2015-12-30 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Harlem Has To Wait

To The Editor:

The legacy of former State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in the area of transporation leaves much to be desired. Consider the schedule, budget and the cost for four major transportation projects that he took great pride in promoting.

Washington paid twice with your tax dollars for building the new South Ferry Terminal no. 1 New York City Transit subway station. First, for almost $600 million in 9/11 funding, a second time with over $300 million in Hurricane Sandy funding to rebuild what was damaged.

The downtown NYC MTA Manhattan Fulton Street Transit Center was first paid for with 9/11 funding. Cost overruns of several hundred million were covered by American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding.

Fourteen years after 9/11, the Cortlandt Street World Trade Center NYC Transit no. 1 IRT subway station is still several years away from being back in service. If there are no new delays, perhaps the station will reopen by December 2018. The PANYNJ & MTA fought for years over budget, funding sources, scope and schedule. Construction for the MTA portion of the project just started a few months ago.

There is no funding in the proposed MTA 2015-2019 Capital Program to initiate construction for the second segment of NYCT Second Avenue Subway north from 96th Street to 125th Street. It will take several decades and $20 billion more for completion of the next three segments of the 2nd Avenue Subway north to 125th Street and south to Hanover Square downtown in the Financial District. The project was originally proposed in 1929!

Silver claimed to be a friend of both commuters and the “99 Percent.” In reality, he lived the lifestyle of the “One Percenters.” Silver frequently traveled around town by his personal driver at taxpayers’ expense. I doubt if he ever purchased a MetroCard or rode the subway like several million New Yorkers do daily.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

Thank You, Dr. Samadi

To The Editor:

Your story hit the mark!

Dr. Samadi is a gifted surgeon with a good heart. He performed surgery on me last Wednesday and I’m feeling terrific today. I was blessed to have had this wonderful man save my life.

Thanks for publishing the story. Dr. Samadi is an inspiration to us all.

All the best throughout the holiday season! Let’s hope for peace, joy, and good health in the new year!

Robert Bartoletti, EdD

Shut Out From Hearing

To The Editor:

Hundreds of people showed up on Wednesday, December 16, to testify at a hearing of the New York City Planning Commission. It was held at the National Museum of the American Indian in Downtown Manhattan, where the Commission apparently felt that there would be enough space for all attendees. There wasn’t. What brought such a large crowd to this particular hearing? Mayor de Blasio’s two zoning proposals were being discussed by those in favor and those against. The proposals deal with affordable and senior housing and changing zoning to encourage further development.

I arrived for the hearing at 8:15 am. After standing outside for more than an hour, I finally got in to the auditorium where the 12 commissioners were hearing testimony. There was only one metal detector to screen hundreds of people to access the auditorium. What I didn’t know when I reached the auditorium was that multitudes of people were still outside and were told that they would not be able to enter to testify. The auditorium had reached its limit. Those people, needless to say, were very upset. Many had skipped work in order to attend and testify.

It’s too bad, because many important advocacy organizations and knowledgeable individual speakers were kept out of this crucial hearing. It was my feeling, and from what I heard at the hearing, the feeling of dozens of other people and advocacy groups that spoke, that the two proposals were set up in such a way that was extremely beneficial to developers and real estate interests. The proposals attack the contextual rezonings that people all over the city had fought for over the past several decades in order to protect the character of their communities.

No one denied the need for more affordable and senior housing, but not in the way that these proposals approached the issues. Taller and bulkier buildings in certain zoning districts and decreased or no parking requirements for senior housing in certain areas was seen by many as giant steps backward.

Before entering the auditorium, I registered to testify and was assigned no. 96 to speak. I sat there all day listening to everyone speak. Elected officials had unlimited time to testify. Other people had four minutes apiece. The commissioners often asked questions to speakers, which slowed down the hearing. I finally was called at 6 pm to state my opinion.

I understand that the people and groups who were shut out of the hearing requested city Planning Chair Carl Weisbrod schedule an additional hearing so that everyone could be heard. As far as I know, that request was denied. I think that is extremely unfair and I am sending a copy of this letter to all of my elected officials and also to Chair Weisbrod.

If you agree, please contact Chair Weisbrod (212-720-3300) and your local elected officials and request that a second hearing be scheduled soon so that all voices can be heard on these two proposals that will affect city life for generations.

Henry Euler
Bayside

The Spirit Of Giving

To The Editor:

I am elated that finally the Zadroga Act will be continued, giving medical care and monitoring those who were first responders who worked at the World Trade Center site during 9/11 and after. This is a victory. This is supposed to last till 2090. This is really wonderful indeed. I am also elated that finally NYC passed an act that will make it a felony to attack an EMT. This is wonderful since these life savers are truly needed and necessary, just as the law applies to FDNY workers as well. It is necessary for those who are able to do so to contribute to the coat drive that New York Cares is sponsoring. The winter is coming and there is a paucity of winter coats for those who need them. This is a good deed and should be done in the spirit of Christmas and giving and goodness and loving others who are less fortunate.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

Zadroga Finally Passed

To The Editor:

The extension of the Zadroga Act for the next 75 years is indeed some excellent news for all our first responders and other volunteers who worked at Ground Zero in the days, weeks, and months after the World Trade Center attacks. However, why did Congress take so long to pass the extension? As always, there was a lot of bureaucratic red tape, which was totally unnecessary and unacceptable. The many people who toiled at Ground Zero who came down with various serious illnesses, some fatal, certainly are well-deserving of this necessary compensation that will assist them and their families. It is such a shame that it took so long for this bill extension to pass. Well, at least now there will be monetary compensation for all those thousands of people and their families. It is about time that the federal government took care of the American people.

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

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