Sound Off to the Editor

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To the editor,

It’s wonderful to hear that we will be bringing more fish to the creek by planting oysters and utilizing other filter feeders to clean the water (“Up the creek: Volunteers count sea life, clean Coney estuary,” online June 3).

I love the idea that our local students and educators are taking ownership of Coney Island Creek, which has been neglected for so many years.

As an educator and community educational advocate in Coney Island, I see My Estuary Day as just the beginning of bringing life to our neighborhood waterways. I envision a “marine science educational learning barge” coming to Coney Island to help support our students and create awareness about our local waterways.

On the barge I would like to see an ecology classroom to support water monitoring, population inventories, coastal ecology, and marine science school and community-based programming; a career training tech lab to help students gain underwater welding certification, laboratory skills, aquaponics, and marina operations; a wet lab facility with fish tanks and science laboratory equipment (scales, microscopes etc.); recreational kayaking and summer youth employment opportunities; and an office for a part-time coordinator for class trips, group visits, and to supervise research projects.

We can also reach out to environmental agencies, which could donate equipment and lend staff to train on select occasions if we ask them to partner with us in this proposed field site.

We want our students to experience Coney Island. Can you think of a better way?Scott Krivitsky

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

Right on, Shav

To the editor,

Shavana Abruzzo, thank you for your “The pope’s unholy Pales-whine” column (A Britisher’s View, May 29). Right on!

We hope this will cancel out any hate mail you’ll get for daring to write this excellent, true column.

Dorothy and David Goldberg


Popular vote counts

To the editor,

I too would like to see more political parties and uncorrupted politicians have a chance of winning elections (“Corrupt pols” by Jerry Sattler,” Sound Off to the Editor, June 5).

For this to happen, we need stringent campaign finance control. Unfortunately people and organizations with the most money usually control our elections, our politicians, and our two major political parties. Smaller parties with less money cannot compete. Therefore we need strong limits on how much money any candidate or party should be allowed to spend on an election.

I believe we should eliminate the electoral college and elect our next and future presidents by popular vote. Had we done this in 2000, the messed up ballots in Florida might not have mattered. I believe Al Gore had the popular vote. Had he won, we might now have a lot less environmental pollution, and we might all be able to breathe better.

I am opposed to the suggestion of term limits in national elections because we would lose some valuable congresspeople like our own senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. Not every politician is corrupt! There is no guarantee, with term limits, that we would not get corrupt politicians taking their places. Many newly-elected politicians have been found to be as corrupt as their predecessors.

What we really need is campaign finance control so that honest, but not wealthy, politicians would have a chance of being elected.

Elaine Kirsch


Speed trap

To the editor,

I was driving westbound on Shore Parkway between Knapp Street and Nostrand Ave. in Sheepshead Bay, at around 5:20 pm, when I was pulled over by two uniformed cops, along with several other passenger cars.

We were all given speeding tickets, which were technically justified. However, the dubious circumstances under which the tickets were issued are as follows: both policemen were on foot, there was no police car to be seen, a civilian passenger car was driving in the right lane at 10 mph below the 25 mph speed limit for two blocks and gave no indication of turning, thus inviting the vehicles behind to go into the left lane at increased speed to pass, which we all did. That’s when the policemen appeared and waived us over.

I obviously have no proof, but the slow-moving vehicle in the right lane seemed to me to be acting as a Judas goat, inducing cars behind to change lanes and pass it. Very suspicious.

I have lived in Sheepshead Bay all my life and have been driving since 1975. I pass that location once or twice every week and have never seen anything like this before. One might expect to see something like this in some little town in the hinterlands whose finances depend on scamming out-of-towners into traffic tickets.

Perhaps Mayor DeBlasio’s progressive “social justice” agenda requires additional funding and his Vision Zero campaign provides the means. I don’t blame the policemen, as I’m sure they were only following orders.Charles DeBlasi

Sheepshead Bay

Safety first

To the editor,

I was waiting for the Q train at West Eighth Street when I heard a fire truck with its horn blasting.

I noticed the truck had to wait for pedestrians to cross Surf Avenue with the light. I wondered how it would get to its emergency within seconds. I have the same concern about those stupid islands at Brighton Beach and Coney Island avenues.

