Volume 76, Number 46 | April 11 - 17, 2007

Letters to the editor

Media’s anti-Kucinich spin

To The Editor:
Re “Two candidates visit Downtown” (news brief and photos, April 4):

You said of Dennis Kucinich that “He threw his hat in the ring earlier this year after most of his Democratic colleagues said they opposed cutting off war funds in Iraq….”

In fact, he was the first candidate to announce his candidacy, doing so last year on Dec. 12.

Also, you mention, “He was the last candidate to leave the race before John Kerry’s nomination.” A more positive way to phrase this would be to say he was the only candidate besides John Kerry to send delegates to the convention in Boston — where, I am proud to say, I was one of the 43 delegates who voted for the man I wanted to see in the White House.

I continue to be amazed at the media spin against Kucinch. I remember when he came in second in the Hawaii primary. The Associated Press and the rest reported that Kerry came in first, and that Edwards was third, completely ignoring second place, so as to avoid mentioning D.J.K. in a story. Hopefully, this time around it will change. 

I support Dennis Kucinich because he is the only presidential contender who has voted against every authorization and funding appropriation for the war in Iraq since 2002. He alone was not confused or misled.

Claire McGee 

No more British tribute

To The Editor:
Re “Rule Britannia! English merchants push for new district” (news article, March 21):

Little Britain! Regarding comparisons to Little Italy and Chinatown: Neither came into being through a publicity scheme to increase tourism. Seems to me that we have already paid tribute to our British settlers by naming a large part of the country after them: It’s called New England.

Terry Blum

Stop the silly lawsuits

To The Editor:
Re “Washington Sq. decision grants city license to lie” (talking point, by Jonathan Greenberg, March 21):

Jonathan Greenberg is irresponsible in his writing and actions about Washington Square Park. He is just a divisive element in the community who confuses being loud and confrontational with offering leadership. He has lost all perspective in his pursuit of publicity. His claim that the New York State Appellate Division would make a decision on a relatively small project, such as the renovation of Washington Square Park, on political basis is really quite a stretch. To claim it “resembles a political fix” is just irresponsible.

It is clear to me that over the past two years Jonathan Greenberg has been busy positioning himself to run for City Council. He obviously wants to replace Alan Gerson when term limits end Gerson’s painful and incompetent stay as our City Council representative. Jonathan seems to think that being a vocal opponent to renovating the park, and attacking New York University and the Parks Department, will win him support in the community as the spokesperson for the citizens of Greenwich Village.

I think you can always gain support by attacking N.Y.U. They represent the Evil Empire to most Village residents. However, I think Community Board 2 members, the numerous Democratic clubs and most political insiders in the Village have lost sight of the goal.

We have a major park that is an international tourist attraction in terrible physical condition. It is a disgrace. Most parents and residents of Greenwich Village want it renovated as soon as possible. Most people don’t really care about the location of the fountain. What they want is more grass, more plants and, over all, a nicer park experience.

So to all the blowhards of the Village political establishment, I ask that you finally accept defeat. Stop the complaining, withdraw your silly lawsuits and do something positive for the Village. No one is listening to your constant complaining about the plans for Washington Square Park. You are not offering leadership or solutions. You’re just promoting your personal careers.

How about this for a plan: Let the city Parks Department renovate Washington Square Park. If it is not acceptable, let’s all join together and fight for changes in the next campaign to rebuild the park. But this time, let’s not wait 40 years.

Bob O’Sullivan

Keep fighting, Greenberg!

To The Editor:
Re “Washington Sq. decision grants city license to lie” (talking point, by Jonathan Greenberg, March 21):

As a neighborhood resident extremely disturbed by the proposed Washington Square Park “redesign,” I would like to thank Jonathan Greenberg for his passionate championing of our community interests in seeing the park retain its historic and user-friendly character. I thank him for his coherent exposé of the Appellate Division’s blunderous decision reinstating the Parks Department’s offensive folly.

It is truly unsettling that the city would, once again, advance the interests of N.Y.U. above those of the residents — flattening the fountain equals more chairs at overcrowded N.Y.U. graduation. What a waste of tens of thousands of our hard-earned taxpayer dollars to move the fountain a couple of feet just to humor Mr. Vellonakis’s frivolous desire to align it with the arch.

The recent closing of the newsstand at the corner of Thompson and W. Third Sts. by the Department of Consumer Affairs for absolutely no rational reason is also deeply troubling. The two lovely brothers who ran the newsstand, each with a wife and two small children to support, have suddenly lost their livelihood and now may be forced to apply for welfare as a result of the city’s capricious muscle-flex in closing the newsstand. And no one can understand why Consumer Affairs arbitrarily refuses to allow the brothers to even file a new application for a license in their own names, so they may continue to operate their business as they have for the last five years.

The brothers did no one harm and, in fact, served the community in a number of ways, not the least of which was providing needed and additional security for the neighborhood: Within two months of the newsstand’s being shut by the city agency after more than 80 years of continuous operation, there have been two separate instances of criminal activity in the adjoining building.

The city would be such a better place if only someone like Jonathan Greenberg was mayor. I pray the Court of Appeals will see the obvious merit of reviewing the First Department’s flawed and seemingly political decision. How else to explain their transmogrified interpretation of the facts to support their ill-advised conclusion. Unfortunately, justice sometimes takes an inordinate amount of energy. So keep popping those vitamins, Jonathan, and thank you and your legal team again for all your hard work.

Stacy Kaufman

They promised quiet

To The Editor:
When Café Cluny was about to open, there was this big controversy about turning our once quiet street into another “Meatpacking District.” The owners of Café Cluny posted letters on the restaurant’s windows promising that this would not happen.

The corner of W. Fourth and W. 12th Sts. has turned into a nightmare. Cars are parked illegally, and loud and rude patrons disrespect and dirty our streets at all hours of the night.

Café Cluny, the Cubby Hole, the Smorgas Chef, Corner Bistro and now the ridiculous Beatrice Inn with its “select patrons” need to clean up their acts A.S.A.P.

Tony Rivera

Council salaries a crime

To The Editor:
I agree with your March 21 editorial, “Our auxiliary officers need more protection,” but would go even further. Both regular and auxiliary police officers need our support. Consider that the recent salary increase passed by  New York City Council Speaker Quinn and her colleagues of  $22,000 per year is almost equal to the $25,000 starting salary of a new police officer or the cost of several bulletproof vests.  

Salary increases for civil servants and private-sector employees are based on the principles of merit, performance and quality of service, along with an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. Most New Yorkers would agree that any police officer is worth more than any or all 51 New York City councilmembers combined. The same is true for citizens who volunteer to serve as auxiliary police officers.

With the new councilmember base salary of $112,500 — supplemented by lulus ranging from $4,000 to $28,000 — their average salary for a part-time job is now $125,000, or five times that of a rookie police officer!

Why not use some of the several hundred million dollars worth of yearly member-item pork-barrel projects or the paper billion dollar budget surplus to pay police officers what they really deserve? These same funds could support bulletproof vests for all auxiliary police officers as well.

Based on the 2000 Census, average income for a New York City resident is only $41,000. Why not ask each councilmember to donate part or all of his or her salary increases to police officers?

The Council does a great job mugging taxpayers. Next time you need a cop and none are available, call your local city councilmember and see what he or she can do to help take a bite out of crime, instead of your wallet!
Larry Penner

A store of memories

To The Editor:
My father and mother had a candy store at 188 Ninth Ave. from the early 1950s to 1961. I’ve been looking for photos of the store for years and have come up dry. The closest I’ve gotten are some photos from the late ’40s of the corners of Ninth Ave. and 22nd and 21st Sts. from the New York Public Library’s digital collection. Of course, these years predate my father’s store — which was between these two corners on the east side of the avenue.

I’m trying to write a book about my parents, their store and those particular years, 1950-1961, in Chelsea.

For any guidance you could provide in locating photos, and/or articles, remembrances, histories or online forums regarding this period, I would be most grateful. Of course, I remember selling The Villager in my parents’ store, Singer’s Stationary.

Jonathan Singer
The writer can be contacted at jonsinger@earthlink.net.


To The Editor:
Congratulations on your award-winning ways. As a former weekly newspaper publisher/editor/reporter, I appreciate the role of the local print media — and the importance of being recognized by peers for a commitment to community journalism.
Jim Gabbe
Gabbe is president, Union Square Partnership 

Evidence, not conspiracy

To The Editor:
Re “300 true believers get their 9/11 ‘truth’ from BAI host at St. Mark’s” (news article, April 4):

The article states that at St. Mark’s Church, “some 300 apparent true believers…heard politically charged conspiracy theories surrounding the fall of the World Trade Center five-and-a-half years ago. …”

Correction: They heard evidence, perhaps for the first time, that George Bush, Dick Cheney and other rogue elements in the U.S. government may have been responsible for the collapse of the three buildings at the W.T.C. on 9/11, and hence may be the murderers of the 3,000 — mainly American — people that died there.

Robert Hoogenboom

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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