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‘Sound off to the Editor’ — a lively sounding board for the topics of the day

To the editor,

Thank you for running the story about the dog stabber in Prospect Park (“Alleged dog stabber jailed,” Aug. 9–15). It is because of the light the media has given this situation that so many people around the area who use and care about Prospect Park and its safety are now more aware.

The follow-up to this story is now more important than ever. On Aug. 9, two of the people victimized went before the Grand Jury to tell their stories and make sure that this danger would be removed, at least for a time, from the park. Unfortunately, the arresting officers didn’t show up and the matter has been adjourned until Monday. The result is that Barden has been released from custody on bail and is back out on the street — we hope not in the park.

The spotlight now has to be pointed on the arresting officers who created what is most likely putting us in even greater danger. Barden’s dog is “on hold” with Animal Care and Control and he is likely to get it back. When a suspect with a violent past and the obvious willingness to shoot at cops, stab dogs, and aggressively harass and menace the public is allowed to walk the streets because of either police failure or plain neglect, the problem goes beyond anything we as a community can do.

Since February, the police have not been able to effect any resolve to the complaints and danger. When we started rallying the community with flyers on a Saturday we effected a positive result by Monday morning. Four days later that result has been negated and safety for the community is once again compromised. I hope you can be a loud voice for the concerns we now have.David Cobell

To the editor,

I read the story written by Ms. Musumeci. As a pet parent, I was appreciative of the coverage the Brooklyn Courier has given this story and wish to update it.

On Thursday, Aug. 9, Donnell Barden was before the Grand Jury to face charges of aggravated animal cruelty, menacing, harassment, and criminal possession of a weapon. Unfortunately, the arresting officers were nowhere to be found. Due to this unfortunate disregard for public safety, Barden was released on bail.

It should come to light that the police were less than interested in apprehending this individual from the start. Barden was allowed to menace and physically harm both dogs and persons in a public arena for months. Were it not for concerned citizens who use the park on a daily basis, their attention to maintaining civility and safety (while putting themselves at risk for retaliation), and the desire to remove such a person from harming others, Barden probably would continue to be the menace that he is. He is out walking the streets and parks with malicious intent!

Taking into account Barden’s criminal record, I cannot abide by the New York Police Department’s lack of interest in protecting its citizens from individuals who pose a real threat to any and all who use Prospect Park. What will it take for the police to take this account seriously?

I hope we do not get the chance to find the answer to this question.

Frank Niesuchouski

Bloomberg’s cop-out

To the editor,

Mayor Bloomberg expounds that the murder rate has gone down in the years since he took office. But as I watch my local news station, how come all I hear is news of more shootings, and small children getting injured by gun fire?

Let’s not forget when the mayor decided to cut the pay for new police recruits, many would-be applicants turned to other city positions.

Then we lost about 5,000 police officers, with many seeking police work in Long Island, where the starting pay is higher.Jerry Sattler

Brighton Beach

In defense of men

To the editor,

Tawana Brawley will not have to pay Steven Pagones $431,000 for a rape that has now come out that he did not commit more than 25 years ago. This is not the first time an innocent man has been framed for a rape he did not commit, nor will it be the last.

I am reminded of the Gary Dotson case in Chicago in which the plaintiff, Cathleen Webb, who he met at a party, framed him three years earlier because she became pregnant from somebody else and was ashamed to face her boyfriend and parents.

While nothing is foolproof, nor can innocent people be protected completely from anything, I believe the right to lifers and the Tea Party who practically curtail or abolish a woman’s right to a therapeutic abortion will cause more innocent men to suffer with or without the girl’s consent because pregnancy might occur.

While DNA has its beneficial effect for many defendants to exonerate themselves, unfortunately it is only stored for 10 years and then discarded, which causes many innocent men to rot in prison for a crime they did not commit.Elliott Abosh

Brighton Beach

Graffiti artist glorified

To the editor,

The article by Colin Mixson (“ ‘Love’s’ labor lost,” Aug. 9–15) seems to glorify the graffiti artist who painted up our community. For those people who like the “message of peace and love,” please invite the artist to put his message on your property. For the graffiti artist himself, note that putting your messages on other people’s property is in and of itself a message of hate.M. Katz

Marine Park

Forgotten parks

To the editor,

We have two local parks along the Prospect Expressway which have “casual” names with the Parks Department personnel who service them, but only “park” on their signs. The real problem with the mere designation “park” is that when you need service for them they are not listed in the 311 Parks Department drop down list and therefore don’t exist!

