Volume 78 - Number 39 / March 4 -10, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

Slow down on speed cameras
To The Editor:
Re “Deadly speed racers revving on Houston, a study finds” (news article, Feb. 25):

There are effective traffic-calming alternatives to speed cameras. In fact, you’ll find that communities across the country are taking out these Big Brother devices for a variety of reasons.

The Web site www.stopspeeders.org reviews several traffic-calming solutions and provides links to more than a dozen studies. Many of these studies conclude that radar speed-check signs — which display to passing drivers how fast they are going — are often the most effective, and cost effective, means of slowing traffic, particularly around school zones and neighborhoods. And these speed displays don’t have the drawbacks of radar cameras.

Let’s do the research first and make smart choices before we regret it.
Jonathan Steen

Scoopy shockers
To The Editor:
Re “Housing hopes” and “File under ‘Gleason’” (Scoopy’s Notebook, Feb. 18):

Last week I read the Scoopy’s column and I was really ticked off for two reasons. First was Cooper Square for posturing. Second was Gleason’s circus act.

On one hand, you have a housing group that has been contacted no less than three times in regard to Alfredo Barreto’s eviction from the squat at 7 1/2 Second Ave. The only difference between the tenants at 47 E. Third St. and Alfredo is that they’ve got $75,000 and he’s got nothing. Cooper Square has always maintained it was not allowing individuals to fill out applications because it didn’t have any vacant apartments. This double standard is an outrage on so many fronts.

As for this character Pete Gleason, here he is trying to get the mothers of the candidates to debate. Was this a joke, or is he the joke? He ran for City Council a few years back and to the best of my memory I can’t think of a thing he has done. He’s a lawyer and he hasn’t done squat for this neighborhood. If he wants to learn what a city councilmember does, he could take a few lessons from Alan Gerson.

Councilmember Gerson worked for years delaying Alfredo’s eviction. After reading the above Scoopy’s item about how the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association is providing housing for the 47 E. Third tenants, Gerson wrote the M.H.A. expressing his concern and puzzlement that Cooper Square could not find housing for Alfredo, who is mentally handicapped.

Even though Alfredo got evicted from his apartment, Gerson is still trying to help him. Can you ask for more in a councilmember than someone who will look after his or her constituents?

Howard Hemsley

‘Mayor Mike = Moses’
 To The Editor:
For those of you who think that the Greenwich Village community’s dispute with the Rudin Organization and St. Vincent’s Hospital is a parochial or NIMBY (not in my backyard) issue, I invite you to reconsider.

The attempt to construct two megasized buildings in the historic district is one example of the “public be damned” attitude of the Bloomberg administration, which encourages and seeks to facilitate the building of such huge projects without consideration of their effect on the surrounding community and its environment. 

What has most recently brought this broader picture into focus is the fact that the mayor now wants to amend the City Charter to modify the ULURP process so that construction projects and zoning changes benefiting developers can be approved twice as fast. The proposed changes would make it more difficult for communities and neighborhood associations to resist large-scale development that may be adverse to the interests of the local residents.
In my view, this proposed regulation change illustrates the fact that the Rudin/St. Vincent’s project is just part of a larger movement, which, if left unabated, will completely destroy the diversity of New York neighborhoods and rob them of any character or charm.

Bloomberg is the Robert Moses of this era. Just as Moses sought to stifle the voices of opposition to his grandiose schemes, so too does this administration seek to make the voices of individual citizens insignificant and irrelevant. The prevailing attitude among city officials, local politicians and big-shot developers (read “Rudin”) seems to be “We know better.” It is exactly that attitude that ran highways through viable neighborhoods and brought us blighted housing projects and, for a period, crushed the life out of our city.

The Rudin/St.Vincent’s project must be stopped and the integrity of the ULURP process must not be compromised.

Gary A. Tomei
Tomei is president, W. 13th St. 100 Block Association; founding member, Protect the Village Historic District; and member, St. Vincent’s Community Working Group

Streets initiative on a roll
To The Editor:
Thank you for your coverage (“Roll it! Films on bicycles and streets offer ideas,” Feb. 11) of our Streetfilms Festival event held Feb. 3. This is the second year that Community Board 2 and N.Y.U.’s Office of Government and Community Affairs have organized and presented a film program (last year’s was Transportation Alternatives’ Contested Streets) to show how innovative transportation improvements can make our streets not only safer but also transform them into places that promote community livability. This year we also were joined by Community Board 4 and the Livable Streets Network. 

In addition, we had a special guest speaker, Janette Sadik-Khan, commissioner of the city’s Department of Transportation, who introduced the screening and discussed D.O.T.’s recent accomplishments, from “Summer Streets” to new bicycle lanes to a program for reclaiming streets for public spaces. Her remarks indicated that D.O.T. is increasingly open to progressive ideas for bettering streets for the whole community, something we welcome wholeheartedly. 

Also wholeheartedly welcomed was the support of our co-sponsors, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Congressman Jerry Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senator Tom Duane and Councilmembers Alan Gerson and Rosie Mendez. 

C.B. 2 already has been approached by community members interested in pursuing some of the concepts they viewed at the screening, and we’ll be working with them to achieve this. We invite anyone interested in doing such projects to contact C.B. 2 at cb2manhattan@nyc.rr.com.

Brad Hoylman and Shirley Secunda
Hoylman is chairperson, Community Board 2; Secunda is chairperson, C.B. 2 Traffic and Transportation Committee

Pagan wasn’t perfect
To The Editor:
Re “A complex legacy: Friends and foes reflect on Pagan” (news article, Feb. 11):

Most people talk about making a difference, but in reality few ever do. Antonio made a difference. He stood up and did what he thought was right. This article tells a tale of a complex man. He stood up and spoke for the majority of the people at that time, otherwise he wouldn’t have been elected. Was he perfect? No, but who is? I think the East Village is a better place for his efforts. Not perfect, but what place is?

Ray Cline

We needed more Pagan
To The Editor: 
Re “A complex legacy: Friends and foes reflect on Pagan” (news article, Feb. 11): 

I, too, was disappointed by Antonio Pagan — disappointed that he did not seek another City Council term. He was a good man, may he rest in peace.
Marilyn Appleberg

Partial to parody site
To The Editor:
Re “Union Square Web www.ar is resolved by settlement” (news article, Feb. 18):

Thank you for your coverage of the Union Square Partnership’s hissy fit over the faux Web site www.unionsquarepartnership.org.

 Actually, the new name for the parody Web site aptly describes the rather nefarious Union Square Partnership, which is bent on commercializing this precious park in Union Square. The Union Square Partnership is not motivated by the common good but by those of special interests. Good for you www.unionsquarepartnershipsucks.org.

Jean Standish

City forces lawsuit 
To The Editor:
Re “Opponents dump a lawsuit on Spring St. megagarage” (news article, Feb. 11):

How unfortunate that the only way the community can bring some logic to this ridiculous undertaking is to sue the city. It wastes community dollars and city dollars. The mayor should stop “doing deals” and start doing what’s right.

Rosemary Kuropat

Firebrand Friedlander
To The Editor:
Re “Pulling together the memories of a progressive life” (news article, Dec. 24):

Just wanted to say thank you to The Villager and to Jerry Tallmer for the fine interview with Miriam Friedlander. It’s been years since I lived on Avenue C, and then St. Mark’s Place, but memories of our own fiery firebrand remain. How lucky we are to have progressive, committed young people still in there fighting — keeping Miriam’s flame alight.
Kathleen McGee Treat
Treat is chairperson, Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Association

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