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Stan did great remembering Koch

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To the editor,

Stanley Gershbein, thanks so much for your article about the day the Canarsie Ambulance Volunteer Corps hosted late Mayor Ed Koch (“Stan remembers Mayor Ed Koch,” It’s Only My Opinion, Feb. 22).

I was on duty, and I was there. I especially recall when young then-Rep. Chuck Schumer asked our table to watch his young daughter Jennifer while he spoke. I had first met Chuck only a few days before in Councilman Herb Berman’s office.

My recollection is that it was around 1982 or 1983, and it was at the Grand Meridien Caterers on Avenue L (it was also called “El” something or other at the time, but I’m drawing a blank).

I’m always discussing C.V.A.C. memories with my old crew members (the Korots, Smolokoffs, Lantzes and Steinhardts). We did so much good and made many long-term friends.

I’m proud of my 27 years of service, from that first meeting above the Greenpoint Bank in 1977, to working with president and chief Aaron Bogad, to liquidating everything when it all fell apart.

Gwen and Lowell Goldberg

Bergen Beach

Pope-bashing Shav

To the editor,

What promoted Shavana Abruzzo’s unwarranted attack on Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (“The Pope’s exit not divine,” A Britisher’s View, March 1)?

It couldn’t just be his resignation! It seems she used this situation as an excuse to focus on every negative event associated with the Catholic Church. While I do not deny that abuses have existed in the past and present, critics such as she never mention the competency, intelligence, and compassion that those who have headed the church, or served the church in other leadership roles, have shown.

As Timothy Cardinal Dolan recently said in an interview, “The Catholic Church has had some of the greatest sinners, the greatest saints, and people in between.”

Where is Shavana’s compassion? Didn’t she see the frail man who left the papal apartment, and slowly, painfully made his departure on Feb. 28? Instead of denigrating him for his “weakness,” she should be applauding him for his courage and selflessness in putting the welfare of the Catholic Church before his own personal position.

He had the honesty to admit his present limitations, which showed courage. However, we should not forget the efforts he made during his papacy for Catholics and non-Catholics. As Catholics we have to believe that God will inspire the cardinals to elect another devoted leader who will continue the church’s policies to promote Jesus’s message of peace and love.

Instead of condemnation, Shavana should have praised the Holy Father for what he has accomplished in trying to unite the different peoples of the world. Well done, Holy Father! Thank you for the efforts on behalf of all people.

Shavana, return to secular issues where you can voice venomous comments that might be more appropriate to the situation.Joan Muscianisi

Old Mill Basin

...

To the editor,

Shavana Abruzzo, Catholic bashing is not divine (“The Pope’s exit not divine,” A Britisher’s View, March 1).

Free speech, yes. It’s the writer’s opinion, but how low can you get? Dredging up history from the 1500s that has nothing to do with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. If you research any religion, there have been problems.

God knows what is in Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s heart, and as for people, they should read his papers if they want to get an inkling.R. McKeon

Midwood

Recchia’s Grimm bid

To the editor,

I read with interest that Councilman Domenic Recchia (D–Coney Island) announced his congressional run against Rep. Michael Grimm (R–Bay Ridge, S.I.) — “Grimm news for Democrats” (online Feb. 21). This seat is all of Staten Island and several neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

I’m a staunch Democrat who has worked on several campaigns when this district was known as Community District 13, and former Rep. Vito Fossella held court. Unless circumstances change, Councilman Recchia is poised to be on the short side of this election.

The reason for this is that the first three digits of his zip code are 112 (Brooklyn) and not 103 (Staten Island). Additionally, in 2010, Councilman Recchia’s home address was in Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s district, but this may have been changed with redistricting (the homes across the street from him were in C.D.13).

Staten Island residents are very territorial, and if I heard this once in the three races I worked on, I heard it 1,000 times — they truly believe that this is their seat only and most of them won’t consider a candidate from the Brooklyn side of the district, no matter what party they belong to or how much money they have to spend. This is not a logical reason, since residents on the Brooklyn side of the district have the same issues as residents on the Staten Island side.

These issues include jobs, gun control, environment, roads and infrastructure, health care, social programs such as Social Security and Medicare-Medicaid, and all other social programs, transportation, education, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toll (Brooklyn residents pay $15 now to go over to the island), rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy, immigration, etc.

The problem is residents on Staten Island do not want to understand this, and will either vote for Michael Grimm, or not vote at all. This hurts the entire congressional district because we are not getting the quality representation we deserve in D.C. They feel that you can have 1,000 family and friends living on Staten Island, but unless you also live there they cannot have you represent them in Congress.

