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To the editor,

Thank you to all who participated in the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association’s annual Thanksgiving food drive by donating food and money. We collected 24 frozen turkeys, Key Food gift cards, and 1,000 cans and packages of food for distribution to needy families in Brooklyn. The beneficiary was the long-established food pantry at Our Lady of Refuge Church at Ocean and Foster avenues.

Special thanks to the businesses who hosted the collection boxes: Michael’s Bakery, JoMart Chocolates, Pronto Pizza, Tom’s Cleaners, T&D Bakery, G&S Pork Store, Avenue U Fish Market, and Roosevelt Savings Bank. Key Food on Gerritsen Avenue allowed us to set up a very successful food collection table. Ed Jaworski

The author is president of the Madison-Marine-Homecrest-Civic Association.

‘Negative’ Jo

To the editor,

Racism does exist, Joanna DelBuono (“Black and white issues have Jo seeing red,” Not for Nuthin’, Nov. 6). You for that matter sound like most whites who excuse racism, not wanting to admit that it does exist. The airline overbooked and it was reported that it has not treated whites in the same manner.

Please state the truth. I find most of your articles are very negative. I only read this paper to find out what’s going in the community. I’ll make a point to skip your article.

V. Thurston

Coney Island

F express

To the editor,

There should be an F express train in Coney Island, but it would make more sense connecting the G train with an F and going directly into Stillwell Avenue, instead of exiting at Church Avenue and having to wait for an F (“F-ast and F-urious: Coney Islanders demand return of express F train,” online Oct. 20).

I take a G to the last stop on Church Avenue and sometimes wait up to 20 minutes for an F train. It would increase the punctuality of workers if there was an F express. There is no reason why — even if making all Manhattan stops — the F express could not also go to Queens.

Elliott Abosh

Brighton Beach

Duck-n-cover

To the editor,

As children in the 1950s and early 1960s, we lived under the shadow of “the bomb.” In schools as well as workplaces, drills were held where when the siren sounded, we flew under our desks, turned away from windows, and covered our heads. “Duck and cover” was supposed to save us all, though realistically once the bomb hit nothing would save us.

After the recent Muslim terrorist attacks in both France and Africa, many European governments are establishing drills where if the alarm is sounded, people are being told to run to hide behind a substantial brick wall as protection from a suicide bomber or thugs with AK-47s. Right!

Our own feckless government is not standing up to these terrorists with force and simply posturing for good television exposure. No doubt the president will come out with a similar anti-terrorist safety plan where we will now be practicing duck and cover.Robert W. Lobenstein

Marine Park

COLA lesson

To the editor,

We are not getting a Cost of Living Adjustment Increase because the increase is determined by the consumer price index, not President Obama or Congress. There is good news. Most of us who have our Medicare premiums directly withheld from our Social Security checks will have no deduction, as our checks are determined by a hold harmless provision in the law. The bottom line is our Social Security benefits will not decrease because of an increase in Medicare premiums this time.Bertha Husband

Sheepshead Bay

White Christmas?

To the editor,

Am I the only one who does not like the white Christmas lights strung along Third Avenue in Bay Ridge? What happened to the beautiful colored lights? I do hope Bay Ridge is not becoming “politically correct,” which we know is not really correct. Though lights do not a Christmas make, colored lighted are cheerier.

Christmas is a sacred holiday for many, and it appears some want to omit it altogether. Other holidays are celebrated without changing their names, so why should Christmas? To the businesses who caved to satisfy others, shame on you. So I’ll say it to all: “Merry Christmas.”

Annette Gerage

Bay Ridge

Republi-cons

To the editor,

Republicans would like to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. If not for President Roosevelt there would not be Social Security, and if not for President Lyndon Johnson we would not have Medicare or Medicaid. So every time you hear they want to cut these programs, be scared and ask why they take it out on people who cannot afford the cuts.