As the summer season begins more seniors and families will flock Coney Island attempting to cross Surf Avenue. What I would like to see is for someone with a brain to decide that a new modern bridge between the W. Eighth Street subway and the Boardwalk past the aquarium must be rebuilt and maintained on an ongoing basis. I don’t want to hear it’s no one’s responsibility to maintain the bridge, which will make it easier to cross in safety.

Going west on Brighton Beach Avenue is a two-lane road, but going east is a one-lane road. Where are the fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances going to turn? I’ve noticed many cars don’t pull over upon hearing emergency sirens. They feel it’s easier to beat these emergency vehicles, as if they are just waiting for an accident to happen. When people hear any emergency vehicle, they need to pull over and let them pass.

Jerry Sattler

Brighton Beach

Driver’s ed

To the editor,

Elderly people’s reflexes and vision are not as sharp as younger people’s, and a fair solution to protect society as a whole would be for state legislature to enact laws that drivers of any age to retain their licenses should be given a neurological examination every two years to determine whether mental impairment has developed.

It is now known that President Woodrow Wilson had a stroke that left him blind in his left eye at 42 years old, when he was a professor of political science and government. This was not revealed for more than 70 years after his death. I understand too that Albert Einstein never drove a car.

My late father’s first home attendant told me that in Trinidad when people turn 60 they are required to surrender their drivers licenses. I do not think America has to be that arbitrary, but it would be beneficial for society as a well as individuals to be required to have a neurological examination every two years to see if any development might occur. Elliott Abosh

Brighton Beach

School’s down-n-out

To the editor,

What’s all the fuss about extending mayoral control of public schools? Since we have had it, I do not see improvements in class size or student attendance.

Test scores remain stagnant and far too many schools remain chaotic with discipline out of hand. Supplies are still hard to come by, and the control has weakened the ability to suspend unruly youngsters and fire some outrages principals, especially from the Leadership Academy. Parents for the most part are shut out of the decision-making process.

Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Martial schools

To the editor,

I was about to come up for tenure when Hugh Carey defeated Malcolm Wilson to become governor of New York in 1974. The United Federation of Teachers wholeheartedly supported Carey. No sooner was he governor than tenure was changed to five years, and therefore myself and others had to wait two additional years to achieve this job protection.

At the time the union urged membership to donate to vote for the Committee on Public Education to get the tenure back to three years.

Gov. Cuomo is falling into the same trap as Gov. Carey did. It doesn’t matter how many years of teaching is required as long as the system allows us to work under the same abysmal conditions. City classrooms have the largest classroom registers and consequently disruptive children in them. No matter what is tried nothing will work until we attempt to resolve the problems of class size and children who refuse to behave themselves in school. It is ridiculous that people who never spent one day in the classroom as a teacher attempt to make rules that classroom teachers have to work under.

When it comes to class sizes, the union pointed out years ago that it had established an expedited grievance procedure in dealing with large classrooms. What expedited procedure? I’ve been retired now for nearly 14 years and the problem persists. Similarly the problem of disruptive children is ignored because no one wants to touch the issue. It is much easier to blame the teacher for the behavior of children who either will not or are unable to control themselves in classrooms. The 600-schools for problem children were done away with years ago, and now the mayor and chancellor are talking about eliminating suspensions for the unruly. The mayor and other critics of teachers desperately need to get back into a classroom and see what goes on during the course of a day.

Stop with the liberal nonsense of total child, alternate assessments, and other jokes, and institute military discipline in those schools requiring it. Any teacher cannot teach without discipline — Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina knows that.Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Bad economics

To the editor,

Is there real reason to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the New York City Economic Development Corporation? New York City prospered and successfully grew prior to creation of this group and it’s predecessor, the N.Y.C. Public Development Corporation which was created in 1966. In 1991 the N.Y.C. Public Development Corporation (P.D.C.) was merged with the N.Y.C. Financial Services Corporation (F.S.C.) to form the N.Y.C. Economic Development Corporation. In many instances projects supported by these government corporations have been heavily subsidized by taxpayers, commonly known as corporate welfare. Between direct government funding, low-interest and below-market-rate loans, and long-term tax exemptions, the bill to taxpayers in the end is greater than the so-called public benefits.

