Volume 73, Number 37 | January 14 - 20, 2004



Letters to the Editor


O brother, where art thou?

To The Editor:
Re “Lopez gives $500,000 for Wash. Sq.” (news article, Dec. 24):

City Councilmember Margarita Lopez stated that one of the reasons she is rerouting capital budget funding earmarked for the 2nd Council District into the 1st is because she wants to help her “brother,” Councilmember Alan Gerson.

In July 2001, Lopez endorsed Rocky Chin for the City Council in District 1, not brother Gerson. When Gerson ran for reelection in 2003, Lopez’s name did not appear on any literature proclaiming an endorsement for her dear brother.

Gerson’s district includes the entire Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. He has now begun his second term in office. I am waiting for him to proclaim his final position on the urban renewal site. It seems to change wherever the political winds blow. But now Gerson has a self-appointed sister in the Council, and her position is for the development of low- and moderate-income housing on the underdeveloped portion of the urban renewal site. Gerson’s second position, or is it his third, is to defer to Assemblymember Sheldon Silver and State Senator Martin Connor because they have been involved in this issue since the beginning of time.

In 2002, Lopez lost the 4,000 co-operative apartments on Grand St. and E. Broadway to Gerson during reapportionment, while Lopez in turn picked up more of the East Village. This gave Silver what he wanted by unifying the co-ops and the urban renewal site in the same district, and finally ridding the neighborhood of Lopez.

Do you think that Lopez will stand with her brother when he stands in opposition to low- and moderate-income housing? Do you think that Lopez can or will forgive her brother regarding his position on the urban renewal site? Do you think that Lopez will side with Gerson’s political support in 2005 or with the communities that need affordable housing?

Only a brother or sister can tell.

Mildred R. Martinez
Martinez is president, Campos Plaza Tenants Organization


Schwartz suing again? Outrageous!

To The Editor:
Re “Pier pressure: Activist files Pier 40 lawsuit” (news article, Jan. 7):

One grows incredulous at The Villager calling Arthur Schwartz an “activist.” Certainly, I have never heard of a person in the Village being called an activist because he wants development as soon as possible.

In case The Villager hasn’t noticed, there’s a beautiful ball field already being used just minutes from Pier 40 (Jimmy Walker field).

First of all, what right does Arthur Schwartz have to sue anyone? He doesn’t own the land [sic] Pier 40 is standing on. I believe it’s called adverse possession when a person demands rights for land that is not theirs.

Schwartz certainly doesn’t represent me or the hundreds of other people who park their cars at Pier 40. These organizations that claim to represent the best interest of the Village are a laugh. The Villager still doesn’t have the guts to ask Schwartz how he will personally benefit from his lawsuit. It would seem that patronage and the power that comes from handing out jobs would be what his real interests are.

Earl Carter


McCourt’s mouse is timeless

To The Editor:
Re “The mouse before Christmas; something was stirring” (notebook, Jan. 7):

Chanukah is long gone and, as usual, I’m left with an odd amount of candles to use next year. Christmas is gone and I’m left with “what do I do with this thing” given to me by a good friend. We are into the new year and I’ve become accustomed to writing 2004 on my checks. And best of all, though a little late, I have just read Alphie’s Christmas story. I know it’s meant to be read before Christmas but it’s almost timeless. Well, not quite, but you might want to think of reprinting it next year at holiday time.

Adele Richter


Problems are a handful

To The Editor:
“Only a handful of…community board members in Manhattan are nightlife business owners,” said Dan Willson of Borough President C. Virginia Fields’ office, quoted in your front-page article, “Anybody wanna sue the S.L.A.?” in the Jan. 7 issue.

It’s a rather big handful, proportionately, in Community Board 5, where at least three members have vested interests in the liquor-licensed world. At the Feb. 8 meeting of the board, one of them described the hundreds of complaining residents of the Ladies’ Mile Historic District as “crazies” for daring to speak out in defense of their quality of life, shattered by the saturation of the clubs, bars and restaurants that those members represent.

Jack Taylor
Taylor is president, The Drive to Protect the Ladies’ Mile District


Long Termers’ freedom

To The Editor:
I have been privy to an incredibly enlightening article entitled, “Boudin and a kid from Brooklyn; striking parallels,” in the Oct. 8, 2003, issue of The Villager.

Usually, the perception disseminated about prisoners by the public media is geared towards viewing the “convicted felon” through jaundiced eyes. The article written by Mr. Crandell, however, brought to light the disparity in public attention between Ms. Boudin and Mr. Davis. Both have similar circumstances, both have also served lengthy periods of incarceration, each positively programming and also pioneering programs within prison that are conducive to others’ rehabilitation. Yet, only one, Ms. Boudin, has been released on parole, while the “kid from Brooklyn” has been continuously denied parole.

While acknowledging that there is a debt to society that must be paid when a crime is committed, the notion of the reward of liberty through rehabilitation is nonetheless inherent in the core logic that gives this system its meaning. Today, this logical foundation is categorically neglected by those appointed to uphold it, as is clearly demonstrated by the “striking parallels” between Ms. Boudin and Mr. Davis.

Both Mr. Davis and myself are also, in fact, members of the Otisville Long Termers Committee. With others, we are comprised of teachers’ aides, religious leaders, community service and construction workers, program facilitators and legal clerks. We have amassed high school equivalency diplomas, accumulated college credits, as well as associate’s and bachelor’s degrees and also master’s degrees.

Like Mr. Davis, we are individuals who have spent decades imprisoned within some of New York State’s most crime-riddled and violent prisons, and yet we continue to pursue positive goals; academically, therapeutically, vocationally and also voluntarily. Yet unlike Ms. Boudin, we have not been afforded the one, single-most-sought and deserved opportunity — to be released and begin the lives we have painstakingly and meticulously prepared for as productive members of the greater community.

Are we not equally deserving of this fundamentally sound opportunity?

Ramon Gonzalez
Gonzalez is an inmate at Otisville (NY) Correctional Facility


Not so fast on Concorde

To The Editor:
Re “Fast jet on a slow boat” (photo, Dec. 3):

Several weeks ago you published a photo of the Concorde sailing up the Hudson River in The Villager accompanied by an erroneous piece of information. The Concordes were not retired for safety reasons. At the time of the announcement of their retirement and later when the last British and last French planes made their final journeys, the newspapers, news magazines and television reports all cited high fuel costs, continuing environmental problems and a decrease in ticket buyers as the reasons the flights would cease. No safety factors were ever cited; the Concorde’s one crash was the result of an aberration: a stray piece of metal left in its pathway on a field.

Joan Shaw


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