Federal funds needed for parks

Brooklyn Daily
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

To the editor,

Coney Island Beautification Project is a community membership organization with the mission of beautification through organizing, advocacy, education, greening, and resiliency of our public spaces and waterways. We recognize that our community shares a mutual concern and appreciation for the waterfront spaces surrounding our neighborhood. Coney Island is just one of many waterfront communities along the Atlantic Flyway and when Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, it exposed how many of our neighbors are facing the same reality — frequent flooding, coastal storms and land erosion.

Along with our neighbors to the east, Coney Island and National Park Service at Jamaica Bay, Gateway National Recreation Area are making significant strides to rebuild with the future in mind. We aim to prioritize green infrastructure where possible and capitalize on opportunities for outreach and education at places like the New York Aquarium, Prospect Park Zoo, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, Jacob Riis Park and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

Unfortunately, Gateway NRA and all of our country’s national parks face more than $12 billion in needed repairs and general maintenance. Without adequate federal budgets, the National Park Service at Gateway National Recreation Area does not have the resources it needs to protect the park and local communities like Coney Island from the next coastal flood.

The park system’s deferred maintenance backlog includes unmaintained trails, crumbling roads, and shorelines, visitor centers and historic buildings in desperate need of updating. No park is immune to this problem. Gateway alone has more than $621 million in repair needs, while the Statue of Liberty has more than $160 million.

These are major New York landmarks that contribute to Coney Island’s local economy, and while rangers and other park staff do the best they can to tackle these repairs, our national parks face these challenges in large part because Congress has not made them a funding priority.

Our work to rebuild post-Sandy is enormous and we cannot do it alone. We urge Congressman Jeffries, Sen. Schumer and Sen. Gillibrand to work with the Coney Island community and the rest of Congress to make funding our national parks a priority again. We have sent similar appeal for support to our individual federal representatives.Pamela Pettyjohn

Coney Island

In need of ‘Care’

To the editor,

I have lived in Bay Ridge for close to 15 years, and know that people of all ages have found a comfortable home here. As per the American Community Survey of 2015 (, we have close to 10,600 residents ages 65 or older, making up 15 percent of the population. Fifteen percent of residents age 65 or older, or about 1600 seniors, live below the 2015 federal poverty level in our neighborhood, with incomes of less than $11,770 per year. These are people who live in your building, whom you see in your place of worship, or in the supermarket. They are your close friends, or members of your family.

Many, if not all of them rely on Medicaid and Medicare to remain independent, and to pay for their health care and medicine. All seniors, regardless of income, also count on Medicare as their primary or secondary insurance.

Both Medicare and Medicaid are under assault in the new bill before the House of Representatives, which will become the American Health Care Act (a.k.a. Trump-Ryan Care), if it is approved by Congress and signed into law. I am concerned that our Representative, Dan Donovan, has not forcefully opposed this bill.

The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) added a 0.9 percent tax on the very wealthy, which extended the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by 11 years. This new bill would remove that tax and put Medicare in financial jeopardy once again. It would also open the door to turning Medicare into a voucher-based system which would place a financial burden on a population that relies on a fixed and limited income just to get by.

It would also financially cripple Medicaid, changing its mission from a program that ensures that every single senior, disabled, or poor person in need receives needed care, to a program that divides up a fixed amount of money regardless of whether there is enough for everyone in need. It would be a cruel decimation of a system set up to protect the most vulnerable among us.

Seniors and the disabled rely on Medicaid to provide services which enable them to remain independent and live in their own homes. The passage of this new bill would increase our collective health care costs by leading to the institutio­nalization of millions of people who currently live independently.

For older adults (ages 50 to 64), who buy insurance on the private market, insurance companies will now be able to charge them five times as much as younger people. The new bill totally disregards how much one makes, and only provides a flat tax credit based on age. As per the AARP, a 64-year-old making $15,000 a year would have to pay an absurd $8,400 extra in premiums per year!

We don’t want our older citizens to have to choose between food and rent, and health insurance. This is immoral, and it’s unnecessary. There are ways to fix the Affordable Care Act without shifting the burden to the older, the vulnerable and the poor.

