Volume 74, Number 49 | April 13 - 19 , 2005

Letters to the editor

Third parties offer an alternative

To The Editor:
New Yorkers can hardly pick up a newspaper these days without reading about the need to reform the political process. Everyone seems to be jumping in on the act. Commissions are formed, reports are issued, proclamations and promises are made. But we’re wondering whether incumbent politicians who benefit from the partisan status quo can really be counted upon to lead a reform movement. We think that independent-minded New Yorkers have to lead that fight and that’s what Independents For Reform was set up to do. We invite all your readers — no matter what party they’re in or whether they even belong to a party — to join with us in a genuine, grassroots movement for political reform.
Carrie Sackett and 23 independent-minded signers
Sackett is secretary of the Manhattan Independence Party and the signers are members of the Downtown Independence club

Gallery owner’s puffin’ hot air

To The Editor:
The front-page article “Art and politics dont mix” (news article, April 6) reports that the Board of Elections eliminated the Puffin Room art gallery as a polling place because a Republican official protested about politically charged “artwork” on display. To the contrary, when I voted, a Democratic election worker told me that many voters had protested and that she personally found the “artwork” offensive to the electoral process. I too was upset and filed a written protest with the Board of Elections. I am not a Republican.

The article also suggests that there are no alternative polling sites in or adjacent to the relevant election districts. Yet, there is a school about 100 yards from where I live.

The owner of the gallery claims a First Amendment right to display politically evocative posters in a polling place. He clearly knows even less about law than about being a good neighbor and citizen in a diverse society.
David Schoenbrod

Vans are least of Chinatown ills

To The Editor:
Re “What drives the Chinatown van drivers?” (news article, March 9):

Commuter vans and other traffic issues in and around Chinatown are the subject of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s Chinatown Access and Circulation Study. The study cites problems that have existed for nearly 20 years, and is a vindication for residents whose complaints about these matters have been routinely dismissed by city and state officials.

While these officials looked the other way, interstate bus companies set up illegal sidewalk terminals on busy streets. At the same time, commuter vans arrived in such large numbers that recent attempts at regulation haven’t stopped their illegal parking and standing, nor one company’s use of 32-seat buses, which exceeds the legal limit of 20 passengers per van. City officials also failed to eliminate wholesale produce operations despite the fact that these businesses are prohibited in commercial zones and are responsible for forklifts on sidewalks and a heavy influx of trucks and tractor-trailers from the tri-state region and elsewhere.

Likewise, trucks parked as storage rooms, merchandise transferred from one truck to another, retail stores selling directly from the sidewalks, the illegal rental of sidewalk space to vendors by adjacent shop owners and lack of enforcement of crowding/blocking regulations are problems for which the Fifth Precinct and the Department of Consumer Affairs should be held accountable.

If laws had been enforced when violations first surfaced, there would be no need for a traffic study or remedies.
Cathy Glasson

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