To the editor,
The July 21–27 edition of the Bay Ridge Courier contains an article about the possibility of Citi Bike coming to the neighborhoods of Sunset Park and Bay Ridge (“Citi Bike in the Ridge?” by Lawrence Carrel). In it, Paul White of Transportation Alternatives cites the gathering of 700–1,000 signatures as evidence that these communities are anxious for Citi Bike to arrive. But the math tells a different story. There are approximately 190,000 residents combined in both these neighborhoods; 1,000 signatures represents approximately .005 percent of those residents. Not exactly a consensus by any measure. And I wonder how many people who were asked to sign the petitions refused to do so. Mr. White doesn’t mention.
Mr. White claims (without citing specifics) that Bay Ridge residents are asking him why their neighborhood is being short changed by Citi Bike. I can’t imagine it’s an accurate claim. I’ve lived in Brooklyn all my life. The first half in Park Slope and the last 42 years as a Bay Ridge homeowner. No one I know in Bay Ridge bemoans the lack of Citi Bike.
Park Slope and Bay Ridge are distinctly different neighborhoods and Citi Bike is definitely not a one-size-fits-all program. Before anyone plants a Citi Bike station in Bay Ridge, an honest appraisal of its merits needs to happen — with real community input.
And beware Sunset Park and Bay Ridge: Once Citi Bike displaces your parking spaces, you’ll never get them back. Henry D’Amato
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To the editor,
So Paul Steely White gets 500 signatures from Bay Ridge and calls it a mandate for the Citi Bikes program to come into Bay Ridge. I bet I could go within a four-block radius in Bay Ridge and get 1,000 signatures against Citi Bikes; would they consider that a mandate??? Hell, no. This group, Transportation Alternatives, makes proposals and the Department of Transportation under (Commissioner Polly) Trottenberg, and previous commissioners, rubber stamp 99 percent of their desires, without community input, traffic and parking considerations and safety, as they have done in many neighborhoods throughout the city, giving in to the group’s self-serving wants. He, White, says he knows what Bay Ridge wants; he knows nothing about this part of Brooklyn, except that we have not been cursed with this bike program yet. Paul Steely White, concern yourself with the areas that love you and your incessant bike fetish: Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Fort Greene, Williamsburg, just to name a few in Brooklyn.Richard Hecht
To The editor,
As I read Ed Greenspan’s letter to Bill DeBlasio (“Count Him Out” July 21–27), I felt compelled to comment on his words: “Who is working for your campaign, special education students in the New York City school system?” In a following sentence he stated: “How stupid are the people who work for you?” I find it unfortunate that Mr. Greenspan, a teacher, found it necessary to use a stereotype of the special ed student in order to make his point about the incompetency of Mayor DeBlasio’s campaign committee. If you replaced “special education students in the New York City school system” from Mr. Greenspan’s letter with the name of any other racial, ethnic, religious or sexually-oriented group, the response to this stereotype would be loud and clear.
After working for 33 years in the Department of Education as a special ed teacher and assistant principal of special education, I often encountered this negative viewpoint from ill-informed parents or from people outside the field of education. My response was always to provide accurate information in an effort to explain the range of disabilities among students with an Individualized Education Plan, the services they received, and list examples of the success of our students in their jobs and careers beyond their graduation from high school.
The goal of special education throughout the country is to provide special ed students access to subject-licensed teachers in a differentiated and engaging classroom environment. By eliminating obstacles to learning and providing appropriate academic supports, students with Individualized Education Plans are able to achieve academically and be judged on their achievements instead of their disability.
I wish to commend all of my New York City — Department of Education teaching colleagues: past, present and future, for all of the hard work and dedication that they bring every day to their challenging profession in teaching special education students. I know that you have to constantly endure the entrenched stereotypical perception of our students that was expressed in Mr. Greenspan’s letter.
Hopefully, my written response to this misconception will inform and enlighten the readership of this publication.Edward Marzano
To the editor,
To Robert Lobenstein and Elio Valenti,
Having disagreed with your writing and arguing with you for months, I am thrilled to find that there are some things we, and most other Americans, can agree on.
