Volume 76, Number 52 | May 23 -29, 2007

Letters to the editor

Took bad care of daycare

To The Editor:
Re “Daycare’s closing would be dark day for local kids” (news article, May 9):

Henry Street Settlement Executive Director Verona Middleton-Jeter misrepresents the facts and fails the parents of 9th Street Day Care Center.

In the article, Middleton-Jeter states that Henry Street Settlement’s decision to end sponsorship was due to the center being flagged for under-enrollment in November 2006. However, she failed to mention that her agency did nothing to support the daycare and to bring up enrollment numbers. H.S.S. has always been an absent sponsor and abandoned the program not long after taking over sponsorship.

The Parent Advisory Committee, or P.A.C., has been aware of declining numbers since September 2006 after H.S.S. secretly removed the School-Age Program. H.S.S. failed to apply to the city’s Department of Youth and Community Development for funding for the 9th Street Day Care Center, even though they did so for their other sites. I guess this was all a part of their strategic plan to “close 9th Street Day Care for the past two years,” as both Middleton-Jeter and the Administration for Children’s Services mentioned at the parent meeting held April 17, 2007.

In an effort to help the center, the P.A.C has held monthly meetings with the staff and the director since November 2006 to strategize on ways to build enrollment. So meeting and planning in the best interest of 9th Street is not new to us. Both the parents and staff made referrals, posted fliers and did plenty of community outreach in an effort to build up the numbers. This is more than we can say for H.S.S. and A.C.S.

At our P.A.C. meetings, the director has always shared enrollment numbers to inform us of the daycare status. According to A.C.S.’s 1098 form (Group Day Care Weekly Enrollment Report), November and December 2006 recorded 61 to 64 children. Wouldn’t it have been easier to recruit 11 children for enrollment than to make the decision to close a center and displace 64? You mean to tell me that two well-known organizations such as H.S.S. and A.C.S. were incapable of finding 11 children in need of care to place in a center that provides quality care?

Another issue discussed at our parent meetings was the director’s response to letters sent to her from A.C.S. in April and December 2006. Both letters asked her for reasons for the under-enrollment, what was being done to increase enrollment and how A.C.S. could assist in this matter. In her response, the director listed reasons such as the registration process at their resource center, the recertification process of current parents and adding of new children to the 1098 form to verify admission in to the program. Let’s ask Mr. Sharman Stein, A.C.S. director of communications, how the agency has assisted in any of these matters.

It’s very interesting to see how much concern the absent H.S.S. seems to show about the parents, staff and children of 9th Street now that they are looking to close the center. I remember the staff distinctly mentioning at the Community Board 3 Youth Committee meeting that they had never seen Middleton-Jeter or her assistant, Diane Rubin, in the entire six years that H.S.S. was the center’s sponsor. Not to mention that Middleton-Jeter was unaware of the daycare director’s name, consistently calling her “Latisha” until a parent addressed her with the correct name.

Neither H.S.S. nor A.C.S. came out to assess the program, observe the quality of care or see what could be done to improve enrollment numbers. If these are the type of absent and absent-minded organizations that are out there in support of providing better educational environments for our children, it is no wonder why parents are so disheartened and have no hope for the future. This is why we are calling upon Mayor Bloomberg to help us keep our doors open. The 9th Street building facility has been an important center for our community’s children and youth for 30 years, and we cannot afford to lose it now.

Maurice Darden
Darden is chairperson, 9th Street Day Care Center Parent Advisory Committee


Another story for guides

To The Editor:
Re “Tenement guides learn from history, form union” (news article, May 9):

So the tour guides at the Tenement Museum are feeling abused and want to unionize? Priceless! Their plight pales in comparison to the nightmarish attack launched on us by the Tenement Museum.

We are certain these museum guides don’t expose our story — about how the museum five years ago planned to acquire our building next door by eminent domain — when they give their “civic lessons” to tourists. These storytellers really need to wake up. The Tenement Museum, its founder and her enablers were exposed as hypocrites years ago: pretending to honor immigrant ancestry and spitting on their own neighbors’ rich history on the Lower East Side; conspiring with state government to evict us from our own property; “educating” tourists and lionizing unions, yet denying a union to their own clueless employees.

The Tenement Museum continues to preach one thing and practice another. There should be some serious changes in upper management at the carny sideshow that is the Tenement Museum. They are a disgrace.

Mimi and Lou Holtzman


Foreign artists in a funk

To The Editor:
Re “Taking a risk for art” (letter, by Ivelisse Pabon de Landron, May 16):

Just saw the letter from the artist from Puerto Rico. Sad to think that in the “Arts Capital of the World” this young artist has nowhere to turn for information other than Robert Lederman or myself.

The city should have dealt with this issue long ago, so that artists from all over the world would feel safe expressing themselves in public.
Just a couple of years ago, the son of the United Nations representative from Italy was harassed and ticketed for selling his artwork on West Broadway for no good reason. His ticket was eventually thrown out by the judge — with an apology. However, the artist was so traumatized he never came back out with his paintings — and the fact is that he was very, very gifted.

Just another example of how the city cannot get its act together to protect one of its most valuable assets. What a shame.

Lawrence White


Birthday thank you

To The Editor:
Re “V.I.D. celebrates 50 years of progressive politics” (news article, April 16):

I would like to offer my thanks to Ed Gold and The Villager for the recent excellent article about the Village Independent Democrats club’s celebration of its 50th “birthday,” which also included a birthday photo of me.

Let me also mention all the advantages of being a member of the V.I.D., living in the Village and having N.Y.U. here to make available within walking distance excellent theater, lectures, libraries and galleries.

Herman Gerson


Camp over youth leagues

To The Editor:
Re “A massive turnout to save field of dreams, prevent pier of fears” (news article, May 9):

Local youth sports groups’ call for “a year-round sports center” on Pier 40 is being used as justification to oppose The People’s Pier proposal, which would occupy Pier 40 with a day camp for eight weeks in the summer.

Surely, serving 1,200 city kids in an all-sports camp that includes swimming is more important to the city than serving a few kids for special training in a single sport. Frankly, I’m offended that all-volunteer sports groups should be hiding their own expansion plans in full sight this way.

I endorse The People’s Pier proposal. Other parents should be pressuring the leadership of these organizations to endorse it as well.

Barry Drogin


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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