When the Depression was on its last legs, what did President Roosevelt do? He established the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps, both of which created jobs that put men to work, building highways and the Hoover Dam. The Republican Party still refuses to raise taxes to pay for needed repairs, with falling bridges and highways that are now crumbling, but its presidential candidates seem to find a way to insult each other without offering solutions to our problems. Years ago both parties were able to work together, and were friendly towards one another. Today’s Republicans want to shut down the government, which would affect all of us.

Jerry Sattler

Brighton Beach

‘Useless’ agencies

To the editor,

Of all the city, state, and federal agencies, I admire the National Transportation Safety Board the most because whenever there is a major plane crash, a train derailment or a tragic highway crash, they put 100 percent into their investigation on what caused the accident.

Never once have they sugarcoated the cause of an accident. Although it may take many months of a year or two for their conclusions, they often make recommendations that in the future will save countless lives.

When has the Department of Transportation ever listened to the concerns of the residents about any changes being made? How about never. Another useless city agency is the Parks Department. When there was an outcry about putting concrete on the Boardwalk, Parks claimed it was easier to maintain and that there was no way to get rainforest wood. What they never mentioned was that the design commission stated that recycled wood from out of state could be used just as easily.

Both these city agencies are deaf to the public’s concerns, so why do we even need them?

Solomon Rafelowsky

Brighton Beach

Small-biz Saturday

To the editor,

You can support small retailers by joining me and your neighbors for Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28. Skip the national chain stores’ annual Black Friday Madness, which now starts early Thursday night. Some stores are open all day.

Thanksgiving Day should be a time to be with loved ones and family. More and more stores remind me of the Grinch, as staying open results in employees having to choose between family and work. The dishonor roll of stores open on Thanksgiving this year includes Best Buy, J.C. Penny, K-Mart, Kohl’s, Lord & Taylors, Macy’s. Michaels, Modells, Old Navy, Sears, Target, Toys-R-Us, and Walmart.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving meal with friends and family, get a good night’s sleep, and then come out and support your local business community on Saturday. Remember these people are our neighbors. They work long hours, pay taxes and provide local employment. If we don’t patronize our local community stores and restaurants to shop and eat, they don’t eat either.

Let’s also continue to support this newspaper chain and its advertisers. They provide the necessary revenues to help keep it in business. Let them know you saw their advertisement. This helps keep our neighbors employed and the local economy growing.Larry Penner

Great Neck, New York

Vigilance not vengeance

To the editor,

I am as sickened as everybody else about the devastation in Paris, but I do not agree with those of us who would close our borders to Syrian immigrants and destroy cities abroad that are now safe havens for terrorists. Destroying those cities and killing thousands of innocent people in the process would make us as evil as they are.

Innocent Muslims, refugees and their hungry, frightened children, must not suffer just because a few killers may try to sneak into the country with them. We and our allies do need to screen potential immigrants from Syria, but we also need to help them find homes, not turn them away to starve.

Rather than creating violence and revenge of our own, we need to improve our security and screening methods so that we can detect potential terrorists before they strike. I still don’t understand how a bunch of terrorists were able to get into our country in the 1990s, go to Florida, take flying lessons while being undetected for years, and in 2001 fly planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. We need vigilance, not vengeance. Vengeance always kills innocent people and spurs further violence.

As the 74th anniversary of Pearl Harbor approaches, I would like to urge us not to do what President Roosevelt did, imprisoning hundreds of loyal and innocent Japanese-American citizens in internment centers for the duration of the war, making innocent families suffer and depriving our country of the services many of these citizens would willingly have given. Let’s never again do this to any race or religion, including innocent and loyal Muslims. What we need is vigilance, not revenge.

Elaine Kirsch

Gravesend

Frankly, Jerome

To the editor,

Jerome Frank seems to think I favor the upper one percent of Americans that achieved their wealth through hard work and a drive to do better (“Income inequality,” Sound off to the Editor, Oct. 16).

Maybe in his case, his attitude and the attitude of so many people who bemoan the fact that they are not rich are self-repressing them to the lower rungs of society.

