2018-03-21 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor


Dear Friend,

This morning, I was proud to join students from the Academy of American Studies and Newcomers High School in Long Island City as they participated in the National School Walkout. Student leaders invited me to attend and I was honored to stand with them in solidary.

Students throughout the district, city and country participated in walkouts today to honor the lives of the students and teachers who were killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and to urge lawmakers to pass stricter gun control laws.

The shooting in Parkland has activated young people across the country to advocate for their safety and for gun control. It’s inspiring to see these students organizing, getting involved and demanding more from their government. I am confident that as this new generation of leaders continues to meet with, hold accountable and inspire lawmakers, they will change the world.

I want to thank the students I joined today for organizing the walkout, for their thoughtfulness on this important issue, and for making me feel hopeful about the future.

Jimmy Van Bramer
New York City Council District 26

Courageous Students

To The Editor:

One month ago, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida was propelled into the national spotlight following a tragic mass shooting that claimed the lives of 17 people. Today (March 14), led by the survivors of that shooting, students across the country walked out of class to both memorialize the lives lost to gun violence and demonstrate their resolve in the fight to make our schools and our country safer. They are organized, they are informed, they are engaged, and they are courageous. I stand with all students from the 14th Senate District who took part in today’s walkout, and I remain committed to passing the common-sense gun safety reforms put forth by the New York State Senate Democratic Conference.

Leroy Comrie
NYS Senate

Wall Is A Waste

To The Editor:

There must be a thorough investigation as to the cause of the helicopter crash in the East River claiming five lives. It seems that tourist helicopters have had crashes prior to this one in different areas of our country.

A national walkout of students is uncalled for, but rather speaking to legislators, writing to political officials. Only children will be penalized if they walk out.

I am not happy about the snow removal in northeast Queens. The highways should have been salted prior to the storm. It seems that Queens is neglected.

In addition, the awful living conditions existing in public housing in NYC are horrible. The state health department must become involved. The most vulnerable people are being harmed.

It seems as though people do not care for each other as they once did. Neighbors are not neighborly and families forget about their elderly parents.

I have no idea why the secretary of state in the current administration of our president was fired.

There is too much turmoil in our nation at this time. We are looking weak in the eyes of other nations and our standing as the most powerful nation in the world unfortunately is dwindling.

Why must a wall be built and money wasted? Our citizens here who deserve care and money from our nation must be given their just share.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

Came To His Senseless

To The Editor:

After initially agreeing that raising the age at which a person may purchase a firearm from 18 to 21, President Trump has suddenly reversed his decision on this very volatile issue. Why? Is there pressure from certain Republicans in the House and Senate to not proceed with this? Do certain politicians still support the NRA, who oppose raising the age from 18 to 21? It is high time those politicians in Congress who have been very supportive of the NRA start being supportive of the needs and concerns of the American people with this serious gun issue. The NRA does not run the government; Congress does. No one under the age of 21 should be permitted to purchase a weapon, and all assault weapons should be pulled from the shelves of every gun store and gun fair that displays and sells them immediately, via a Congressional edict. There has been enough carnage in our country, especially in these last three months, with 18 school shootings, including the February 14 massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. The time for all of this to stop is now, and the time for Congress to act is now, and the time for all Americans to say no more shootings via massive protests is now!

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Checker Cabs

To The Editor:

Nice article.

Yes, there are some Checkers still left!

Mark Briggs
Web: http://www.thecheckercab.com
Managing Director
The Checker Cab

Endless Costly Studies

To The Editor:

Three years ago Governor Andrew Cuomo announced supporting a $5 million study to look at the feasibility of constructing a tunnel from Long Island to either the Bronx, Westchester or Connecticut. This concept of a new Cross-Sound tunnel has previously been considered for decades, but deemed unfeasible. The late Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority Chair Robert Moses paid for a $150,000 study in 1964. It was performed by the firm Madigan-Hyland to study the feasibility of a bridge across the Long Island Sound. Results of the study were released to the Nassau and Suffolk Regional Planning Board in February 1966. The Oyster Bay – Rye Bridge (originally the Bayville – Rye Bridge) was proposed to complete the Interstate 287 beltway around the New York Metropolitan Area. This was to be done by constructing a 6.1-mile-long cable suspension bridge from the Cross Westchester (I-287) Expressway in Rye to the Seaford – Oyster Bay Expressway (NY 135) in Nassau County. The estimated cost in 1966 dollars for the proposed bridge was $150 million. (It would be billions in today's dollars.) The idea died due to local community opposition and lawsuits. The same would be true today. Property condemnation at either end to support either a bridge or tunnel, including connections to existing roads, could displace thousands of residents and businesses. By the time all the court cases would be resolved, it could take years and cost billions.

Governor Cuomo referenced his new proposed bridge and/or tunnel from Queens or Nassau County to Westchester County or Connecticut during his 2018 State of the State speech. He conveniently forgot to share the detailed results of this $5 million study. The estimated cost for the Gateway Tunnel which would connect New Jersey with Penn Station is $29 billion. Crossing Long Island Sound would be a far greater distance than the Hudson River. One recommendation from his study is an 18- mile tunnel from Rye or Port Chester to Oyster Bay with a cost of between $31.5 and $55.4 billion! Another concept is some sort of combination tunnel and bridge between Kings Park and Bridgeport, Connecticut with a cost of between $13 and $32 billion. Imagine the final cost of either concept if and when completed decades later! Any guess what the toll would be to pay off bonds used for financing? Try $20, $30 or $40 each way when opened in 2038 or later. Proposed construction of a new Cross-Sound Tunnel also has been previously studied by various other planning and transportation agencies going back decades.

Now Cuomo will have the New York State Department of Transportation spend even millions more to conduct additional engineering, environmental and financial analysis, including impacts on local communities. Later in the year, a Request for Proposals (RFP) will be released to potential developers for actual construction.

Every year, millions of dollars are spent for planning studies to research the potential for new transportation capital investments and system expansion. This includes Cuomo's own NYS Department of Transportation and NYS Economic Development Corporation, state-sponsored Metropolitan Planning Organizations in every major urbanized area, including the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) which serves New York City; the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, along with each operating agency, including NYC Transit, Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and MTA Bus, NYC Department of Transportation, NYC Department of City Planning and NYC Economic Development Corporation, as well as the Regional Planning Association and other private entities. They all periodically conduct transportation planning feasibility studies. Collectively, every decade a complete inventory of all these agencies would reveal that dozens and dozens of transportation studies worth close to $100 million in costs have been completed.

Funding for these studies comes from a variety of sources including city, state and federal.

Has anyone ever taken a complete inventory of all these studies? Have they checked out the recommendations, estimated project costs, timeline for implementation and identification of potential funding sources for going forward? Who checks to see that one study is not just a duplication of a previous study for the same issue?

Too many transportation studies championed by numerous elected officials are nothing more than placebos designed to placate demagogues, who are not regular users of the numerous public transportation alternatives that have been available for decades.

The real problem is finding money to make things happen. All too often funding for many studies would have been better spent on real capital and operating service improvements, instead of just lining the pockets of consultants. How many studies end up on the shelves of planners just collecting dust? How many times do we end up with a series of press conferences and news releases designed to provide free publicity for elected officials to assist them in greasing the wheels of future elections? These same elected officials promise a bright future but leave riders holding an empty bag.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

British Paranoia

To The Editor:

I find it hard to believe that a proud nation like Russia will resort to such low theatrics attempting to kill an ex-double spy and his daughter using nerve gas!

I find it insane to believe that if the KGB wanted to get rid of this double agent (also working for the British), (they) had no better ideas but to use nerve gas and thus threatening an entire British town to get the job done; only a naive person will accept such a British government hype to protect its hidden political agenda.

The British media has also gone berserk and the government seems to have lost it by demonizing Russia without evidence, starting a diplomatic war and possibly sanctions with no real proof to back it up. The warmongering NATO jumped on the bandwagon as well as the EU bureaucracy— all refusing to provide Russia with the evidence of their accusations.

What is going on? What are these powers trying to do? Bring back the Cold War using fear for political advantage and power? Whatever it is, it proves that the British kept this Russian spy and failed to protect him and his family, while he was in the UK supplying them access to information against Russia. His son and wife have also died in the past two years!

I just hope Cyprus does not repeat (their) mistake and apply EU-NATO sanctions against Russia, destroying its own economy and good relationship with Russia that historically supported Cyprus. She was lucky enough the first time with the Ukraine. Let’s hope the government is wise enough not to be dragged into this mess of British paranoia and chooses to ABSTAIN voting in favor for sanctions! We already have enough problems with their friend and ally—that tyrant

Sultan Erdogan and his clan!
Andreas C. Chrysafis

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