Councilman Fidler: Your report is inaccurate

To the editor,

I am disappointed by the numerous inaccuracies in your article regarding the tennis court situation in Marine Park (“Players seek tennis love,” June 14).

I cannot fathom how your reporter could write that I professed ignorance about the dilapidated state of the facilities when I have in fact been attempting for the past three years to get the Parks Department to repair them. In fact, he was probably made aware of this very issue because I began talking about it publicly in connection with other parks projects that I have funded in and around Marine Park. During that time, I have been rebuffed by the Parks Department which, despite access to the mayor’s portion of the capital budget — which ranges in the billions of dollars — claims that they do not have the funds to do the needed repairs.

Since I do not accept “no” for an answer readily, I have been attempting to find other ways to repair the courts. In doing that, I note that the complaint letters that I have received — perhaps half a dozen over the past three or four years — were all from residents of other council districts, which suggest to me that the dearth of available facilities for tennis makes the maintenance of the facilities a problem not just for a single neighborhood, but for a broader area of the borough.

In doing my research, I found that parks wasn’t picking on Marine Park, that in fact almost none of the borough’s tennis courts were in a proper state of repair. As a result, I reached out to the entire Brooklyn council delegation and to Deputy Mayor Wolfson in an effort to get all of the borough’s tennis courts repaired over a three-year period, sharing the responsibility for securing the capital dollars needed to get the job done with my colleagues, and with the mayor. The results of this effort, which involves a significant amount of taxpayers’ money, may not be known for quite a while, surely not before we pass this year’s budget.

I surely doubt that your reporter spoke to “dozens” of my constituents who wrote to me on this issue without response. We take great pride in the fact that we answer every letter for every constituent that contacts the office. I am sure that over 11 and half years we may have missed one or two, but I challenge him to provide the name of a constituent who wrote and went unanswered. I am sure we will be able to produce the reply.

As to those who wonder why I would seek the help of my colleagues to share in the cost, I am proud of my ability to leverage funds for needed repairs of the parks in my district.

Just today I cut the ribbon on the new skate park in Canarsie — on the site of a former Sanitation Department dump, I might add — with Parks Commissioner Benepe. He referred to me as “The $20 Million Man,” as this represents the amount that I have brought back to refurbish our local parks during my council tenure. That includes millions for Marine Park, Seba Park, Lindower Park, Maguire Park and Canarsie Park. In fact, the total is quite a bit higher than $20 million. I am proud to be considered the councilmember who has brought more dollars home to improve his district’s parks than any other. I have been reported to be at the top of the list for bringing dollars home, according to a number of news reports and studies.

In a good year, a council member is not likely to secure more than $5-$6 million for all of his district’s capital needs: parks, schools, road improvements, etc.

To sink $3.75 million into one project would likely deprive the other parks in my district (which stretches from Bedford Avenue to East 108th Street), and the school children in my district of computers and other school improvements. Hence, my strategic choice to seek partners in the tennis court repairs was borne out of strategic necessity.

Since I told all of this to your reporter, I am surprised by the accusatory and “got you” tone of his article, which at the very least was misleading.

I invite you to attend the ribbon cutting of the brand new “tot lot” scheduled to be opened in Bergen Beach’s Maguire Park in the coming weeks. Then you can hear it from the Parks commissioner himself.

Councilman Lew Fidler

D–Marine Park

Fidler’s feats

To the editor,

It was very hard to read Ugo Rosiello’s comments without making a comment (“Fidler’s Flop,” Letters to the Editor, May 31).

Councilman Lew Fidler’s defeat in the state Senate race cannot in any way be a reflection of his dedication and hard work as our city councilman. Councilman Fidler (D–Marine Park) was only unsuccessful in areas that he did not represent, such as Brighton Beach. The Republican campaign against the councilman was absolutely filled with innuendos and outright lies. Particularly the charge that he was responsible for increasing real estate taxes when the city was facing an economic disaster. Of course, this had nothing to do with the Republican mayor at the time, Michael Bloomberg, right?

