Letters, March 28, 2013

CUNY could be an alternative

To The Editor:
Re “Faculty demand that Sexton resign after adverse vote” (news article, March 21):

Another public embarrassment for Sexton. I wonder if it will have any effect. The underlying problem for N.Y.U. is its limited endowment, which has pushed it to rely on tuition expansion. So even if Sexton goes, the university’s strategy will likely remain.

If the state were to fund CUNY adequately, hire more full-time faculty and eliminate its tuition, you’d see a lot less student interest in N.Y.U. But as long as the state and the federal government fund student loans instead of funding free state universities directly, the state will continue to promote the expansion of expensive private schools like N.Y.U.
Rob Hollander

N.Y.U.: Quantity vs. quality

To The Editor:
Re “Faculty demand that Sexton resign after adverse vote” (news article, March 21):

It is clear that the New York University trustees have little regard for the faculty concerns, having responded to these with barely a word of understanding or empathy. They appear preoccupied with forever bigger and richer. Surely, Sexton has succeeded on these counts, but now he seems mainly addicted to growth.

I head Energy Vision, a civic community association in the East Village. We have watched N.Y.U. build big but unattractive dormitories across our neighborhood — sending a message to its students and the city that building structures of enduring distinction and quality comes a far second to getting the most square footage for the buck. Perhaps the university’s trustees haven’t noticed this, but very many in our neighborhood have.

N.Y.U. just may be big enough now, and the focus should be on quality not quantity — on nurturing a caring environment for learning that respects the views of the faculty members who make up the heart of the institution.
Joanna Underwood

Homeless activist vows encore

To The Editor:
Re “Activist concludes his N.Y.U. homeless campout on a high” (news article, March 21):

Just to clarify the comment about people who helped me out. Lots of people helped me, including N.Y.U. students and some Lower East Side squatters. But the only squat that offered to take me in after the snowstorm was C-Squat. Also, the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space helped me tremendously.

Jim Sim was the person who told me N.Y.U. had the seniors evicted at Cabrini — so if they didn’t do it, who did? At any rate, the N.Y.U. expansion means that more students will be attending N.Y.U.; and since the university guarantees all students who are admitted a room in their dorms, get ready because they are going to be building a lot more of them.

This ain’t over until N.Y.U. stops its massive campaign to gentrify the East and West Village. I shall return!
John Penley

Chin’s been there for residents

To The Editor:
Re “Rajkumar readies to announce her challenge to Chin” (news article, March 21):

Margaret Chin has done an extraordinary job leading Downtown. She supported the residents and their rights when the Occupy Wall Street movement was impacting residents’ quality of life. She supported and fought for the Zadroga Bill to garner health benefits for all Lower Manhattan residents, including the first responders. She cares very deeply about the citizens of Lower Manhattan and we are very lucky to have her representing us in the City Council.
Veronica Willis

Rajkumar always stood with us

To The Editor:
Re “Rajkumar readies to announce her challenge to Chin” (news article, March 21):

Jenifer Rajkumar stood with Margaret Chin’s constituents — when Chin would not stand with us herself — on the Soho Business Improvement District and on N.Y.U.’s devastating expansion plan. When 100 of us were escorted out of City Hall last July 25 by armed gendarmes before that ignominious vote on N.Y.U., Jenifer was escorted out right alongside us. Why would we re-elect a councilwoman who works against us, when we have a fresh alternative who is ready, willing and able to work with us?
Georgette Fleischer
Fleischer is founder, Friends of Petrosino Square

Getting along on the road

To The Editor:
Re “Bikes rule! Or bike rules? One cyclist sounds off” (talking point, by Scott Oglesby, March 21):

This is an excellent, thoughtfully written and commonsensical piece on a pressing topic. The landscape of the street has changed dramatically over the last decade, but codes of behavior have not adapted. Articles like this may help bridge the gap so that going forward we collectively, as drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, learn to accommodate one another with more mutual respect.
Rick Brosen

Too many reckless cyclists

To The Editor:
Re “Cyclists draw a line; Demand accountability in car accidents” (news article, March 21) and “Bikes rule! Or bike rules? One cyclist sounds off” (talking point, by Scott Oglesby, March 21):

While I lament the number of deaths of pedestrians and cyclists caused by cars in New York City, and while I agree that drivers should certainly be accountable, I would also like to know how many of these accidents have been caused by reckless cyclists.

I applaud Scott Oglesby for his “talking point” in the same issue of March 21, presenting both sides of the story and cautioning drivers and bikes “to slow down, adapt to the new streets, and always give pedestrians the right of way. (Optional for phoners and texters.)” But I would go farther:

Are there no rules of the road? As a pedestrian and as a driver, I am appalled to see how seldom cyclists observe traffic laws. Every day I see cyclists ride in either direction on one-way streets and avenues, ignore red lights, weave in and out of traffic lanes, and wear clothing more appropriate for the beach than for busy New York traffic. Last week I saw a man on a bicycle riding in the wrong direction, wearing flip-flops, with one hand on the handlebar, the other holding a cell phone to his ear, and riding across Fifth Ave. against the light. I have seen cyclists ride in circles at pedestrian crossings to avoid dismounting their bikes.

For pedestrians and drivers, these cyclists have become genuine hazards. Shouldn’t they also be accountable?
Susan E. Meyer

Sodas? We need a hospital!

To The Editor:
Re “Claps for the cap” (editorial, March 21):

To quote from your editorial, “But most of us, except for possibly hardcore libertarians, will agree that government does have a public responsibility to protect people’s health.”

Just to let you know this hardcore libertarian definitely agrees that government does have a responsibility to protect people’s health — like, for instance, providing something really necessary, like a hospital.

I will spare you my epithet for your backing of the mayor’s idiotic smokescreen. This is the best health plan he can come up with, while we are denied the statistics on how many people are dying from heart attacks, strokes and who knows what else, while riding across town to the nearest hospital?

If you will recall, he also ran as the education mayor. And now we watch one school after another close, displacing thousands of students and teachers. Another great union-breaking plan, eh?
Pamela L. La Bonne

Not getting my vote

To The Editor:
Re “Quinn makes it official; Says she wants to be next mayor” (news article, March 14):

I will not be voting to elect Christine Quinn for mayor. As soon as Quinn became City Council speaker her allegiance to achieving higher office became more important than service to her constituency in the South Village.

Quinn’s lack of opposition to N.Y.U. 2031 seemed to suggest to many in the affected area that she was more interested in supporting N.Y.U.’s plans in a Council district she does not represent than considering its impact on the preservation of the South Village, located in the Council district that elected her.

Should the landmarking of the northern half of the proposed South Village Historic District not pass, the blame falls to the Landmarks Preservation Commission and not Quinn. This is a win/win for a mayoral candidate seeking necessary support from the real estate industry — which explains why the deal specifically left out the area below Houston St.

Living in this area for 45 years, I have witnessed the demise of too many buildings that might well have helped to qualify the area for such a landmarking, while my councilmember’s ambitions moved to those of districts other than her own. On some major issues, Speaker Quinn has a poor record of service to her Council District 3 constituents. Remember St. Vincent’s?

To those in the South Village, I believe we may as well have an opposition candidate from another borough become mayor. We’ll do no worse and perhaps they’ll be more responsive to Village needs than our own councilmember, who has not been responsive.
Jeffrey Rowland

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One Response to Letters, March 28, 2013

  1. The Feds cutting deffered interest on loans is part of the reason I can't go to N.Y.U. this Fall.

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