‘Sound Off to the Editor’ — the best letters page in town - Brooklyn Paper

‘Sound Off to the Editor’ — the best letters page in town

To the editor,

Your article about the pepper spray incident at IS 278 (“Update: Pepper spray unleashed at Marine Park school,” online May 24) was indeed true, but it also perpetuates a reputation of the students as unruly and undisciplined.

In fact, IS 278 students in the school’s music program — under the leadership of Chandis Pohl, Jason Stewart, and Principal Garafalo — won the Esprit de’Corps at the Hershey Music Competition on May 18, for the third consecutive year.

The award is given for the group that best exemplifies the spirit of cooperation, good sportsmanship, and good behavior that is the hallmark of the competition.

I hope that in the future you will give more honest, and complete appraisal of the students of IS 278.Stephen Trani

Marine Park

Weiner’s record

To the editor,

Larry Penner’s letter left me open to other questions concerning Anthony Weiner, and politicians as a whole (“Weiner’s hot for public office,” Sound Off to the Editor, May 31).

His comments that Weiner worked as an aide for Rep. Charles Schumer (1985–1991), a councilman (1992–1998), and a congressman (1999–2011), but had never built a business, created jobs, met a payroll, balanced a multi-billion dollar budget, or managed any significant agencies with a large number of employees, has left me wondering how has this individual been able to work for so many organizations, and for a prominent politician as Rep. Schumer, and hasn’t accomplished anything within the years shown.

Would Schumer and other councilmembers and Congress personnel, who have taken oaths of office, allow him to remain seated among themselves, without question of duty and accomplishments? How has he been able to get elected to office repeatedly for the years shown in Larry Penner’s commentary?

He has piqued my interest in knowing more, which in turn will help in the decision-making process needed in the various choices for mayor.

I am sure others like myself, after reading his letter, are wondering the same. Debra Justin


To the editor,

Anthony Weiner, the ex-congressman and former underwear model, is running for mayor. No big deal. This is America. Anyone can run for anything.

What is more interesting is that Weiner and Mrs. Weiner are reporting a joint income of almost half a million dollars for 2012, the bulk of which came from Anthony’s new consulting business. What is he consulting about? Well, navigating the rules and regulations that he helped write while he was in Congress, of course.

So, let’s see, Mr. Smith, or Mr. Weiner, goes to Washington and spends his time writing laws that are too incomprehensible for any normal human to understand. Then one day, he retires, gets dressed, and spends the rest of his life being paid a ton of money to interpret these laws for people who will have their savings confiscated — and maybe even go to jail if they get it wrong.

Is this a great country or what? The founders named the capitol “Washington” after a guy who was thought to symbolize integrity and honesty — qualities they thought the new government ought to represent.

Maybe it’s time for a name change?Steve Finger

Marine Park

Teacher appraisal

To the editor,

The city’s new teacher evaluation system is a sham, and everyone in education circles knows it.

Only the United Federation of Teacher’s Unity Caucus could call this a victory. I don’t see where student discipline is discussed in the plan. You cannot have a fair evaluation process for teachers until you establish a zero tolerance policy for student misbehavior in school.

Principals will now directly target certain teachers they don’t like by assigning them the most difficult classes. They will know what the results of state tests shall be, and therefore they will be able to label such teachers as ineffective and dismiss them quickly.

Under the current system, principals routinely observe teachers. Non-tenured teachers are observed even more. Principals were able to unload tenured teachers via the 320-A process. The paperwork is cumbersome, and many principals just didn’t want to bother.

The New York City school system will now be more of a revolving door for teachers. Many leave now within five years of beginning their careers, due to working conditions, lack of support by administrators, and unruly students.

Under this new system, there is no change in that.Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Tape tips

To the editor,

We all have trouble finding the once-started edge on Scotch tape, masking tape, and other rolls of tape, so out of necessity we scratch the edges till we find the starting point. Frustrating!

Well, you know the very little plastic squares (about one inch) that have the expiration dates and prices on them, that go on loaves of bread to close the loaves after you take a few slices out to toast? Do not discard them. Keep a few around for they are perfect to adhere to the edges of tape.

It makes it, oh, so simple to find the tape edge next time you need the tape. No more searching for the edge.

Try it, you’ll like it. Oh, so simple.Joan Applepie

Mill Basin

WTC tax spike

To the editor,

There are two sides to every story concerning the topping of One World Trade Center with the final section of its spire. There will be celebrations when it is completed in 18 months, and ready for occupancy.

At present, only 55 percent of available space has been leased to date. Last year, Rep. Charles Schumer (D–Park Slope) was successful in lobbying the federal General Services Administration to sign a 20-year lease for six floors at One World Trade Center. This makes no sense for taxpayers. First, we have provided several billion dollars toward subsidizing reconstruction of the site.

Current cost is now $3.9 billion, including a $1-billion cost overrun. The overall costs of rebuilding the 16-acre site, including the 9-11 memorial and other projects, has increased from $11 billion in 2008 to $15 billion today. Many components are several years behind the original scheduled completion dates.

Taxpayers are now being asked to pay twice, by providing funding for G.S.A. to rent space at the same facility from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (another government agency), and the Durst Organization. Does Schumer have any conflicts of interest in soliciting campaign contributions from members of the Durst Organization as a political quid-pro-quo for “assisting” and “steering” them tenants? Why shouldn’t 100 percent of space at One World Trade Center be rented out to private-sector tenants, thus saving taxpayers funds? There are already numerous other G.S.A. buildings in other locations around the city and suburbs.

Brooklyn residents, who could have benefited from additional jobs based in their communities, were sold out by Schumer. Don’t forget that many companies have been moving out of Manhattan to other boroughs, suburbs, and out of state. This has increased existing surplus capacity of office building space at these locations. Even more new space will be coming on line with the Manhattan midtown west Hudson Yards project adjacent to Penn Station, and rezoning of Manhattan’s east midtown adjacent to Grand Central Terminal.

Many other owners of facilities can offer leasing at a far lower price per square foot. They could easily beat the so-called bargain of $40 a square foot at One World Trade Center. Why not attempt saving taxpayers millions? With a $16.7 trillion dollar plus deficit, shouldn’t the G.S.A. — along with other federal agencies — be consolidating, rather than renting more office space?

Schumer’s actions are just padding the amount of leased space at One World Trade Center, with taxpayers picking up the tab. He reminds me of Don Corleone, the godfather. With all of his powers in reviewing and approving G.S.A.’s annual fiscal year budget, he made them “an offer they couldn’t refuse.” At the end of the day, Schumer has just added to our $16.7 trillion dollar — and growing — national deficit.

Since 1981, under Schumer’s watch as a former Congress member and now senator, the only thing that grew faster than reconstruction of One World Trade Center was our national debt. It went up by $15.7 trillion, increasing from $1 trillion in 1981 to $16.7 trillion today. No wonder Schumer never talks about this at his standard Sunday news conferences. It is nothing to be proud of.Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

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