Sound Off to the Editor

To the editor,

In the final days of his administration, Mayor Bloomberg went to each of the five boroughs, cutting ribbons, touring schools, riding on a new subway extension, visiting new parks, and discussing the incredible progress of the last 12 years.

He also highlighted his tenure’s record of fighting crime, while reducing incarceration rates, by visiting a Neighborhood Opportunity Network Center and attending his final police graduation ceremony to swear in 1,190 police recruits.

Crime has fallen in the city to record lows under Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. It has fewer major felony crimes per 100,000 residents than any of the nation’s top 25 largest cities. Total crime is down 32 percent compared to 2001, despite the added demand of counterterrorism, having fewer officers in the ranks, and adding 300,000 more people to the city’s population. We had a record low number of murders and shootings in 2013, following a record low for both established in 2012. Murder is down 49 percent compared to 2001. And there has not been a successful terror attack against the city, despite it remaining a top terror target, since 9-11.

At the same time that Ray Kelly and the NYPD have brought crime to record lows, the Bloomberg administration has actually reduced incarceration rates in the city by 36 percent over the last 12 years. This drop occurred as the national incarceration rate rose by three percent during the same period.

The nation also saw crime declines in the last 12 years, but it was achieved by locking more people up. But the city didn’t reduce crime by locking more people up — in fact it actually put fewer citizens behind bars as crime fell to record lows.

How? Crime prevention strategies implemented by the NYPD, and under the leadership of Deputy Mayor Gibbs, Commissioners Vincent Schiraldi and Dora Schriro, and others, have enabled the city to expand use of felony drug courts, alternative-to-incarceration programs for substance abusers, and alternatives to jail sentences for misdemeanors. It has also created more effective probation programs and implemented the Young Men’s Initiative, which is increasing opportunities for young black and Latino men, and reducing their numbers in the criminal justice system. The result? New York City is the safest it has ever been.

Howard WolfsonBrooklyn

Coney’s future

To the editor,

I think it’s wonderful that the lease for Wonder Wheel and Luna Park have been renewed until 2027 (“City’s Coney Christmas gift — leases to Wonder Wheel Park, Luna Park through 2027, Dec. 24).

For more than a century, New Yorkers and visitors alike have enjoyed the fascination, freedom, and diversity of the world-famous urban amusement destination known as the “People’s Playground.”

As an educator and community activist, I see its future connecting to the wonderful world of education. Imagine students riding the Coney Island Cyclone and then learning about the physics, design, and science behind the invention and operation. Since we are in Coney Island, the students would have a chance to win prizes for their correct answers.

We encourage our students to be engaged in active learning, where they can think critically or creatively. Also, we want to see a collaborative, learning experience, with students sharing their answers and ideas with others. It’s extremely important for our students to express their ideas through writing and reflecting upon their experiences on the ride.

Education is a journey, and we would love to have this experience start in Coney Island. We call it the People’s Playground for a reason.Scott Krivitsky

The writer is a teacher at PS 188 in Coney Island.

Community input

To the editor,

I agree with Scott Krivitsky about getting involved with local police community councils (“Blotter blackout draws ink from readers,” Sound off to the editor,” Dec. 20).

About five years ago, Pat Singer, executive director of the Brighton Neighborhood Association, asked me if I was interested in getting involved with the 60th Precinct Community Council. It had been many years since I had attended a meeting of the council. I made plans to meet up with the council president, whom I knew from the neighborhood. This was in July, and we met with the precinct inspector, focusing on the next month’s night out against crime. Little did I know then how much more involved I would become.

At the September meeting, I was asked to become the sergeant of arms, which entailed making sure everyone who attended the meeting signed the book. I was then asked if I would be interested in going to the civilian police academy. I was.

As a graduate, I attended seminars about domestic violence and firearms protocol, and received materials given to rookie cops. These seminars gave me a deeper understanding of the intense training police officers go through.

I attend these meetings because I like to know what is happening in my community from the police inspector himself, and because we often hear that we are the eyes and ears of the community, and can tell local cops what we see and hear.

My wish is that more people attend these monthly meetings to learn about activity in their neighborhoods, and discover how many issues can be resolved with the input of ordinary community residents.Jerry Sattler

Brighton Beach

‘Mill-Marine’ rules

To the editor,

The Mill-Marine Courier is a great local resource for news and information. It contains the hard-hitting local stories the dailies gloss over, or totally ignore.

I know it is costly to produce and deliver a “free” local newspaper but, I am wondering if Mill-Marine would put their pages on the internet, so we wouldn’t have to wait to see a hard copy?

Robert Lobenstein

Marine Park

Library sellout

To the editor

The most valuable real estate up for grabs in Brooklyn is where Cadman Plaza Library is located. The going rate for newly built condominiums there have a price tag of $6-$8 million, with penthouse condos selling for at least $30 million.

The real estate moguls will be realizing hundreds of millions dollars, perhaps a billion, in profits from the sale and rental of living space to the wealthy, and from numerous businesses.

The Brooklyn Public Library, in a frenzy to sell the Cadman Plaza library by the first quarter of 2014, is already pleading poverty and planning cutbacks on library days and hours.

“The library is aiming to keep the new branch open seven days a week, but the extra day would be contingent on money from an ever-shrinking citywide library budget,” stated its spokesman in your paper (“Library bookmarks Brooklyn Heights branch plans,” online Dec. 13).

There is no guarantee the Brooklyn Heights Library will be open even five days a week. In 1980, it took a library protest by hundreds of patrons, walking with signs and chanting over the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall, to keep the library open six days a week. Justine Swartz

Brooklyn Heights

Selective morality

To the editor,

I know I’m a fuddy duddy, conservative, old-timer, and a retired librarian to boot, but I’m sure I am not alone in my thinking about an illegitimate birth.

Therefore, I’m wondering why nobody has even mentioned that Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s daughter, who just had a baby, is not married. What’s happening to the traditionally held morals within our society?

Back in December 2008, Sarah Palin’s unmarried daughter Bristol gave birth to a son, and the newspapers and other media had a roaring time getting the word out. So why aren’t they shouting out about Mayor Bloomberg’s soon-to-be illegitimate grandchild?

Name withheld upon request


To the editor,

Nicholas Heyward, whose son was allegedly shot and killed 19 years ago by a police officer in the Gowanus Houses in Brooklyn, marched in protest in Harlem against the appointment of Bill Bratton as the new police commissioner.

Bratton was the commissioner when the incident took place. Heyward and parents of those killed in suspected police shootings were in the demonstration.

Young people in projects are often subjected to random checks, arbitrary fines, alleged discrimination, and frequent harassment, sometimes outside their own homes. Residents say there is hardly any effort by NYPD to reach out and know the people of the projects.

In the past, beat officers would have a personal relationship with the residents, but now that doesn’t exist.

Priyanka Gupta


Welcome Carmen

To the editor,

The Council of School Supervisors and Administrators is delighted with Mayor DeBlasio’s decision to appoint Carmen Farina as schools chancellor.

Carmen is universally recognized as one of the great educators in this city. Without a doubt, she is an educator’s educator — something that we have not had for 15 years.

Carmen understands the need to restore the respect educators deserve. Her plan to reduce reliance on high-stakes testing at the expense of innovative instruction is a welcome change. Carmen’s commitment to working with parents and all community stakeholders will restore a sense of optimism and trust in our schools.

We look forward to working with her and helping her as she guides our schools forward.

Ernest Logan

The writer is president of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators

GOP lameducks

To the editor,

Councilmember Vincent Ignizio (R–S.I.) will be elected as the new City Council Minority leader, beating Queens’ last Republican Councilmember Eric Ulrich.

This result is based on the fact that two of the three last Republican councilmembers are from Staten Island, while Eric Ulrich has no one to vote for him. This is the political equivalent of a eunuch in a whore house.

City Democrats have gerrymandered City Council district lines for more than 50 years. At one point, after the boroughwide councilmember-at-large positions were abolished in 1982, there was only one Republican councilmember left — Susan Molinari of Staten Island.

During the 1990s, the GOP elected Charles Millard and Andrew Eristoff in Manhattan, Martin Golden in Brooklyn, along with Mike Abel, Tom Ognibene, and Alfonse Stabile in Queens, and Fred Cerillo of Staten Island. This resulted in their caucus growing to a record seven members.

Flash forward to the 2013 general election results. Councilman Vincent Ignizio will be accompanied by fellow Staten Island-Brooklyn Councilmember Steven Matteo, and Eric Ulrich from Queens, for a total of three GOP councilmembers. As minority leader, Ignazio will have a larger office than some other councilmembers. The other 48 Democratic councilmembers will meet behind closed doors to elect a council speaker. As a newly elected councilmember in 2001, Democrat David Weprin said, “The Office of City Council Speaker is too important to allow the handful of Republican councilmembers any say in the selection process.” It will be the same in 2013. The Democratic Council’s 48-member caucus will determine the next council speaker. Whoever becomes council speaker will give the three last remaining Republican councilmembers whatever crumbs fall off the table. Each will receive a lulu for chairing a council committee and some token amount of pork-barrel, member-item spending, after the Democratic councilmembers first finish rewarding themselves.

To the victor belong the spoils of office. Without a Republican mayor to work with, Ignizio, Matteo, and Urlich will be next to useless.

Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

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