Letters, Week of Sept. 5, 2013

Johnson backers were very vocal

To The Editor:
Re “Corey Johnson for City Council in District 3 primary” (editorial, Aug. 29):

I strongly disagree with your endorsement of Corey Johnson.

To say that his supporters and campaign team have not been negative toward Yetta Kurland is preposterous. A perfect example is the recent NYC Community Media-sponsored debate. Whenever it was Yetta’s time to answer a question, the audience supporters of Corey immediately burst out into boos and hisses, as well as some yelling out “hypocrite” and other unflattering terms. Although Yetta answered each question put forward, the Corey supporters in the audience yelled out, “Answer the question!” even when she did completely answer it.

On the other hand, Corey actually didn’t answer a few questions, which prompted the moderators on the panel to ask him to elaborate. This occurred at least twice.

Throughout the debate, Corey mentioned no fewer than four times that his father was a Pepsi truck driver. Again — unless he is working on a soft drink endorsement deal — what does that have to do with his running for City Council?

I implore voters to vote with facts on your minds, as opposed to character likability.
Anthony Lovari

PAC mailer photo appeared posed

To The Editor:
Re “Opponents go postal over Chin’s real estate PAC mailings” (news article, Aug. 15):

You gotta love Margaret Chin. Somehow, this woman who wants us to believe that she is a tough, fearless fighter for her constituents turns into a spineless jellyfish unable to stand up to real estate and construction special-interest groups when they send out mailings extolling her (supposed) virtues. She repeatedly claims that she is “helpless” to stop said mailings, and that she had no hand in the creation or dissemination of them. Yet, funnily enough, the photo on the example shown in The Villager was obviously a highly posed portrait, not a candid snapshot. What happened, Margaret, did they steal photos off your Facebook page to put in their dispatches talking about how great you would be for their profit margins?
Lisa Ramaci

A good write-in candidate

To The Editor:
I am voting for Julie Menin for borough president and Eliot Spitzer for comptroller. As to unopposed candidates who failed my litmus test — look closely at the actions not the rhetoric of Glick and Hoylman, etc. — I am writing in the name Jane Jacobs.
Jim Fouratt

Chin’s been in the trenches

To The Editor:
Re “A better choice for District 1: Jenifer Rajkumar” editorial, Aug. 29):

I am troubled by The Villager’s endorsement. While I’ve disagreed with a number of Councilmember Chin’s decisions — vocally at City Council meetings and to her directly — she works hard, listens to her constituents, and then hammers out the best deal possible.

And no, you don’t hammer out deals with a crowd — nothing would get done — witness our Congress. And yes, some of these deals are not ideal. In this current real-world political climate with the wealthy of this town (world) having full command over the resources of our city, with privatization of every government department looming and greed and profit motive going full tilt, you cannot pretend or lead people in the pretense that you will magically make it all better. It is unconscionable to promote such deception to the communities of this city — not now, not in this time. The real work of organizing never happens from political offices — that’s our work.

Chin is as close to an ally for working people as we are likely to get. And we won’t like every decision.

The problem with Rajkumar as a candidate is precisely this: She pretends she can get castles in the sky (no matter who the deceit might hurt) but hasn’t learned how to get her hands dirty digging the foundation. Graduating from an owning-class institution and being a lawyer isn’t the same thing as knowing how to roll up your sleeves and do the unglamorous, give-and-take job of a community worker. It isn’t writing a tidy brief with the “sides” very clear. It’s the messiness of mixing it up with people and staying standing. I do believe Chin has these qualities.
K Webster

Sophie still inspires us

To The Editor:
Re “Sophie sports camp scholarships are a moving tribute” (Aug. 22)

What fond memories this evokes. And we also remember her efforts with the Manhattan South Chapter of Women’s American ORT and our boycotts of Grand Union supermarket and other community activism. She continues to inspire many of us to keep up the good fight.
Judith Chazen Walsh

Teacher, leader…poet!

To The Editor:
The outstanding Villager article by Lincoln Anderson, “Sophie sports camp scholarships are a moving tribute” (Aug. 22) accurately and poignantly portrays the positive difference Sophie Gerson Healthy Youth has already made in the lives of young people. This new initiative perpetuates Sophie Gerson’s great work for over half a century as a physical education teacher in New York City inner-city public middle schools, as a school board member and president, and as an education and civic leader and activist. There could be no greater tribute to Sophie Gerson than this new program.

