Letters, Week of Sept. 6, 2012

Gottfried on ‘Settlement-gate’

To The Editor:
Re “Silver under scrutiny in sex harass cover-up for top pol” (news article, Sept. 30):

It seems some people still think sexual harassment is acceptable and harmless. It’s not. It is cruel, unfair and an abuse of power that should never be tolerated — not in the workplace, not anywhere.

The settlement was made confidential at the request of the complainants, as far as I know. Speaker Silver acknowledged he was wrong to agree to confidentiality and that he should have referred the case to the Assembly Ethics Committee. Under the Assembly rules, if the complainants had asked that the case go to the Ethics Committee, it would have.

When the second set of complainants took their complaint to the Ethics Committee, it was handled swiftly and strongly by the committee and Speaker Silver. I agree with the Ethics Committee recommendations, which the speaker carried out, and I further believe Assemblymember Vito Lopez should resign from the Assembly.

It is good that the speaker is bringing in independent experts to review the Assembly’s policies and practices and that he welcomes a review by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics.

(The article says I did not respond to a request for comment. Actually, my office never got a call, only an e-mail to a staff member’s personal account sent shortly before the paper’s deadline, which was not seen till after the deadline.)
Richard Gottfried 
Gottfried is assemblymember for the 75th District

Editor’s note: The above-mentioned e-mail was sent at 3:15 p.m. on Wed., Aug. 29, seven hours before The Villager’s weekly deadline. An e-mail sent to the same staff member’s gmail account two days earlier, also in midafternoon, at 2 p.m., got a fairly prompt response, within three hours, by 5 p.m. That e-mail query was about Pier 40 — not the Vito Lopez sex scandal and secret settlement.

Ban the ‘bantustans’

To The Editor:
Re “Unified Village, Asian-Latino districts hot topics at hearing” (news article, Aug. 23):

I am shocked that liberal city politicians are still supporting the arch-reactionary concept of election districts for “protected minority groups.” Surely it is a time to simply do away with these districts that remind this reader of bantustans inside the nasty South Africa of former times.

In the New York experience these districts seem designed to perpetuate dependency, nepotism, corruption and a politics based upon the crudest form of race and ethnic set-asides.

Today it is so obvious that only when a people escape the stultifying and constricting limits of race and ethnicity do they have the possibility of genuine prosperity and freedom.
Thomas McGonigle

Big rigs and danger corner

To The Editor:
Re “Soho woman riding on kick scooter is killed by long truck” (news article, Aug. 30):

Big rigs should be required to come to a rolling stop, if not a full stop, even on a green light, in New York City, before making turns right or left. Big rig drivers should be aware of this, and it should be enforced.

This is a walking community. There are outrageous, hostile and anonymous blog-posters all over the city this past week, indicating that this is her fault or her kick scooter’s fault. It’s unbelievable what the Wall Street Journal allows to pass online under the cloak of anonymity. Cowardice.

This intersection is a constant nightmare. The Department of Transportation has essentially created a high-speed off ramp (without the ramp) from Houston St. onto Sixth Ave., and our complaints have fallen on deaf ears. The widening of Houston St. has created this dangerous situation and, without a solution, accidents will happen.

I have video of drivers impatiently surrounding pedestrians at this corner, and big rigs flying around the corner, neither looking nor slowing down.

The driver of the truck that killed her had a GPS. What do you think he was paying attention to? Where is the surveillance video to see what his speed was or if he slowed down?

This was a gruesome death, the victim a sweet, harmless neighborhood character, and she needs justice. Where is Christine Quinn? Where is Mayor Bloomberg?
Patrick Shields

Truck had to be illegal

To The Editor
Re “Soho woman riding on kick scooter is killed by long truck” (news article, Aug. 30):

The tragic death of Jessica Dworkin would have been avoidable if the N.Y.P.D. were doing their job. The gargantuan tractor-trailer that crushed sweet Jessica was clearly in violation of New York City’s restriction of vehicles exceeding 55 feet in length.

In the 1990s the Soho community protested continuously about these overly long trucks’ presence and dedicated truck enforcement was initiated. During the interminable Bloomberg years, truck enforcement has virtually disappeared. The cops are apparently too busy shooting dogs, pot smokers and pedestrians.

At the onset of Councilmember Chin’s term, I hand-delivered volumes of information to her staff about illegal trucking that devastates her district daily, but never received a return inquiry.
The Angry Buddhist
a.k.a. Carl Rosenstein

Killed by a steel beast

To The Editor:
Re “Soho woman riding on kick scooter is killed by long truck” (news article, Aug. 30):

What an immense tragedy. Such a sweet, creative lady. She always put forth the effort to be positive in a world that often seems harsh and brutal.