My family emigrated from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and other European states prior to 1900. Nothing was handed to them on a silver platter. They knew that to succeed in the new land, they had to learn its language and get together, getting their hands dirty, to scratch a living out of whatever they chose to do.

I pride myself, in some little way, of championing the rights of the workers, as I once was a vice president in a local union. During my tenure I learned a lot of the so-called one percent versus the 99 percenters. I saw how the different attitudes of the workers determined how far they progressed or regressed through the ranks. Those individuals with a sense of drive and determination climbed the ladder of success, ultimately leaving the ranks for management positions. Those with an attitude, a socialist-communist attitude of I-deserve-everything, were always in trouble with the boss, calling upon me and others in the union to help bail them out.

I invite Jerome to learn the true history of his favored socialist parties and understand that even with them, there was an upper one-percent-plus crust of political hacks enjoying a very good living while the people, under their tutelage, were the true working “slaves of the state.”

Capitalism ain’t perfect, but at least under its reign and our hard-fought-for-and-won American freedoms, one has a chance to stand up, excel, and achieve a higher income and attitude status.

Robert W. Lobenstein

Marine Park

Grump Village

To the editor,

Igor Oberman, the contentious former president of the Trump Village Section 4 Co-operative, is reportedly suing tenant shareholders for defamation based upon what they said through their website. Oberman had, until recently, been an unpaid board president who gave up his presidency to establish a paid position for himself as the co-op’s property manager. He replaced ousted property manager Douglas Elliman, a decision taken on his watch.

Little noticed is that Mr. Oberman and co-op attorney Dean M. Roberts, of the firm Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, have contorted clear, plain English, and unambiguous words: “bequests and bona fide gifts by shareholders to members of their immediate family are exempted from the transfer fee” by charging an illegal additional five percent transfer fee (better known as a flip tax).

This additional fee on the sale price is imposed when the apartment is first sold to a non-family member. This fee is in addition to the 20 percent first-time sales flip tax required of all non-family transfers. This could amount to $16 million taken illegally (based upon 1,000 apartments out of 1,144 originally owned apartments being sold as first-time sales at an average sale price of $320,000, at an average five percent flip tax).

The by-laws of the co-op gives their lawyers the right to defend the co-op at the co-op’s expense and to claim the co-op’s legal expenses from each plaintiff. Roberts knows that there would be no payoff for each plaintiff, as the amount of money for each injured shareholder is small, the payoff is just for his law firm. Oberman hides behind the opinion of his lawyer, even though the offering document is clear and unambiguous.

Allan D. Grody

The writer is a former shareholder of Trump Village Section 4.

On track

To the editor,

I whole-heartedly agree that express service should be restored to the F train in Brooklyn. I was able to enjoy the benefits of express service until I retired in 2003. However there was, and still is, another problem with F service, and probably with other trains going to and from Coney Island as well. Many trains terminate at Kings Highway, five stations away from the last stop, Coney Island. Passengers going further have to wait on the elevated platform in boiling hot or freezing cold weather until another train arrives.

I understand the need to avoid congestion at the Coney Island station. What I don’t understand is why they can’t get the arriving trains out of the station at the last stop as soon as they unload, either by sending them right back to Manhattan or to the train yard. I would rather wait five minutes on a heated or air-conditioned train while other trains are being cleared out of Coney Island than to be forced to leave my train and stand on a snow-covered platform shivering until another train comes in. Winter is coming! It’s time to take all trains to the last stop.

All stations are used by senior citizens and people with disabilities, at one time or another. All stations need elevators or escalators. Many stations need repair work, especially on stairways at elevated stations. Fares keep going up, but transportation services and stairways do not get any better. Many seniors who need elevators cannot use the subways in their neighborhoods. They are forced to use Access-A-Ride.

The city would save money in the long run, if it spent more on making subways accessible to seniors and other physically-challenged, would-be passengers, and would improve the service on city buses. Then fewer people would need to use Access-A-Rides.

