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Courier’s tops for human interest stories

Brooklyn Daily

To the editor,

Those who took charge in the recent second annual domestic violence walk-a-thon take very little notice of other types of violence that is taking place within their districts in Southern Brooklyn — especially the more serious crimes being perpetrated by misbehaving young females.

Also, thanks for your human interest stories, Courier, they’re a welcome respite.

Amy Kaye

Sheepshead Bay

David’s Podest-al

To the editor,

This is in response to David Podesta’s letter, “Apologist prez” (Letters, Oct. 18).

His letter is a complete rewrite of history.

He does rightfully condemn Jimmy Carter for his handling of the hostage situation.

However, as badly as that was handled — and it was humiliating — it does not equate with the loss of life due to terrorist attacks under the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations.

Under Reagan, the Marie Barracks in Beirut were destroyed, with the loss of 241 lives. They were never avenged, and Reagan walked away.

The perpetrators were supported by Iran, and walking away only strengthened Iran.

In addition, it is a fact that Reagan helped Osama bin Laden and his movement. I am not questioning his motives, but his results.

George W. Bush also went into Iraq for the wrong reasons, and destroyed a bad regime that was acting as Iran’s counterweight. President Obama has a good record against terror, killing bin Laden and other terrorist leaders on his watch.

Alan Podhaizer

Coney island

Failing schools

To the editor,

What a terrible job we’re doing in our schools when 71 percent of our high school students are not prepared to do college work.

One student summed it up quite well in an article I read recently, stating, “Administrators are afraid of students, there is no discipline.”

Some of our schools are so bad that the National Guard needs to be called in just to restore order.

These are the same schools that the Central Board, the United Federation of Teachers, and the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators gave up on years ago. It’s much easier to blame teachers for the failure.

For years the union has been diverting the minds of the membership by looking for other things to do. It creates new issues instead of demanding lower class sizes, 600 schools for disruptive children, and the demoted Absent Teacher Reserve pedagogues who have been relegated to substitute status be returned to regular teaching.

Whatever happened to the expedited grievance procedure about this?

If they can ring doorbells in Missouri for the president’s re-election, they can lobby our elected officials to address the problems I have mentioned.

Union members give plenty of money for Continuing Opportunities for a Purposeful Education to support politicians, only for them to turn around and give us Tier 6 as an example.

It has now been more than 43 years since I became a teacher in the city school system. Though long retired, I have seen the same problems year after year, and no action by people I have paid dues to, or who have been my bosses.

If we don’t do something to correct our failing schools, we will be left with only the shell of a once great school system.

Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Capital diss

To the editor,

Has anyone noticed the recent media blitz by the New York State Empire Development Corporation at the expense of taxpayers?

The commercials run in heavy rotation — several times per hour — on many television stations. The costs rival major media buys from candidates running for public office.

These frequent television ads have been running for weeks, and have now spread to newspapers. How many hundreds of thousands — even millions — of dollars are being spent on these feel-good ads promoting “Big Things Happen Here in New York State.”

They claim that New York is open for business. It makes no sense to run them in New York markets. We continue to face an eight percent unemployment rate, along with seven percent who have given up looking, and millions more working part-time or for minimum wage while looking for full-time work and higher salaries.

This media onslaught has done nothing to promote real job growth. Small, medium and large size companies based in New York can see beyond the smoke and mirrors. They are more likely to downsize than hire new employees in today’s economic environment.

The net loss of jobs and businesses leaving is greater than what has been created in New York. Our local businesses know that the problem is right in our own backyard. New York State is ranked as one of the most unfriendly states to conduct business in due to excessive rules, regulations, and confiscatory taxation levels.

These television commercials and newspaper ads should have been running out of state. Maybe they could have conned some naive investors into buying the Brooklyn Bridge.

New York prospered and successfully grew prior to creation of the Urban Development Corporation in 1968, which conducts business under the Empire State Development Corporation. Buried within the Empire State Development Corporation are almost 100 active subsidiaries and perhaps an equal number of inactive subsidiaries.

Audits by various state comptrollers over the years have questioned the level of oversight over both active and inactive subsidiary corporations. It has become politically fashionable for local counties and cities to have their own local development corporations. Many of these entities also serve as a vehicle to provide political patronage positions for the loyal supporters of elected officials controlling them.

Don’t forget the army of consultants that economic development corporations hire to provide so-called technical assistance and expertise to create and manage projects and programs. In many instances, projects supported by these government corporations have been heavily subsidized by taxpayers, commonly known as corporate welfare.

Between direct government funding, low-interest below-market rate loans, long-term tax exemptions, favorable eminent domain, and free infrastructure improvements, the bill to taxpayers in the end is greater than the so-called public benefits.

There is also a relationship between pay-for-play campaign contributions from developers to elected officials looking for favorable legislation, private property condemnation under eminent domain, building permits, and public infrastructure improvements, along with direct and hidden subsidies. In some cases, state, city and county development corporations actually compete against each other attempting to outbid each other in offering potential investors the best deal. This translates to the highest subsidies at taxpayers’ expense.

Don’t forget the conflict of interest for senior staff from state regulatory and permitting agencies.

Too many leave in the twilight of any state administration to become employees or consultants to the same developers they previously oversaw. Some developers try to purchase the support of local community groups by making so-called voluntary donations. They also make promises for capital improvements, which after the major project is completed don’t always appear. Other commitments for creation of permanent new jobs and tax revenues frequently do not meet expectations.

If these projects are worthwhile, why can’t major developers use their own funds or obtain loans from banks, like medium and small businesses?

Real business people who believe in capitalism build their companies on their own. How sad that some don’t want to do it the old fashion way by sweat and hard work.

They are looking for shortcuts in the form of huge subsidies at taxpayers expense and favors from elected officials.

Larry Penner

Great Neck, N.Y.

United Nitwits

To the editor,

The mayor of Seaside Heights, N.J. feels that leaving the roller coaster partially submerged in the Atlantic Ocean by Hurricane Sandy would make for a great tourist attraction.

He might have a good idea there.

Not to be outdone by New Jersey, why don’t we dump the U.N. into the East River? That also would be a nice tourist attraction.

Oops, I forgot — it already is nothing but a tourist attraction.

Franklin Forte

Gravesend

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

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