Volume 78 - Number 27 / December 3 - 9, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

Smug, Subaru-loving leftists

To The Editor:
Re “Fathoming the financial crisis at the Brecht Forum” (news article, Nov. 26):

I gave a short bit of attention to your account of the “cosseted establishment Marxists” giving their thoughts on the current fiscal crisis at the Brecht Forum. It is always amusing and most interesting that these leftists come out of the woodwork to critique the capitalist system while they live off it, parasites, with their lovely jobs, as professors, making big bucks, with medical care, lovely residences, summer homes, their Subarus, their public voice and self-righteous ideas. They take care of their own, don’t they?

What is far more interesting is their open disappointment with the coming of Barack Obama — for whom I did not vote because I perceived him as too “leftist.” Now as Obama moves to the center, rightfully so, the left is snarling its disgust and disappointment. Marxist claptrap failed.

This is not, by any stretch, a support of the capitalist system, but we would be hard-pressed to find a better way to carry on the business of society.

And most amusing is how these leftists are so truly in love with their own ideas, and lament that they are not implemented. Well, I think I heard that those ideas were implemented once and they fell by the wayside. I think it happened in a place called Russia, and I would appreciate if anyone can confirm such a myth. 
Bert Zackim

Gerson needs a hearing exam

To The Editor:
Re “After term limits turmoil, two candidates say they’ll take on Quinn” (news article, Nov. 19):

City Councilmember Alan Gerson’s vote to extend term limits is a slap in the face to every citizen who voted in the 1993 and ’96 referenda. Gerson should take this time and get his hearing checked, because the voters stated loudly and clearly that they would have preferred to have an opportunity to vote in a third referendum on this issue, rather than have 51 councilmembers decide this issue for the entire city.

The business community and the three major newspapers started this campaign to extend Mayor Bloomberg’s term in office because of what he has done for the city’s economy over the last seven years. The next logical step was to secure the support of the council’s speaker, Christine Quinn, and at least 25 other city councilmembers.

When all was said and done, Councilmember Rosie Mendez was one of 22 councilmembers who had the wisdom to vote against overturning term limits and the backbone to stand up to the pressure of the speaker and the Mayor’s Office.

Gerson, on the other hand, held out until the very end and then caved in. Gerson’s dreams of becoming the next Manhattan borough president are now put on hold while he prepares to run for re-election.

If the New York City Charter is the mechanism that allows the mayor and the City Council to extend term limits, then the Charter should be amended. And while the Charter Revision Commission is at it, they should require that each elected official publicly disclose all taxpayer dollars — capital budget and discretionary — that are earmarked for his or her district and make sure that those dollars are actually spent in those districts.
Roberto Caballero
Caballero is president, Lower East Side Political Action Committee

Time to dump Trentlyon

To The Editor:
Re “Don’t dump on Chelsea” (letter, by Robert Trentlyon, Nov. 26):

I am stunned that Robert Trentlyon, as a publicly appointed member of Community Board 4, persists in his active dissemination of false information regarding the Department of Sanitation proposal for Hudson Square. Mr. Trentlyon has an affirmative obligation as a member of the community board to represent the truth; when he does not, as he has so insistently within the debate over the Hudson Square garage, he should be asked to step down for betraying the public trust.

Prior to the November City Council hearing, Trentlyon circulated an e-mail that misrepresented the position of the Hudson Square community. I took the time to clarify our position, and yet he repeated his misrepresentations at the hearing. The local residents and businesses of Community Board 2 and Hudson Square do not oppose the siting of a Sanitation facility in our neighborhood, nor are we trying to pawn it off on Chelsea. In fact, this facility in a smaller version with green space was designed and approved through ULURP for Block 675 in Chelsea before it was reconsidered in its current form for Hudson Square.

Furthermore, the current size of the garage project, which has a salt storage shed added across the street, is objectionable precisely because of its insensitive proportions. Had Sanitation simply relocated the original design to our neighborhood, we would have embraced it. Frankly, had Sanitation proposed this current irresponsibly expensive (a half billion dollars) facility for Chelsea, we would have joined our neighbors in opposing it.

Not so for Trentlyon, who is a very good example of NIMBY (not in my backyard) writ large.

