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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Saturday, September 23, 2017

Iran’s Ban on Competing against Israeli Athletes

Dear Editor:

Iran recently banned two soccer players for life from playing for their country because they participated in a match against Israelis. Iran prohibits Iranian athletes from competing against Israeli athletes in any contest. Israel can use Iran’s ban to its advantage by asking Israeli volunteers to join foreign teams scheduled to play against Iranian athletes. The effect will be to exclude Iran from competing against teams that accept Israeli volunteers. Perhaps irate Iranian fans will express displeasure with their government. Israel can promise to end this policy after Iran rescinds its threat to wipe Israel off the map. (Of course, Israel runs the risk of being accused of bad sportsmanship.)


Ted Sheskin

Federal Support for the MTA

Dear Editor:

While New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo continue to fight over who is responsible for management of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and how much each should contribute for funding the current $32 billion 2015 - 2019 Five Year Capital Plan, Washington continues to be a reliable funding partner.

Federal support for transportation has remained consistent and growing over past decades.  When crises occurred, be it 9-11 in 2001 or Hurricane Sandy in 2012 Washington was there for us.  Additional billions in assistance above and beyond yearly formula allocations from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration was provided.  In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided billions more.

Most federal transportation grants require a 20 percent hard-cash local share. In most cases, the Federal Transit Administration  accepted toll credits instead of hard cash for the local share. This saved the MTA over $1 billion in the previous 2010-2014 five-year capital program. The same will be true with the 2015-2019 five-year capital program.

Washington has made available over $1.3 billion in 2017 Federal Transit Administration formula funding for the MTA which helps pays for 25 percent of its capital program.  This includes $23 million in Buses and Bus Facilities; $699 million in State of Good Repair and $647 million in Urbanized Area federal funding.  There are other opportunities for up to several hundred million more in discretionary competitive federal grants.  

The MTA can also take advantage of Federal Transit Administration pre-award authority prior to grant approval.  Use of Pre-award Authority affords the MTA an opportunity to start projects months earlier and incur costs for reimbursement at a later date after grant approval and obligation of funding.  The MTA currently manages an active portfolio of federally funded capital improvement projects and programs in open grants worth over $12 billion in direct Federal Transit Administration financial assistance.  

Instead of complaining, Mayor Bill de Blasio should come up with the balance of $2.5 billion the City still owes toward fully funding the $32 billion MTA 2015 - 2019 Five Year Capital Program and provide several billion more.  City Hall should match Albany dollar for dollar in any increased assistance.  

Governor Andrew Cuomo should deliver the outstanding balance $5.8 billion balance toward his original $8.3 billion pledge plus his most recent new commitment of an additional $1 billion. MTA can't afford to wait until 2018 or 2019 for both de Blasio and Cuomo to make good on their respective promised financial commitments. Neither can transit riders and taxpayers who are looking for accountability, efficient and timely completion for both capital projects and routine maintenance to assure more reliable and safe on time service. 


Larry Penner

Great Neck

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

Angered at Immorality Promotion

Dear Editor:

On May 10th of this year, City Councilman Chaim Deutsch voted for a bill (#1028-2015) that sets up a task force to supervise sex education in the school system.  The bill requires the task force to  "(g) makes recommendations about the inclusion of sexual health education content areas that specifically address issues relevant to students who identify as other than heterosexual, including but not limited to, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and gender non-conforming students, including recommendations that specifically address sexual health knowledge for same-sex relationships.”  

While this is bad enough since this bill also came out of the education committee that Councilman Deutsch is on, he was at the committee hearings on this bill and also voted for this bill in committee.  Thus, Councilman Deutsch who is our community's representative voted twice to say that Flatbush thinks that we should promote homosexuality in the schools.  We need to now tell Deutsch, no, we do not want to promote homosexuality in the schools and therefore we must vote against him!


Robert Sasson

Anti-Semitism on the Rise

Dear Editor:

The other day innocent civilians were murdered by Arab terrorists in Israel while sitting at their Shabbat meal. Most of the liberal media did not report on this incident and certainly except for the Jews, I doubt most of the world cares. We have learned nothing from the Holocaust. The world sat in silence while six million died. The NY Times and London Times, even though they knew mass murder was occurring by the end of 1942, wrote very little about it. Instead of protesting about the separation of men and women praying at the kotel and threatening to hold back donations to Israel, liberal Jews should protest the anti Semitism and anti Zionism prevalent throughout the world. 

If you look at the various newspapers we see stories about Lakewood pious Jews and Medicare fraud. The story is repeated over and over. Last week the same story regarding an Orthodox Jew molesting a child was blasted daily in the local secular newspaper. In both cases, what the Jews did was a desecration, however the responses by readers are totally anti-Semitic. Politicians believe that Jared & Ivanka run the White House and are making a fortune. Read today's papers. Jews, are you blind? Don't you recognize that anti-Semitism is rising daily. While it is nice to join with Muslims for Shabbat dinner, it is nicer to protect our fellow Jews when they are massacred at their own Shabbat dinner.


Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg