Volume 76, Number 37 | February 7 -13, 2007

Letters to the editor

It’s getting hot in here

To The Editor:
Re “Chill out on global warming” (letter, by Robert W. Van de Walle, Jan. 24):

There is no real debate about the facts of global warming in the scientific community. It is widely agreed upon among the world’s leading institutions, including the report last week by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations, that humans are indeed playing an active roll in significantly adding to global warming by introducing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The most important single cause of which is burning fossil fuel — coal, oil and natural gas — which releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

The Oregon Petition by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine was deceptive and included what appeared to be a reprint of a scientific paper and a cover letter from a former president of the National Academy of Sciences. A blunt statement issued by the N.A.S. made it clear that they had nothing to with the petition and further stated that “even given the considerable uncertainties in our knowledge of the relevant phenomena, greenhouse warming poses a potential threat sufficient to merit prompt responses.”

Investigations into the qualifications of the 17,000 signers showed that less than 1 percent had identified themselves as physicists, geophysicists, climatologists or meteorologists. The petition also had funding by Exxon Mobil.

I suggest that if people want to learn more about the consequences of global warming and how they can take an active roll in reducing greenhouse gases, they should visit nasonline.org or noaa.gov or rent the movie “An Inconvenient Truth.” We are the problem and we need to be the solution.

Robert Kreizel


Spitzer schools plan fails

To The Editor:
The education proposals Governor Eliot Spitzer put forward last week are an affront to all those parents who hoped he meant it that from Day One, everything changes.

While his campaign ads highlighted smaller classes as one of only three educational goals of his administration, rather than require any school to actually provide smaller classes, this would only be one of a long menu of options districts could consider.

His proposals are also contrary to the decision of New York State’s highest court — that class sizes in our schools were too large to provide our students with their constitutional right to an adequate education.

The Court of Appeals didn’t say that our school year or school day was too short; the court didn’t say that we needed more charter schools. The court said that the class sizes in New York City schools were excessive, and that there was “a meaningful correlation between the large classes in City schools and the outputs…of poor academic achievement and high dropout rates.”

There is no research showing that an extended school day or longer school year will provide our children with the attention they need to succeed — as opposed to just more hours spent in overcrowded classrooms.

If the governor really believed that inequality in educational opportunity is “morally indefensible,” as he said last week, I don’t know how he can justify the huge disparities in class size that New York City children continue to experience every day compared to students in the rest of the state.

Leonie Haimson
Haimson is executive director, Class Size Matters


Song of the South District

To The Editor:
Re “New push to create South Village historic area” (news article, Jan. 17) and “South Village district’s time has finally come” (editorial, Jan. 17):

I second Albert Bennett and David Chan’s letters of appreciation in the Jan. 24 Villager for Albert Amateau’s fine coverage of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation’s launch of the Historic South Village Preservation Project, and for your editorial supporting the South Village Historic District. I, too, support designation.

Since moving to Sullivan St. in 1985, I have been anxious to protect this gentle area utterly lacking in obvious grandeur and unified instead by a humanity of small scale and pleasing detail.

The well-researched South Village Proposal for Historic District Designation seeks such protection. It is replete with careful attention to the history of this working-class immigrant district, not known as “important,” but which over time has sheltered much of the artist/activist soul of the Village.

Ann Warner Arlen
Arlen is a public member and former chairperson, Environment Committee of Community Board 2


Never mind the bollocks

To The Editor:
Regarding Barbara Lee-Jones’s letter (“Punk and London geography”) in the Jan. 3 issue of The Villager, alleging that my book “The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB’s: A Secret History of Jewish Punk” had mistakenly identified as crime-ridden a section of London where Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren lived as a youth, I refer you to the following note I received from Mr. McLaren on Jan. 25:

Hi Steven,
So happy your book has received such reviews and thrilled that my contribution was as good as anyone else’s! Read the piece by Barbara-Lee Jones. I think what she doesn’t realize is that Islington, which was severely bombed, went into decline in the ’50s, and Highbury, part of Islington and close by Stoke Newington (where I was brought up), had a huge settlement of Sephardic Jews and was synonymous with crime — as most parts of London were during the days of the rise of the spiv and teenage gangs. Of course, by the dawn of the ’60s my family had departed for the suburbs.

Naturally, Islington and much of that part of the world got gentrified as the ’60s disappeared and times changed.

Best,
Malcolm

In other words, while Barbara Lee-Jones might be correct in identifying Islington as fashionable today, she is mistaken in thinking that it was so during the mid-20th century when Malcolm McLaren was growing up near there.

Steven Lee Beeber


E-mail letters, not longer than 350 words in length, to news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 145 Sixth Ave., ground floor, NY, NY 10013. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel.

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