Bidding Shavana ‘cheerio’

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To the editor,

Good luck on your future endeavors, Shavana. Your pro-America, conservative views were breaths of fresh air amongst the current cesspool of liberal hogwash that infest today’s media.

Consider relocating to a swing state so that conservative views combined with your vote at the polls can help America flourish.

If you write for another publication, please make the Brooklyn community aware.

Cheerio and all that jazz.

Elio Valenti

• • •

Don’t let the Islamo-door hit you on the way out.Annonymous


• • •

Good, well-written column, Vince, [“An ode to Shavana Abruzzo, Nov. 18, 2016] and on the mark.

Shavana will be missed.

One of the best writers Courier Life has produced.

All the best to you, Shavana!

Stephen Witt


• • •

Great column, Vince. That said, I found Abruzzo to be a racist xenophobe, but I’m happy for you that she’s a friend.Johnny on the Spot

Brooklyn Heights

Carmine? Stan?

To the editor,

I was very touched by your farewell article about Shavana Abruzzo.

However, I was disappointed that you didn’t say more about the departures of Stan Gershbein and Carmine Santa Maria.

What does they have “moved on” mean. Was it their choice to leave or yours?

I always enjoyed reading their articles. Now that Stan Gershbein and Shavana Abruzzo are both gone, who will be writing about the more conservative views?

I’ve noticed that you have several new writers, but they are all liberal. Is that the way your paper is heading?

I left several messages on the editorial answering machine after I noticed that Carmine Santa Maria’s articles were no longer in your paper.

I never received a reply.

I do hope that this time will be different.Janet Ross

Marine Park

• • •

To the editor,

I have been an avid reader of the Bay News for several years. Every Friday I have looked eagerly forward to reading Stan Gershbein’s column and Carmine Santa Maria.

I and my friends and fellow readers would like to know why their columns have disappeared from your paper.

I don’t understand why you have written a beautiful tribute to Shavana Abruzzo but have never written anything about Stan nor Carmine’s reasons for leaving the paper nor about their contributions to the Bay News.

To my knowledge, neither have they. Their columns seem to have just vanished. My friends and I have been puzzled by their sudden disappearances and would like some answers.

I may not always have agreed with Stan, but I enjoyed reading him and arguing with him in letters I wrote to the paper.

I worried about Carmine whenever he wrote about his weight or all the food he consumed at the many banquets he sponsored. I hope he is well and don’t understand why his column suddenly disappeared. I know how much he loved writing his column!

I think all your readers deserve an explanation as to why these two columns are no longer in the paper and hope you will provide an answer. Elaine Kirsch


Editor’s note: Stan and Carmine are doing quite well. Both worked for the Courier for more than two decades, and the management and staff of the Courier thank them for all they have done. We just felt it was time to end the columns. As to why Shavana got such a send-off in print, she worked in the office every day, doing much more than just writing her column, while Stan and Carmine worked from home, only interacting with us once a week. That connection Shavana had to the staff was the reason for her getting the attention we feel she deserved.

Racy position

To the editor,

Thank you for your Not For Nuthin’ column (“We need to unite under Trump, and it starts with dropping the hyphen” by Joanna DelBuono online Nov. 16) to remove the hyphen when we describe who we are, living in the country we love and call home. Americans for America.

Joanna, I am thrilled that your daughter, your child, had the chance to see and hear from abroad how others describe themselves within the country they live, among a diverse society. Sadly, America hasn’t to date reached that plateau.

For want and wishes, I so pray for that day to appear here and now … today.

However, since we are a nation still holding on to and protecting white supremacist groups — and have in place politicians who support these ideals and corporate industry “movers and shakers” who say what is and what will be calling the shots in business, banking, state and local educational systems etc. with those same attitudes, diversity is seen as the worst thing that can happen to America, we will have problems.

When you have a mayor, a corporate director, and a teacher — people who should be official, professional, a guide for all children — just recently after Election Day say “Michelle Obama is an ape in heels” and “Michelle Obama is a gorilla” and “it will be great to have beauty in the White House again,” we haven’t reached that plateau yet.

Our First Lady, who has been nothing but grace, beauty, class, and a leader for eight years along with Dr. Jill Biden — a teacher and wife to our vice-president the same — to be disrespected in this manner is low. (But “we will go high”).

Joanna, some will say for you to remove your “rose-colored eyeglasses.”

I say leave them on.

Maybe, just maybe the hyphens will drop from our vocabulary never to return again with true acceptance of all.

One nation under God, amen.

Peace and understanding today and always, America.Debra Justin



To the editor,

Well folks get ready for another fare raise that will take place next year.

I know many of you will spend hours waiting in line just to tell the MTA not to raise the fare.

When was the last time the MTA listened? Like, never!

What is the purpose of these meetings?

Just a show so that the board wants to listen to what the riders of public transportation have to say.

Do they really expect the riders to jump for joy about another fare increase? I don’t think so.

At what point do the public say “Enough is enough?”

So it looks like every two years, the riders are in for another fare increase. How would you feel if no one rode public transportation for a few days?

Do you think that would send a message to the MTA that riders cannot afford the constant fare raise?

