Letters, April 18, 2013

Eva’s schools get a free ride

To The Editor:
Re “Charges over charters fly as Eva enters Wash. Irving” (news article, April 4):

A few corrections and comments are needed on your April 4 article about the co-location of a K-to-4 Success Academy charter school at the Washington Irving High School building.

The first was a quote that was somewhat out of context, about how puzzling it was that the Department of Education was putting a K-to-4 school in a building otherwise populated by high school students. My comment had nothing to do with the fact that the high school students came from impoverished families. I have a 7-year-old and a 9-year-old. I wouldn’t want them sharing a building with 1,500 high school students of any financial stratum, even if it was at a fancy prep school. To me it is inappropriate.

Success Academy — everywhere Eva Moskowitz places her empire — sets itself down in public school buildings, unlike most charter schools, which rent space. Success does not pay the city, even though the law requires them to pay the cost. The Independent Budget Office sets the cost of about $3,000 per student, which means Success, with its 5,000 students, got a $15 million subsidy from New York City’s school budget last year. We are in court over that travesty and expect a ruling soon.

The biggest problem is that Success goes where it is unwanted, and where its presence will disrupt the education of thousands of other, noncharter students. Success has no relationship to its host communities and, in fact, it considers community opposition “U.F.T. inspired,” and therefore unworthy of consideration.

Mayoral candidates Bill de Blasio, John Liu and Bill Thompson all oppose the co-location of charter and regular public schools, as do most education leaders. We are fighting to stop the inappropriate spread of Moscowitz’s empire now, but there is a good chance that the next mayor will stop it for good.
Arthur Schwartz

Congrats on all the awards!

To The Editor:
Re “The Villager judged to be among state’s top weekly papers” (news article, April 11):

Thanks for the great work and congratulations for the well-justified recognition!

And this article is a nice piece of writing also. I particularly enjoyed reading about the judges’ remarks and reasoning.

The Village and the Villager are a great combination!
Diane Lebedeff

More power to you!

To The Editor:
Re “Villager judged to be among state’s top weekly papers” (news article, April 11):

Congrats, Villager! We definitely agree — everyone at Sane Energy Project! You folks have been terrific the way you have followed the Spectra pipeline story from day one!
Clare Donahue
Donahue is a founding member, Sane Energy Project

First, give us a supermarket…

To The Editor:
Re “Super-anxiety about closing of Sixth Ave. supermarket” (news article, April 11):

If Catsimatidis wants our vote for mayor, he should start by opening a Gristedes in the neighborhood and hire Food Emporium’s workers, union scale or not.
Jon Lichtenstein

Wils/Bergman plan too slow

To The Editor:
Re “Leagues make pitch for more funding and fields for Pier 40” (news article, April 11):

It is not feasible to build housing on Pier 40 and that concept has been abandoned. The Wils/Bergman plan is to build housing in the park west of Pier 40. Building housing in parks is an excellent idea for developers. Unfortunately, by the time the Hudson River Park Act is amended, the project plan is amended, the zoning is changed, and the three public processes these entail are complete, it will be too late for Pier 40.
Douglas Durst

Pipeline flipped her on NID

To The Editor:
Re “Most park users are residents” (letter, by Sandy Yeltser, April 4):

Sandy Yeltser says that most of the people who use Hudson River Park are residents of the immediate area. Therefore, Yeltser implies, all area residents should be willing to support the park financially.

Yeltser may be right about who uses the park, I don’t know. But it’s also true that there are many local residents who don’t use it — like me. Nevertheless, had I been asked about the neighborhood improvement district a year or so ago, I would have said sure, of course I want to help out the park. Now, however, I don’t feel that way about the NID.

We who live near the park do have a special interest in it, because we are the people who are most endangered by the Spectra pipeline. The Hudson River Park Trust is welcoming the pipeline onto the Gansevoort Peninsula, a stone’s throw from the children’s water playground on Pier 51. The Trust is getting more than $2 million for the pipeline easement, so let that $2 million be considered the residents’ contribution, since it is this neighborhood — a neighborhood that has opposed the pipeline and has been blithely ignored by the Trust — that is most at risk.