Morris Himmelfod

Mill Basin

‘Racist’ Barron

To the editor,

How could anyone in good conscience vote for Charles Barron for Congress? Everything else aside about this racist, the statement he made that was buried under the rug a couple years ago is enough to ruin any other person’s career in the private or public sector.

If you don’t remember it let me refresh your memory. He said, “I would like to go up to the closest white person and say you can’t understand this, it’s a black thing, then slap him just for my mental health.”

Just imagine for one moment if a white person said that about black people.

Ernesto Cavalier

Marine Park

Cart-errific article

To the editor,

I wish to commend you for writing a very interesting article about the illegal Middle Eastern halal cart (“City: food cart illegal,” June 14).

As the article mentioned, the person who manages this food cart is actually renting both the cart and the city-issued permit from its rightful owner; renting a permit is an arrangement that is illegal under city rules, as the author states.

This illegal practice seems to have evolved because the city has printed approximately 3.000 mobile food vending permits and is no longer granting new ones — yet more than 2,000 food vendor applicants are on a waiting list, as discussed in the article. Due to the shortage of licenses, a prospective food vendor is willing to pay an exorbitant sum to the license holder — a sort of illegal rental fee. It is a puzzle when the city doesn’t just issue more permits.

As your reporter indicated, the going rental fee for a two-year permit is about $15,000. A tidy profit for the license holder who only has to pay the city $200 for a two-year license! The reporter calculated a percent profit of 750 percent, but guess what, it is much, much higher than that. Percent profit is calculated as the difference between the selling price and the cost, divided by the cost, and then multiplied by 100. That comes out to 7400 percent, so the percent profit is almost 10 times as much!

I think the health department should put out some more permits to correct this problem. Thanks again for an interesting article. Hopefully, the city will take notice.

Martin Feuerman

Brooklyn Heights

DOE’s low score

To the editor,

It is a shame that the Principal Greta Hawkins of PS 90 received hate-mail for not allowing a patriotic song to be sung on graduation day. No one should ever have to be subjected to that.

It is also not right that she did not allow the song to be sung by young children in the school. I find it disgusting that the Schools Chancellor Walcott agreed with her on this issue. Is it any wonder why discipline is lacking in our schools? Children come away with no respect for their elders, their peers, or their country.

Will someone please explain to me why nothing was said when the principal stated that her predecessor was Jewish and that other people will now be coming into the school to teach? To me, this smacks of bigotry. Why did she have to throw religion and race into this? Let her keep these thoughts, if she must have them, to herself.

There is definitely a double standard here being practiced. As the head of the school system, the mayor should be doing something about it. He doesn’t, as he spends his time routinely bashing teachers and boasting about alleged improved graduation rates. It’s really a shame what is happening with the city school system.

Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

‘Suicidal’ Shav

To the editor,

Shavana Abruzzo discusses the suicide of Robert Kennedy’s wife, but ignores the reason of the suicide — mental illness (“Kennedy’s suicide a sad reminder,” A Britisher’s View, May 24).

Suicidal thoughts have many risk factors. It leads to substance abuse. People are unwilling to seek help because of the stigma associated with mental illness. Stressful life events paired with easy access to lethal suicide methods is a real problem. We should be providing effective and clinical care for underlying disorders.

Families, communities, and health-care staffs should support those who are considering suicide. Clinical depression is not just “sadness,” it’s a disease of the mind. In many books, mental hospitals are falsely portrayed. Patient care is not abusive, and shock therapy is not torture. It is very helpful in a large majority of patients, if they receive an anesthetic. Private non-profit hospitals like Lutheran, Methodist and Maimonides are good. City hospitals are not as great, such as Kings County hospital. Kingsborough State keeps patients longer than necessary, which is why the state wants to end it, and transfer the patients to South Beach State Hospital in Staten Island.

Jerome Frank

Coney Island

Stan’s gripe-tastic

To the editor,

I loved reading Stanley Gershbein’s column, “You want gripes? Stan’s got gripes” (It’s Only My Opinion, May 24).

