Volume 73, Number 31 | December 3 - 9, 2003


Letters to the Editor

AIDS site isn’t political enough

To The Editor:
Re “Design unveiled for AIDS monument in the Village” (news article, Nov. 26):

The proposed AIDS memorial, as described in The Villager, if it is to be worthy of the 5,000 lives lost to AIDS in the West Village, must contain a loud and clear political message. It must underline the U.S. government’s and society’s criminal attitude towards the AIDS pandemic. The trail from Reagan to Bush to Clinton to Bush is crowded with the corpses of people who have died from AIDS.

There are too many AIDS “feel good” groves, quilts, plinths, berms and walks. They serve to assuage society’s collective guilt and indifference. Though not an artist, I propose a fully realized piece of sculpture that depicts the naked forms of a man and woman bleeding from multiple wounds, splayed and tied to a fence surrounded by their tormenters and murderers.

The genesis of the proposed memorial and the “AIDS Monument Committee” is vague. Where was the A.M.C. when the pink triangle painted in the street at the intersections of Eighth Ave. and W. Fourth St. was obliterated? Are they aware that a half-hearted Community Board 2 proposal to memorialize the latter site with an at-ground plaque never materialized?
Mel Stevens

Gay or straight, marriage is hell

To The Editor:
I’m not exactly sure whether I am amused, bemused or confused about the gay marriage brouhaha. As an aging gay gentleman whose partner of 20 years died back in ’84, I can surely appreciate certain economic and social benefits that society offers to “married couples.” However, when I consider the virtual reality of so many marriages today I can’t help but wonder if even heterosexual couples should be allowed to marry.

There seems to exist in this country a sort of serial polygamy in which one may have as many spouses as one chooses provided they are chosen one at a time and that they never, as may be the case in certain Mormon enclaves, cohabitate in the aggregate. In the old days marriages lasted because women were so lacking in certain economic and social rights that they had to depend on the “breadwinner” for their sustenance.

Today’s divorce statistics belie the “family values” so beloved by the Christian Taliban. The religious aspects of today’s straight unions also leave much to be desired. People who never see the inside of a church or synagogue tell the clergy what they want by way of liturgy and music and plan the whole show for their own aggrandizement. Paying off the costs of the limousines, special dinners, the wedding showers, the stag “orgy” and, of course, the reception to end all receptions quite often lasts longer than the marriage.

I ask my gay brothers and sisters: is this really what you want? (Alas! I’m afraid it might be.)
Cristino Xirau

Long-term prisoners seek justice

To The Editor:
This letter is in response to an article in your Oct. 8, 2003, issue entitled, “Boudin and a kid from Brooklyn; striking parallels” [talking point], by Keith Crandell.

I found this article to be extremely interesting and particularly insightful, especially to those unaware of just how widespread the practice of denying parole to community-ready prisoners has become.

Though Ms. Boudin clearly demonstrated through her remorse and rehabilitative efforts that she was deserving of a second chance by being released, there are many others like Mr. Davis who are equally deserving of a second chance.

Mr. Davis and I are both members of the Otisville Long Termers Committee, a group of 20 prisoners whose combined years of incarceration totals 354 years with 45 parole denials, totaling an additional 86 years beyond our eligible release dates.

Our mission statement is to obtain fair criminal justice policies and initiatives while addressing the blatant abuses of the New York State Division of Parole. Though there is a striking parallel between Ms. Boudin and Mr. Davis, this parallel is much larger than society is aware of.

Perhaps members of the public who have read the article will concern themselves with the injustices taking place in prisons across the state.

We too share the same sentiment as Mr. Crandell in his closing remark: “We are not throwaways.”
Antonio Calderon
Calderon is currently a prisoner in Otisville Correctional Facility in Otisville, NY.

Don’t rollback bike enforcement

To The Editor:
Re “Female bicyclist in Hudson Park is handcuffed for disobeying rules” (news article, Nov. 26):

Those of us who walk and are getting elderly see the gift of Pier 45 as a refreshing place to walk out on the Hudson without worrying about mechanical devices.

I read about those paths along Hudson River Park and the way they were laid out. There is no indication that bicyclists or roller-bladders are allowed on Pier 45.

The park police enforced no bike riding at first. Now the presence of enforcement is at a winter low, I guess, and I see plenty of bikes now that the weather has changed.

It is a beautiful pier to enjoy outdoors. During the summer season it was violated by tourists who left what they came with. The crews who cleaned it up should be applauded, and she should not feel like riding her bike in a place that is clearly designated pedestrian.
Verne Williams

Hudson Park cyclist had it coming

To The Editor:
Re “Female bicyclist in Hudson Park is handcuffed for disobeying rules” (news article, Nov. 26):

If your story about the cyclist was meant to evoke sympathy, it failed. She was asked three times to ride in a designated area but maintained her selfish “me first” attitude. No wonder she suffers from panic and anxiety disorders. She is as inconsiderate as those cyclists who insist on riding on sidewalks, running red lights, riding the wrong way on one-way streets and generally being a menace to pedestrians. She deserves the treatment she got.
 Paul Piccone

Next time, maybe try the bus

To The Editor:
Re “Female bicyclist in Hudson Park is handcuffed for disobeying rules” (news article, Nov. 26):
People with “anxiety and panic disorders” should not be riding bicycles in New York, especially where they are illegal.
Tim Ferguson


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