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Volume 73, Number 29 | November 19 - 25, 2003


Letters to the Editor


To beat Bush, we’ve got to unite

To The Editor:
Re “With W. coming and feuds over, it’s time to unite” (talking point, by Ed Gold, Nov. 12):

  It’s about time someone made the case for uniting our three Democratic organizations in the Village. And a good case it is. Perhaps insiders understand the differences between the clubs. I’m not an insider, and I don’t understand the differences, so I don’t join any of them. Nor does my wife, for the same reason. But we’re raring to go in ’04. Bush has to be beaten. A united Democratic organization in the Village could attract more members, more donations and have more clout than the current split.

  Sure, merging three leadership structures would be difficult. A lot of egos are involved. There are heartfelt differences of opinion. But I would hope the importance of beating Bush in ’04, and having a single, strong Democratic organization to help do so, would override those difficulties. Of course, the benefits would extend well beyond ’04.
 
Don Carlson 


Business districts are a positive

To The Editor:
  Re: “Bigger BID not negotiable” (letter, by Elvin Nunez, Nov. 5):

Elvin Nunez writes, without explanation, that the expansion of the business improvement district would be a “nightmare to our community” and “insane.”

BIDs are nonprofit organizations that exist in over 40 New York neighborhoods, each tailored to serve the particular needs of their local business community. BIDs provide a safer, cleaner, more attractive district for businesses to operate and local residents to live. The Lower East Side BID was founded by small entrepreneurs who have long been an integral part of the history and identity of our community. Our primary services include providing supplemental street cleaning, graffiti removal and marketing assistance to our members. By coming together, small businesses pool resources and receive services they could not afford on their own.

A BID can also act as an intermediary between a business and local government. After 9/11, we helped our merchants, many of whom are immigrants and/or first-time entrepreneurs, navigate the complicated process of applying for and receiving disaster aid. Our current members are eligible for a number of grants we’ve secured on their behalf, including storefront improvement grants and Web site development grants.

  We fail to see the insanity, particularly during a down economy, in coming together to keep our business community vibrant and healthy.
 
Howard Slonim
Slonim is president, Lower East Side Business Improvement District


Enough low-income housing

To The Editor:
I am a shareholder of Seward Park Housing on the Lower East Side. I have recently become aware of a new plan to build low- and middle-income housing, as well as retail and commercial space in the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area.

The recent meeting held under the sponsorship of Community Board 3 so that members of the community might hear about this plan somehow happened without my knowledge. Although it is very easy to communicate with Co-op residents by placing fliers on the bulletin boards provided for that purpose, I received no notice of this meeting. I cannot find anyone else who did either. The enthusiasm of the audience at the Educational Alliance might have been the result of the exclusion of thousands of property owners in the neighborhood.

There are 10,000 units of low-income housing already in this neighborhood. To me, this says that we are already over-saturated with these facilities. I do not disagree that there is a need for more affordable housing in the city, but subsidized facilities should be evenly dispersed throughout the city, not concentrated in a single neighborhood.

Demographics of the Lower East Side are changing. This is evident in the rising prices of market-rate co-op apartments here in Co-op Village. Some nice stores have recently opened in our existing storefront buildings and new upscale restaurants and boutiques are appearing every day in the area just north of Delancey St. Just as things are beginning to look promising, we should not tilt the balance in the other direction by adding low- to moderate-income rather than market-rate or mixed-income housing.

Regarding the proposed retail/commercial aspects of the proposal, I am opposed to big-box stores with their attendant traffic problems in this residential neighborhood. On the other hand, we would welcome businesses oriented to neighborhood needs.

Linda C. Jones


Mounted Unit parking violation

To The Editor:
F.Y.I.: The “turnout — an area for the horses to move about freely,” described in the Villager’s Nov. 12 article, “Mounted Unit hoofs it over to Hudson River Park,” has been turned over to police vehicles as a parking area, instead of being used to provide hard-working police horses with desperately needed and much-deserved open space. These are live, sentient, beautiful creatures that deserve a place to relax and socialize. Their only opportunity for that should not be sacrificed for convenient parking.

Kathy Kinsella


Are noisy fundraisers justified?

To The Editor:
It is disingenuous, at best, for the Hudson River Park Trust to continue to visit upon the neighborhoods bordering the park a variety of commercial events in the name of “raising revenue to support the park.” No sooner is the event over than the Trust issues apologetic statements in response to community outcry to the effect that “it was noisier than we anticipated,” or “it won’t happen again.” Until it does, the next time.