I don’t wish to support an organization that is putting me in danger and hypocritically insisting that the danger doesn’t exist.
Myra Malkin

Silence speaks volumes

To The Editor:
Re “Rajkumar’s running against Chin; Vows to be pro-community” (news article, April 11):

I don’t mean to sound negative, but I have a hard time taking Mr. Finan’s statement about Rajkumar and Chin seriously, just weeks after it was revealed that Councilmember Chin has known about Howard Hughes Corp.’s plans for the Seaport for the past two years and kept her constituents in the dark. Sorry.
Joan Rosenstein

Talks a good game, but…

To The Editor:
Re “Rajkumar’s running against Chin; Vows to be pro-community” (news article, April 11):

Talking populism is enough sometimes for disappointed (rightly so, at times) constituents. I’d like to hear in-depth knowledge of what our communities have to do to push back against hyperdevelopment during this luxury developers’ dream mayoral administration.

Also, not going to any meetings on SPURA before making a “statement” that displayed no grasp of what it took to achieve a pretty good deal in this economic climate doesn’t reassure. It also diminishes the community board that worked their butts off to get it (and unanimously approved it).

Laying out positions that guide us forward in human terms is important: We have to know what we’re aiming for to create a just world. But attacking the person who has had to face the issues in real time, without acknowledging what it takes to get forward movement in a period of literally off-the-charts income inequality in the U.S. — that’s not so interesting.

I think Ms. Rajkumar and her supporters need to stop trying to read like a P.R. script.
K Webster

Fagan Park site was better

To The Editor:
Re “Citi Bike set to roll in May; Some say No to Petrosino site” (news article, April 11):

I just learned that one of the locations will be on the west side of MacDougal St., north of Father Fagan Park. That will not only be depriving the neighborhood of some much-needed, on-street parking, but more important, will bring hustle and bustle and noise 24/7 to a narrow, quiet, residential street. The original sites proposed were on Sixth Ave, which makes much more sense: It’s both wide and commercial. To whom can we protest this?
Merle Kaufman

Feminist didn’t flaunt fame

To The Editor:
Re “Shulamith in-depth” (Scoopy’s Notebook, April 11):

I met Shulamith in 1976, when she came to work at M.I.T. She was definitely not crazy and did not exhibit any strange behavior. She was a typist in our program and just wanted a job. The director of our program was all atwitter with her because of her “fame” as a feminist and her book, “The Dialectic of Sex.” She didn’t really want to talk about her book or her feminism. She was just a rather quiet, smiling, nice, smart woman. She was articulate and rather sweet. There was no evidence of any mental illness during the time she worked for us, albeit a rather short time, but she wasn’t a man-hater or gay-hater or some of the other things she has been called.
Rachel Cherkovsky

So fed up with crusties

To The Editor:
Re “A crusty proposal: Crack down on ‘voluntary homeless’” (talking point, by Chad Marlow, March 28):

I found Chad Marlow’s talking point about a crusty proposal to be articulate and concise but, unfortunately, a form of magical thinking. Even if we can get the present laws enforced and new ones passed, sadly, the Police Department is already stretched to the limit. The justice system has morphed into an infinite revolving door; the crusties come in and they just go out. They’ve nothing to lose, only much to gain. While in custody, they have heat, food and medical care…all on our dime. Then they are back on the street to beg, fight and steal for their heroin.

And what, Mr. Marlow, should we do with their dogs? You just can’t take them from their people, for they don’t go peacefully, even though these pit bulls are on the street in 20 degrees, 24/7. That in itself is a law breaker. What do you think happens when these innocent and loyal dogs go to the pound? If a no-kill shelter doesn’t rescue them, many are euthanized, only to be replaced with a new dog by the crusty “owner,” and the merry-go-round starts again.

Insidiously, this crusty culture is just another form of misanthropic nihilism. The insouciance of this culture of “voluntary homeless” has even stretched Berkeley, California, to its liberal limits. In last November’s elections, Berkeley tried to pass an amendment making it illegal for people to lie around on its commercial streets between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Even Berkeley, the bastion of tolerance, has had enough!

I would like to commend The Villager and Mr. Marlow for bringing this dilemma to light — for knowledge really is power — and maybe we can take these neighborhoods back for their citizens to enjoy, and not be shamed when tourists think that we ignore our “poor, young and homeless,” and reveal them for the selfish and solipsistic, drug-addled urchins they are.
Deborah Spicciatie

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