2016-06-15 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Support DREAM Act

Dear Friends,

As another Legislative session is coming to an end, I am not giving up on my efforts to make the DREAM Act a reality. Early this week, the Assembly passed the legislation that would allow undocumented college students eligibility to apply for state college tuition assistance. Year after year, I have introduced the DREAM Act in the Republican-controlled upper chamber only to see it blocked one time after another. I keep on urging my colleagues in the Senate to right this wrong and mirror the lower chamber and pass the DREAM Act.

Please, sign up for my Senate webpage to let me know where you stand on legislation and follow the bills that matter to you. You will also be able to sign petitions. Follow this link www.nysenate.gov/senator/jose-peralta and click on the Message Senator icon to contact me.

If you have any questions or need help, do not hesitate to stop by my district office or to call us at (718) 205-3881. Sincerely,

Jose Peralta
State Senate, District 13

Dromm: Ban The Bag

Dear Supporter,

I am writing to ask you to contact your state legislators to urge them to reject a bill that would override the City’s recently passed plastic bag law. It is rumored that they are set to pass this legislation this week.

Read the June 6 editorials from the NY Times (“The Albany Pols Who Love Plastic Bags”) and the NY Daily News (“Albany’s in the Bag”). Fools in the state capitol listen to the plastic bag industry and override the will of New York City legislators.

The Daily News says “this is Albany at its corrupt, imperious worst.”

The Times says, “When it comes to behaving badly, the New York State Legislature has been thinking outside the box. There are, it turns out, ways to do the wrong thing that go beyond the usual influence-peddling, bribing, extorting and other common varieties of Albany venality.”

I am tired of seeing plastic bags clogging our drains, killing our trees and creating an unsustainable future for NYC residents.

If you feel as I do, you’ll do your best to let our Albany legislators know this bill is unacceptable. Sincerely,

Daniel Dromm
NYC Council Member, 25th District

PS: My facebook page has moved!

I have made the switch from a personal page, that limited me to connect with only 5,000 people, to a public figure page that does not cap my connections. This will allow me to share news and events with more people! Please “like” me at my new location!

Community Board 11

To The Editor:

As an 11-year member of Queens Community Board 11, I was disturbed to learn that one of my colleagues had not been reappointed to the board in April.

Mel Meer admirably served 16 years on the board. In my opinion, he did an excellent job, always expressing his well thought-out views that reflected the best interests of the community.

Although no board member is guaranteed a spot on the board in perpetuity, my understanding is that no reason for Mr. Meer’s dismissal was given to him. That does not seem fair to me, and I can only conclude that he may have been dismissed because he said something or took a stance that was controversial. That puts all board members at risk and stifles independent thought.

One must remember that community board members are unpaid volunteers. The Board’s votes on land use issues and other community concerns are advisory in nature. Even though we do not always agree, I would say that the members of Community Board 11 respect each other’s views and work together harmoniously.

We serve by attending monthly board meetings as well as various committee meetings. Mr. Meer served on several such committees and was an active participant. We choose to serve because we care what happens in our communities.

Over my tenure on the Board, I have met and worked with many fine, dedicated individuals. One of those individuals is Mel Meer. I would hope that he continues to attend and participate at community board meetings, if not as a member at this time, then as a regular citizen.

I look forward to the day when Mr. Meer returns to the Board as an active member. I would also urge other community residents to consider joining their community board to have an impact on what happens in their neighborhoods.

Henry Euler
Bayside

Happy 11th, MTA Bus

To The Editor:

It was over 10 years ago, in 2005, when the City of New York completed the purchase of seven remaining private bus operator franchises. This included Green Bus Lines, Jamaica Buses, Queens Surface and Triboro Coach Corporation providing service in Queens, along with Command Bus (Brooklyn, Liberty Lines Bronx Express and New York Bus Service in the Bronx). The Metropolitan Transportation Authority created a new operating agency – MTA Bus – to continue service previously provided by the private bus operators. Subsequently, they entered into 50- year lease agreements to utilize and operate all of their garages. The deal was supposed to benefit riders and taxpayers.

Prior to 2005, the New York City Department of Transportation, using a combination of city, state and federal funding that provided both capital and operating assistance to all seven private bus operators. Green Bus Lines, Jamaica Buses, Queens Surface (formerly Steinway Bus Corporation and Queens Bus), Triboro Coach Corporation, Command Bus, Liberty Lines Bronx Express and New York Bus Service could not survive on farebox revenues alone. With insufficient income, they all counted on NYCDOT, starting in the early 1980s, to begin purchasing replacement buses, fareboxes, radios and other support equipment for their respective aging bus fleets. In many cases, bus operators had to operate and maintain buses well beyond the industry standard useful life of 12 years and/or 500,000 miles. Too many buses in revenue service were between 12 and 27 years old with far more mileage. It took NYCDOT too many years to complete any bus procurements before operators received and could provide the riding public with new modern buses. Give MTA Bus credit for purchasing hundreds of new buses and investments to upgrade antiquated bus garages far more quickly than NYCDOT ever could.

The operational savings for taxpayers never appeared. Instead, the $100 million per year City subsidy formerly provided to the private bus operators have grown to over $200 million for MTA Bus. The private bus company owners earn several million per year from MTA Bus for leasing their facilities. Potential operational savings by consolidation of duplicate routes between New York City Transit Bus and MTA Bus never took place. The same was true for reducing deadheading costs by reassigning bus routes between MTA Bus and NYCT Bus to closer garages for reduction of operating costs. Work rules and contracts between different labor unions representing employees at NYCT Bus and MTA Bus have prevented any changes to the status quo.

We have gone full circle from private to public operators over the past 59 years. Was it was worth it for riders of Green Bus Lines, Jamaica Buses, Queens Surface, Triboro Coach Corporation, Command Bus, Liberty Lines Bronx Express and New York Bus Service? Ditto for taxpayers. Time will tell.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

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