Here’s a little list of some stuff that get my goat: People leaving their laundry in washing machines and dryers for God knows how long when other customers need to use the machines. People standing just inside subway doors so people find it hard to enter or leave without having to go around them, when they could just as well stand elsewhere or sit down. People taking up two or more seats when others would like to sit down on the subway. Bike riders having no care how fast they ride, be in the street or the sidewalk, many times going the wrong way on a one-way street, without a care in the world about hitting someone, who, in their mind, had no right to be in their way. People bringing a crying baby to a movie. People smoking near me on what otherwise would have been a nice day with fresh air. People sitting next to me while they read the New York Post.

David Raisman

Bay Ridge

What the French?

To the editor,

There was clearly a lot more to the story than was reported in “French hail WWII vet for saving them” (May 24).

What did Norman Wasserman do to earn the recognition? To read the story, it’s unclear that he did anything to distinguish himself from his fellow soldiers. And what set the machinery in motion almost 70 years after the events to give him the recognition? It’s unclear whether this was the reporter’s intention or not, but the way the story was written leaves the impression that it might all have been pro forma, and orders were given from high up to simply look for a live body to pin a medal to, presumably to brighten up relations between France and the U.S.

Of course, if that’s the case, to say so bluntly would only create bad feelings, but it simply leaves doubts in the reader’s mind.

Eric Politzer


City stoners

To the editor,

I was in shock when I read that a major section of the Rockaway boardwalk was going to be repaired with wood while the historic Coney Island boardwalk is still scheduled to have sections replaced with concrete. I cannot fathom how people in the know could, in good conscience, vote for concrete in Coney Island and then wood in Rockaway. There are no rational reasons for the hypocrisy of the committee to vote for concrete, going against the will of the people who use and visit this wonderful boardwalk, a great city attraction. I think we really need to look further into why the committee voted the way they did!

The city’s claim that they need multi-ton vehicles riding up and down the boardwalk is an out-and-out lie. Police and the Fire Department have lighter vehicles that patrol the boardwalk, and they use mobile surveillance towers as well. Why do these vans and cars, both marked and unmarked, have to drive on the boardwalk? Most of the vehicles that ride (and park!) on the boardwalk are Parks Department vehicles, bringing workers to and from locations. All of these vehicles could ride up and down Surf Avenue and enter the boardwalk in an emergency.

How can the city and parks use wood for Rockaway, but not for Coney Island? In Rockaway, there are higher waves, and with less pedestrian use, there is a greater need for safety services on that boardwalk.

I applaud the use of wood for Rockaway. However, I would like to provide the same applause when the city changes its decision and determines that wood is the better option for the historic Coney Island Boardwalk — and what the people who use and visit it want. If concrete is so good, can we next expect that the city will replace the sand on the beach with concrete slabs too?

Harry Rattien

Bergen Beach

Summer blues

To the editor,

Ahhh summer, don’t you just hate it? Try as I may, I can’t find one thing to love about this season. What is so pleasurable about sweat? Heat and humidity together make life just miserable and extremely uncomfortable.

As if coping with the present day isn’t enough, we have to listen to the weatherman. He has to tell us about tomorrow, which is probably more humid and hotter. Then comes the heat index. Then there’s the air conditioner. That makes it more bearable, until the dreaded Con Ed bill arrives. Then there’s the bugs. Insects and I just don’t get along. Sitting in my kitchen one day, I see this strange thing crawling on my wall. It had so many legs I lost count.

Noise is another thing we have to endure in the summertime. It’s beyond me why people in cars feel everyone on the road has to hear their music. Then there are the never-ending parties people have. Do they care if they are disturbing their neighbors in a five-block radius? No, of course not. Advice to the youngsters out there: become an ear doctor and you will be set for life.

Come soon, fall. I love every yellow, red and golden leaf — until I have to bag them.

Jo Bisogno

Mill Basin

Dollar-van sham

To the editor,

I used to drive up and down Flatbush Ave. between Kings Plaza and the Manhattan Bridge until the stress of the trip made me use alternate routes.

