Sound Off to the Editor • Brooklyn Paper

Sound Off to the Editor

To the editor,

Stanley Gershbein, I always enjoy reading your column, and got a kick out of this week’s piece because it hit home (“Stan’s suitcase is lighter, but he’s heavier,” It’s Only My Opinion,” July 25).

I have packed the same way you do — I throw out old clothes as I go along, and also give them away. I have hiked through jungles, making decisions about what to wear so that at the end of the day, clothing could be tossed. No need to introduce jungle dirt and garments sprayed with chemicals that guard against malaria into the suitcase. I also wear “roomier” jeans on long plane rides, and hope they still fit on the longer flights home! Thanks for the chuckle. Camille Pepe Sperrazza


• • •

To the editor,

Good for you Stanley Gershbein. That is a great way to donate and know you are directly helping the less fortunate (“Stan’s suitcase is lighter, but he’s heavier,” It’s Only My Opinion,” July 25).

A donation is a donation, liberals and socialist are only charitable with other people’s money. I applaud Mr. Gershbein for sharing a truly great idea to help others.Name withheld upon request

Hate sign

To the editor,

The ProSwastika Alliance wants to restart advocating attitudes of hate by stating the swastika should be reclaimed as a symbol of well-being (“Bizarre banner flies swastika over Brighton Beach,” online July 15).

For most people, just the word “swastika” is enough to elicit terrible images. It is obvious that Hitler debased the symbol so completely that it no longer has any merit to inspire any artistic representation of well-being. Besides, it represents a regime that promoted genocide.

I suggest group president Thomas Kaenzig visit Holocaust Memorial Park on Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay to rethink his actions, and ask himself if there isn’t something more worthwhile he could be doing with his life than flying pro-swastika banners and heading a group that brainwashes its members. Is this the kind of life journey he wants to take? I say to him and his group: never again.

To harass and to force others to conform to your standards is a violation of basic human rights. By the way, where are the watchdog groups that are supposed to be preventing these kinds of tactics?

Amy Kaye

Sheepshead Bay

By the people

To the editor,

Twenty-two members of the New York City Council announced that they will incorporate participatory budgeting in their districts, as part of the decision making for the 2015-2016 City budget. This is great news for the people throughout the five boroughs and the 43 percent of the districts that are involving the people they represent in the budget process. However, it is my belief that this number should be even higher, and that all New York City residents should have that chance.

There is no downside, as far as I can tell, in allowing the taxpayers of the greatest city in the world, in the best and most powerful democracy ever created, to have input in how their tax dollars are spent in their communities. I can think of no better way to decide what needs improvement than to talk to the people who go to our parks, schools, libraries, senior centers, and more. All 51 Council Districts should welcome participatory budgeting in their communities.

I remember during the 2013 campaign, residents of the 43rd District regularly made suggestions about funding priorities. Many folks hoped for the idea of building more senior housing, and others wanted improved accessibility at senior centers. Many others often spoke of the needs in their child’s school, and one mother of a disabled child sought accommodations for the handicapped in the local park. It was after conversations like these that I embraced the idea of participatory budgeting. When I ran for the City Council last year. If elected, I would have been number 23 on the list, and participatory budgeting would be welcomed in the 43rd District. I stand by those words for the future.

Unfortunately, our current council member has not agreed to this form of budget decision making, while the 43rd District is surrounded by participatory budgeting and council members who see the merit in such a practice. It is my hope that the people of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, and Bath Beach will one day soon also have the chance to decide how our taxes are spent, so as to improve our quality of life. I would encourage you to let your voice be heard. There should be nothing that stands in the way of this opportunity.

John Quaglione

The writer was the 2013 Republican, Conservative and Independent candidate for Council in the 43rd District. He is currently deputy chief of staff for state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge).

Sar-sore over Israel

To the editor,

Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, based in Brooklyn, claims its politics as usual for progressives, regarding Israel. I do not usually defend attacks on progressives in New York, as a former district director for former Republican members of Congress, Vito Fossella and Bob Turner, and a former Republican-Conservative candidate for state Assembly and City Council. However, I will relating to Ms. Sarsour’s comments regarding Israel and Hamas in her City and State op-ed.

