Letters to the Editor

On a Jewish response to George Floyd’s death, rehab after COVID and questions about an MTA fare hike

23 Jun 2020 | 05:22

Teaching Tolerance in Schools

I am writing in response to Rabbi Ben Tzion Krasnianski’s Viewpoint entitled, “A Jewish Response to the Tragic Death of George Floyd,” (West Side Spirit, June 18 - 24).

I concur with the Rabbi’s intention and his selection of the schools to teach tolerance. However, I disagree with his methodology. Our country has a long tradition of the separation of church and state and his suggestion of a moment of silence in schools challenges that sacred tenet of our democracy. Furthermore, it assumes that each student will utilize that 60 seconds in a meaningful way in accordance with what belief they have learned at home. There are many who have no organized belief system taught in their home. And we cannot assume that children are taught tolerance or even love and acceptance at home.

However, I do agree that the schools are a primary venue for the teaching of values including respect and tolerance of difference. This can be taught in the classroom with the Golden Rule instruction. There are infinite opportunities throughout our public education to emphasize the Golden Rule when instructing and disciplining students in the classroom.

Janis Brodie

Upper West Side

Rehab After COVID-19

Thank you for your article “Learning to Live After COVID-19” (Our Town, June 4 - 10). As one who survived the virus, I am grateful to everyone at Bellevue who helped me through this crisis and now to the people in rehab medicine at Rusk who are returning me to a new-normal life. I also appreciate the good wishes of my friends and neighbors, and offer my good wishes to all the thousands of New Yorkers who shared my experience.

Louise Dankberg

East Side

MTA Fare Hike?

During a recent transportation webinar about plans for any fare increase as a result of COVID-19, MTA Chairman Pat Foye said there is no consideration toward imposing a fare hike due to the COVID-19 ridership loss. What he failed to mention is the previous plan agreed upon by both Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. It included both congestion pricing and fare increases as part of a funding package to support the $51 billion MTA 2020 - 2024 Five Year Capital Plan. This plan includes fare increases no greater than 2 percent per year. The MTA and State Legislature committed to fare increases occurring every two years. With a fare increase in 2019, the next would be in 2021. The MTA currently faces financial shortfalls in the billions for both capital and operating expenses. Any fare increase for NYC Transit local, express and select bus service, subway, Staten Island Railway, MTA Bus along with Long Island and Metro North Rail Roads could be up to 4%.

There is still no guarantee that congestion pricing will begin in 2021. Due to the economic recession as a result of COVID-19, billions anticipated from congestion pricing, real estate transfer, internet sales, along with other city and state taxes, will be lost. The result could be a larger fare increase in 2021. The alternative could be reductions in the level of service, frequency of maintenance along with delays to capital projects and programs to minimize any fare increases.

Larry Penner

Great Neck, NY