Raise these taxes
To The Editor:
In Joanna DelBuono’s rant on Mayor Bloomberg in her “Not for Nuthin” (12-4-09 issue) column, I’m surprised she didn’t mention that except for last year, each of Mayor Bloomberg’s $400 October real estate rebates were followed by taking more than half of it back the month after Election Day in the form of property tax increases, at least in my case.
Also his recent granting of $20,000 per year pay raises to a half dozen high ranking DOT officials already making over $100,000 each two days before announcing a fiscal crisis and a job freeze for City employees. Now he wants to raise property taxes on top of already ridiculously high fines for minor offenses. (A friend of mine, after checking the parking regulations, recently mistakenly parked in front of a curb cut she did not see at 1 a.m. in a pouring rain after a long tiring drive. The next morning her car was towed and she had to pay $315 in fees.)
So why is it being proposed that the Hotel Tax be raised less than one percent so it will still be under 5 percent. If the City needs the money so badly, what’s wrong with a 10 or 15 percent Hotel Tax? Why does the mayor care more about visitors than he does about its residents?
No luck needed
To The Editor:
Re: “Good Luck, Mr. President — You’ll Need It!” A Britisher’s View by Shavana Abruzzo, 11-6 issue.
I am certain that President-Elect Obama has a good idea of what he is up against — he does not need the likes of you to remind him.
Of course he has a formidable task ahead of him, what with eight years of disastrous Republican governance in the persons of Bush and Cheney. Because of the above events, and McCain’s inept strategy, the Republicans have only themselves for losing the election.
I noticed that you did not criticize the aforementioned group. I am sure that you have noticed that the new president-elect is already tackling some of the vast problems that he will later face. This is certainly in sharp contrast to his lazy predecessor.
Since you are so “concerned” about Barack Obama’s upcoming Herculean tasks, I am certain you will be patient and understanding as he sorts out this disgusting mess the country is in. I do see that most people in the United States are looking forward to a new day and that a breath of fresh air has been let in.
Perhaps you should turn some of your negativity into a positive as well. Surely you have noticed that the rest of the world is already looking forward to working with him and are ecstatic that he was elected.
Let us hope that things will improve here, and abroad.
Setting it straight
To The Editor:
Re: Jamiel Altaheri’s recent “Kashmir conflict” letter [in response to Shavana Abruzzo’s column, “Radical Islam — hard at work,” A Britisher’s View, 12-4-07 issue].
The incident in Mumbai has everything to do with Islam and Muslims. First, Pakistan is a Muslim country, and it’s Muslims who are pushing India to give up Kashmir and make it part of Pakistan. This is part of an Indian-Pakistani rivalry going back to 1947, when the division was made based on religion (Hindus in India, Muslims in Pakistan).
Second, Muslims are the only ones who use terror on such scale (terror being defined as targeting non-combatants). True, Muslims were among the victims there, but so were they on 9/11, which was perpetrated by Muslims.
The proof that Kashmir is just an excuse for yet another murderous rampage by Muslims is that the Mumbai terrorists sought out a Jewish institution, and tortured and killed a Brooklyn Rabbi and his wife (whom they found there) because they were Jewish. Brooklyn Jews have nothing to do with Kashmir.
As to Mr. Altaheri’s remark regarding Ms. Abruzzo not being American, judging by his English he doesn’t seem to be American himself, yet nobody is limiting his right to express his opinions, however biased and nonsensical they are.
G needs some love
To The Editor:
It seems that the first thing out of anyone’s mouth any time there is a budget cut is the G Train. It seems like these budget cuts give them the excuse to do what they have been wanting to do for years, officially end the line at Court Square.
This comes at a time where ridership and population growth leave the G Train crying out for increased and improved service and they give us the opposite. It is like a slap in the face to the people who rely on the G train and who already suffer from the years of neglect the MTA has heaped upon it.
Simply put, we need more trains more often. Not cuts! Also of great importance is restoring the G from four cars to full length trains and increasing its frequency. I have spoken to MTA chief Lee Sander many times in the past few weeks to let him know how important the G train is.
It has been said that the G line does not need improvements because of low demand. But demand has been going and so has the population.
There are thousands of units of new housing and thousands more slated to be built, all relying on the G train and its four tiny cars that seem to run once in a blue moon.
I guarantee you that ridership will continue to increase even though the G’s bad reputation for being overcrowded and running infrequently is only going to get worse.
The people of my district are begging for the G to be the major mass transit utility that it can be, as are the people of Downtown Brooklyn and Northern Queens.
Time and time again I hear of the great lengths people will go through in order to avoid taking the G train because of its infrequent service especially during nights and weekends. Often, these measures include taking two or three lines and traveling through Manhattan because they do not trust the G line.
Despite that, it is becoming more and more overcrowded. I cannot overstate the damage they will do by reducing service.
Listen up, Steve
To The Editor:
This is open letter to Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz:
I would like you to propose legislation that gas stations in New York be required to dispense air for free. I believe that Hess is currently the only station that does so, but their air pumps are not always working. I have been going there since gas stations started charging 25 cents for air, and later raised the price to 50 cents.
Last week, I thought I had a flat but it turned out the pressure in one tire had dropped extremely low with the decrease in temperatures of about 40 degrees in a few weeks. When the pump at the Hess station was not working, I went across the street to another station and soon discovered that most of the stations now charge 75 cents.
To make matters worse, they have decreased the time from five minutes to three minutes, so that you don’t even have enough time to check and inflate all four tires, if that is what is needed. I had to rush so much to do all four tires, that I had different pressures in each tire, and later discovered that the fourth tire was still under-inflated, and had to go back again the next day to even them out.
It is not reasonable to expect people to always carry a half dozen quarters with them, and have them pay $1.50 for air, creating a safety hazard for motorists if they don’t have the change. Of course, the stations are probably hoping that you will stop inside for a cup of coffee in order to get change.
If nothing is done now, they will raise the price again to a dollar in few years, and possibly decrease the time also, so that you are paying for each tire separately.
When they started increasing the cost of pay toilets from a dime to a quarter about 40 years ago, a law was passed requiring them to be free. Had that not been done, the cost today would be about $2.50 just to use the toilet at a shopping mall. The same should be done for air. Certain things should just be free.
Studies show that many motorists drive with under-inflated tires, and I’m sure that charging for air is partially the cause. You should also remind people in your monthly newsletter, with the temperatures dropping, to check their air, which they should do anyway once a month.
Fare hike is unfair
To The Editor:
Regarding your article about MTA service cuts, the MTA must not cut service or raise fares. The NYS Controller believes there are better ways to stem the budget deficit, such as through organizational changes.
Channel 7, recently, disclosed that certain work rules necessitate some workers receiving a full days pay for an hour or two of actual work.
How many other inefficiencies are built into the system? These need to be corrected first.
Planning Service Guidelines were instituted to assure that each route is provided with adequate levels of service. The MTA would use these guidelines to justify existing service levels when responding to claims that lines were under-served and to justify past service cuts.
Now that ridership is at a 40-year high, and service cuts cannot be made under existing off-peak guidelines of a 100% seated load, the MTA, arbitrarily, changes the guidelines to 125% seated load, which means that there will be four seats for every five people riding, on average. In other words, there will be a 20% chance you will have to stand for most of your trip during non-rush hours.
Changes to these guidelines should require approval of the State Legislature, providing an incentive for the MTA to first remove its inefficiencies before taking such drastic actions as cutting service and raising the fare. These actions will chase away the new riders that it took so long to attract.
We must never get back into that downward spiral of higher fares and less service, resulting in fewer riders, less revenue and less maintenance before the cycle starts all over again.
Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn