Letters to the Editor


Thinks “Jexodus” is a Joke

Dear Editor,

Republicans are trying to lure Jewish voters from the Democratic Party by using Israel and anti- Semitism as wedge issues and by creating a campaign- that turns the story of the Jewish slavery into something of a quip- to target millennials. President Trump has gone so far as to assert that Democrats don’t care about Jews or Israel. But, the so-called “Jexodus” that the White House and other conservative lawmakers have trumpeted is little more than a barebones website created by a political operative with ties to the Trump campaign and far-right causes.

Republicans are insisting there is a sizable and growing movement among American Jews- especially younger ones–to abandon the Democratic Party for supposedly embracing anti- Semitism, or at least anti-Israel positions. President Trump himself made the case this week via Twitter, signal boosting one of his own former campaign staffers who is now purportedly the face of the new group calling itself “Jexodus”.


Victor Privett

Should Washington Fund the Gateway Tunnel??

Dear Editor:

Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones at others concerning President Trump including no money in his proposed $4.7 trillion fiscal year 2020 budget starting on October 1, 2019. Both New York and New Jersey elected officials are also hypocritical in continuing to call for Washington to finance construction of Gateway Tunnel, but refusing to contribute matching local funding. Previous Governors of NJ and NY found billions in hard cash for their local share to obtain Federal Transit Administration New Starts funding for other projects.

These include NJ Transit’s Hudson Bergen Light Rail Minimum Operating Segment One ($992 million), Segment Two ($1.2 billion) and Secaucus Transfer ($450 million). The MTA did the same for LIRR East Side Access to Grand Central Terminal ($10.8 billion) and Second Avenue Subway Phase One ($4.5 billion). None required a federal Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing or Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Improvement Act loans. The Gateway Tunnel Portal Bridge ($1.6 billion) and Hudson River Tunnel ($11 billion) portions along with Second Avenue Subway Phase 2 ($6 billion) are currently in the first phase of FTA’s New Starts program known as “Project Development.”

Without real hard financial resources from Washington ($14.6 billion), NJ ($7.3 billion) and NY ($7.3 billion), how will the full $29 billion Gateway Tunnel be paid for? A project can’t be financed by borrowing and fare surcharges alone. Washington, Albany and Trenton all share equal blame for the lack of a real $29 billion Gateway Tunnel financing package. Senator Charles Schumer is never shy around a camera or microphone. He has never held one of his famous Sunday press conferences in Albany to criticize Cuomo for his failure to fully fund his share. The same is true for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. New Jersey Senators Corey Booker and Bob Menendez are also silent concerning their own Governor Murphy when it comes to his failure to contribute.


Larry Penner

(Larry Penner is a transportation historian, advocate and writer who previously worked 31 years for the US Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration Region 2 NY Office)

Supports Tax on Owners of Multimillion Dollar Homes

Dear Editor,

I’m all for the ideas expressed in your article “Lawmakers Support Special Tax on Multimillion Dollar Second Homes in NYC.”

There have been a lot of ideas floated around recently for how to fund the city’s Metropolitan Transit Authority, and it will ultimately take a variety of ideas in order to fund and fix the city’s transit agency that handles some of the bridges, tunnels, Long Island Railroad, Metro-North Railroad, Staten Island Railway, and the city’s buses and subways.

One of the potential taxes would hit those who can afford housing that costs millions of dollars and doesn’t even serve as the first home for the wealthy tenants, who oftentimes leave the spaces vacant most of the year.

These people can most certainly afford to cough up at least a little cash. Who needs more than one place to live? There are plenty of people who currently live on the streets. There is also a city full of people who need to get around but can’t do so when the city’s infrastructure is crumbling because rich people have been skimming the public coffers by avoiding taxes and lobbying for lower taxes. It’s about time to start making people with more than one home and a lot of capital to start paying more of their fair share.

Albany looks ready to make the tax a reality and hopefully direct some funds to the overleveraged transit agency. State lawmakers look ready to put together legislation, especially because the governor signalled he would be on board with signing such a bill into law, which would be known as a pied-à-terre tax. Gov. Andrew Cuomo believes such a plan could work and is the “only agreed-to new money” for the state right now.

Let’s make it happen. That would at least be a step in the right direction to a more equitable city that would actually be the greatest city in the world.


Michele Babin

Was Manafort’s Jail Sentence Too Lenient?

Dear Editor,

I was encouraged by what Judge Amy Berman Jackson had to say about career criminal, murder-assisting traitor Paul Manafort, but he still did not get nearly enough time for a life of horrid crimes, lies, deceit, and violence. I learned about this decision while reading your article “Manafort Sentenced to Additional 3½ Years in Prison.” And why is our president vouching for this criminal traitor who was once his campaign chair? There is no reason to feel badly for him. His family, sure, but not this monster, who deserves to be treated humanely in prison but nothing more.

The judge tacked on another three and a half years in prison for Manafort for conspiracy and witness tampering stemming from his work as a lobbyist for Ukraine’s former pro-Russian president.

The sentence came on top of the nearly four years in prison Manafort received last week on federal charges of tax and bank fraud from a judge who was way too lenient and erroneously said that the traitor led an otherwise blameless life. That’s as ridiculous as all the lies Manafort told his whole life and to the special counsel while he was supposedly cooperating but was in reality conspiring against the United States.

The good news is that Jackson had strong words for Manafort’s antics and crimes, and the New York district attorney also hit Manafort with state charges not too long after his sentencing in Washington. Hopefully justice will continue to be brought upon Manafort, which would also show that a life of crime and disrupting an ongoing investigation are unacceptable.

Although Trump could pardon Manafort on the federal crimes, he has no power to do the same on the state charges, which could result in a 25-year prison term. For now, Manafort gets ready to face almost a decade in prison and has a costly legal battle to take on, and he’s not getting any younger. No sympathy for the devil.


Dana Sanders


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