Volume 78 / Number 15, September 10 - 16, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor 

City failing on new schools

To The Editor:
Re “How many children can we really fit in a school?” (Back to School section article, Sept. 3):

Shino Tanikawa’s article on school overcrowding did an excellent job outlining some of the flaws in Mayor Bloomberg’s class size-reduction “plan.” As someone who fought hard in Albany to bring home more education funding specifically to reduce class sizes, I have been disheartened that the Bloomberg administration has neither adequately addressed school overcrowding nor even achieved an understanding of the problem’s scope.

Here in School District 2, which has the second-highest class sizes in the entire city, the Bloomberg administration has abandoned its obligation to our students, and has instead told parents that it will consider options identified by the community. While I have been amazed by and thankful for the work of local parents in identifying potential school sites, it is sad that parents like Ms. Tanikawa are forced to conclude that “the onus is on us to present viable, well-researched alternatives.” It is one thing to ask parents to check their child’s homework; it is another to ask them to become real estate scouts to ensure their children receive an adequate education.

What I find most upsetting is that after the community spent hours of its time developing these alternatives and presenting them to the city, the city has been slow to respond. Most recently, 75 Morton St. was brought to the city as an incredible and rare opportunity to reduce overcrowding in District 2. After initially expressing interest in the property, it seems that the city has not taken decisive action to secure the site.

If the city does not act aggressively soon, 75 Morton St. may just slip through our fingers, squandering both an incredible opportunity to alleviate school overcrowding and busy parents’ valuable time.

Deborah J. Glick
Glick is assemblymember for the 66th District

Ramping up stage debate

To The Editor:
Re “Square deal demands are dog-run room and a stage” (news article, Aug. 27):

The Americans With Disabilities Act says for every inch in height, a ramp would need to be 12 inches long with a 5-foot-wide resting platform once the ramp becomes longer than 30 feet. Here, the ramp simply has to have a turn back on itself along the wall of a 36-inch-high stage halfway up, perhaps with a semicircular resting platform as an added entertainment element.

The Intrepid Museum has a multi-turn-back ramp up to the skywalk over the West Side Highway probably measuring 300 feet in length. St. Patrick’s Cathedral created in a small area an architecturally compatible turn-back A.D.A. ramp that is at least double the height of the stage currently planned for Washington Square Park. Our very own Tony Dapolito Recreation Center has a compact wheelchair-accessible switchback ramp.

Make no mistake. The proposed, lower, 22-inch height of the performance stage has nothing to do with wheelchair accessibility. It has to do with accommodating the lackluster imagination and questionable competence of a nonarchitect landscaper. George Vellonakis has never met a fully realized, community-friendly park that he couldn’t diminish into a walk-through viewing garden with the elimination of space for wheelchair users. Without the open sitting areas on the park’s east side, wheelchair users will be forced to sit apart on sidewalks, as Vellonakis engineered in Abingdon Square.

Parks has the opportunity at this stage of design to accommodate the entire community. Will it? Or will it bend to a landscape designer who willfully misuses the A.D.A. to suit his whims, instead of stretching his thought process beyond himself to the community? To allow this continued discrimination through beautification will bring about a phase four of the park reconstruction project: Let the lawyers commence.

Margie Rubin
Rubin is a member, Disabled in Action; a public member, Community Board 2 Parks Committee; and a member, Borough President Scott Stringer’s Disability Task Force

How could you?

To The Editor:
I reacted with anger, shock, amazement and profound disappointment that my beloved Villager would endorse Sheldon Silver in the New York State Assembly primary election.

My trust and faith in The Villager has been badly shaken. Your editorial (“Silver for Assembly,” Sept. 3) claims that “…Silver’s pluses far outweigh these minuses.”

When Silver demonstrates a cynical contempt for basic moral values — affordable housing, congestion pricing, protecting women from being raped by his own attorney, prostituting himself for his real estate cronies, secretiveness about his income, etc., etc. — he is unfit and unworthy of holding political office.

Giving The Villager editorial writer the benefit of the doubt, he was misguided and unaware of Silver’s corrupt relationships with real estate interests.

Michael Gottlieb

River rats running wild

To The Editor:
My partner and I, both senior citizens and longtime residents of the West Village, love the West Village section of Hudson River Park and go there frequently to watch the sunset and take a walk for exercise. We go as often as we can from early spring until it gets too cold for us in the late fall.

However, on Tues., Aug. 26 — a lovely day with a gorgeous sunset — as we strolled the promenade from the 12th St. crossing to the long pier at Christopher St., we saw a shocking site: many rats running bold as brass well before dark among the plantings and even right out in the open on the grass. We even saw several out on the pier. Isn’t there a regular extermination program to control these pests? If so, the Hudson River Park Trust needs to do it more frequently. I was shocked at the number and boldness of the rats — there were plenty of people all around, but that didn’t deter them in the least.

My partner was so upset that he’s now refusing to go back to the park even though he needs the exercise. The Trust must do something about this deplorable condition in our beloved park A.S.A.P.

Surely, I cannot be the only person who has noticed this increasingly virulent infestation of rodents.

John T. Doyle

Intern really learned

To The Editor:
I just wanted to let Laurie Mittelmann know that I have enjoyed her work this summer. I think she has been learning a lot with The Villager and it is showing. I hope that she can return to the paper after she graduates if she is asked to!

Vincent McKeever

E-mail letters, not longer than 250 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. The Villager will not publish anonymous letters.

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