused with the real Green Party, which would never run a candidate to take away votes needed to defeat a Republican candidate, something Green party US has no problem with.

Indeed when Al Gore ran against George Bush, Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate, got tons of money from the Bush people. Is anyone still too stupid to understand why this was done?

This is what Martin Kilian, a forming member of the German Green Party in 1979 had to say about this so-called Green Party when it ran Nadar for president during the Gore-Bush election: “The position of the American Greens is highly questionable and outright immature if you ask me,” he said during an internet interview.

It is high time progressives and Democrats see this so called Green Party for what it really is there for: to help Republicans by taking away votes from Democrats.

I challenge anyone to come up with a more intelligent answer that is not full of it from Green Party U.S. David Raisman

Bay Ridge

On track

To the editor,

Practically every Thursday evening at the end of the month I go to a Barnes and Noble open-mike poetry event at the Seventh Avenue and Sixth Street location in the northwestern part of Brooklyn.

I take an F train to and from my location from Brighton Beach taking the Q train to Stillwell Avenue and transferring to an F train getting off at the Seventh Avenue station.

On my return trip, however, I try to take an F train back to Stillwell Avenue, but I sometimes have a considerable wait, and to save time take a G train with its final stop at Church Avenue and then wait for an F line going back home to Stillwell Avenue, and again take a Q to Brighton Beach.

If the G train can’t go directly to Coney Island, wouldn’t it make more sense for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to build a direct route from either Coney Island to Rockaway station in Queens or have a super express where the first stop would be either Canal Street or Grand Street?

This might be beneficial for commuters when tracks need to be repaired as an alternative to bus service. Elliott Abosh

Brighton Beach

No-prez Pataki

To the editor,

Former New York governor George Pataki’s announcement that he is running for president in 2016 will be followed as being one of the first to drop out. No one who truly believes in limited government, balanced budgets, reduction in long-term debt and support for the free enterprise system signed up for his ill-fated 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. The same will be true in 2016, which is why Pataki will once again never get out of the starting gate.

Pataki’s lavish spending of taxpayer dollars to special interest groups to grease his 2002 re-election for his third and last term made the late liberal Republican Governor Nelson Rockefeller roll over in his grave! His record deficits, excessive spending, and late budgets give real conservative Republicans anguish. Native New York Republicans who know Pataki best, will once again deny him the ability to carry New York as a favorite son candidate.

Pataki’s self promotion is really motivated by a desire to drum up both business for his consulting firm and consideration for a cabinet or other position in any future Republican administration. Pataki wrote his own political obituary long ago. Except in his mind and personal ego, Pataki is essentially irrelevant in politics today.

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.

Judge and jury

To the editor,

I have never been so bloody frustrated by the attorney general’s and the court system in the past and now in the present. Do you remember the Savings and Loan scandal of the 1980s when the banking customers were left with the bill? I can’t remember if any of those people went to prison? Of course who could forget when Wall Street prime mortgage went down the tubes and not one person was indicted. Some big shots paid a fine that in my judgement was chump change.

Now of course the attorney general goes after the world class soccer federation. A $100 million is chump change compared to the billions lost on Wall Street.

Also I can’t believe how the courts can rule about a women’s right, not only for an abortion but for other medical procedures that can save the life of all women. Who appointed them judge, jury, and executioner?

Jerry Sattler

Brighton Beach

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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