Volume 78 - Number 48 / May 6 - 12 , 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

Quinn’s ignorin’ Norman

To The Editor:
Re “Quinn: Let’s take our share” (letter, by Christine Quinn, April 22):

Christine Quinn’s letter to the editor regarding the proposed consolidated garage complex at Spring St. and the “share of the burden” misleads in several respects. The New  York City Charter requires each community district to deal with its own waste under co-terminality and fair-share requirements. 

Norman Steisel, the former Department of Sanitation commissioner, put it concisely in 1980 when he said, “Garages which serve more than one Sanitation district have an adverse impact on the neighborhoods in which they are situated.

Multi-garages are usually unpopular with the community because they produce a large amount of truck traffic, contribute to air and noise pollution, and create jurisdictional problems both public and operational.” Quinn and the current administration seem to have fair-share amnesia as they expediently justify overburdening Hudson Square with others’ refuse.

In 1999, Community Boards 1, 2, 4 and 5 amicably agreed to relocation plans for the Sanitation facilities on Gansevoort Peninsula. The decision involved critical balancing of a community’s fair share of the burden with a commensurate fair share of amenities, with two garages housed in Chelsea below a public park connecting with the High Line.

Hudson Square and North Tribeca are willing to accept more than our “fair share,” of other’s garbage for the expansion of the Hudson River Park at Gansevoort, by accommodating two garages at Spring St. within a community-based, sustainable, green facility similar to the well-favored 1999 plan at W. 29th St. The community’s alternative plan, Hudson Rise, won the A.I.A. 2008 Honor Award for Urban Planning, and would result in substantial cost savings in this time of fiscal austerity.

State Senator Tom Duane’s comments that the burden of the current plan, situated on one site within one community district, “is particularly distressing given D.S.N.Y.’s lack of meaningful community consultation throughout the process, its failure to consider this project in the context of the citywide solid-waste management plan, and the city’s aggressive, successful effort to alienate the Hudson River Park’s largest land mass, Gansevoort Peninsula,” still resonates.

Recently, the Friends of Hudson River Park, whose settlement with the Sanitation Department identified Spring St. as a possible garage site, stated in The  Villager that they would be willing to work with the community and Sanitation to explore possible alternatives. Quinn and the Bloomberg administration need to put the full force of their efforts in support of comprehensive, creative and compatible PlaNYC solutions for the Hudson River Park, Gansevoort and all affected communities.

Richard Barrett
Barrett is a board of directors member, Tribeca Community Association; and a steering committee member, Canal West Coalition

‘Rag doll Quinnberg’

To The Editor:
Re “Quinn: Let’s take our share” (letter, by Christine Quinn, April 22) and “In Mike’s pocket” (Scoopy’s Notebook, April 8):

Rag doll Quinn needs a reality check. Is she serious or just delusional? I watched in disbelief as she sold out the Hudson Square community at the City Council on the garbage project (with no process), and then proceeded to leverage third terms for the mayor and herself. 

Your reporting of the Inner Circle roast — where she was depicted as Bloomberg’s rag doll and it was joked the only thing she has succeeded in getting for her district is a garbage station — was right on. It seems the only process we’ll have with Quinnberg is to boot her out of office in the next election. 

Victoria Faust

Fair share means ‘fair’

To The Editor:
Re “Quinn: Let’s take our share” (letter, by Christine Quinn, April 22):

When Speaker Quinn talks of taking “our share,” I was under the impression that the New York City Charter specified that “taking our share” was always to mean our fair share. Yet, Speaker Quinn, contrary to her suggestion that she’s been there with the community all the way, more or less rubber-stamped the Department of Sanitation plan for three district garages and a salt shed adjacent to both residential buildings and two parks. 

Not only is it not fair, there is no doubt that it will overrun our community, from Tribeca to the Far West Village, as hundreds of trips are made daily on our local roads. 

Perhaps the speaker is unaware of the fair-share provisions of the City Charter. After all, she was “unaware” of the false accounts for councilmember items in the budget, too. 

That said, I find the suggestion that my community won’t do our part offensive. As we’ve said consistently for the last two years: Give us our fair share — nothing more, nothing less — and we will do our part to support the city’s need to site critical services. 

Susan Slover

Servant, or self-serving?

To The Editor:
Re “Quinn: Let’s take our share” (letter, by Christine Quinn, April 22):

Christine Quinn’s use of The Villager and Downtown Express as platforms for her deceptive personal P.R. campaign is offensive. In reality, she demonstrates repeatedly that her concerns ignore those of her constituents and our city at large.

In your pages, she reminds us of the need for Sanitation facilities that no one wants near their neighborhood, but neither acknowledges the City Charter’s directive of one district facility per community district, nor that the Hudson Square community, which already houses one garage, would willingly take two — beyond fair-share requirements — in order to facilitate relocation of facilities from Gansevoort.  