There is also a relationship between pay-for-play campaign contributions from developers to elected officials looking for favorable legislation, private-property condemnation under eminent domain, building permits, public infrastructure improvements, along with direct and hidden subsidies. In some cases city and state development corporations actually compete against each other attempting to outbid each other in offering potential investors the best deal. This translates to the highest subsidies at taxpayers’ expense.

Don’t forget the conflict of interest for senior staff from municipal regulatory and permitting agencies. Too many leave in the twilight of any mayoral administration to become employees or consultants to the same developers they previously oversaw.

Take Seth Pinsky, former executive director of the N.Y.C.E.D.C. who went on to become executive vice president of the RXR Realty. Some developers try to purchase the support of local community groups by making so-called voluntary donations. They also make promises for capital improvements, which after the major project is completed don’t always appear. Other commitments for creation of permanent new jobs and tax revenues frequently do not meet expectations. If these projects are worthwhile, why can’t major developers use their own funds or obtain loans from banks, like medium and small businesses?

Real business people who believe in capitalism build their companies on their own. How sad that some don’t want to do it the old fashioned way by sweat and hard work. They are looking for shortcuts in the form of huge subsidies at taxpayers expense and favors from elected officials.Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

Tunnel vision

To the editor,

Your story “Tunnel Aversion” (March 26) concerning the proposed Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel which might connect New Jersey to Brooklyn and Queens is under consideration again. In theory, it might move thousands of trucks on a daily basis off the roads and on to railroad tracks for significant portions of the journey between New Jersey and Long Island. It reminds me of the long-forgotten proposed tunnel between 69th Street in Bay Ridge and St. George on Staten Island. The concept was to extend subway service from Brooklyn to Staten Island. Ground was broken with entrances at both ends in the 1920s, but the project quickly ran out of money and was abandoned to history. When living on Shore Road in Bay Ridge, friends and I would look to no avail in attempting to find the abandoned site filled in decades earlier. Flash forward almost 90 years later and we have the proposed “Cross Harbor” rail freight tunnel project.

Construction of any new freight, public transportation tunnel or bridge project can take years if not decades by the time all feasibility studies, environmental reviews, planning, design, engineering, real estate acquisition, permits, procurements, construction, budgeting, identifying, and securing funding is completed. This is before the project reaches beneficial use. Construction for the 2nd Avenue subway began in the 1960s. Bond money intended for this project in the 1950s was spent elsewhere. The latest completion date for the first segment of three stations between 63rd and 96th streets on the upper east side of Manhattan is 2016 at a cost of $4.5 billion. Construction for the original tunnel to support bringing the Long Island Rail Road from Queens into Grand Central Station began in the 1960s. The latest completion date is now 2023 with a cost of $10 billion. No one can identify the source for the estimated $16 billion to build a new tunnel for New Jersey Transit and Amtrak known as the “Gateway project” to gain additional access to Penn Station from New Jersey. Ditto for paying back the $3 billion federal loan which covered a majority of the estimated $4 billion for replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge in Westchester. Any guess who will find $5 to $10 billion or more needed for construction of a new Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel? This may be just another in the continuing series of feasibility studies sponsored by various governmental agencies and public officials over decades. They generate some money for consultants, along with free publicity, for elected officials who promise a bright future, but all to often move on to another public office before delivering. You are frequently left holding an empty bag with unfilled promises. At the end of the day just like the long abandoned Brooklyn to Staten Island subway project, don’t count on seeing any shovel in the ground before the end of this decade. Don’t count on completion of any Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel in our lifetime.Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

Bklyn then and now

To the editor,

Did you know that the first game to be played at the Brooklyn Dodgers Ebbets Field was an inter-league exhibition game against the New York Yankees on April 5, 1913? Ebbets Field officially opened on April 9, 1913 against the Philadelphia Phillies. The original Brooklyn Dodgers name was derived from residents who would dodge trolley cars when crossing streets for decades, until their own decline and final death in the 1950’s. If it had not been for mega builder Robert Moses, along with both the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers leaving the Big Apple in 1957 for California, there may have been no Barclays Center or Brooklyn Nets.

The golden era of baseball in the city took place in the 1950s with a three-way rivalry between the American League New York Yankees, and the National League New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers. All three teams claimed to have the best center fielder in baseball. On street corners all over town, citizens would argue whether the Yankees’ Mickey Mantle, Giants’ Willie Mays or Dodgers’ Duke Snider was champ.

