Volume 75, Number 13 | August 17 - 23, 2005

Letters to the editor

Glick: Post is wrong again

To The Editor:
Re “Lopez says Post is toxic, as funds are withheld” (news article, Aug. 10):

I regret that I was on vacation and unavailable to answer The Villager’s call last week regarding my support for Margarita Lopez. For the record and contrary to what the New York Post reported, I am now, have always been and will continue to be a strong supporter of Margarita’s bid for Manhattan borough president. I firmly believe that she is the most progressive and best candidate in the race.

I am always skeptical of the New York Post’s reporting. From their repeated slanders of me, to their bold front-page pronouncement that Kerry had chosen Gephardt as his running mate, the Post has time and time again proven to be highly inaccurate.

Deborah J. Glick
Glick is assemblymember for the 66th District

Lopez should have known

To The Editor:
Re “Lopez says Post is toxic, as funds are withheld” (news article, Aug. 10):

What the hell is wrong with Margarita Lopez? At issue isn’t what people believe or don’t believe. At issue is her taking money from Scientology Inc. — and then taking taxpayer money and handing it over to Scientology under the guise of their thoroughly dubious treatment.

Lopez could have spent five minutes on the Internet doing her homework to find out about Scientology, that it was contrived by a science-fiction writer named L. Ron Hubbard who was a dope addict and alcoholic with no medical credentials or background.

Our elected officials are supposedly supposed to be smarter than the average citizen — at least that would be nice if they were. Instead, Margarita Lopez comes along and hands these people our money without a moment’s thought. What’s next? What other organization is she going to climb into bed with and then get paid by for screwing with our tax dollars?

Good frocking grief. Let’s get this woman out of politics and out of our pockets.

Fredric L. Rice,
Rice is chairman, The Skeptic Tank

The low road and high road

To The Editor:
Re “Lopez says Post is toxic, as funds are withheld” and “Hillary hikes on the High Line and hooks up $18 million for it” (news articles, Aug. 10):

Thank you for exposing Councilwoman Lopez for the hypocrite she is. She has past fundraising scandals, current fundraising scandals, with Scientologists, no less. Now she wants to bring this mess to the office of Manhattan borough president? No way!

Thanks for the High Line coverage with Senator Clinton.

Drake Patton

Keeping tabs on bar noise

To The Editor:
I am writing regarding your Aug. 3 article “Moskowitz makes some noise on bar complaints.” While 311 data may not tell the whole story about a noisy bar, this information is critical to enforce the noise code and to properly coordinate efforts of the Department of Environmental Protection and the Police Department.

Reasonable people can differ about the best way to reform 311, and there are notable differences between 311 complaints and noise summonses (violations). But noise complaints absolutely must figure into the liquor license renewal process. Why not give a bar owner an opportunity to explain to the State Liquor Authority why, for example, there were 235 noise complaints made against him, rather than renewing licenses willy nilly as the S.L.A. has done in the past? If owners can refute the charges, then they can have their liquor license renewed.

This week I introduced legislation that requires all relevant city agencies to report noisy bar complaints and violations on a quarterly basis. I am very happy to report that several bars on the top-10 list have had very productive meetings with my staff. Several have demonstrated that they are very willing to be good neighbors.

Eva Moskowitz
Moskowitz is city councilmember for the Fourth District

Won’t ever vote for Eva

To The Editor:
Re “Moskowitz makes some noise on bar complaints” (news article, Aug. 3):

Councilmember Moskowitz talks all nice about how most bar owners are good people and only the bad ones should be punished but her actions speak louder than words.

She is no friend of bars or nightlife. When an East Village bar owner asked her if she was in favor of closing bars down at 2 a.m. all she could say was “Well, people are tired of the noise.”

Make no mistake about it, if Eva Moskowitz has her way all bars will be shut down at 1 a.m. This is something that the Bloomberg administration has tried before and no doubt will try again. Ms. Moskowitz will lead the charge if she is (God forbid!) elected Manhattan borough president.

So, the choice is clear: If you want New York City nightlife to be just like Dayton, Ohio (for example), then vote for Moskowitz.
Me, I like the city that never sleeps just the way it is.