The VA and Medicaid pay negotiated prices for medicine, but Congress barred Medicare from doing so. How about using the vast negotiating power of Medicare to bargain down the insanely high cost of medicine? This is but one example of a solution that reduces costs without taxing seniors and the poor.

As someone gainfully employed, I am more than willing to pay my fair share in taxes to ensure that those who have worked their whole lives can live out their retirement in peace and security. After all, I will be in the same boat one day too!

I urge Rep. Donovan to forcefully oppose any bill which would adversely impact the most vulnerable in our neighborhood. I ask him to put forth and support a solution that does not take from seniors, the disabled and the poor, to give to the wealthiest.

We need Rep. Donovan’s leadership to craft an honest solution that works to strengthen the ACA, Medicare and Medicaid. These programs already work, and benefit seniors, the disabled and working families in our community.Jay Sheth

Bay Ridge

Riding dangerously

To the editor,

There has been an alarming increase in the number of “motor-assisted bicycles” and other similar motorized vehicles on our streets, heightening the potential of people getting hurt in our neighborhoods.

These modes of transportation are mainly used to make local deliveries for restaurants. However, especially during the summer months, they are also driven by young people as a source of recreation. Bear in mind that human-powered bicycles can operate, at most, at only about 10 mph. In contrast, these new machines have small, newly developed, high-energy batteries that operate electric motors that are capable of dangerous speeds exceeding 25 mph. “Motor-assisted bicycles” are highly maneuverable, almost silent and they seem to pop out of nowhere. Given the kinetic energy created by the mass of one of these motorized vehicles and its driver traveling at a high velocity, the consequences of someone being hit are quite serious, especially for an elderly person or a child. (The laws of physics state that doubling the speed of a given mass quadruples the kinetic energy of that object.).

Upon doing a search of the official New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website and calling the agency to confirm my findings, I was shocked to learn that all these motorized bicycles are not allowed, by New York state law, to operate on public streets! According to the DMV, these devices are classified as motor vehicles but do not have the correct equipment or design to qualify for registration! Moreover, they are operating on our streets with neither insurance nor are they being operated by licensed drivers.

Therefore, why do we allow “motor-assisted bicycles” and other similar motorized vehicles on our streets? Even if they behave in accordance with all traffic laws and do not drive on sidewalks and do not go through red lights, their mere presence is totally illegal! They are a safety menace to the public! Shouldn’t the police enforce the law and do what is necessary to remove these types of vehicles from our streets? Enough of this unsafe behavior! Deliveries can be made with regular bicycles and young people can pedal manual bicycles for their fun!

Anthony Colorafi


Avoid an Epi-demic

Hi, my name is Joe Dai and I live in Bergen Beach. I’m heavily involved with the community in my area so I subscribe to a daily news feed and skim the articles for community news. I just wanted to send you a note of thanks for bringing some light to the EpiPen “hostage crisis” (“Not For Nuthin’”, Joanna DelBuono, Courier LIfe March 10) . My daughter has severe nut allergies and your article hit the nail on the head for our family. We went this past week to renew her prescription for the EpiPen and it was actually $700 in cost, and her insurance would not cover it. My wife is a New York City teacher so she has (had) good benefits, but until we fought with the insurance company and Walgreen’s intervened we found out that insurance would no longer cover the main brand, as a generic was available.

As this is a life-and-death item which is much different than a self-induced drug overdose I feel that everyone should have Epi available to them. Especially being our understanding is that the government (our tax dollars) funded the program to develop the drug to save lives.

The other issue is my daughter’s school required 2 EpiPens, as they always want a backup if one fails. This means we need two prescriptions, and if you’re not covered it will require a $1,400 payment for the EpiPen brand.

I just wanted to send a note of thanks for bringing some media attention to this crisis. Unfortunately most of the media likes to sympathize and glorify those who put themselves into a self-induced drug overdose. When was the last time you saw the media talk about a child eating in a restaurant and there being cross-contaminated food and the parents have to stab the child with the EpiPen? Or even worse, the parents not even aware their child was allergic to something they were eating and having to get rushed to the hospital not knowing if they would live … and it was caused by something that they did not do to themselves?

Joe Dai

Bergen Beach

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: