Volume 75, Number 31 | December 21 - 27, 2005

Letters to the editor

Villagers want more mayor

To The Editor:
Re “Bloomberg on bars, sidewalk smoking, square, Lopez” (news article, Dec. 14):

Your recent interview with Mayor Bloomberg I found to be very interesting, especially his comments about looking for a position in his administration for Margarita Lopez. However, I felt that many of the issues that concern readers of The Villager did not get addressed in the interview. And I would like to see The Villager try to set up another interview with Mayor Bloomberg concentrating on issues like bars, graffiti, gentrification, low-income housing — neighborhood issues that affect your readers of The Villager. Some other questions I’d like to see asked are whether the mayor supports the war in Iraq and how he feels about the arrests that were made during the Republican National Convention here and possibly the controversy over the Police Department’s filming of protesters. I would really appreciate it if you would try to set up a new interview with the mayor.

John Penley

Mike’s just blowing smoke

To The Editor:
Re “Bloomberg on bars, sidewalk smoking, square, Lopez” (news article, Dec. 14):

I am constantly amazed at Mayor Bloomberg’s responses to questions about the smoking ban.

When he first announced his plan to ban smoking, it was not to improve the bar and restaurant business, but to improve public health.

Virtually all the quotes we see today are about the economic impact and the overall health of bars and restaurants; this is misleading because there are many individual businesses that have suffered, and continue to suffer, as a result of the smoking ban. This is like saying that because most minorities are doing well we no longer need to address incidences of individual discrimination.

Why has the mayor — and the press — failed to address the lack of improvement in public health since the smoking ban. Despite the mayor’s and his health commissioner’s theoretical predictions, the adult asthma hospitalization rate has remained steady while the childhood asthma hospitalization rate has increased. There have been no resulting reductions in heart attacks or strokes, nor has there been a reduction in the city’s mortality rate attributable to the smoking ban.

To his credit, the mayor has masterfully avoided answering these questions. Why hasn’t the smoking ban saved the thousands of lives and reduced the tens of thousands of diseases, as he and his health commissioner had predicted?
Jonathan Pinard
Pinard is executive director, New York Coalition of Social Smokers
Floored by table attack crack

To The Editor:
Re “Not the O.K. Corral” (Police blotter, Nov. 30):

Can someone pinch me? Smashing someone over the head with a cast-iron table causing the victim to bleed “profusely” is a routine, commonplace event, according to David McWater, the owner of Doc Holliday’s bar. I am amazed at his casual acceptance of such violence! Isn’t there a conflict of interest when a man is leader of a community board and owner of 11 local bars?

Michael Gottlieb

Crew will redo tagged car

To The Editor:
Re “On 3rd St., rapping about graffiti’s pros and cons” (news article, Dec. 7):

The article states: “Sharda Chaitanya, who owns Lalita Java on Third St. between Avenues B and C, had kept her 1977 Volkswagen parked outside her shop for seven and a half years without anyone defacing it. Last Thanksgiving, though, a couple of graffitists decided to tag on the van, which has since collected hundreds of names which now cover almost every inch, including the windows.”

I represent an art group called the WALLNUTS. We do graffiti murals throughout New York City and we would like to get in contact with this person and offer to paint her van at no charge. I can be reached at the e-mails Ramon_Llopiz@horizon-bcbsnj.com or theray7575@aol.com.

Demer is a member, the WALLNUTS Crew

Tallmer’s on target, as always

To The Editor:
Re “Feeling left adrift after change of a news anchor” (talking point, by Jerry Tallmer, Nov. 30):

I’m a fan of Jerry Tallmer — have been and will be for as long as he continues to write. I seek out his keen and insightful theater reviews for guidance, and he’s never steered me wrong.

And now Tallmer’s written about Aaron Brown. A true media loss. I feared his “vanishing” had gone unnoticed. His displacement seemed to me a thoughtless and shameful insult to those viewers who appreciated his sensitive intelligence. One more reminder of the way our society narrowly defines and misplaces value.

I hope Tallmer’s article will land on another network’s desk and wake them up to the opportunity that CNN is offering.

Gerald L. Laskey

Fernando Bermudez is no killer

To The Editor:
Re “Court TV show to investigate 1991 homicide in the Village” (news article, Dec. 7):

I am a friend of Mr. Fernando Bermudez. We grew up together back in the 1980s and hung out every day from about 1984 to 1989, at which time I moved to California.

I know Fernando Bermudez and his family. Even though I moved to the West Coast, Fernando and I would keep in touch and would get together whenever I would return to New York City to visit my family.

I saw Fernando for the last time around early 1991 before he went to jail and I was very disturbed to hear what had happened in August 1991. I am writing this letter due to the fact that I watched the segment on Court TV about Fernando and was very troubled about the allegations and inconsistencies that were hurled by the prosecution along with the perjured testimony committed by the prosecution witnesses.

Fernando Bermudez was not and is not a murderer. Fernando was not a gangster, thug, tough guy or anything of the sort. Fernando was a young man who was simply into dressing nice, women, bodybuilding and having fun with his friends.

Fernando never carried a gun, never talked about guns or shooting someone and never instigated a fight with anyone. As a matter of fact, whenever I got angry for whatever reason, Fernando would be the one to talk to me about being patient and levelheaded.

I end this letter simply by saying, please help Fernando in any capacity possible. He is an innocent man that has been wrongfully convicted and subjected to a life of living hell.

Phil Miranda

Gadfly: I was illegally held

To The Editor:
Re “Brodeur busted, again” (Police blotter, Nov. 9):

I hope you will be fair and print this letter so your readers can get the facts right.

You are usually one of the only independent papers in New York City, and regularly stand up to our corrupt government, so it really troubles me when you repeat their lies and rhetoric and present no opposing viewpoint, as you did last month when you printed a few paragraphs about my latest false arrest.