Harold Kramer
Kramer is co-owner, Raven Bar

Street harassment must stop

To The Editor:
Re “Just looking: A view of street harassment of women” (talking point, by Meredith Napolitano, Aug. 3):

I live in Queens, but I read your paper whenever I can because the writing is awesome. I was reading the piece about street harassment by Meredith Napolitano and I think it’s brilliant. I’ve been a pretty busty female since the age of 12, so I know all about the street harassment. Women seriously need to do something about it. This behavior is simply uncalled for and unacceptable. The feeling of being a young teenager, scared to walk to the supermarket out of fear of being harassed by some grimy old man is disgusting. I’ve been grabbed at, leered at, whistled to and almost was the “cause” of a car accident. People (mostly men) say women should be flattered by their remarks, but this is almost like going up to me as a black person and commenting on my skin or lips because it’s there and they see it. It’s simply wrong. Thank you, Ms. Napolitano, for bringing this subject to light!

Michelle Garcia

Culture of disrespect

To The Editor:
Re “Just looking: A view of street harassment of women” (talking point, by Meredith Napolitano, Aug. 3):

Ms. Napolitano expressed many of my sentiments regarding the issue of street harrassment of women.

It is true that there is a climate of extreme informality in this day and age, so that there is a social expectation in practically every instance of interacting that males treat females so as to “flirt” with them. I have observed (or experienced) how males who should know how to say “ma’am” or “miss” (such as those who work behind a customer service desk), address women as “baby” or “girl” or “mama” or some other derogatory term, and it entraps the recipient of such crass, disrespectful talk. Tell a person not to address you like a street hooker and you are a “b—-h.” Of course, street harrassment is due to cultural factors.

This social climate is so presumed as “accepted” by everyone, and presumed that everyone just behaves this way, that anyone who would object to being objectified, or would not take part in the culture of objectifying, is considered as having a “problem” with being “friendly” or with “having natural, healthy attractions toward others” or “no sense of humor” and is “hostile toward people who are only trying to be sociable” and is an “unsociable” person.

And, I do indeed agree with Kelli Miro, who was quoted in Napolitano’s article as saying that she has become prejudiced against Hispanic males because they are a primary culprit in creating, promoting and upholding backward, misogynistic practices in society. It is sad that the dehumanization of women is such a sociocultural element, and at best defended as a necessary part of male self-definition, or at worst a mere sign of boredom. That women are not to be taken seriously.

Lucy Martinez

Takes street talk in stride

To The Editor:
Re “Just looking: A view of street harassment of women” (talking point, by Meredith Napolitano, Aug. 3):

Like any woman, I get my share of street talk. When it’s polite, I smile, say thank you, and keep walking. They smile, too. Good manners beget good manners. What is polite? I think these New York lines were: “You’re gorgeous.” “You must make somebody very happy.” “You keep fit, Mommy.” If the comments aren’t nice, I stop and say so. And what usually happens? They apologize! When I don’t want to engage, I say nothing. In any case, I don’t regard myself as a victim or regard the men as criminals.
Nina Planck

Challenges are a handicap

To The Editor:
Mike Lopez will not be on the ballot for the September primary in the Second Council District. Mike, who is severely disabled and a wheelchair user, filed well over 2,000 signatures to qualify; however, he was challenged by supporters of one of the other candidates, who also challenged all the other minority and women candidates. The final result of the challenge was that Mike was less than 10 signatures short of qualifying.

This is a subversion of the political process to use New York’s arcane election law solely to eliminate those who are perceived to stand in the way of a candidate’s election. The fact that it was exercised by those who we regard as “progressive” or “reformers” doesn’t make it any less noble — they should know better!

Regardless of how we might feel about the candidate whose supporters made the challenge (whom I have great respect and admiration for), the fact that this was used against a minority candidate who was severely disabled, who was symbolic of a community’s striving for political power, is a setback for progressive politics, reform and community empowerment. The fact that all the time and money that was spent on this challenge yielded the candidate short by fewer than 10 signatures cries out for reform and reexamination of a process that impedes minority candidates without organizational support and their ability to achieve ballot access. We must change the law to create a fair measure of ballot access.

The decision may be legally correct, but is it morally so?
Marvin Wasserman 
Wasserman is president, 504 Democrats, a political club focusing on disability rights

Ode on a Greenwich urn

To The Editor:
Re “Redesign needs to ‘urn’ approval; Parks pulls out of square hearing” (news article, Aug. 3):

As a third-generation, lifelong Villager, I have been taking a keen interest in all the debates surrounding the Washington Square Park renovation.

In his article, Mr. Anderson quotes Warner Johnston, a Parks spokesperson, as saying the urns on the park fountain never made it to the square when the fountain was moved there in the 1870s. It is also stated that there “are no existing photographs of the elements.”

I have many photographs of my family taken in Washington Square Park over many years. In one of them — taken in the summer of 1929 on my father’s baptism day — my father is perched on the edge of the fountain leaning on a fence that surrounds it. Clearly visible behind him — a beautifully sculpted urn!

