MTA, extreme politics, Black history, and American Indians

I think Gov. Kathy Hochul should have the Metropolitan Transportation Authority clean up its act before handing out bailouts [“MTA bailout plan criticized,” News, Feb. 6].

I see the waste. The biggest loss is this: I would be surprised if more than 75% of subway riders pay fares. I travel from Penn Station to the 66th Street-Lincoln Center stop five days a week. At Penn Station, I have seen many going through the gate or over the turnstiles without even being questioned.

Police are at Penn and someone is in the booth, but they frequently are texting.

The Lincoln Center stop is worse. On the uptown side, some hold open the emergency gate. I stopped counting after 20 construction workers passed through within 10 minutes — at 3:30 in the afternoon. At night, I wonder why they even have turnstiles. I wrote to the MTA, providing pictures, but got a canned answer.

I know I’m not the only one who sees this and is fed up. The MTA should not get one dime of taxpayer money until it fixes this problem.

— Richard Trentacosta, Valley Stream

Apparently, Janno Lieber, MTA chairman and CEO, thinks it isn’t fair that low-income folks have their services cut while “others can work from home or dial it in from East Hampton” [“MTA boss: Island should be willing to pay more,” News, Feb. 7].

He apparently visualizes Long Island as the Gold Coast from F. Scott Fitzgerald novels, but that image faded years ago. It was replaced by middle-class families seeking more moderate housing. However, homes purchased during good markets became burdens as the economy changed and taxes ballooned.

Many homeowners flee New York to go to more affordable locations. Yet, the MTA assumes that simply because we live on Long Island and work in areas like East Hampton that we are affluent white-collar workers and can afford to pay more than our fair share. This perception is outdated. Merely living on Long Island is no indication of wealth.

During the COVID-19 quarantine, workers stayed home but not by choice. Many companies closed and some salaries were cut.

Blaming mass transit’s low ridership on Long Island workers is an excuse to put additional burdens on those already overburdened. We are struggling to make ends meet. Don’t judge us by our neighborhoods.

— Dolly Kalhorn, North Babylon

A difference between reps’ hateful remarks

A reader asked a good question [“What’s the difference if haters are ousted?” Letters, Feb. 7] regarding congressional treatment of Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.): “Isn’t punishing haters, regardless of party, a good thing?”

I would say yes, but only if we distinguish between malice and a mistake. One representative, Greene, habitually lies, bullies and promotes violence. In that context, the word “hate” comes easily to mind because these behaviors are tools to promote hatred. Those actions should be punished.

The other representative made some poorly thought-out comments. She eventually understood why people were offended and had the decency to explain her actions. She apologized, unequivocally, and then changed her conduct accordingly. Shouldn’t this kind of behavior be rewarded, or at least not punished?

— James Moyssiadis, Mount Sinai

After Black history, try American Indians

Certainly, the College Board made a good decision by revising an Advanced Placement African American studies course for 60 U.S. high schools “College Board’s Black history course revised,” News, Feb. 2].

My concern is that American high school students (and adults) rarely learn and know the full and rich histories of American Indians or the vibrant cultures that exist today.

What is needed is a curriculum that nurtures in students an understanding of American Indians: their cultural diversity, spirituality, philosophical thought, major themes of Indian-white relations, contemporary issues in Native American communities, and the implications of colonialism on native people.

It’s important to be aware of the contributions that American Indians have made and continue to make to the quality of life in contemporary society. And down the line, perhaps the College Board will consider an AP course in American Indian studies.

— Chet Lukaszewski, Huntington

The writer taught a high school American Indian studies course.

Teaching American history without teaching Black history is like teaching math without the numbers 5, 6 and 7 [“Black history, all year,” News, Feb. 5].

Without teaching all aspects of our history, we are simply teaching American mythology. We may not be proud of all of our history, but everyone must learn it so we can continue our work in progress “to form a more perfect Union.”

Not teaching the history of slavery, Jim Crow laws and racism is educational malpractice.

— Alison Bermant, East Norwich

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