Elaine Kirsch

Gravesend

‘Weakened’ Chuck

To the editor,

I am not surprised that according to a recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, Sen. Charles Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) most recent favorable approval rating is down to 52 percent. This represents his lowest approval ratings since May 2000.

There are two reasons for this decline: One, like the cowardly lion from the Land of Oz, Schumer came out against the proposed treaty with Iran, but with a wink and nod to President Obama refused to lobby his fellow senators in joining him to oppose the treaty. Many Jewish and non-Jewish friends of Israel are not happy with his abdication of leadership on this issue.

Two, since 1981 under Schumer’s watch as both a congressmember and senator our national debt went up by $17.4 trillion, increasing from $1 trillion in 1981 to $18.4 trillion, today. No wonder Schumer never talks about this at his standard Sunday news conferences. It is nothing to be proud of.

Besides conservatives and Republicans, many mainstream moderate Democrats and independent voters are not happy with his fiscal mismanagement of Washington. Younger voters who will have to pay off this debt are especially displeased.

Schumer faced unknown Republican challengers with no-name recognition, money or party support in 2004 (Howard Mills) and 2010 (Jay Townsend). New York Republicans now have a surprising opportunity in 2016. Given Schumer’s weakened poll numbers, perhaps a brave Republican candidate with both name recognition and the financial resources to offer a serious alternative will finally step forward to challenge him in 2016. It might make for an interesting contest as opposed to another Schumer coronation.

If New York Republicans give Schumer a free ride for the third time, he will be free to run around the nation in 2016 assisting other fellow Democrats running for the Senate. Democrats only need a net pick up of five seats to regain control of the Senate. Schumer will use his well-oiled, pay-for-play fundraising machine — he already has $20 million in the bank for his 2016 race with no announced opponent — to raise whatever it takes, be it $100 million or more, so he can become the Democratic Senate majority leader.Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

Pro-guns

To the editor,

Reader Jerome Frank stated that citizens do not have the right to own guns, except as part of the militia (“Shun guns,” Sound Off to the Editor, Nov. 13). He is 100 percent, positively, totally — wrong.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in both the Heller and MacDonald cases, affirmed that the Second Amendment is an individual right of citizens to own guns without the requirement of being a member of a “well-regulated” (well-trained) militia, which actually do still exist. To paraphrase Nancy Pelosi, “You have to read it (the Bill of Rights) before you can talk about it intelligen­tly.”

Mr. Frank said that we have police forces to protect us, and therefore people do not need to own guns. This is total nonsense. The Second Amendment is not a “Bill of Needs,” it is a “Bill of Rights.” The police cannot protect us, and they will be the first ones to tell us that the law does not require them to protect any individual (with some exceptions), only “the public” as a whole. When an armed intruder breaks into your house, you may not have time to call 911, but even if you do, what do you do to protect your family in the meantime? When every second counts, the police are mere minutes away. By the time they arrive you might already be dead. If you had a gun, you could retreat to a bedroom with your family and your gun, and be able to defend them until the police arrives.

The National Rifle Association provides gun safety training to civilian shooters, and even trains police officers in gun safety and marksmanship. There is even a gun safety program for kids, teaching them what to do if they happen to come upon a gun. The association advocates for the preservation of Second Amendment rights for all citizens, not only its members. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are well aware that pushing for more ludicrous gun control laws is a non-starter and that is the reason they shy away from it. There are about five million N.R.A. members and members of other Second Amendment advocacy groups who have never committed any crimes whatsoever and they resent being put in the same class as criminals, mental cases, and domestic abusers. Our lawmakers should focus on the right target and increase the penalties for using guns in the commission of crimes.

David F. Podesta

Marine Park

Live in peace

To the editor,

After all the human lives taken by the Islamic State, I decided I needed to see something positive that would cheer me up — like watching “Woodstock” the movie.

The 1969 concert was one of the greatest, non-violent gatherings ever and young people spent three days through heavy thunderstorms to listen to music. The original crowd was 250,000, but swelled to 500,000, making it a totally free concert. Many were against the Vietnam War and tired of learning of the killing of civilians. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

How a large group of people all coming from different backgrounds united in peace is a lesson worth reminding ourselves again.

Solomon Rafelowsky

Brighton Beach

Good ol’ days

To the editor,

Brooklyn will become the next Manhattan if more and more sky scrapers are built. Brighton Beach has out-of-scale condos in the bungalow district, but so many are vacant, as many new developments are around the borough.

Would pro-development people feel the same way if they lost their views, and morning and evening light? Often we hear that you can’t stop progress. I’m not against progress unless it’s within reason. Many people will be displaced by high rents they cannot afford, so where will they go?

Growing up in my neighborhood each block had its own pharmacy, and the owner knew you by name. Quite often you were able to get credit. Who remembers when you got sick and called your local doctor, he came with his black bag and gave you a shot of penicillin, and only charged $5?

Jerry Sattler

Brighton Beach

*****ED GREENSPAN LETTERS****

Mitt’s a hit

To the editor,

Given the current crop of Republican presidential candidates for 2016, a new “three Rs” should be in vogue — “Run, Romney, Run.” Millions of voters now realize the mistake that was made in 2012, and many will cross party lines and vote for him. Why not? Richard Nixon came back from defeat in 1960 to win the presidency in 1968.

Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Classroom trenches

To the editor,

As Warner Wolfe used to say, “Let’s Go to the Videotape,” when he would want something investigated further. Similarly let’s go to the school records of violent criminals, or better yet, do something with them in their formative years so that they don’t resort to such violence. If you opened the school records, you would see evidence of cutting class, constantly disrupting the class, roaming through the hallways, cursing, screaming, fighting, and causing all sorts of mayhem.

The city’s school system has failed these students and others by their complete refusal to deal with disruptive youth. As a result, the latter become more emboldened with each passing year, and their deviant behavior worsens until an innocent life is lost.

We keep such students in regular classes if the parent refuses to sign for special placement. As a result, chaos results as teachers desperately try to keep order with burgeoning class sizes. When are we going to face this problem head on and not keep sweeping it under the rug? This is not a racist problem. Disruptive pupils come in all races, religions and all backgrounds.

Empty out the regional and district offices and get teachers back in the classroom. We need more psychologists and psychiatrists in the schools. Less suspensions will not solve anything.

So-called staff development is a complete joke and everyone knows it. Let all the militants, ultra liberals and critics of teachers get themselves teacher licenses and get a taste of what it is like in the trenches.

Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Woe-op

To the editor,

Congratulations to Public Advocate Letitia James for naming the 10 worst landlords of the year. In all fairness, a list should be compiled of the 10 worst tenants of the year, too.

Don’t think that living in a co-op or condominium is the panacea that it is made out to be. A list of the 10 worst co-op boards should also be compiled, and I would nominate my board to head the list, even though the superintendents and maintenance people are excellent and diligent workers.

Due to the refusal of residents in the buildings to attend yearly meetings, the board is automatically elected each year. We can’t change the bylaws to rectify this situation, since changing the latter requires a quorum. As a result the board does as it pleases without fear of retribution. The buildings went co-op in 1988 and at that point, you only paid for the pool if you used it. In 2012 the board decided that everyone has to pay for it, regardless if you use it or not. I now have to pay a $132 yearly surcharge on top of my hefty maintenance monthly fee. Since all board members frolic in the pool during the summer, they decided that they shouldn’t pay more, but rather to spread the payments to all.

We haven’t had a quorum in seven years and during that period, several board members have resigned for a variety of reasons. The existing board members merely put in friends to replace them. Since the middle of October many apartments have been very cold. I have sent letters to the board president and others, and have been largely ignored. This past weekend I attempted to call the management office, but I couldn’t leave a message as the answering machine wasn’t taking any more messages. It appears that I shall have to ask the state attorney general’s office to intervene.

Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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