The events that come easily to mind are the now infamous “Flugtag,” the MTV concert that sent earsplitting mega-decibel music into neighboring homes until the wee hours and the “Spider Man” movie screening during which humongous speakers, faced at the neighborhood, broadcast screaming violence into our homes.

If these violations are to continue in the name of “paying for the park,” shouldn’t the Trust share with the community information about the nature and the extent of Trust expenditures? To date, the Trust has adamantly refused to do so. Until it does, the Trust should not be heard to justify inappropriate and/or poorly planned commercial activities as necessary to “fund the park.”

Robin Shanus


Beginning to look like Christmas

To The Editor:
Last year nearly 3,000 children came to our annual Christmas Party.

This joyful and heart-warming event would be impossible without community support. The money we receive is crucial; not only does it buy Christmas toys for every child, it covers the party’s expenses.

This year’s Christmas Party will be held on Dec. 13 at the Ninth Precinct from 10:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m. There will be music by various local groups; refreshments will be served; and every single child will receive a present from Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Contributions are welcome. Checks should be made payable to the Ninth Precinct Community Council and mailed to: Ninth Precinct Community Council, 130 Avenue C, New York, New York, 10009.

Any monies left over will go towards other Ninth Precinct Community Council activities throughout the year, such as the National Night Out Against Crime and the Scouts/Explorers Program.

Once again, thank you. Wishing you all the joys of the season.

Jeremiah Shea
Shea is president, Ninth Precinct Community Council


Who you callin’ ‘longtime’?

To The Editor:
Re “Anxiety predominates at Westbeth tenants meeting” (news article, Nov. 12):

Just for the record, I am not a longtime Westbeth resident, and I have no idea why I was identified this way, especially in a pull quote. No one from The Villager spoke to me. I have lived in Westbeth a little over six years and I do not consider this a long time. It would be nice if your reporter checked facts instead of making incorrect assumptions.

Kate Walter


Witness to a shooting on 10th St.

To The Editor:
Not taking his name lightly, I invoked the late Community 2 Board member Tony Dapolito’s on Friday afternoon, Nov. 7 at about 3:45 p.m.: “Tony would never stand for this. Just ask the Marc Jacobs people.”

The fellow “at the door” assured me that the group shooting their video (or whatever) had the proper permits to close off the northeast corner of Tompkins Sq. for their production — and surely they did. But who issued the permit?

Why were the basketball courts and softball diamond at 10th St. and Avenue A closed after school hours on a Friday afternoon when the weather was good?

This permit was issued mistakenly. If producers want to shoot scenes in our playgrounds, that’s fine. I’m happy that they appreciate the beauty of our parks. However, none should be allowed to preempt any of us from playing ball — especially after school hours — in our playgrounds.

Thanks again to Tony who taught me that the playgrounds of our communities are for recreation, not vanity’s fare.

Billy Sternberg
Sternberg is president, DownEast Democrats


Car alarms: Stop the madness

To The Editor:
On Thurs., Dec. 11, at 10 a.m., the New York City Council will hold a second hearing on legislation to ban car alarms in New York City. The bill, if passed, will finally put an end to the shrieking sound of car alarms, a noisy urban blight that is ruining the peace and quiet of millions of New Yorkers.

At the first hearing in June, there was overwhelming evidence that car alarms do not prevent car theft and over 99 percent of the alarms are false. And there are many affordable non-audible alternatives that can immobilize cars or page owners. Owners can upgrade their obsolete alarms and that would help local businesses as well.

The only people opposed to the bill are representatives from the electronics industry and the companies that make car alarms. These well-heeled executives flew out from their lush green suburbs just to defend their noisy products before City Hall. The N.Y.P.D. and the Department of Environmental Protection testified that they were reluctant to ban car alarms, but offered no proof that car alarms work to stop theft.

Car alarms disrupt everyday life and special moments. These screaming devices have disrupted wedding ceremonies and funerals, they disrupt classrooms, family celebrations and simple moments when families are watching television.

My family and I are so tired of the constant whooping sound of car alarms. They disrupt us when we are having dinner or a conversation. They rob us of our sleep, our sense of well-being and peace of mind.

Richard Tur


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