I’m sure most of those debating the renovation plans would find this trivial. But as an amateur historian (and “professional Villager”) I thought I’d pass the information on.

Glenn Barbieri

Reopen park process

To The Editor:
Now that the secret “Tisch Agreement” dated January 24, 2005, has been exposed, we can see the full extent of the Parks Department’s wanton disregard for the wishes of the community in the matter of the redesign of Washington Square Park. The Parks Department clearly misled Councilmember Alan Gerson when they denied that the department was considering granting naming opportunities to contributors to the park redesign. The unmitigated arrogance and bad faith they exhibited was made clear by a remark by spokesman Warner Johnston who when asked why the agreement was not made public responded, “No one asked.” When an institution decides to name a structure or program for a contributor, there is normally a public announcement to that effect.

Moreover, Parks has sought to limit public access both to the current design and a previous design dating from the 1990s that was considerably less costly and, in the opinion of many, superior to what is now being proposed. At a February meeting of the Parks Committee of Community Board 2 one of the undersigned requested that this older design be made available to the public for examination; however, the Parks Department never complied. Furthermore, while the current design has been available at the Parks Department office in Washington Square Park on Wednesday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., limiting access to one day a week during business hours has deterred public debate. When Ric Bell, director of the American Institute of Architects, generously volunteered to mount the design at the institute just a short distance from the park where it could be available evenings and weekends, the Parks Department summarily refused this cost-free and accessible space.

Similarly, when faced with requests for detailed design and cost breakdown information Parks has stonewalled various interested parties. Such information would enable people to render knowledgeable judgments raised by the overall design, such as the claim that the cost of moving the fountain is incidental. After a July meeting at Councilmember Gerson’s office, the Emergency Coalition Organization to Save Washington Square Park asked the councilmember to procure the engineering plans of the fountain and cost breakdowns. And once again the Parks Department has withheld the requested information.

In the tradition of the phrase “let the public be damned,” the Parks Department continues to show its disdain for the community and its elected officials. We therefore request that this matter be reopened at the community board level so that the public can be heard and decisions can be made after the facts are finally made public.

Lezly Ziering, Susan Goren and Jessie McNab
Ziering and Goren are members, Washington Pl. Block Association; McNab is a member, Emergency Coalition to Save Washington Square Park

House is not a hydrant

To The Editor:
It is against New York City law for people to pee on the street. It’s a matter of public health. Arrest anyone who tries it!

Well, plenty of dogs do exactly that and it seems to be perfectly acceptable. As a homeowner here in the Village, I am disgusted and tired of dogs peeing on my house. How inconsiderate some dog owners are, to allow their dogs to pee all over someone else’s house, soak the sidewalk and then just walk away. Do they think that just because they pick up their dog’s poop, they are being responsible?

The Village is getting dirtier and more odoriferous, and warm weather just accentuates the bouquet. So, dog owners, listen up! When your dog pees on a building, or in a flowerbed, does it ever occur to you that this is someone else’s hard-earned property? Even apartment buildings and commercial properties are owned by someone. Please train your dogs to “go” in the street, near the curb. And please, rid yourself of the notion that everyone thinks your dog is as adorable as you do. They don’t.

Please, curb your dog. You’ll have more friends in the neighborhood, and maybe you won’t need a dog to be your best friend, thus allowing you to sleep late in the morning.

Chris Sherman

Vendors’ art stands apart

To The Editor:
Re “Myopia of ‘art experts’ ” (letter, by Robert Lederman, Aug. 10):

The Bery court decision that defines street artists’ rights states, “paintings, photographs, prints and sculptures, such as those appellants seek to display and sell in public areas of the City, always communicate some idea or concept to those who view it, and as such are entitled to full First Amendment protection.”

The court’s decision goes on to say, “The public display and sale of artwork is a form of communication between the artist and the public.” Could it be any clearer?

I did not make these statements. The court did, and Mr. Lederman is fully aware of it. He just likes to cast blame inappropriately so that it obfuscates the facts.

In truth, what Mr. Lederman is really saying is that anyone should be able to sell anything anywhere at anytime day or night without any regulation at all. To him, everything is art. Yippee !!!

That is a philosophy that may make Mr. Lederman very popular with the hordes of art bootleggers, and the many people who sell cheap merchandise they call art. But it wins no points with true hardworking professional artists, nor anyone else who has the best interests of New York City in mind.

Lawrence White
White is a member, Soho International Artists Co-op

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