Volume 75, Number 38 | February 8 - 14, 2006

Letters to the editor

S.L.A. exec calls out Villager

To The Editor:
In your recent editorial “Reform at the S.L.A. might have to wait for a new governor” (Jan. 25) you write that news of the recent nomination of former Police Chief Daniel Boyle as chairman of the State Liquor Authority “came as a huge letdown to residents of Manhattan,” because, as you argue, only a chairman from Manhattan could represent the concerns of Manhattan residents on the three-member board at the authority. I couldn’t disagree more.

Chief Boyle is a dedicated public servant who has spent over 31 years in law enforcement, and he uniquely understands the concerns that all New Yorkers have regarding quality of life, and public health and safety issues. As chairman he will work to make certain that licensees fully comply with the Alcohol Beverage Control Law and that license applications are approved in accordance with the law, after all the facts are in and a thorough review is conducted, regardless of whether they’re in Manhattan, Montauk or Massena. Protecting the public health and safety of all New Yorkers is the mission of the State Liquor Authority, and it will certainly remain so under the new chairman.

Your editorial’s accusation that the State Liquor Authority “repeatedly ignored and abused the 500-foot rule” is simply false. The 500-foot rule hearings we regularly conduct provide us with valuable information and suggestions that ultimately help us to make the best decisions when evaluating a license application for approval. We view these hearings, and the helpful advice provided by community boards, as a vital part of our review process.

Since my appointment to the S.L.A., I have personally reviewed many of the letters received by the community boards and have directed staff to bring all major concerns to my attention. I have also directed increased enforcement efforts, zeroing in on licensed establishments that may be violating the ABC Law. The S.L.A. will summarily suspend the most serious violators of the A.B.C. when there is an imminent threat to public health and safety, and I have and will continue to recommend to the board that such suspensions occur when warranted.

We remain committed to ensuring the public’s health and safety, and part of how we accomplish that effort is by partnering with law enforcement and community groups from around the state. We look forward to building on those important partnerships, so that we can continue to best the serve the interest of all New Yorkers.

Joshua B. Toas
Toas is chief executive officer, New York State Liquor Authority

Koch column was a clunker

To The Editor:
Re “Democrats must change tune and denounce Belafonte” (talking point, by Ed Koch, Jan. 25):

I didn’t live here when Ed Koch was mayor, and I knew little of him before moving here. When I see him on TV speaking as a political commentator, writing columns or in movies such as “Fahrenhype 9/11,” I don’t have any preconceived feeling about him. That being said, I can’t help but wonder how he ever was a political success. Maybe it was a simpler time. This guy makes little sense and when he does, he is stating such conventional wisdoms as “George Bush isn’t a good public speaker.” I know that he’s a celebrity in this town, but come on! This guy jumped the shark on relevance 20 years ago.

His latest talking point on how Democrats should denounce Harry Belafonte for his comment that President Bush is “the greatest tyrant in the world” is not only ridiculous, but it’s straight from a Fox News memo and it makes absolutely no sense. When Pat Robertson (a huge force in the conservative movement) blamed 9/11 on liberals and gays, did Mr. Koch speak up and ask George Bush to renounce a person who played a big role in his political success? No. Should other people have to apologize, agree with or denounce everything said that the news media picks up as controversial? Hell, no.

Mr. Koch’s next great assessment, that Kerry lost, in part, because he didn’t denounce Whoopi Goldberg for making fun of President Bush, is totally absurd. Kerry lost for many reasons, but I think terror alerts, the conflating of 9/11 and Iraq, and propaganda might have been part of it.

And does Ed Koch take more than 5 minutes to write these pieces of crap? It sure doesn’t seem like it.

All I’m trying to get across is that I don’t think Mr. Koch deserves to be held in such high regard in this city. It’s sort of like the former star quarterback still analyzing the local team, even though he’s been out of the huddle for a long time.

Matt Townsend

Bashing Belafonte was bananas

To The Editor:
Re “Democrats must change tune and denounce Belafonte” (talking point, by Ed Koch, Jan. 25):

Our ex-mayor turned “worldwide critic and expert on all subjects” is way off base concerning his attempt to muzzle Harry Belafonte. Koch’s column on Belafonte is a real travesty: Why is Koch more entitled to free speech under the Constitution than Belafonte? Our ex-mayor was always asking us: “Tell me how I’m doing?” as he walked our streets. Mr. Mayor, you’re doing badly and really ought to calm yourself down. We know Mr. Koch supports all things right-wing Republican these days and so he doesn’t speak for Democrats anymore. Pete Seeger would never appreciate your using his words as part of your attack on Belafonte.

Nat Yalowitz

Democrats are embarrassing

To The Editor:
Re “Democrats must change tune and denounce Belafonte” (talking point, by Ed Koch, Jan. 25):

As a registered Democrat, I am embarrassed by those speaking for our party. No, I am not referring to Ed Koch. I am referring to Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Al Sharpton, Hilary Clinton, Howard Dean and many others. Until this party demands leadership that has a strategy other than second-guessing, it will continue to be irrelevant.
Paul K. Piccone

The ‘loony left’ runs party 

To The Editor:
Re “Democrats must change tune and denounce Belafonte” (talking point, by Ed Koch, Jan. 25):

Ed Koch is surely out of step with the far left that is the voice of the Democratic Party today, but he’s right on the mark.

The loony left has taken over the party and few if any Democrats seem inclined to buck them.

He was right, of course: Name any country that opposes the U.S. and you will hear loud support coming from the left.

I’ll go further. Where were the Democratic protests a few months ago when Castro cracked down on those Cubans asking for more freedom? Who has denounced Jimmy Carter for his statements on circumventing President Bush’s pronouncement that the U.S. will not send money to Hamas? Since when have Chavaz, Iran, the Palestinians (Hamas) and others become a friend, allied with us to promote freedom and democracy?

The list of questions goes on but the answers evade me.

An overwhelming hatred for Bush is not a policy nor is cozying up to every tin-pot dictator.

Arthur Harris

Inflation is sinking me

To The Editor:
I read Daniel Meltzer’s column “Inflation defies Newton: That which rises keeps on rising” (talking point, Jan. 25) online and couldn’t agree more. Congratulations to him for a great column. My gas bill here in Akron, Ohio, is on a “budget” of $92 per month, my electric is around $50 and the water bill hovers just over $40. My mortgage has gone up because of the prime, whatever that is, and I just realized I owe $2,000 more on my car than the Blue Book value. Tomatoes at Giant Eagle are selling for an astronomical $4 a pound, a decent glass of wine in a bar is somewhere around $7 and the gas to get there is $2.29 per gallon. I should have invested in sheep futures.

With all the money I’m saving in this alleged “recovering” economy, I should have plenty of pennies to invest in a tax-deductible healthcare plan.

But you know, I can sleep at night because the terrorists are being kept in check by Daddy Bush.
Lyn M. Broach

Renovate away dealers

To The Editor:
 I think it is great that funds have been allocated for the renovation of Washington Square Park.

It is obvious from the debate over the past year that any one plan will not satisfy all of park’s many differing interests.

 One thing is for sure, let’s start the cleanup of the Park  by getting rid of the rampant drug dealing once and for all. It’s a disgrace.
Palmer Smith

Get it straight!

To The Editor:
Mr. Koch’s column on “April’s Shower” (Koch of Film, Feb. 1) misidentifies transsexuality as a sexual-orientation issue. He states: “In the last few months, several movies on sexual orientation — homosexual, gay and lesbian and transsexual — have been released.…” This is inaccurate. Being transsexual has nothing to do with one’s sexual orientation, and is a separate issue entirely. Transsexualism is a gender-identity issue about oneself, not an issue of to whom one is attracted.
Brittany Novotny

Hatred for Heathers

To The Editor:
I am responding to the letter you published “District manager’s off the mark,” by Debra Travis, in the Feb. 1 Villager.

I have lived in the East Village for 45 years and at my current address for 35 years. I live directly above Heathers bar. Our building is located in a residential zone.

On several evenings a week, her bar generates sound levels which prevent any sleep. On such evenings when I sit in the bathtub, I vibrate from the sound pulsations. It is impossible to read or even to listen to music I would like to hear with the intrusion of the heavy beat from downstairs.

Susan Stetzer, the district manager of Community Board 3, is not off the mark in aiming to remove the blight on the health and living conditions of my partner and myself caused by the installation of one more bar in a neighborhood extremely well supplied with bars. She is, in fact, responding to residents’ quality of life complaints, which is her job. The idea suggested by Ms. Travis that this bar is somehow the only place for artists in the East Village is absolutely absurd, as is the idea that Village artists are bereft of meeting places in our neighborhood.

In addition, the previous tenant, an after-hours bar called Brownies, was able to soundproof the space sufficiently so that we very rarely heard anything from downstairs. The current soundproofing is totally inadequate to protect my partner and me from the barrage of musical sound. The crowd of people gathering outside the bar, talking and smoking, only adds to the offensive intrusion of the bar into our lives.

I too love the East Village and wouldn’t like to live anywhere else in the world. However, I see no reason why we should endure the auditory abuse to which we have been subjected since Heathers opened at the beginning of the year. 

Frank Hartin

Let band shell rest

To The Editor:
“Bring back the band shell! Activists to stage campaign” (news article, Feb. 1):

No, dude, we do not need more headbangers in Tompkins Square. We have several million bars and music joints around the corner. Give us some peace. 

Les Bridges

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