Solomon Rafelowsky

Brighton Beach

Patriot to patriot

To the editor,

Regarding “About Face” (by Ruth Brown, published on Nov. 18). As a vet who volunteered for the army in 1961 and who eventually became an anti-war activist with Vets & Reservists to End the War in Vietnam — and currently a member of Vets for Peace, an organization that includes many Vietnam vets — I fully support Councilman Brad Lander and his colleagues in the City Council for their courageous protests against racism by refusing to stand for the national anthem.

With the election of a president who is already filling his administration with racists, anti-Semites, anti-immigrants, homophobes, warmongers, misogynists, and more, actions like this are necessary to uphold our principles of democracy and to protect the most vulnerable in our society.

We have already seen the large number of racist and anti-Semitic vandalism and violence, including in Brooklyn and other parts of New York City.

After an incident at the New School where swastikas were drawn on doors, Mayor Bill DeBlasio said: “Hate speech is reprehensible, and has no place in NYC. To the affected, we stand with you. To the perpetrators, we are better than this.”

Lew Friedman

Park Slope

At what cost

To the editor,

New York City, like virtually every other major U.S. metropolis, has so far failed to adequately address the displacement of long-time residents in gentrifying neighborhoods. The stereotypes are true: Brooklyn’s increased desirability has led it to become the borough with the fastest-increasing rents. Average monthly rents rose by 77 percent during the Bloomberg years, besting the 65 percent growth in Manhattan and the Bronx.

I wanted to bring the topic of gentrification to your attention to the Clinton Hill area of Brooklyn. I have lived in Clinton Hill for all of my life, and over the course of 18 years, I have released some of the displeasing changes happening to a vast diverse community that I call home. Gentrification in Clinton Hill is destroying historical monuments, increasing property value, and displacing lower-income families.

The definition of gentrification, according to PBS, is a general term for the arrival of wealthier people in an existing urban district, a related increase in rents and property values, and changes in the district’s character and culture. The increased population of the 1 percent in Clinton Hills has displaced many families, mom-and-pop shops, and schools.

The beautiful homes listed in the window at Stribling, a real estate broker, highlight the issue. Brooklyn is the most unaffordable housing market in America. According to Bloomberg, in Brooklyn a resident would need to devote 98 percent of the median income to afford the payment on a median priced home of $615,000.

The rent has risen from $800 in 2008 to $1,300 in 2015, and it’s only increasing. Even though gentrification is often used to describe real estate, when the wealthy move into urban neighborhoods, they usually bring some of the expensive amenities they are accustomed to. Supermarkets and bodegas (mini-marts) providing affordable food to the community have been replace by super franchises that sell expensive organic food. Unemployment is the result from replacing the supermarkets and bodegas, and even if a previous worker applies for a job the requirements aren’t realistic to someone who has less than a high-school degree.

Bill de Blasio easily won the mayor’s race in 2013 on the promise to save New York from itself to rein in the global capital many residents felt was destroying their neighborhoods with some of the most progressive policies in the country. The median rental price for an apartment in Brooklyn is now about $3,000. A recent survey found that half of New Yorkers said they weren’t able to make ends meet or were barely getting by.

All this happening while communities like Brooklyn across America continue to build high-rise condos and apartment buildings with non-stop greed, pushing people to the side, or literally building around them, as is the case in Downtown Brooklyn where Fort Greene projects are situated. I have listened to some real estate folks actually lie to people looking to buy in places like Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, so greedy that they are milking folks for $500,000 and up properties while there is no improvement for the lives of the people long there, especially poor and working-class folks just struggling to survive, literally, day-to-day.

There is no perfect answer for slowing down gentrification either. The fact is the neighborhood doesn’t get better as a group of hipsters move in — it just simply changes.

Illegal subletting apartments are being allowed by landlords, because they can’t afford the property values of the home. This causes over-population in the community, decrease parking spots, and increasing children at public schools. Clinton Hill historic brownstones are slowly being replaced with modern styles. Gentrification has spread across the entire county of Brooklyn, and it needs to be better regulations to insure that Brooklynites’ rights are protected.

Tyler Simon

Clinton Hill

‘College’ dropout

To the editor,

While still in shock after the election, I read Tom Allon’s column “Time To Make Pols, Law, Media Accountable” (published on Nov. 11). I agree with the need to reform our electoral processes, but he left out one very important piece of the puzzle: our presidential election process, the Electoral College.

Why do we need an electoral college? Why are our presidential elections controlled by red and blue states? Shouldn’t our presidents be elected by popular vote, the votes of each citizen in every state?

It makes no sense to me that presidential elections are controlled by voters in so-called swing states, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania. What happens to the votes in the rest of the states? Why Did Al Gore lose his chance to be president because of a few damaged paper ballots in Florida when he had the popular vote? President Gore might have made a big change in our polluted environment and climate change, an issue not touched in this year’s debates.

I’ve heard that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. Why, then, did she lose the election?

I strongly believe that we should abolish the electoral college, preferably before 2020, so that our next president can be elected by all the voters, not just by voters in the so-called swing states. We will then be able to elect a president that the majority of the people of the United States truly want.Elaine Kirsch


Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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