Ordinary Brooklyn natives could ride the bus, trolley or subway to Ebbets Field to see their beloved Dodgers. Working and middle class men and woman of all ages, classes and races co-mingled in the stands. Everyone could afford a bleacher, general admission, reserve or box seat. Hot dogs, beer, other refreshments and souvenirs were reasonably priced.

Team owners would raise or reduce a players salary based on their performance the past season. Salaries were so low, that virtually all Dodger players worked at another job off season. Most Dodger players were actually neighbors who lived and worked in various communities in the County of Kings.

Residents of the era sat outside on the neighborhood stoop, shopped at the local butcher, baker, fruit, and vegetable stand. Television was a relatively new technology and the local movie theater was still king for entertainment. Brooklyn still had its very own daily newspaper — the Brooklyn Eagle — which ended publication some time in the mid-1950s.

During the 1950s, Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley tried to find various locations for construction of a new baseball stadium which he pledged to finance using his own monies. With limited seating capacity at Ebbets Field, he needed a new modern stadium to remain financially viable. City master mega-builder Robert Moses refused to allow him access to the current-day Barclays Center build on Atlantic Yards. This location was easily accessible to thousands of baseball fans from all around the Big Apple via numerous subway lines and Long Island Rail Road.

Thousands of fans who moved to other neighborhoods in eastern Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk County would have had direct access via the LIRR. Imagine how different Brooklyn would have been if elected officials had stood up to Robert Moses and allowed construction of a new Dodgers stadium in downtown Brooklyn. Without the departure of both the Brooklyn Dodgers (becoming the Los Angeles Dodgers) and New York Giants (San Francisco Giants), there may have been no national league expansion in 1962. There would have been no Colt 45s (original name of the Houston Astros), our beloved New York Mets, or the Barclays Center hosting the Brooklyn Nets basketball team.

Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

Lesson 101

To the editor,

In reality, it doesn’t matter how long tenure is. Even tenured teachers can be fired. Principals just don’t want to go through the paper work in the process. If a principal doesn’t like you, you will be assigned the most difficult classes and therefore with unsatisfactory results and the lack of discipline in these classes, you shall be terminated.

When Spiro Agnew resigned from the vice presidency in Oct. 1973, Nixon tapped New York’s Gov. Nelson Rockefeller to be vice president. Lt. Governor Malcolm Wilson became governor and ran against Hugh Carey in the 1974 election. Carey won and thanked the teacher’s union for its support by going along with the legislature and increasing teacher tenure to five years. I vividly remember this because myself and others had to wait an additional two years to be tenured.

While this was occurring, Unity Caucus, which has run the union for more than 50 years, strongly recommended that we give money to the Committee on Political Education in order to get the tenure reduced to three years again. Had we stayed with Gov. Wilson, we wouldn’t have encountered this mess. Increasing tenure will only cause novice teachers to leave in droves.

No one wants to admit that unruly pupils are the causes of the ills of the public school system. You could make 10 years a requirement for tenure and you shall encounter the same problems. Start allowing discipline back in the schools and you would see those teachers being rated ineffective improve rapidly.Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Scott String-along

To the editor,

City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s report that New Yorkers spend more time traveling to work than those who commute in other cities told us nothing new. This has been previously documented in numerous other taxpayer-funded studies and newspaper articles. Older generations moved to two fare zones in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island in search of more affordable housing, safer neighborhoods, better air quality and better schools. They knew full well that they would be living in a two-fare (bus to subway) zone with longer commutes to and from work. Newer generations looking for the same quality of life moved to the suburbs. They had to deal with driving to a commuter railroad station, riding the railroad and transferring to the subway before arriving at work. More recent generations moved beyond the old inner suburbs to newer outer suburbs with even longer commutes.

The real questions Srtinger failed to look at is who is providing the appropriate level of funding to improve everyone’s commute and how those dollars are being spent.