It is duplicitous to tout her meeting with concerned citizens, the Sanitation Steering Committee, since she neither showed up for that meeting, nor has genuinely worked toward meaningful solutions.

She pushed the Sanitation Department plan through the City Council, ignoring the A.I.A. award-winning, visionary, community alternative plan, Hudson Rise. 

Instead, she offers delay tactics and empty participatory charades, encouraging pro forma rejection of any alternatives offered to Sanitation.  Christine Quinn is a public servant only if defined as a self-serving public display.

Jana Haimsohn

‘Advocate insults P.S. 33’

To The Editor:
Re “Village tots in tough spot; Kindergarten seats scarce” (news article, April 22):

As a parent of a fifth grade “A” student at P.S. 33, I am rather offended by the way Ann Kjellberg made her point, referring to P.S. 33’s “recent failing scores” and 96 percent nonwhite population. As a parent advocate, she sounds rather racist and exclusive versus objective and inclusive, as I would expect a parent advocate to be.

She should check her facts. True, P.S. 33 had low academic scores prior to the arrival of the current principal, Linore Lindy, in 2004 and the phasing out of middle school students. Also, due to the tremendous success in the children’s performance on state standardized tests, there was not a “significant” improvement in the year when schools were initially graded on student improvement, among other criteria. Fortunately, however, the school presently boasts an “A” rating due to the diverse curriculum and hard work on the part of the dedicated teachers and their responsive students.

Furthermore, I switched my children to P.S. 33 in 2005 because of what I observed in the classrooms. I would concede that parent involvement is sorely lacking at P.S. 33 despite desperate efforts on the part of the P.T.A. to provide many opportunities to participate. Research shows that parent involvement positively impacts student performance. In this case, I would attribute the children’s success to the highly experienced and qualified teachers at P.S. 33 when my children were in the crucial testing grades 2 to 4 and pre-middle school fifth grade. 

With increased parent participation, I believe P.S. 33 would be more appealing to Chelsea families.

I have observed other schools in the area that offer a high-quality education as well, despite receiving “B”’s and “C”’s on their school report cards. Case in point, P.S. 11 received a “C” in the first year of grading and a “B” in the following year. Many parents agreed that P.S. 11 was not a “C” school because of the overall quality of the education and the positive and supportive environment in which the students learn. The grading system can be a valuable tool, but should not be the sole consideration when evaluating a school. This said, I believe Kjellberg should have verified the recent stats regarding P.S. 33 before making such an offensive comparison. 

So, instead of insulting P.S. 33 for its apparent homogeneous population, whether intentional or not, Kjellberg could have suggested that more parents who value education and dedicated teachers come over to help P.S. 33 become equally as appealing as P.S. 41, P.S. 3 and P.S. 11 (“predominately white” schools, to borrow Kjellberg’s type of classification), instead of “forcing” P.S. 11 to become another overcrowding statistic.

Judi Ventress

Sorry for her remarks

To The Editor:
Re “Village tots in tough spot: Kindergarten seats scarce” (news article, April 22):

I would like to apologize to the families and staff of P.S. 33 for remarks I was quoted as making in The Villager’s issue of April 22, which presented what I myself considered a blinkered view of their school. I should not have given this view more play by articulating it. I hope no one will be deterred from considering P.S. 33, a school where I have friends and which I admire, by my thoughtlessness. I strongly encourage families to see for themselves what is going on in our schools and not rely on gossip and hearsay and preconceptions, like the kind I was guilty of spreading around.

Ann Kjellberg

Wrong to warn developers

To The Editor:
“Fear of landlord demo’s before district’s calendared” (news article, April 22):

The South Village is historic and unique, and its very integrity is being threatened. It is urgent that it be landmarked right away. The special and distinctive history of this area can best be honored and preserved by its designation as the South Village Historic District. Many precious and historic sites have been lost in the time since the discussions and efforts started to landmark the South Village. The Provincetown Playhouse and the old Figaro Cafe are just a few examples.

It seems questionable for the city to warn potential developers at this juncture without first taking steps to make sure none of the properties in the proposed historic district can be subject to demolition.

I urge our local officials to do everything in their power to support the initiative for the designation of the South Village Historic District, and call upon the Landmarks Preservation Commission to see the urgency of this situation and act quickly to preserve a precious part of Greenwich Village history.

Eve Stuart

Avella’s a swell fella

To The Editor:
Re “Advocate and mayoral candidates take pops at Bloomberg at V.I.D.” (news article, April 22):

Tony Avella is by far the smartest, most progressive and ethical candidate for mayor. He is not “politics as usual.” He has my vote.

Nat Gordon 

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 does not publish anonymous letters.

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