There was one way this could have been solved after the 2010 Census and that would have been to divide Staten Island in half, but this fix was ruled out.

Councilman Recchia, you’ll have a very difficult time winning this congressional district seat (and that would be a shame), unless Rep. Grimm commits a crime, or charges are brought against him for taking illegal contributions, which he’s currently being investigated for, and this doesn’t happen until right before the 2014 elections. Or unless you change your zip code from 112 to 103, and do it now since you only have eight more months until the November 2013 elections are held because you’re term limited.Rosalie Caliendo

Gravesend

The U.S. of Aliens

To the editor,

I agree with Joan Applepie of Mill Basin (“All American,” Letters to the Editor, Feb. 8). All illegal immigrants, and those just released from prison, seem to get everything handed to them.

I was unemployed for 18 months, I am a senior citizen, and I was denied food stamps and Medicaid because I had “too much unemployment.”

I was born and raised here, pay my taxes every year, and I had “too much unemployment” to quality for any other benefits. Yet, these illegals who come here, probably on a daily basis, get everything handed to them!

It’s also amazing how some “immigrants” know how to work the system and get benefits illegally.

Someone needs to do something about this. How about our politicians doing their jobs?

Name withheld upon request

Mill Basin

Cop-out

To the editor,

Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D–Midwoodk) was unwittingly insensitive to the African-American community when he dressed up for Purim as a basketball player (“Assemblyman Dov Hikind dons blackface for Purim,” online Feb. 25).

He speaks out when a Jew is manhandled by an officer, but remains silent while 87 percent of blacks and Hispanics are needlessly stopped and frisked by cops to fulfill a quota or performance guideline instituted by Commissioner Ray Kelly and the three percent white officers at One Police Plaza that are above the rank of captain.

No one is a racist, but let’s judge the results of a tactic that causes the communities affected to no longer cooperate with the NYPD. People of Brownsville and Crown Heights look upon undercover police racing to place a non-white against the wall. They verbally abuse him, and if the innocent person complains and thinks such brazen behavior is unconstitutional — or if a bystander wishes to record the incident with his cellphone — beware! You may have blows on your body, with the incident being covered up by onlooking officers dedicated to their blue wall of silence.

Last month, a young African-American student from Edward R. Murrow High School complained that an officer called him “boy.” The young man said he is tired of being called “boy.” This is just an example of officers lacking basic decency.

Police officers should be courteous and show respect when stopping a citizen. Abuse has no place in police work. Also, forget about the Civilian Complaint Review Board — a complaint from May 2012 is still being investigated!Allan Feinblum

Midwood

NIMBY to druggies

To the editor,

Your story, “Not in our backyard!” (online Feb. 11) had me reeling.

Counseling drug addiction is nothing but a total farce, so I’m grateful that the community in Sheepshead Bay has rejected a detox rehab center in our neighborhood. But the same people who are battling to keep drug rehab facilities out should make more of an effort to get drug sellers off our streets.

We should start by looking in our parks, children’s playgrounds, and the piers. More of an effort needs to be made in stopping the deliveries, as well as the sellers. How can young people have aspirations when illegal substances that cause death and destruction have become the norm? More varieties of narcotics are sure to emerge, moving forward, and we need to be more aggressive about tackling this problem.

Drug sellers are brazen and practice their trade in full view in the most unlikely places. Several years ago, a community center in Manhattan became a place for people to congregate and distribute drugs. Evil-doers come in all types, and we have to be alert to them, so they don’t come into contact with our children.

Amy Kaye

Sheepshead Bay

Presidents & immigrants

To the editor,

Did Sen. Rand Paul (R–K.Y.) filibuster for 13 and a half hours just to prevent Jane Fonda from being the target of a drone strike? Is chivalry really not dead after all, or was it something more?

Remember, Lincoln freed the slaves (only in the states that were in “rebellion”) by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, not as an exercise of his Constitutional power to do so (he had none), but rather by using his power to prosecute the war.

Then there was President Wilson’s ending free speech during WWI and F.D.R.’s treatment of Japanese Americans during WWII, and so on. Presidents assume enormous powers during wartime — maybe not such a bad idea to keep an eye on them. Sen. McCain, you sure it’s Rand Paul who’s the ‘wacko?

On another note, one of the prime justifications often given for immigration reform is that younger immigrant workers will pay into the Social Security and Medicare systems so that aging workers will be able to receive their benefits. But, isn’t that a classic definition of a Ponzi scheme — new money brought in so that it can be paid out to old investors to keep the system afloat, until the new investors eventually need to receive their benefits as well?

