Cuomo & the Gateway Tunnel
It should be no surprise to anyone that our Governor Andrew Cuomo came away with a bounced check after meeting with President Trump to make his case for the proposed Gateway Tunnel project. Governor Andrew Cuomo ran for another term against President Donald Trump. He spent millions on television advertising portraying Trump as an ultra right wing conservative whose values will destroy New York setting us back decades. Only Cuomo can save us from this disaster. After winning reelection, he goes to Washington hat in hand to meet with President Trump on behalf of the $29 billion Gateway Tunnel. He wants Washington to pick up half the tab for the $13 billion first phase.
This would pay for two new Hudson River tunnels and rehabilitation of two existing tunnels. The governor came away empty handed with a photo op and no money. He forgot that you get more with honey than you do with vinegar. Cuomo should know like a good Sicilian, Trump has a long memory as to how he has been treated in the past by those who wish to kiss his ring looking for a favor today.
(Larry Penner is a transportation historian, advocate and writer who previously worked 31 years for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 NY Office.)
Airbnb = Corporate AntiSemitism
Despicable acts of anti-Semitism are nowadays often cloaked in the garb of ”rational” protests against Israel and its policies. But the recent action of Airbnb, the web company that changed the way people find lodging around the world, shows clearly that the unique and exclusive target of such anti-Semitic corporate policies is the Jewish people.
Airbnb recently announced that—among the 192 nations that it serves with rental-housing listings—only Israel’s settlements in Judea and Samaria are morally unworthy of inclusion.
On the eve of the usual Human Rights Watch ritual condemnation of Israel and its rule over the disputed territories, Airbnb announced a boycott of only Jewish-owned properties there. If you are a Palestinian in Ramallah: no problem. But, if you are a Jew in eastern Jerusalem: you have violated Airbnb’s judenrein diktat.
Oh, and if you happen to be an invading Russian living in the forcibly annexed Crimea who has a spare room: Airbnb has no problem doing business with you.
Or suppose you are a Myanmar army general who just wrapped up the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 of your Rohingya minority: Airbnb is happy to list the vacated apartments you happily now possess in Rakhine province there.
Airbnb—with its ignorance of both Israeli history and world current events—somehow reached the decision that only Jews in the historical Jewish heartland couldn’t measure up to their perverse ethical standards.
Roughly half of America’s states legally prohibit boycotts of Israel, including the disputed territories. Already, Florida’s Governor-elect, Ron DeSantis has denounced the Airbnb policy and vowed to prohibit state employees from using Airbnb-listed facilities on state business, as they often do now. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner similarly wants his state to take action on the Airbnb outrage. Many other officials in both the public and private sectors should follow DeSantis’ and Rauner’s lead.
Editor, Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME)
I wanted to add on to the op-ed your paper published titled “How the NYC Election Debacle Infringed on Our Rights.” Just because election season is over doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue talking about issues related to voting. In fact, right after the election may be the best time to find out why voting can be so hard here and how to improve it for next time, especially now that a major election is over and the next major one isn’t for two years.
Firstly, I agree with the recommendations the article makes, like in-depth investigations of why there were so many problems with getting people in and out of the voting booths, providing better training for poll workers, adopt early voting, better technology, and making sure everyone with skin in the game is taking this seriously.
We need to continue to spread the message about how important voting is because we need to fundamentally change how voting is viewed in this country. There’s always been that saying that people died for your right to vote, but yet plenty of people still don’t vote for any number of reasons and taking time out of a busy day to stand in the rain for three hours to vote is quite the disincentive.
We need to aim to get virtually every eligible voter to the polls. Other countries have gotten over 90 percent of the eligible population to vote through coercion like small but meaningful enough penalties on tax returns, like a $50 fine.
Now that there’s more of an incentive to drive everyone to the polls, let’s make it as easy as possible to vote, and that’s where ideas like early voting come into play. There’s no reason to not have early voting, like plenty of other states do, and expand absentee voting.
The city also needs to roll out an expansive public information campaign about both how and where to vote and about the issues themselves, which is already done to an extent. It’s truly amazing to think about how small of a percentage of the population actually elects officials to represent everyone in government. Let’s change that.
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