Our local orphans are: Pigeon Park (due to numerous avian residents) at Sixth and Prospect avenues and Barney (or Purple) Park (due to its light purple fence) on 17th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues. A name or even a displayed unique number for each space, reference in New York City’s 311 databases, would put all greenspaces on the official radar where they belong. Thank you to Natalie Musumeci for her article.Barbara Eidinger

Park Slope

Disabled in peril

To the editor,

Just read Joanna DelBuono’s column (“Chaucer, Joanna, and Access-A-Ride,” Aug. 2–8). Sorry to read that your knees are failing you. The people that are supposed to be helping the handicapped are making things harder.

My aunt (age 75), has been getting the placard from New York City. Her current placard expired June 30, 2013. She sent in all required documents. Still no response. We are now in August. She can’t go to the doctor or shopping. My neighbor called the Department of Transportation to ask about her husband’s status and was told they are still working on June’s. I think an investigation is warranted.

M. McNamara

Brighton Beach

Lack of elections

To the editor,

Where is the election coverage? I don’t know who is running for Brooklyn borough president. Who besides Daniel Squadron is running for public advocate? Seems like the mayoral and comptroller races get all the publicity because of our two miscreants and the rest get nothing. Help, please.Pamela Roderick

Brooklyn Heights

Plants in the way

To the editor,

As parking spaces disappear, surrendered to CitiBike stands, bike lanes, and bulbous extensions of the sidewalks at intersections, the latest thoughtless inconvenience for automobile drivers, and especially their passengers, has recently been unveiled on the north side of Court Street between Union and Sackett streets. At the curb, and extending for practically the length of the entire block between Union and Sackett, in place of the usual tree pits, the developers of the new building have installed an uninterrupted, landscaped planting strip.

The result is impressive, mature trees, grasses, and flowering plants — but it is very impractical. Passengers getting out of a parked car will step right into the planting bed, destroying it, risking a fall if the area is wet and muddy, and at the very least getting their shoes messed up.

Was this continuous planter design approved by the Department of Transportation? When the building management gets tired of the expense of maintaining the plants that get trodden down, will they attempt to put a fence all around? Or is the plan to entirely eliminate parking on this block? There is no kiosk vending parking receipts on this block and one would have to scurry back and forth through traffic to the kiosk across the street.

Anthony Marchese

Gowanus

Young love

To the editor,

On Aug. 4 Bryan Hochman, of Sheepshead Bay, asked my daughter, Jaimie Lebovic, to marry him on top of the Wonder Wheel in Coney Island. They were in a white car (stationary) and Bryan got down on one knee and proposed. The sun was setting, the view was gorgeous, and it was an experience that Jaimie said they will never forget.

What a wonderful setting for a young couple to begin their future together. Coney Island is a place of dreams — a place where the future is bright.

Nancy Lebovic

Traffic qualms

To the editor,

Councilman Steve Levin (D–Greenpoint) is to be commended for having the Department of Transportation put in two new lights on Kent Avenue when a speed demon driver killed an entire family by going 60 miles per hour in March. This is, however, hardly more than an aspirin for cancer.

Wouldn’t it be preferable if the City Council enacted an ordinance that exists in Los Angeles where the driver must yield the right of way to the pedestrian and stop? Or one that exists in Phoenix, Ariz. where if the driver is at fault he will be fined and if the pedestrian is at fault he will be fined?

Why does the city have to wait until somebody gets killed before a new light is installed? I must admit that New York City at least is more liberal than Miami Dade, Fla. where three people have to be killed by a car within 10 years before a new light is enacted. But why can’t the traffic commission work to prevent these accidents from occurring in the first place? Think of the grief and money it would save.

Elliott Abosh

Brighton Beach

Untrustworthy candidates

To the editor,

Would you vote for a Republican who thinks climate change is a farce? How about a Republican who first raised your transit fare and then cut bus and subway services? Seeking new blood, I don’t want to see anyone who worked for a prior city council’s staff running for the same position. To me that person will be a clone and a do-nothing politician as his former boss. Many bad decisions led to over development in areas like the bungalow districts and high-rise condos in Brighton Beach.

Don’t get me wrong, there were some excellent council people, but when many voted for a third terms, even we the people voted twice not to extend term limits. Now who do you really trust running for office?

Jerry Sattler

Brighton Beach

All of a sudden

To the editor,

Why eight months after Washington announced it was going to make available billions does Manhattan Borough President, former mayoral candidate, and current comptroller candidate Scott Stringer propose a municipal tracker system to monitor the expenditures of Hurricane Sandy relief funds? Is it because he now has a real primary race for comptroller? Stringer was missing in action when the municipal scandal involving $1 billion in federal aid unspent by the Housing Authority was exposed. How has the city managed the $20 billion plus post 9/11 aid as well as the billions of other dollars from Washington every day?

The same also applies to billions in yearly state assistance from Albany, along with billions in locally generated tax revenues. Does the city submit grant applications on time? Are current federal- and state-funded programs being completed on time and within budget? What is the justification for carrying over unspent funds year after year? Is there waste, fraud, or abuse? Are all change orders for construction projects fair, reasonable, and documented?

Stringer appears to be just another career politician looking for a headline to swap one public office for another.

Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

Not so secret

To the editor,

In your story last week about the Lightstone development, you metioned a meeting convened by local elected officials to start organizing an inclusive community planning process for the Gowanus Canal area that will launch this fall. That meeting was not “secret,” as you called it, but was simply closed to press. About 40 people attended, including representative from almost every group actively involved in working on the Canal. (Gowanus Canal Conservancy, Friends and Residents of Great Gowanus, Carroll Gardens Coalition for Respectful Development, Gowanus Canal Community Development Corporation, Save Gowanus, and several members of the Superfund Community Advisory Group and Community Board 6.

We plan to launch the process this fall. As we have tried to open up the budget process through “participatory budgeting,” this will be an effort to open up the planning process so that community residents, business people, and community groups can work together to shape a vision for the area around the Gowanus Canal rather than have decisions made by developers, the city, or by elected officials. We will have public meetings, as well as other opportunities for input online and in small groups. Everyone will be invited to participate. This early-stage meeting was to start organizing for that process so that we can make it as inclusive and effective as possible.

With the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to clean up the Canal due out in final form this fall, with the knowledge that we have about the very real dangers of flooding from Hurricane Sandy, and with the change in administration at City Hall, this is an important time for community members to come together and do our best to shape a consensus vision for the future of the Gowanus Canal area. We believe that residents overwhelmingly want a vibrant, genuintely mixed-use, sustainable for Gowanus that builds on what’s best about out neighborhoods. That won’t be easy, of course, as people have very different ideas about exactly what that looks like. But it is worth trying.

Anyone interested in being involved should reach out to my office and we’ll make sure you are on the list for an invitation as the process gets started this fall. And yes, we’ll even invite press.

Councilman Brad Lander (D-Park Slope

Not neighborly

To the editor,

The Aldi grand opening on Nostrand Avenue attracted the usual band of ribbon-cutting suspects — posturing politicians whose relentless heroic efforts brought a grocery store to beleaguered, undeserving Sheepshead Bay consumers.

In reality, grandstanding and pandering politicians do nothing other than pretend they care about constituents. the Waldbaums-Pathmark-Aldi scenario exposes the business model. When an existing supermarket or fast food establishment closes, the site is always vacant for at least two years because it is more profitable for the property owners and former businesses on that site to garner depreciation write-offs, tax abatement, and other financial maneuvers I won’t pretend to fully understand.

But I do know that the site always remains unused for two years or more. On this very Aldi site, a Waldbaums closed in 1996 and a colony of homeless derelicts blighted the area until a Pathmark opened in 2000. That close a decade later, plunging the area into another pernicious cycle of filth and neglect for a few years.

The former Waldbaums on Coyle Street closed in the late 1990s and tons of garbage blighted the area for years until Food Basics claimed the site. I could provide dozens of examples and challenge anyone to provide an example where this two-year vacancy didn’t occur.

All too often it is a foreign company (Aldi is German-based) or multinational global conglomerate (Waldbaums was taken over by a European conglomerate in the 1990s) with a short-term maximization of profit model that leaves American neighborhoods undeserved. The commitment is to global shareholders, not local consumers.

I will continue to shop across the street at Silver Star, a business founded by an American family that shares my culture and values. Lest you think I advertising for Silver Star, I could point out dozens of complaints with their operation. The reason they’re outlasted so many other food stores, however, is their long-term perspective and commitment to providing good quality food. They also have a commitment to the neighborhood. After a snowfall they completely clear the snow in front of their store. The former Pathmark cleared a narrow path that made it impossible for two carts to pass.

When Silver Star takes out a full-page ad in this newspaper they are supporting an enterprise that delivers an informative and entertaining publication to thousands free. Also, the ad is valuable in my food shopping planning. An excellent feature of Silver Star is that they have cyclical sales on needed items like milk, butter, chicken, juice, fish, etc. That helps a customer stock up on necessities. Perhaps I missed it, but I didn’t see any Aldi ads in your publication. Probably doesn’t fit into their European business model. Plus, Aldi charges 11 cents for each plastic bag, but doesn’t provide any signage.

To all of you conservative, American exceptionalism patriots who exhort: “Buy American!” This is an opportunity to put your food money where your mouth is.

Joseph McCoppin

Sheepshead Bay

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