Sound Off to the Editor

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To the editor,

It has now been almost two months since the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, in its infinite wisdom, rolled out Select Bus Service on the B44 Nostrand Avenue line.

I must in all fairness say that on the face of it, it seems like a wonderful plan. Double-sized buses that whiz through traffic in special “bus only” lanes, only stopping at key intersections, thereby getting more commuters to their destination faster. Terrific! The problem is that while this plan may work well in Manhattan, where there are wide avenues and lanes that can be put aside for the buses, or in Williamsburg where hipsters need to get to their destinations faster, it does nothing at all in over-crowded Marine Park where Nostrand Avenue is already only one lane wide.

For those of us who live between the junction and Avenue U, all we have done is lose access to more buses at major intersections with other bus lines like Avenue R and Avenue L, which are bypassed by the new buses.

This week, when temperatures plunged close to zero it was especially difficult to watch the special buses sail by serenely empty while I waited as much as 20 minutes for a local bus. Has anyone in Marine Park yet sighted one of these buses with no empty seats?

When the plan was first launched in November, agency representatives said to walk to the nearest stop or complain to our elected officials. Of course, their timing conveniently coincided with the turnover in our politicians from last year’s elections. I am sure that helping former constituents was high on the list of Lew Fidler and other outgoing politicians.

In any case, my fellow riders and I complained, and other than a vague statement that the service was being monitored, nothing has happened.

Now in all fairness, I could walk to the S.B.S. stop on Avenue U or Kings Highway, but unfortunately I live in the middle of both. It would be a 10-minute walk to one and a 15-minute walk to the other. Only the M.T.A. could maintain a straight face while explaining the logic of doing this rather than taking the bus that stops right on my corner at Avenue R.

There needs to be a re-evaluation of this plan before riders develop frostbite at a local stop while multiple, empty buses pass them.Larry Fried

Marine Park

Class-action effort

To the editor,

I applaud Principal Alyce Barr for having the insight and determination to move forward with her Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies in District 15 (“Too cool for high-school school,” Jan. 24). It’s all about creating a strong foundation and preparing our students for their future careers.

As an educator and community activist in Coney Island, I know that preparing young adults for success requires a different educational experience than it did many years ago. We are seeing that many of America’s students are not meaningfully engaged or motivated in their academic experience while in high school.

Many high school graduates lack exposure to learning that links their work in school to college and careers — especially in the critically important fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Our schools must do more to engage, prepare, and inspire college- and career-ready students, and our career technical education programs must be better aligned to employer and post-secondary needs.

The time is now to bring more of these programs to southern Brooklyn schools. It’s all about creating a pathway and pipeline to education for our students. We must create a new blue print for education that engages our newly elected officials, business alliances and chambers of commerce. Make it a team effort for education.Scott Krivitsky

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

Boycott boycotters

To the editor,

I find it most offensive that extremist Angela Davis used a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., commemorative service to spew her hatred for Israel, without a response from Mayor DeBlasio, his wife, or the Rev. Al Sharpton.

If Israel allows Arabs to be in the Knesset, how can Israel be an apartheid state? Are Israelis living in Arab countries represented in their governments?

Davis and other anti-Semites conveniently forget that when the U.N. declared the partitioning of the Palestine in Nov. 1947, the Jewish people offered peace to the Palestinians, but the leaders of the latter dispersed their people and chose war instead. Who has bombed buses and committed other terrorist acts?

We, Jews, had to learn the hard way that by keeping quiet in the 1930s, Hitler was able to get away with one of the greatest tragedies ever to befall mankind. Don’t expect that kind of submission from us anymore.

In fact, I am urging that people boycott those who advocate boycotts of Israel: Pink Floyd, Annie Lennox, Stevie Wonder, Emma Thompson, Vanessa Redgrave, and others.Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Safety first

To the editor,

All the best to Mayor DeBlasio, who is to be commended for adding at least 50 new video cameras and curbing speed limits to 20 miles per hour to prevent pedestrians from being hit by a motor operator.

His approach is as meritorious as that of the late former Mayor Tom Bradley of Los Angeles, where drivers were required to stop for pedestrians.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and the city shouldn’t wait until a pedestrian is killed by a driver to install a new traffic light. Yet, if pedestrians cross improperly, they should be fined as well. This would bring in more revenue and help to realize our goal of becoming a safer city.

New York, the fourth largest state in population, is being eclipsed by California, Texas, and Florida, all of which charge $10,000 for no-fault insurance, while we pay a maximum of $50,000 — more than anywhere in the country.

It is only right that the city do its fair share to at least alleviate this problem, if not cure it. Elliott Abosh

Brighton Beach

Rich tax

To the editor,

Mayor DeBlasio’s rejection of Gov. Cuomo’s offer to fund pre-K with state funds because it lacked the requisite tax-the-rich component of the mayor’s philosophy is reminiscent of President Obama’s assertion that he would favor increasing capitol gains tax even if it produced no new income because the point was to promote “fairness,” otherwise known as taxing the rich.

Impoverishing the rich has never managed to enrich the poor, even though it sounds like it should. And now here we are. Fasten your seat belts!

Stephen Finger, Mill Basin

Inconvenient chapter

To the editor,

I was furious when the libraries, beginning with the Kings Highway branch, converted to computerization. However, after some time went by, I decided that since I still wanted to borrow library books, I would have to learn how to use the new system. To my surprise, this turned out to be both easy and convenient.

Then I received another unpleasant surprise at the same branch. Books used to be returned by putting them through a slot, but the return system was recently computerized, and patrons now have to scan the books before putting them through the slots. Do we now have to do all of the librarian’s work?

This is not difficult to do, however, the problem which I encountered was that when many people are returning books at the same time, we have to wait a long time to return books. The fact that the librarian was giving instructions to people who needed help, added to the wait time.

When I complained to two nearby librarians, I was told to register my complaint with the central library. Would this do any good? Would they change the system? Of course not!

I wonder what the library will come up with next to further inconvenience patrons.Sarah Vogel

Sea Gate

‘Trivial’ Stan

To the editor,

I was disappointed by Stanley P. Gershbein’s column, “Stan is sure he can keep it up” (It’s Only My Opinion, Jan. 17).

He discusses such trivial matters as the length of a movie he recently saw, and families with members of differing political stripes. With all that’s going on in the city, the nation and the world, one would think that Gershbein could find something more substantive to write about than Mickey Mouse’s fingers.

What puzzles me is why you continue to publish such nonsense. Gershbein prides himself on having never a missed a deadline in 25 years. While I respect his sense of responsibility, I submit that your readers would be no less served if he missed an occasional deadline.

Arnold Kingston

Sheepshead Bay

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.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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