For decades under numerous previous Metropolitan Transportation Authority five-year capital plans, both the city and state collectively cut billions of their own respective, financial contributions. They repeatedly had the agency refinance or borrow funds to acquire scarce capital funding formerly made up by hard cash from both City Hall and Albany. This has resulted in long term agency debt, doubling from $15 billion to more than $32 billion. More money has to be spent on debt service payments. This has resulted in billions of fewer dollars available for both operating and capital improvements for safety, state of good repair, and system expansion capital projects and programs. While Washington has consistently provided billions, it is both City Hall and Albany that have retreated from properly financing the capital program since the 1980s. How much money did Stringer bring to the city as a member of the State Assembly and Manhattan borough president? How much money has Stringer asked Mayor Bill DeBlasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and the City Council to provide in the municipal budget? Talk is cheap, but actions speak louder.

Stringer and other career politicians continue to miss how both the Department of Transportation and Metropolitan Transportation Authority manage their respective capital and operating assistance programs. Both the city and the agency combined have an active portfolio in billions of ongoing capital projects and programs. This includes almost two billion dollars of yearly assistance from Washington. These dollars are supplemented by billions more from various discretionary federal funding sources, including post 9-11 aid, American Recovery Reinvestment Act, and Hurricane Sandy funding.

Stringer’s staff time would have been better spent auditing both the city and the agency, along with their respective sub recipients and operating agencies, to see how prudent they have been in managing all those billions of dollars from Uncle Sam and Albany.

Stringer could give up both his fee parking space at City Hall and his special police parking permit. He can use his transit check to purchase MetroCards. Why not ask his wife to do the same? This will afford Stringer the opportunity to join several million constituents who use public transportation on a daily basis and also contribute to a cleaner environment.Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

‘Stupid’ Dems

To the editor,

Pee on the southern Brooklyn Democrats for being so stupid as to endorse the underground Republican spoiler for the Republican Party, James Inne, masking as a progressive candidate for Green Party U.S., not to be confused with the real Green Party, which would never run a candidate to take away votes needed to defeat a Republican candidate, something Green party US has no problem with.

Indeed when Al Gore ran against George Bush, Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate, got tons of money from the Bush people. Is anyone still too stupid to understand why this was done?

This is what Martin Kilian, a forming member of the German Green Party in 1979 had to say about this so-called Green Party when it ran Nadar for president during the Gore-Bush election: “The position of the American Greens is highly questionable and outright immature if you ask me,” he said during an internet interview.

It is high time progressives and Democrats see this so called Green Party for what it really is there for: to help Republicans by taking away votes from Democrats.

I challenge anyone to come up with a more intelligent answer that is not full of it from Green Party U.S. David Raisman

Bay Ridge

On track

To the editor,

Practically every Thursday evening at the end of the month I go to a Barnes and Noble open-mike poetry event at the Seventh Avenue and Sixth Street location in the northwestern part of Brooklyn.

I take an F train to and from my location from Brighton Beach taking the Q train to Stillwell Avenue and transferring to an F train getting off at the Seventh Avenue station.

On my return trip, however, I try to take an F train back to Stillwell Avenue, but I sometimes have a considerable wait, and to save time take a G train with its final stop at Church Avenue and then wait for an F line going back home to Stillwell Avenue, and again take a Q to Brighton Beach.

If the G train can’t go directly to Coney Island, wouldn’t it make more sense for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to build a direct route from either Coney Island to Rockaway station in Queens or have a super express where the first stop would be either Canal Street or Grand Street?

This might be beneficial for commuters when tracks need to be repaired as an alternative to bus service. Elliott Abosh

Brighton Beach

No-prez Pataki

To the editor,

Former New York governor George Pataki’s announcement that he is running for president in 2016 will be followed as being one of the first to drop out. No one who truly believes in limited government, balanced budgets, reduction in long-term debt and support for the free enterprise system signed up for his ill-fated 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. The same will be true in 2016, which is why Pataki will once again never get out of the starting gate.

Pataki’s lavish spending of taxpayer dollars to special interest groups to grease his 2002 re-election for his third and last term made the late liberal Republican Governor Nelson Rockefeller roll over in his grave! His record deficits, excessive spending, and late budgets give real conservative Republicans anguish. Native New York Republicans who know Pataki best, will once again deny him the ability to carry New York as a favorite son candidate.

Pataki’s self promotion is really motivated by a desire to drum up both business for his consulting firm and consideration for a cabinet or other position in any future Republican administration. Pataki wrote his own political obituary long ago. Except in his mind and personal ego, Pataki is essentially irrelevant in politics today.

It is time he set his sights on something more realistic. Perhaps consider running against Sen. Charles Schumer in 2016.

Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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