Mr. Lobenstein, I have been annoyed by outsourcing for many years and firmly believe that souvenirs of America should be made in America. I also believe that clothing and other items sold here should be manufactured here, not in sweat shops in China or the Philippines. How can something be a souvenir of the American Revolution if it’s not made in America? I shall never forget a tour I made of Pennsylvania Dutch Country several years ago. I picked up a beautiful frying pan with hand-painted flowers in the souvenir shop and was horrified to see painted in big letters on the front of the pan “Made in Taiwan.” Needless to say, I didn’t buy it. My late husband wanted American-made clothing, but I searched all over Macy’s and couldn’t find any. I think outsourcing should be outlawed!
Mr. Valenti, another thing that has driven me crazy for years is bicyclists on the sidewalks. Lately, I’ve had to dodge mopeds and other electrical vehicles on the sidewalk near my senior center. One almost hit a member of my center pushing a walker along the sidewalk. I think that if the city would hire and train enough traffic enforcement agents and police officers to police every street and hand out summonses to every bicyclist on the sidewalk, the fines they would collect would more that cover the cost of these agents and officers. The sidewalks I use are not wide enough for bike lanes. I am also upset by litterers, broken sidewalks, and people who don’t clean up after their dogs. I love dogs but hate to have to look down while I walk to avoid stepping in their poop or falling over a soda bottle or a hole in the sidewalk. Sometimes I don’t know whether to look up to avoid being hit by a bicycle or to look down to avoid trash, poop, and broken sidewalks. I would much prefer to be able to enjoy the birds, trees and flowers along my way. I wonder if traffic enforcement agents and police officers are or can also be empowered to issue summonses to litterers, careless dog owners, and business- and home-owners who do not fix their sidewalks. Then we could all have a safer and pleasanter walk on our streets. I would also love to see the day all American flags, Liberty Bells and clothing are made in America.Elaine Kirsch
To the editor,
It is disturbing to see Caesar and Nero fiddling with accusations, while the city crumbles and the subway burns. Although, with two narcissistic leaders, what would the public expect?
The transportation system is sinking to 1960s–70s levels of unreliability and safety, and finger-pointing seems to be the only response. “It’s your system! No, it’s yours! is the cry from government officials.
Police seemingly are getting no respect from City Hall and watching them, en masse, turn their backs to the mayor speaks volumes. And our fearless Governor is busy driving around in F.D.R’s 1932 Packard in the hope of looking Presidential for the 2020 election.
Who ultimately pays for all of this inaction and argument? Well, take a good look in the mirror! You had the gumption to make a major change in D.C., but faltered in your support for changes. In a few weeks we have to decide to change City Hall politics or just reelect the same old-same old and let the city continue its downward slide. Robert W. Lobenstein
To the editor,
The most recent feud between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio over who controls and is responsible for recent Metropolitan Transportation Authority problems is nothing new. This ongoing feud over numerous issues between Cuomo and DeBlasio has now entered the fourth year. Based on past history between previous governors and mayors, this is really nothing new. Democrats Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio have a lot in common with the late Republicans Gov. Nelson Rockefeller (1959-1974) and New York City Mayor John Lindsay (1966-1973) along with Gov. George Pataki (1995-2006) and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (1994-2001). The same is true for the late Democrat Gov. Mario Cuomo (1983-1992) and New York City Mayor Ed Koch (1978-1988). Nelson Rockefeller, George Pataki, Mario Cuomo and son Andrew Cuomo deal with Mayors who want equal billing on the political marquee. Lindsay’s urban, Koch’s Big Apple, Giuliani’s safety–quality of life and DeBlasio’s progressive agenda were–are dependent upon both increased state and federal assistance. DeBlasio envisions himself as the national spokesperson for progressive mayors from all cities. This conflicts with governors who have to worry about all 62 counties making up New York State. It also creates problems for governors like Cuomo who harbor presidential ambitions in 2020.
All have long forgotten that buried within the 1953 master agreement between the City of New York and New York City Transit is an escape clause. New York City has the legal right at any time to take back control of its assets. This includes the subway and bus system. Actions speak louder than words. If municipal officials feel they could do a better job managing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, including running the nation’s largest subway and bus system, (they should) man up and regain control. Instead of complaining, Mayor Bill DeBlasio should come up with the balance of $2.5 billion the city still owes toward fully funding the $32 billion MTA 2015-2019 Five Year Capital Program. Gov. Andrew Cuomo should deliver the outstanding $5.8 billion balance toward his original $8.3 billion pledge, plus his most recent new commitment of an additional $1 billion. The MTA and New York City Transit can’t afford to wait until 2018 or 2019 for both de Blasio and Cuomo to make good on their respective promised financial commitments.