There are a lot of good reasons to implement immigration reform but this is not one of them. Entitlements need to be either reformed or, maybe, privatized. Making a Ponzi scheme more Ponzi-like doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Dr. Stephen Finger

Marine Park

Class lesson

To the editor,

Oh my! A 15-year-old student from Lincoln High School punched a conductor, causing the latter to be hospitalized. Imagine what this sweetie must be like in the classroom? Will he get jail time?

Probably not. They’ll say he is socially maladjusted, economically disadvantaged, a victim of society. In the meantime, teachers at Lincoln have been judged to be ineffective and rated unsatisfactory because of students such as him.

When will the United Federation of Teachers open its mouth and demand that any teacher evaluation process be tied to discipline in the public schools for students? We have schools in this city where children are running amok and nothing is being done, except to blame the teachers.

If I were the head of the agency, I’d never accept an evaluation plan until the following criteria were met: All teachers, including Absent Teacher Reserves, are put back in the classroom. Students rated unsatisfactory in conduct for two years are placed in 600 schools. All teachers are given balanced programs so that favoritism doesn’t decide who gets the better classes and who is set up for failure by given classes made up of the above student. And class sizes are lowered so that teachers can teach and handle the necessary paper work.

Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Food for thought

To the editor,

Food safety officials in the U.K., France, and Sweden found traces of horse meat in ground beef sold across Europe. Massive recalls and lawsuits are ensuing.

Can it happen here? Horse slaughter for human consumption was banned in the U.S. between 2007 and 2011. But now, a New Mexico slaughterhouse is getting approved by U.S. authorities to slaughter horses for human consumption, and a Philadelphia restaurant has already announced plans to serve horse meat.

I marvel at our hypocrisy of rejecting the notion of horse or dog meat on our dinner plates, while condemning cows, pigs, and chickens to the same fate. Obviously, we have established special relationships with horses and dogs as our companions, protectors, and sports protagonists, rather than as food. But where is the ethical and logical distinction, given that all these animals are endowed by individuality, sentience, and an ability to experience the same feelings of joy, affection, sadness, and fear that we do?

Fortunately, our health food industry has spared us from having to choose which animals to pet and which ones to eat. Their delicious soy and grain-based meat alternatives are available in every supermarket.

Bill Deeter

East Williamsburg

Comptroller’s race

To the editor,

While everyone is focused on who will succeed Mayor Bloomberg, little attention has been paid to who will succeed Comptroller John Liu. Notice that there is no potential declared Republican candidate to succeed Liu.

The last effective GOP challenger for comptroller was businessperson Richard Bernstein who ran with former Mayor Ed Koch in 1981. Former Finance Commissioner Fioravante Perrotta, running on both the Republican and Liberal party lines in 1969, ran a very competitive race, coming close to upsetting Democrat Abe Beame. The last Republican Comptroller was Joseph D. McGoldrick who served from 1938 to 1945.

Based upon recent history, Councilman Domenic Recchia (D–Coney Island), chairman of the Council Finance Committee, would have a difficult task. Perhaps this is why he may have decided to abandoned his quest to run for comptroller.

Term-limited Recchia doesn’t seem to know what to do with his life. First, he dropped out of the race for comptroller. Next, he declared serious interest in running for Brooklyn borough president. Within weeks, he gave up pursuing that office to “consider” running against Rep. Michael Grimm (R–S.I.) in 2014.

Past Finance Committee Chairperson Councilman Herb Berman from Brooklyn lost to Bill Thompson in the 2001 Democratic Party Primary for comptroller. David Weprin from Queens lost to John Liu in the 2009 Democratic Party Primary for comptroller. All three losing candidates, including then-Councilmen David Yassky, Melinda Katz, and David Weprin don’t have the fire in the belly to try again.

Democrats are rallying around Manhattan Borough President and former 2013 mayoral candidate Scott Stringer for comptroller. They may be no primary if all five Democratic Party county leaders have their way. Democrats are going to support one of their own to end the GOP’s 20-year control of City Hall. The result will be one-party control of all three citywide offices, along with the City Council. This is a recipe for municipal corruption.

Perhaps one of the potential seven 2013 Republican mayoral candidates, including former Metropolitan Transportation Authority boss Joe Lhota, businessman John Catsimatdis, and publisher Tom Allon, will put their egos aside. One of them could drop out of the mayoral race and instead run for comptroller. They could assist the Republicans in running a real diverse city and boroughwide group of candidates for the first time in decades.

This would also help the handful of GOP City Council candidates in expanding their current four members to the old record of seven who served with former Mayor Giuliani during the 1990s.

Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

Reach reporter Shavana Abruzzo at sabruzzo@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2529. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/BritShavana

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