Admittedly in favor of admissions tests

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To the editor,

Fiddling with schools again!

So our “communist mayor” is now busy fiddling with the school system in an effort to incorporate a phony “diversity” in all high schools. Instead of having prestigious schools requiring students with excellent drive, talent and performance scores, he wants to open the floodgates to mediocrity.

In the ’60s and ’70s these schools required us students to take a special test for admission, whereupon we received a fine education in technical and vocational studies. If one didn’t keep up with the rigorous course of studies, you were transferred to a regular high school. This intensive schooling equipped us well to handle our future lives. Many of us went on to college while thousands hit the job market, building homes, installing electrical and plumbing systems, maintaining subways and buses and making the city a viable place to live.

This new hair-brained scheme will, no doubt, bring the high schools, especially those specializing in specific learning tracks, down to a level where the diploma will just be another piece of paper. It will be a shame to see that occurring as of today, and into the future, if one looks at demographics, the minority students are the majority today.

I graduated Brooklyn’s William E. Grady in 1970 and worked my way up to a General Superinten­dent’s position in “power.”

I will be forever grateful to the teachers and staff of all technical–vocational schools for their efforts.

Robert W. Lobenstein

Marine Park

Keep sidewalks free

To the editor,

In his response to my criticism of police officers breaking the law by routinely parking on the sidewalks outside police precincts Eric Sommer (“Let some park there,” June 1) raises an interesting question. Who should the laws apply to? Mr. Sommer believes that not only should the police be allowed to break the law because they are protecting us from “the real bad guys,” but so should anyone involved in an essential public service, such as the fire department, educators, private security and EMT personnel.

Sommer states reasons why public transportation is not good enough for these folks, and also is inaccurate. Yes, public transportation has many shortcomings, but it is not true that “most commute via efficient public transporta­tion.” Yes, for those traveling into the center city, the statistic is close to 80 percent, but when all jobs are considered, it drops to around 50 percent, which is why there are so many cars on the road.

I am quite aware that it is not only police officers who flout the law and singled them out only because they should be setting the example for the rest of us. Using a rare example of an officer living in Long Island assigned to Staten Island and being temporarily reassigned for the day to a detail in Queens and having to sign out from Staten Island to return home to Long Island, he justifies all police officers being allowed to block city sidewalks. He also makes it appear that a police officer can be transferred every day to a different precinct and never knows where he will be working, another rare occurrence. No one is trying to disparage hard-working police officers who are protecting us, but expecting them to also obey the law is not asking too much.

I didn’t criticize those who park on their own lawn because they are not breaking the law as long as they are not using an illegal curb cut, and I didn’t give car dealers a pass. I just stated that the problem with police officers was more widespread.

Sommer calls my argument simplistic when he is the one who divides the public into three groups of people, those performing “essential services” who should be allowed to break certain laws; the “regular people” who can live wherever they want and who should follow every law; and the “real bad guys” who constantly break the laws.

Yes, the problem of illegal parking goes beyond police officers. It extends to those using phony placards and those who borrow handicapped plates from their grandmother so they can have a day at the beach. But if we are to live in a civilized society, we can’t just make exceptions for certain groups of people so that it is only the “regular” people who are heavily fined for breaking the law. We need to improve public transit to reduce car reliance, and if the police or others providing essential services need more parking, the city must provide it for them legally.

Allan Rosen

Sheepshead Bay

Boardwalk, not ride

To the editor,

I was horrified to learn about the mayor’s new bike share program! We have far too many reckless bicycle riders on the streets now. We certainly don’t need them on the Boardwalk mowing down senior citizens and whomever else gets in their way!

I agree with Arlene Brenner, who happens to be a friend of mine and a fellow member of the Council Center for Senior Citizens on Kings Highway, that the Boardwalk is for walking not bicycles. We have enough trouble dodging careless bicyclists on the sidewalks near our homes and our senior center! I have narrowly been able to avoid being hit by bicycles several times. We need fewer bikes, instead of more, and more policing and control of reckless bike riders on our streets. We do not need nor want more bikes in our city! The mayor’s proposed bike share program on the Boardwalk will prevent senior citizens and other pedestrians from safely walking and enjoying the Boardwalk. Tourists will enjoy the Boardwalk just as much, or maybe more, without the bikes, and will be a lot safer. I think it is imperative that our politicians forget about the bike share program and keep bicycles off the Boardwalk!

Elaine Kirsch


Hail to the chief

My hats off to President Trump for signing the Right To Try Act. This Act will save lives.

Lying in a hospital bed not knowing whether you’ll live until the next hour is a horrible thing to go through. Doctors saying there isn’t anything else that can be done. Now there may be something that can be done and living to the next hour becomes hopeful. Anyone who is against this bill should never know a catastrophic illness. But the life it saves could be yours.

Bob Seidenberg

Bay Ridge

The MTA needs DC

To the editor,

While Mayor DeBlasio and Gov. Cuomo continue to fight over who is responsible for management and funding of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Washington continues to be a reliable financial partner. Finding $38 billion over 10 years to fund NYC Transit Andy Byford’s proposed recovery plan will be a four-way dance between riders who pay at the fare box along with funding from City Hall, Albany and Washington.

Federal support for transportation has remained consistent and growing over past decades. When a crisis occurred, be it 9-11 in 2001 or Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Washington was there for us. Additional billions in assistance above and beyond yearly formula allocations from the Federal Transit Administration was provided. In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided billions more.

Most federal transportation grants require a 20 percent hard-cash local share. In most cases, the Federal Transit Administration accepted toll credits instead of hard cash for the local share. This saved the MTA over $1 billion in the previous 2010–2014 Five Year Capital Program. The same will be true with the 2015–2019 five-year capital program. Washington provided over $1.3 billion in 2017 Federal Transit Administration formula funding for the MTA which helps pays for its capital program. There is $1.4 billion more in federal funding available in 2018.

The MTA can’t afford to wait for both City Hall and Albany to step up and help provide billions in additional funding. Neither can transit riders and taxpayers who are looking for accountability, efficient and timely completion for both capital projects and routine maintenance to assure more reliable and safe on time service.Larry Penner

Great Neck

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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