Today’s news:

She’s got a finger or four for Gershbein!

Brooklyn Daily

To the editor,

Four more fingers!

And if the GOP doesn’t nominate Gov. Chris Christie in 2016, Stanley Gershbein can add two hands and feet worth of digits to that number (“Stan has had it with polling,” It’s Only My Opinion, Nov. 8).

Most Republicans are in denial and just don’t have a clue.

I am an ex-former non-admirer.

Shirley Ranz

Brooklyn

...

To the editor,

That raucous laughter emanating from hell comes from Marx, Lenin, Mao, and Stalin rolling with glee!

Their prediction of the U.S. becoming a one-party socialist state has come true. Millions of citizens have now turned over to government the power to dictate just about every facet of their lives.

Khrushchev is smiling too.

Even though his boast of “burying us” has not happened, in reality, we have buried ourselves!

Robert W. Lobenstein

Marine Park

...

To the editor,

Another election cycle has come and gone.

We must make some changes in our cycles to obtain elected office. The cycle is too long and costly.

Elected officials who seek other offices must be made to take leaves of absence. Some are campaigning for years on end and cannot serve their constituencies properly in the current positions they hold.

Then there are groups that become rebels with a cause.

A case in point is my union, the United Federation of Teachers. They get so involved in the election process that they neglect to serve the membership.

Many union officials will do just about anything to divert the minds of the membership of their failings.

I would love to see union officials work for lower class sizes, 600 schools for the unruly, and other matters in the same way that they’re rang doorbells in Missouri for the re-election of the president. Apparently, few answered the doors there, as Mitt Romney carried the state.

Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Pleased to help

To the editor,

You published my letter about my insurance increase of 26 percent — a copy of which I sent the New York State Department of Financial Services, as well as to politicians, vocal friends, television tip lines, watchdog groups, and news programs. Just got notice of an increase of only 8.34 percent in a sour letter from Emblem Health.

Thank you for Courier Life for having helped me win this victory!

Justine Swartz

Sheepshead Bay

Puffed-up pols

To the editor,

Every time I hear the local politicians talk about affordable housing it just make me scream.

When a local group in Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach fought the development known as Brighton-by-the-Sea — now Ocean Terrace — concessions were given for a handful of low-income housing. To my knowledge I don’t think that ever took place.

Give a developer a big tax break and he will save any number of these types of housing. This is the biggest — and I mean the biggest! — lie I’ve ever heard. Please tell me what figure of income could be considered affordable. They sure talk big, but never once in my memory have I heard how much it would cost to rent an apartment.

I wish these same politicians would stop playing games with the lives of people and be honest and truthful for once.

Jerry Sattler

Brighton Beach

MTA on track

To the editor,

This past October 27th marked the 108th anniversary of the first New York City subway line.

The Interborough Rapid Transit company route ran from City Hall north to 42nd Street across 42nd Street to Times Square, then proceeding north along Broadway to 145th Street.

The original BMT (Brooklyn Manhattan Rapid Transit — today’s B,D,J,M, N,Q, R and Z lines) and IRT (Interboro Rapid Transit — the 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, Franklin Avenue and Times Square shuttles) subway systems were granted franchise agreements by the city.

They constructed and managed these lines by the private sector with no government operating subsidies. Financial viability was 100 percent dependent upon farebox revenues. They supported both development and economic growth of numerous neighborhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens. As part of the franchise agreement which owners had to sign, City Hall had direct control over the fare structure.

For a period of time, owners actually make a profit with a five-cent fare. After two decades passed, the costs of salaries, maintenance, power, supplies, and equipment would pressure owners to ask City Hall for permission to raise the fares. This additional revenue was needed to keep up with maintaining a good state of repair, increase the frequency of service, purchase new subway cars, pay employee salary increases, and support planned system expansion. Politicians more interested in the next re-election ( and subscribing to the old Roman philosophy of free bread and circuses) refused this request each year for well over a decade.

As a result, in order to survive, owners of both systems began looking elsewhere to reduce costs and stay in business. They started curtailing basic maintenance, delayed purchases of new subway cars, postponed salary increases for employees, canceled any plans for system expansion, and cut corners to survive. Does any of this sound familiar from the present?

In the 1930s, the city began building and financing construction of the new IND (Independent Subway — today’s A,C,E,F and G lines). This new municipal system directly subsidized by taxpayers dollars would provide direct competition to both the IRT and BMT. Municipal government forced them into economic ruin by denying them fare increases that would have provided access to additional badly needed revenues. Big Brother, just like the Godfather, eventually made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. The owners folded and sold out to City Hall.

In 1953, the old city Board of Transportation passed on control of the municipal subway system, including all its assets to the newly created New York City Transit Authority.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority was created in the late 1960s under late Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. He appointed four board members. Likewise, the mayor four more and the rest by suburban county executives.

No one elected official controlled a majority of the votes. As a result, elected officials have historically taken credit when the MTA or any operating subsidiary such as New York City Transit would do a good job. When operational problems occurred or fare increases were needed, everyone could put up their hands — “Don’t blame me, I’m only a minority within the Board.”

Decade after decade, city officials would all play the same sad song — “if only we had majority control of the Board, things would be different.”

All have long forgotten that buried within the 1953 master agreement between the city and New York City Transit is an escape clause.

The city has the legal right at any time to take back control of its assets which includes the subway and most of the bus system as well.

Actions speak louder than words. If municipal elected officials feel they could do a better job running the nations largest subway and bus system and avoid any future fare inceases, why not step up to the plate now and regain control of your destiny?

The MTA’s services are still one of the best bargains in town. Since the 1950s, the average cost of riding either the bus, subway or commuter rail has gone up at a lower rate than either the consumer price index or inflation.

The Metro Card, introduced in 1996, affords a free transfer between bus and subway. Prior to this, riders had to pay two full fares.

Purchasing either a weekly or monthly pass further reduces the cost per ride. Many employers offer transit checks, which pay even more of your costs.

Like it or not, previously scheduled fare hikes in 2013, 2015, and 2017 are probably justified, if the MTA is to provide the services millions of New Yorkers on a daily basis.

Fare hikes are inevitable due to inflation along with increasing costs of labor, power, fuel, supplies, materials, routine safety, state of good repair, replacement of worn out rolling stock, upgrades to stations, yards, and shops — along with system expansion projects necessary to run any transit system.

In the end, quality and frequency of service is dependent upon secure revenue streams.

We all will have to contribute — be it at the fare box or tax revenues generated by different levels of government redistributed back to the MTA.Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

Fired up

To the editor,

The snow and rain were blowing sideways. Mayor Bloomberg was on television propagandizing the Warming Centers that are open to Midnight. (Then the unfortunate people are kicked to the curb.) They don’t call them Shelters, where people are permitted to stay the night. The name is Warming Centers. So I guess it is O’kay to kick them out since it is only a Warming Center and not a Shelter. Although they could die of Hypothermia when they are forced to leave at Midnight. Not bad enough to lose

material possessions so many people are additionally horrendously suffering with no power and no relief in sight. It is worse than in the summer when people are Dying of Heat then the politicians open up Cooling Centers, during the day free air-conditioning and you get to sit around on hard metal chairs. AAHHH, This is the Life! It is make-do for the Poor so they don’t die of Heat Stroke. Looked bad for the reigning politicians what with the destitute and elderly dropping dead in the streets.

It seems these poor victims of the storms have no shelter from their ongoing misery.

Do more citizens have to die before our government competently acts?

Justine Swartz

Brooklyn Heights

Reach reporter Shavana Abruzzo at sabruzzo@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2529.

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