Ultimately, she was caught in the hustle, the hurry-up, the swarm of frustration. That is when these huge, rumbling, steel beasts cut corners — and take chances, with your life. Heaven help those who are in the way, whether they be a woman on a scooter or a mother with a carriage. The beast simply consumes.

I will try to remember Ms. Blue as I knew her; not the senseless way we lost her.
Lawrence White 

Gave us a wonderful gift

To The Editor:
Re “Shulamith Firestone, radical feminist, wrote best-seller, 67” (obituary, Aug. 30):

I am sad to hear of this passing and particularly the isolation she experienced in the later years of her life. She was a person with a wonderful gift. She shared as much as she could. She did good for all women caught in the trappings of our male-dominated cultures. R.I.P., Shula.
Kathy Grinslade

Passionate and precocious

To The Editor:
Re “Shulamith Firestone, radical feminist, wrote best-seller, 67” (obituary, Aug. 30):

She was precious to this world and apparently forgot that and herself. The world will not, I think, forget her. Perhaps her passionate talent, which no doubt was too precocious, estranged her from many, causing her to impose an isolation she felt, for good reason, had come from without. A self-immolating inner fire, alas. All was so deep within for her, and now so deep for us, without (her).
Maeve McKavitt

Fixation on cyber birth

To The Editor:
Re “Shulamith Firestone, radical feminist, wrote best-seller, 67” (obituary, Aug. 30):

“The Dialectic of Sex” made me a radical feminist. It annoys me that the one shortcoming in her book (on repro tech) is almost the only part that journalists mention. The book is full of fantastic and insightful analyses. To write such a book so young is its own tribute. I value her thoughtful work as foundational.
Susan Hawthorne

Changed consciousness

To The Editor:
Re “Shulamith Firestone, radical feminist, wrote best-seller, 67” (obituary, Aug. 30):

I fell in and out of Shulamith’s life for decades (or maybe was thrown out, then re-embraced). Always loved her. A wonderful friend. Deep, compassionate, honest in ways few people can be. She suffered greatly, often harrowingly. Even with that, knowing her brought me great joy and affirmation.

In addition to “The Dialectic of Sex,” “Airless Spaces” is a magnificent book, as are many other things she wrote over the years, most of which haven’t been published. She was also a wonderful painter and poet. And could be funny as hell. She helped change consciousness and paid a terrible price for it.
Robert Roth

She was an artist first

To The Editor:
Re “Shulamith Firestone, radical feminist, wrote best-seller, 67” (obituary, Aug. 30):

I knew Shulamith as a friend for a while in the ’70s. She was an artist first before she was a writer. As I remember, she was or had been an artist in the CETA program. She had a wide variety of interests, from Tantra to astrology — she was able to cast horoscopes and did one for me at the time.

She had no symptoms of mental illness that I could see, but wanted to preserve her private life and keep it separate from the public arena of books and politics that had opened up to her when her book became a best-seller. This is not the same as being a recluse, since she did go out to bookstores, etc., at the time, though she may have tended to become reclusive later, according to the obituaries.
Anton Mikofsky

A great read — thanks!

To The Editor:
Re “Restoring my vision, getting set to test the waters” (notebook, by Kate Walter, Aug. 23):

I always enjoy Kate’s hopeful view of her life experiences. There is nothing more entertaining to the human animal than a great storyteller!
Frances Holden

Save Beal, save ourselves

To The Editor:
Re “Beal pleads guilty, but med defense not up in smoke” (news article, Aug. 30):

Failure to wake up to what’s going on can result in the death of us all. Three of Fukushima’s nuclear reactors are in meltdown and unless we free the responsible leadership of the marijuana movement, including Dana Beal, we are in danger of experiencing what scientists are calling an E.L.E. — Extinction Level Event.

Dana’s skills with both medical marijuana and ibogaine can be key to helping us save ourselves with tools like Rick Simpson’s Cancer Oil that has Tommy Chong’s prostate cancer in remission in less than three months. Or medical marijuana smoke for respiratory and other health problems. Or hemp foods for additional health.

Stupid rules, unfortunately. But the real heroes, like Gandhi, King and Beal must be free to help We The People heal. With medical marijuana, we can start the healing now.

I’ve known Dana for almost a quarter of a century. Nobody in New York knows more about using marijuana to solve our problems than Dana Beal. No wonder they want Dana in jail. Remember the book “The Peter Principle”? The control technique is called “create a crisis and pretend to solve it.” It’s way past time for the tail to stop wagging the dog and the people to stop eating the dog food. It’s time for us to think for ourselves.

Free Dana Beal and all nonviolent drug-war prisoners. Demand intelligence in government.
J. Nayer Hardin

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