2017-08-23 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Make Kim Jong-Un King

To The Editor:

Make Kim Jong-Un, the North Korean dictator, a king. Ridiculous? Please hear me out. Before any US first strike, we should distract Kim by secretly proposing the following three steps to de-escalate the current nuclear tensions with North Korea:

Step One: Have a meeting of their military leaders with ours at a neutral location to negotiate an arrangement, maybe only secure communications, to eliminate the possibility of any military action resulting from miscalculation. After Step One is successful,

Step Two: Publicly announce an international trade delegation to a Korean location to offer trade, investment, tourism, infrastructure integration projects for the Koreas, and other financial and prestigious goodies that would benefit both North (population 25.5 million) and South (50.7 million) Korea.

Step Three: Publicly announce a Korean nuclear freeze with international monitoring, and the start of negotiations for a peace agreement to formally end the Korean War and to effect the political unification of the Korean Peninsula under a United Kingdom-like government model, permitting Kim’s family to be comparable to the present royal family and the gradual withdrawal of 28,000 US troops.

Like Donald Trump, Kim Jong-Un wants to be king (their hair cuts prove it). Kim might not be able to resist being king of a united Korea. Parliamentary voting might allow somewhat over-representation of the North. There would be no House of Lords unless North Korean generals insist.

If the US can live with a nuclear Pakistan, it can accept a frozen North Korean nuclear capability until political unification is achieved under a probable democratic government. A unified Korea would likely decide to forego nuclear weapons to appease China, and prevent proliferation in the neighborhood. Germany managed its reunification. Great Britain will be flattered.

Consider this a fantasy about preventing jousting egos from causing the death of millions, but it is not as ridiculous as a first strike on North Korea.

Leonard Lanzone
(location withheld)

AirTrain A Dream

To The Editor:

There is more to “Cuomo Inaugurates LaGuardia’s East Side Construction” (Thomas Cogan, August 16). New York State just awarded a $14.6 million contract to Parsons Brinckerhoff for design and engineering of the LaGuardia Air Train several months ago. This action is just the first chapter of what will be a very long journey. Success for this project is dependent upon the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and MTA working well together. Sixteen years after 9/11, the Cortland Street World Trade Center #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 Port Authority and MTA fought for years over budget, funding sources, scope and schedule. Construction for the MTA portion of the project just started in 2015.

The estimated cost of $450 million for construction of LaGuardia AirTrain is just a concept based upon a planning feasibility study. Over two years have passed since Cuomo announced this project, with little progress to date. There are no environmental documents or any preliminary design and engineering efforts necessary to validate any actual construction costs.

The anticipated final potential cost could end up several hundred million dollars above Cuomo’s estimated figure of $450 million. Costs will be further refined by award of construction contracts followed by change orders to the base contracts during construction.

Cuomo’s belief that this will provide a “one-seat ride” for those traveling to and from LaGuardia Airport isn’t borne out by the facts. There will be significant conflicts when the LaGuardia AirTrain is built and open for service with connections to both the Mets- Willets Point subway and LIRR stations. Why would any LaGuardia Airport-bound travelers with luggage attempt to squeeze in on the already-packed am and pm rush hour subways and LIRR trains? Cuomo apparently never considered how this issue will be resolved when contemplating this project. Cuomo in 2014 promised that the LaGuardia AirTrain would be up and running within 5 years, by 2019. Now he says this will occur by 2021.

There is no room to run additional trains in or out of Penn Station during either am or pm rush hours via the East River tunnels, with connections via the Port Washington LIRR branch, to any LaGuardia AirTrain. This conflicts with Cuomo’s promise to have the MTA LIRR introduce a new frequent service between Penn Station and Mets-Willets Point LIRR Station. No mention of a similar service from Grand Central Terminal once LIRR East Side Access is achieved in December 2023. Three of four East River tunnels running inbound during am and outbound pm rush hours have very tight spacing between trains. One tunnel is shared by the LIRR, New Jersey Transit and Amtrak for reverse train movements with equally tight spacing during rush hours. There is no platform capacity at Penn Station to accommodate any additional trains during rush hour. Penn Station is currently operating at 100% capacity during both am and pm rush hours. If one of the four tunnels is temporarily out of service, the result is numerous delays and cancellation of trains.

With three tracks merging into two tracks between the 33rd Street and Queensboro Plaza stations, there is no space to run any additional 7 line subway rush hour trains to serve the LaGuardia AirTrain. It could easily cost $5 to $10 billion to construct a third track, plus a new East River tunnel west of Queensboro Plaza. This is necessary to extend express service into Manhattan. The concept is clearly not feasible either technically or financially. The existing Corona subway yard is already operating at capacity. This facility is adjacent to wetlands and has little opportunity for expansion. Additional trains to provide service for the new Hudson Yards Station have to be stored on lay up tracks south of the station. Completion of Communication Based Train Control (CBCT) followed by implementation may only result in increasing the number of trains per hour from 30 to 32 in each direction during rush hour. After that, the MTA NYCT no longer has any other opportunity for increasing rush hour capacity.

To build a train to the plane from Mets- Willets Point, 7 line subway and LIRR station to LaGuardia Airport within five years for $450 million as promised by Cuomo is a planner’s dream. In reality, it will be a nightmare for both taxpayers and riders. You can count on cost overruns in the hundreds of millions and multi-year delays in construction before reaching beneficial use.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

The Passing Of Jerry Lewis

Loved For All He Did To The Editor:

It was very sad to hear of the passing of Jerry Lewis at 91 years old. But more importantly, he will be remembered for his dedication to finding a cure for the children who suffer from muscular dystrophy. Through his telethons, he helped raised $2.5 billion over 45 years. In the ‘60s while living in Queens Village, my mother, Teresa, was so moved by Jerry’s dedication she worked as a volunteer, going door to door collecting funds for Jerry’s kids and would not accept no for an answer. I know this because as a child, she would take me with her. In 2001 I wrote to Jerry Lewis and sent him a contribution and told him that I was moved by what he did. He sent me a picture of himself with a young child who had muscular dystrophy named Sarah Schwel, who was the Goodwill Ambassador for 2001. I cherish that picture all these years for what it represents. Jerry was a funny man with a big heart for kids suffering and dying. I hope and pray that MDA has a banner year, because Jerry will be looking down from heaven with hope in his heart, that this will be the year that a cure is found. Rest in peace, Jerry Lewis, because we loved you for all that you did. Frederick R. Bedell Jr. Glen Oaks Village

Lewis Talented, Respected
To The Editor:

Comedian-actor Jerry Lewis had a long career which spanned 70 years, and during that time, he made millions of people laugh at his stage, screen and television antics. He also worked very hard in the fight against muscular dystrophy, hosting the annual Labor Day telethon for many years. His gregarious and lovable personality were his trademarks throughout his long and distinguished career, including his partnership with fellow comedian and actor Dean Martin, though that partnership did not last. The entertainment industry has lost yet another talented and respected individual. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and colleagues in the entertainment industry. Rest in peace, Jerry!

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Trump Blamed Victims

To The Editor

That hate crime against a Muslim vendor was uncalled for. Hate crimes are rampant now for all groups, and prison sentences must be given to those who inflict them on innocent people who are members of different racial and religious groups. We are all human beings and deserve respect. I certainly am appalled at the manner Trump placed the blame on the innocent demonstrators and compared them to the KKK and Nazis. People have the constitutional right to demonstrate, and to compare the innocent with the wicked is an abomination. Horrible to hear that police are being shot and injured, that drivers are driving the wrong way, that people are using guns at parties and hurting others, as well as that statue situation of removing them or demonstrating and killing and terrorism in Spain and in Finland. What is this world coming to? Also, I am sorry to hear that another one of Trump’s advisors left his team and the business team of advisors have left him as well.

I am glad that teachers will be given more funds to buy supplies. Also I am glad that there was a discussion about Obamacare and childrens’ care at the Sunnyside Community Center. I agree with the City Council and Mayor that construction safety must be fostered, that learning and training and certification must be done since there have been so many construction accidents. Also, calories must be listed at fast food restaurants and other places where processed food is served.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

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