Sophie would be the first to acknowledge that the Healthy Youth program and the moving June 9 tribute that kicked it off reflect a true coming together of all sectors of the community, with all backgrounds and viewpoints. New York University, and in particular its Office of Civic Engagement, generously provided not only the space for the tribute but indispensable, abundant logistical support for both the tribute and for starting the program, including round-trip bus transportation for the campers. A partnership with the Golden Horizon Partnership of Chinatown facilitated the basketball camp arrangements.

At the tribute, elected officials and political leaders from all of the Village’s and Downtown’s sometimes rival political clubs, and the citywide Stonewall Democratic Club, came together to offer testament to Sophie and support for Sophie Gerson Healthy Youth. Speakers offering support and moving words included Congressmembers Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney; former Borough President C. Virginia Fields and current B.P. Scott Stringer; T.L.C. Commissioner David Yassky representing Mayor Bloomberg; former school board colleagues Po-Ling Ng and Keen Berger; Councilmember Margaret Chin; V.I.D. President Tony Hoffmann; and Community Board 2 Chairperson David Gruber, in addition to dear friends and family. Also present were Councilmembers Letitia James and Jessica Lappin and C.B. 1 Chairperson Julie Menin, with Councilmember Gale Brewer sending regards and a contribution.

Generous culinary contributions at the tribute came from Sophie’s favorite restaurants and restaurateurs: the 2nd Ave. Deli; Bruno Bakery; Silver Spurs; Uncle Ted’s; Le Souk; and Etheo, reflecting Sophie’s ability to relate not only to all people of diverse backgrounds but also to diverse cuisines.

Rabbis Spiegel, Ginsberg and Glass, Father Gigante and Reverend Leech offered blessings and clerical support.

My mother intervened where she saw wrong, called the shots as they were, encouraged other activists, and fought hard for the community and many important, good causes to make this a better, more peaceful world. But, as an athlete and coach, she always fought by the rules and with good sportspersonship to all, including her opposition. Sophie decried the acrimony in politics and the strife in the world.

She wrote beautiful poetry, on nature (Sophie was an original environmentalist), the cosmos, and humanity, some of which was read magnificently at the tribute by Lee Briccetti of Poets House and Aedin Moloney of Fallen Angels. Her poems expressed her longing for a better, harmonious and happy world, as reflected in one of her short poems printed in the program:

The Earth by Sophie Gerson

I flew to the moon
And looked down at planet earth
And what did I see?
Such madness, such badness
Such sadness
So for what it was worth
I made a decree
That there only could be
Much gladness.

Alan J. Gerson

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6 Responses to Letters, Week of Sept. 5, 2013

  1. Colleen Patterson

    As usual, curmudgeon K. Webster continues her babbling over Chin – hollow words without substance, empty phrases without facts – without ever addressing the concerns of countless voters on these pages for the past several years:
    - NYU sell-out in the Villag
    - Chinatown and SoHo BID sell-out
    - South St. Seaport Sell out
    - Destruction of an 1817 landmarked she had gotten designated a year earlier, until a mainland Chinese bank gave her thousands in Campaign donations
    - Sell out on affordable housing at SPURA
    - Sell out of Elizabeth Gardens in Little Italy
    - Not condemning the $330,000 that real-estate landlords have spent on her elections – replete with vicious, anti-woman attacks on Chin's opponent, Jenifer Rajkumar
    - Appointing Wall St Republicans to the community board
    - Opposing the presence of the the OWS demonstrators at Zucotti Park

    Until you directly address these real concerns, Ms. Webster, instead of vague platitudes for a discredited councilmember – who ranks 3rd in the city for receipt of REBNY money – until you directly address these concerns, do the trees of our nation a favor: Enough!!

    The environment cannot afford to lose more trees to supply newsprint for your useless rantings.

    • I meant to hit the + button on this one; I endorse Colleen Patterson's critique here, especially of Chin.

    • Curmudgeon? hmmm.. I always thought of myself as fairly cheerful. As to ranting…actually I think my thoughts are pretty well reasoned.. oh well….

      I begin by saying that Working Families Party has endorsed Chin. They are hard-nosed and fight vital and successful political battles in this state. You might want to read why they endorsed her.

      To call SPURA a sell-out belies zero knowledge of the unheard of 50% affordable housing wrought from that deal and frankly makes the analysis of the other issues questionable. We live in a time of unprecedented control of our city by the very wealthy. What do you think is possible in this climate? What magic dust changes that reality? I was pissed about the landmarked building. I'm far more pissed at the removal of elders from two low-income nursing homes. Our local politicians tried and couldn't save them – it's called capitalism.

      Re: the REBNY money I'll quote Epoch Times, "Some candidates are finding the introduction of PAC money into the races unwelcome—even when the money is spent in their favor—and they have little recourse to fight it." Since Citizens United the influx of corporate money is over the top. But it's a Supreme Court decision unless it gets overturned by Congress. Chin backs the effort to requiring the naming of backers – all a candidate can actually do. BTW, the mailings from the other camp (approved by the campaign) are glossy, expensive, inaccurate and pretty awful. Just sayin'

      I am a big fan of OWS but Chin also represented the neighbors who wanted them out – I didn't agree with the removal and was there often and to fight it. But that was a Bloomberg decision.

      I like trees and sustainable practices (my copy in this paper doesn't take up THAT much room). As a community gardener for many a decade now – this one I understand deeply.

      Political battles are won and lost. The organizing for the long term fight is what matters. The city council is not a hotbed of radical revolutionaries. That work is ours. We move them to the degree that we organize for permanent and community centered change.
      So vote as you see fit. And I'll do the same.

  2. re A good write-in candidate

    : A reader might be confused by the short excerpt of my Letter-to-the-Editor regarding the local primary races and wondered just what my litmus test is …. so here iS my full letter. I hope it puts in context the serious issues i was addressing .

    Dear Editor :

    I am beside myself with the amount of distortions and outright lies in the campaigns of many of the individuals running for office. I would like to remind people to use a reality check when decoding who to vote for in this very important primary. I do have a litmus test not based on gender or orientation but how a sitting politician voted on four local issues: Hospital, NYU Land Grab, Chelsea Market Expansion and The Spectra Frack Gas Pipeline. Issues that will affect the quality of life in the district. Every single candidate who is currently sitting in City Council followed Boss Quinn’s lead and voted in support of the rezoning of St Vincent's' property so blood condos could be build; supported the NYU expansion land grab, voted in favorite of Chelsea Market's gross overbuilding and increased density and did not stand up to stop the Spectra Pipeline. This includes Gail Brewer, Jessica Lappin and Scott Stringer. None of them had the courage to say “no.”

    Why I am voting for Julie Menin for Borough President and Elliot Spitzer For Controller. As to unopposed candidates who failed my litmus test (look closely on the actions not the rhetoric of Glick, Hoylman, Squadron etc) I am writing in the name Jane Jacobs.

    As for city council 3rd district (Quinn seat): Many people know I worked very hard with local community activists including Yetta Kurland on trying to save St Vincent's hospital At first I was impressed by her progressive rhetoric, but working closely with her, I discovered who she really is. A woman who can not focus, will say anything to keep the attention on herself. Who hijacked an important issue for her own political future and then did everything in her power to make it hers and hers alone. She refused to reach out across the community to elected officials and community residents to build a non-partisan response to the the hospital closing. Instead she built a fake coalition (that never met), hand picked a steering committee and appointed herself spokesperson. Yes she appointed two good people : Dr David Kaufman and Nurse Eileen Dunn who apparently were seduced by her public face and blind to how she actually treated most people. Kurland stole the coalition mailing list and folded it into her campaign e-list. Her goal: City Council and this bottom line influenced all her actions. Her fear of sharing the spotlight harmed the building of cross-community support. Her refusal to accept outside legal assistance resulted in her losing coalition court cases not because of the merits of the case but simply on her inept lawyering. She was publicly reprimanded by Judges on her lack of respect for legal protocol. When members of Hands Off St Vincents committed civil disobedience by sitting in at the hospital and were arrested, the self-proclaimed civil rights attorney was nowhere to be found. Her employees sued her for abusive behavior and refusal to pay them fairly as stipulated under the law. She lost when the IRS found in favor of the employees. Her inability to always tell the truth had me taking a witness into private meetings with her. So someone could confirm what she agreed to after she would deny in public what she had said to me private. Kurland has a difficult time being truthful. A City Council person needs to find common ground when she represents the various constituencies in the 3rd district. In a word I found her a nightmare to work with on anything.

    So hopefully voters in the primary will have their own litmus and not be seduced by the paper avalanche that distorts a candidates actual record,

    Jim Fouratt
    Waverly Place

  3. Lovari, Yetta answered every question asked? What a joke! The candidates were allowed to ask each other a question. Corey asked Yetta about her opinion of Phase 1 of the Farley/Penn Station project. YETTA HAD NO CLUE. One of the moderators asked Yetta about her plan for improving education in the district. Yetta gave her own educational background and then ventured into affordable housing speak. YETTA HAD NO ANSWER TO THE QUESTION. But that's been par for the course of this entire election. Yetta has two bullet points: St. Vincents and bashing Corey Johnson. And it's why she's going to lose on Tuesday…..

  4. Looks like Chin won her primary race. Not that many people must have actually cared about the NYU expansion.

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