Not only was my arrest for supposedly threatening New York Observer liar Ben Smith totally false, the government can’t even feign that it’s legit, considering the last 18 times they said I “threatened” people and falsely arrested me and illegally detained me in jail they were proven wrong. And don’t forget that Bloomberg paid me $35,000 in 2003 to settle one false arrest lawsuit for the exact same bogus charge of “threatening” government cronies.

Ben Smith’s fake charges against me came the very week we told him we would be in front of the Observer passing out fliers exposing their total corruption and coverups of all Bloomberg scandals. And when they came to my house to arrest me on Halloween, I sent an e-mail to you and the rest of the media explaining the dirt and that they would illegally keep me in jail until after the election to help Bloomberg (as I’m easily Bloomberg’s most damaging critic and we told them about our huge plans to flier Staten Island). And, like clockwork, when I turned myself in on Nov. 2, they illegally held me in jail for 13 days before even allowing bail to be set, to detain me until after the Nov. 8 election! (Exactly the same M.O. they used against the protesters during the R.N.C.!)

When the government arrests its critics and investigative journalists who embarrass it, you all should be as angry as me. You cannot allow government lies to be printed without opposing viewpoints.

Didn’t anyone learn anything from the W.M.D. scam?

Christopher X. Brodeur
Chilling chinchilla fur item

To The Editor:
In response to “Are you gonna wear my chinch” in Scoopy’s Notebook (Nov. 30), I completely agree with Garrett Rosso being outraged upon seeing that model wearing full-length chinchilla coats. I have written before about the horrific ways animals used for fur are treated and killed. He was right by the dog run and I doubt he stopped to think the chinchillas’ lives taken to make those coats were as real and as precious as the dogs’ lives are that go to that park. But what I’m thinking is, did that model, or anyone who wears fur, stop to think what kind of message they are sending to others? Ask most people what a chinchilla is and I bet a lot of them would come up with answers like, “Some little animal used to make fur coats.” I doubt any one of them would know that they are studied by linguists due to their sensitive, perceptive ears. They’re considered the closest to that of a human’s. I think that is a more valuable piece of information than any coat.
Victoria Booth

Won’t be quiet on library

To The Editor:
The Jefferson Market Library is a landmarked building and nothing has been done to repair its exterior. There appears to be no money for repair. In the meantime, scaffolding remains. At the same time there are sufficient funds for construction and renovation of the interior of the library. This makes no sense at all. Who allocated the funding? Why the secrecy?

Jefferson Market Library is one of the most utilized branches in Manhattan and many people from all walks of life use it extensively. Villagers are dependent upon its books, interlibrary loans, DVD’s/videotapes, access to research and computer facilities. It will be devastating if it closes for any length of time. The preponderance of users are adults, moms and their children, not teenagers. The proposal to relocate half the reference section to the second floor that is currently crowded to make way for teenagers’ needs is outrageous.

I hope the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, of which I’m a member, gets out in front of this important issue. 

Edith Penty 

Keep up pressure for Ol’ Jeff

To The Editor:
Heartfelt thanks to you all for the wonderful article by Albert Amateau regarding the library. I am thrilled that you have brought the building’s most immediate crisis to the light of day with your front-page headline: “Facade fix is overdue, say Ol’ Jeff advocates” (news article, Dec. 7). Time is the building’s enemy and speedy attention is crucial. Don’t let them drop the ball. Three cheers for The Villager!

Cynthia Crane Story
Father was fine by me

To The Editor:
Re “Woman charges rape in tangled affair with priest” (news article, Sept. 21):

I’m a teacher of Italian literature in an international school in Verona, Italy. I’ve been to study in New York in 1987. I did research in the Pierpont Morgan Library. Father Cogo helped me to find a place to stay during my research. I can say that he is a great person, very correct and he never took advantage while helping me. I’m sure of his honesty, and some other American people can say this. I can’t understand what happend.
Professor Maria Elisabetta Faccioli

Chelsea shouldn’t be selfish

To The Editor:
In his letter published in your Nov. 30 issue (“Seminary vs. serenity”), Mr. Kernan Huttick mentions that he moved from 406 W. 22nd St. to Penn South, a nonprofit middle-income co-op.

Myself a Penn South co-op member, I can vouch that it is a great real estate deal. A large studio with eat-in kitchen and dressing room is now $22,000, with a maintenance of about $350. When built in 1962, it was determined that to be economically feasible the project had to benefit from a generous tax exemption from the city and include a sufficient amount of units (2,100). This explains why our buildings are 21-stories high.

I find it rich that someone enjoying cheap housing in a 21-story building does not approve of a 17-story one. It is expensive to live the simple life in Chelsea and it could not be possible without help from the city to Penn South, Robert Fulton Houses and the Chelsea-Elliot Houses.

If retired, Mr. Huttick, a longtime Chelsea resident, can have a $1 meal at the Fulton Center, to which he can ride for half-price. He can also use the swimming pool and computers of the New York City Parks and Recreation Center. He might even receive help to pay his maintenance through SCRIE. No doubt, beneficiaries of these services feel entitled to them without asking themselves where the money comes from. Obviously, from the city which uses part of its taxes for this purpose.

The seminary assumes obligations of its own with a kindergarten and a shelter for the homeless. A luxury rental would enable it to keep offering these services and maintain its buildings and grounds, whose charms are so appreciated by its neighbors. Wealthy renters would also pay taxes to the city.

Society has a moral obligation to provide affordable housing to its members but unobstructed views are not part of the deal. It is high time for all of us living in Chelsea at a reasonable cost to accept moneymaking projects in our midst to enable us to keep enjoying the lifestyle to which we have been accustomed.

Michelle Raccagni

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