She criticizes city elected officials for their decision “to stand with a handful of political elites to show unwavering support for Israel” in the current conflict between Israel and Hamas. My question to Ms. Sarsour is how do we not stand with Israel against a group that says it does not have a right to exist? Ms. Sarsour states that every time violence escalates in Israel and Palestine “there’s no discussion or reflection, just an identical knee-jerk reaction” in defense of Israel.

I had the opportunity to meet with Ms. Sarsour regarding this long conflict during my time working at ex-Rep. Fossella’s Brooklyn district office. As I recall, it was Ms. Sarsour who had a “knee-jerk reaction” in defense of Hamas and Palestine.

Like many New Yorkers and Americans, I watched the recent news interview with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. How could we not be moved by the first-hand account, as we heard of bomb sirens in the background signaling incoming rockets into Israel from Hamas, and then the all-clear for Israeli citizens to come out again?

Defenders of these attacks on Israel point to the unfortunate deaths of Palestinian civilians. However, it is Hamas that uses these civilians as human shields to try and protect their missile launchers. So, Israel is in a catch-22, do they just allow the launchers to continue to shoot rockets into Israel, threatening their citizens because Hamas forces their civilians around them, or do they take them out? I know what I hope our president would do, if faced with a similar decision. As Prime Minister Netanyahu stated, “The difference between us is that we’re using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they’re using their civilians to protect the missiles”.

He went on to say, “We’re sorry for any accidental civilian death, but it’s Hamas that bears complete responsibility.” This expression of sorrow for civilian deaths by Netanyahu is in stark contrast to the reaction of the recent kidnapping and murder of three young Israelis. As Sen. Charles Schumer (D–Brooklyn) notes, “How did Hamas and too many parts of the mainstream Palestinian community respond to the kidnap and murder of three young Israelis? They cheered. The official Hamas spokesman called the kidnappers ‘heroes.’ The mother of one of the suspected kidnappers said, ‘If he {my son} truly did it, I’ll be proud of him till my final day.’ ”

Again, my question to Ms. Sarsour, is how do we not stand with Israel against this sentiment? To our progressive mayor and City Council members, who have unequivocally stood with Israel: job well done.Bob Capano

Bay Ridge

Wild ammo

To the editor,

The circumstances that led to the death of Eric Garner at the hands of cops are deplorable. But for cops to use tasers would be doubly deplorable.

Why can’t the police be trained to use the taming guns that forest rangers and zoologists use on bears and other animals in the wild on suspects who resist arrest? Elliott Abosh

Brighton Beach

Memo to misfits

To the editor,

What an incredibly better world we would all be sharing if the separatists, the terrorists, the egomaniacal socio-political “leaders,” and the false profits of theistic sects (you get my drift) would spend only a quarter of the time they spend now on the horrors, destruction and death to others they instigate and perpetrate, instead of the full amount of time they actually spend on the evil that they are and represent. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.Barry Brothers



To the editor,

In a recent survey, 35 percent of Americans say that President Obama should be impeached, and House Speaker John Boehner still wants to sue the president. On what grounds? He has not abused his powers, nor has he broken any law. What is the real issue? The same it has been since he took office. He’s a Democrat and he is black, meaning that the Republicans refuse to allow him accomplish anything.

I’m not saying he is perfect. He’s made his share of errors. But the Republicans have tried to shoot down ObamaCare more than 50 times. They shot down the jobs bill which would have helped to answer the jobs and infrastructure issues, they refuse to address immigration, them blame Obama. They refuse to act on anything, then blame Obama for trying himself, etc. They absolutely refuse to allow him any gains or allow him to move this country forward.

Where were all the Bush administration congressional representatives, who refused to start impeachment proceeding against Bush? He and Cheney falsified documents concerning weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, started two wars we had no business being part of that killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, killed and maimed thousands of U.S. troops, then ignored them upon their return from service, destabilized the entire Middle East region, destroyed our economy for years, and almost turned this country of ours into a third world country, among numerous other things. If anyone should be impeached, it is the Republicans who refuse to do their jobs.

Ronald Cohen


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