The illegal “dollar” vans that drive up and down the street are the ones that constantly stop in the middle of the street, pull out without regard for others, make illegal turns, scream their locations, and beep their horns incessantly.

Last week, I decided to walk down Flatbush Avenue. Except for the vans pulling in and out, all of the other issues created a stress almost as strong as when I used to drive it. The noise pollution by the vans and their drivers creates a miserable quality of life for anyone within range.

At one time, the federal government shut down a private mail carrier because she was undermining and undercutting the post office. For the local public she seemed good, but the post office has to serve everyone, everywhere. Although the MTA is far from perfect, the same is true for the MTA versus the vans. These vans use bus stops to park in, make turns in bus only lanes, cut around buses and other vans on the right, and do anything else that gives them an edge to get in front of the competition. The convenience for their riders is at the expense of everyone else.

The city’s desire to license these drivers shows how out-of-touch our politicians are. The city’s claim that these people are working and paying taxes is a false argument. In looking at the license plates of the vans on Flatbush Avenue, more than 75 percent did not have TLC plates, and 25 percent of those had out-of-state plates.

I am so happy and lucky that I don’t live on the blocks adjoining Kings Plaza, or anywhere along Flatbush Avenue. The MTA got rid of graffiti on the subways, although it was hard and time-consuming. The same needs to be done by the city about these vans, or forget about a decent quality of life for anyone driving on — or living within earshot of — Flatbush Avenue!

Name withheld upon request

Life-saving bill

To the editor,

Regarding the legislation about CPR in schools — anyone can learn to save a life, and everyone should.

I ask for the support of your readership to send a strong message to Albany that collectively we want to empower our children as a new generation of lifesavers to create a generation where all New Yorkers are trained in “hands-only” CPR, and save lives. Nearly 383,000 people die of cardiac arrest outside hospitals, only 11 percent survive because they don’t receive CPR, which could double or triple survival rates.

Heart disease struck our home, and our family when I was just 17 years old when Dad slumped over the steering wheel. As a high school student and a CPR-certified lifeguard, I saved my father’s life that day, and many more times over the next few years as he battled heart disease. My father passed away at 60, heart disease had taken its toll, but thankfully he lived 20 more years with our family just because I happened to know CPR as a teenager.

You’re powerless against your DNA, but what is in your control is to vote to pass the CPR in Schools Legislation, because one of those high school students can save the life of a parent, a family member, a stranger, or maybe even you. Wouldn’t you want the help?

Mary H. Oldak



To the editor,

Did all your loyal readers miss our invitations to attend President Obama’s appearance at Sarah Jessica Parker’s West Village townhouse at $40,000 per plate, or $10,000 for the Plaza Hotel? Both combined raised $4.5 million toward Obama’s goal of $1 billion reelection campaign fund.

How ironic that Obama comes to the Big Apple at a time 9.7 percent of New Yorkers are out of work, with another 7 percent who have just given up looking, resulting in a real unemployment rate of 16.7 percent. Is this the “change we can believe in” that Obama’s promised on his 2008 campaign trail? This most recent visit to the city resulted in disrupting travel for tens of thousands of commuters along with contributing to traffic gridlock. Obama continues to enjoy building up his “frequent flyer” mileage with his 27th visit here for campaign reelection fund-raising events. Each trip on Air Force One costs taxpayers a fortune for logistics and Secret Service protection, and we are stuck with the tab for police and traffic support.

The White House’s standard operating procedure is to start with a public event, such as a visit to the World Trade Center construction site. By fortunate coincidence, he is also able to use this visit as a vehicle to generate publicity for his reelection campaign. While conveniently “in town” for so called official business, he has an excuse to participate in a series of fund-raising events later in the day. This trick has been repeated by Obama dozens of times during the year all over the nation. Perhaps his time might be better spent in Washington attempting to conduct the nation’s business rather than attempting to win a second term.

No previous President has spent so much time away from Washington to participate in a record number of public events followed by fund-raising events than Obama.