In his letter to The Villager, Trentlyon again misrepresents the facts, and it’s beginning to seem that he’s not just “mistaken,” but actively misleading the public.

These are the facts:

C.B. 4’s total district area is 38,559,200 square feet, and C.B. 2 is 27,305,100 square feet; thus, C.B. 4 is 41 percent larger than C.B. 2, which would suggest the need for more vehicles and larger facilities.

According to the Department of Sanitation final environmental impact statement, the combined garage facility slated for Hudson Square will house 37 vehicles for Sanitation District 1, 46 for Sanitation District 2 and 45 for Sanitation District 5, for a total of 128 D.O.S. vehicles. Sanitation District 6 is slated to move out of the 606 W. 30th St. facility and into the E. 73rd St. Sanitation garage, taking their 47 vehicles with them; even if Sanitation District 5 stays in the W. 57th St. garage, this move achieves a net reduction of Department of Sanitation vehicles in Chelsea to 146 vehicles, or just 14 percent more than proposed for Hudson Square. However, by moving Sanitation District 5’s 45 vehicles to Hudson Square — as the department proposes and Trentlyon so warmly endorses — this total drops to 101 vehicles, or 27 less than the proposed Hudson Square facility. That means that C.B. 4, which is 41 percent larger than C.B. 2, would have 21 percent fewer vehicles than C.B. 2.

Trentlyon’s strategy is clear: Lie about the facts and shill for the Department of Sanitation, rather than represent the community. His objective is even more apparent: Push an unfair share onto Hudson Square to reduce Chelsea’s share of the problem and gain whatever goodwill he can from City Hall. Shame on him.
Rosemary Kuropat

Down and out on Bowery

To The Editor:
Re: “Charges keep zinging, but zoning approval expected” (news article, Nov. 19):

One of the major problems with the rezoning of the East Village and Lower East Side is the Department of City Planning’s exclusion of the Third Ave./Bowery corridor from the plan. According to City Planning, the rezoning does not include the Bowery because its “existing built character” is not consistent with the low- to medium-density form of the majority of the East Village and Lower East Side, and because this corridor is a wider avenue that is well served by mass transit. This rationale, however, is not accurate.

The Bowery is a low-rise community with buildings averaging four to 10 stories in height, excluding, of course, the recently constructed high-rise hotels and luxury buildings. Concerning the avenue’s width, Delancey and Houston Sts. are equally wide as the Bowery, debunking the argument that this district is markedly different from the rezoned area. In fact, the Bowery is an extension of the “built character” of the Lower East Side.

Because the Bowery is a commercial district, it is rapidly evolving into a row of massive hotels and luxury buildings. As a consequence of this rampant out-of-scale development on the Bowery, this district is losing its diversity and distinctive, low-rise, historic character, giving way to gentrification and secondary displacement.

Excluding the Bowery from the rezoning plan will also negatively impact the East Village and Lower East Side, regardless of the proposed contextual zoning, with a wall of out-of-scale luxury development on the periphery of these communities. Once again, real estate development has taken precedence over contextual preservation.

To quote City Planning Chairperson Amanda Burden, “Once you lose a building, you lose character and history.” The loss on the Bowery’s east side, resulting from the proposed wall of massive hotels, will be incalculable.
Jean Standish

Better buffer would be Grand

To The Editor:
Re “The new Grand bike lane isn’t, Little Italy merchants complain” (news article, Nov. 19):

At fist, I was thrilled to cycle along a protected bike lane with a real buffer — parked cars. However, after reading Jefferson Siegel’s article, I believe a compromise is in order:

Replace the parked-car buffer along the bike lane with a narrow barrier and do not permit parking on the south side of the street. That would replace the 8-foot-wide lane of parked cars; that is, it would provide an extra 8 feet of width. That remedy should satisfy the business owners.

The bike lane should have been on the south side all along. Plus, the narrow barrier and 3-foot-wide painted buffer area would afford cyclists much better protection than before.

Please note that upward of 20 cyclists are killed each year in New York City, along with many who are seriously injured. Double-parked cars, taxis, trucks, buses, etc., often pull out into traffic, unable or unwilling to check for oncoming cyclists. Speeding is another reckless risk factor.
Michael Gottlieb

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