Do as I say, not as I do applies to Obama and Congressional Democrats. Bash the wealthy with one hand, but get the big bucks with the other hand. Those in attendance included the usual one percent crowd along with Wall Street lobbyists, trial lawyers, real estate developers, Hollywood celebrities, special interest groups, millionaires, and the pay-for-play crowd. At those prices, the 99 percent working or middle class people like us were hard to come by, except in the kitchen, or serving.

What was that tired old refrain about the Democratic Party being the friend of the working and middle class while those nasty greedy old Republicans are the wealthy, big-buck, fat cats? Seems like Obama prefers hanging out with the one percent.

Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

To the editor,

Sorry, I am dead set against voting for Barack Obama come November. What has he actually done to help citizens? Who is paying for his mother-in-law to live in the White House, he or taxpayers? Why must Michelle and their daughters take so many costly vacations, compliments of taxpayers?

What is Obama hiding regarding his birth certificate, his college records, his college thesis paper, and his Selective Service registration? Why was he getting foreign student aid as a college student? Why is Obama spending our money like it’s water, and is continuing free government aid to illegal aliens when the majority of Americans want them deported?

Bring back the quota system. Illegal aliens from third world countries are invading the U.S. and this government is closing its eyes to this huge problem. Make English our official language for unity — it would be much less costly to print government papers in only one language. We need unity, not diversity for strength.

What’s happened to our once great melting pot? It has evaporated.

Name withheld upon request

To the editor,

When Obama said the private sector was doing just fine, he should have had in the background a large grandfather clock with a pendulum swinging back and forth while repeating “the private sector is doing just fine.”

He could have tried hypnotizing the American people into believing it.

Millie Gotts

Ditmas Park

RIP, Ed Caulfield

To the editor,

My wonderful friend and colleague Ed Caulfield passed away suddenly on June 6. Ed’s passing creates a void in our lives that can never be filled.

A kind, compassionate gentleman, Ed taught English at the former IS 320 for 27 years until his retirement in 1995. Ed never said “no” to anyone. It just wasn’t part of his vocabulary. He asked for so little from life, but gave so much of himself to all of us. We never hear about the Ed Caulfields in the city school system. The media will never talk about the teachers such as Ed who made a very positive difference in the lives of children.

After retirement, Ed hosted a Sunday evening radio show at Kingsborough Community College. His topic was music because he loved that subject, as well as old movies. He was also active in his neighborhood church — Mary Queen of Heaven. How fortunate I was to know Ed for 43 years. His good deeds and that he was a “mensch” in every sense of that word shall never be forgotten.

Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Food for thought

To the editor,

Mayor Bloomberg I need your help. I am a man in my mid-50s and have been called big-boned, well-nourished, and many other words describing my size, including many that aren’t as nice as the ones mentioned.

I know all the things you do are for our own good and someday history will prove you to be a man way ahead of his time. Anyway I have tried almost every diet in the book and have lost hundreds of pounds over the years and gained it all back, and then some. When I read about the ban on super-sized sugary drinks I thought it was a great start, but you didn’t go far enough. My problem is all-you-can-eat buffets. These should be outlawed. Not only do I overeat at them, but after sitting and eating at them for four or five hours I have to put up with dirty looks and derogatory comments from the proprietors of these places. One guy even gave me my money back and asked me never to come back. You could imagine how humiliated I was. Naturally I turned down his offer and the police were called.

Please Mayor Bloomberg help me and others like me who just can’t control ourselves when it comes to all these buffets. Maybe you can make a law mandating that chubby people have to wear a piggy nose in public. I know you will think of something. Please help me before I explode!

Joey Apancia



To the editor,

How could any Catholic, or any Christian, Jew, and concerned human being, who is able to vote for our next president, vote for a candidate who wouldn’t do everything in their power to stop gender-based abortion. Ronald Reagan said, “I’ve noticed that everybody who is for abortion has already been born.”

Imagine killing a baby just because it’s a boy or a girl. Then again I can’t think of one good reason to kill any baby.

Cronin Miller


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