Volume 80, Number 44 | March 31 - April 6, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

Stop attacking John Fratta!

To The Editor:
Re “Slams Fratta, Stringer and Chin” (letter, by Elliott Hurwitt, March 24):

Mr. Elliott, I have seen you only a handful of times at Community Board 2 meetings. At the last C.B. 2 meeting, you came up to the mic matter of factly and said that you had no opinion on the feast one way or another. Then you proceeded to do nothing but attack John Fratta. The chairperson of C.B. 2 actually had to tell you to stop with the personal attacks.

What is your vendetta against John? Why do you despise him so much? You keep saying that John doesn’t live in Little Italy. You’re right, he doesn’t, and never claimed to! However, his roots go way back; his grandfather was instrumental in the feast 85 years ago. Do you have to live in Little Italy to support the feast? He has done so much. What have you done? What are you for or against, aside from being against John Fratta, Margaret Chin and Scott Stringer?

It seems anytime you have a venue to voice your opinion, you just spew your hatred of Italians in general and John Fratta. You are a bigot! You hate people that have accomplished more than you ever will. Since when does defending yourself against bigotry and racism make you an intimidator? Mr. Hurwitt, you are the bully because you are in the minority and you are trying to force the majority into your way of thinking and putting us down by calling us “goons” and “sad sacks.” What do you call yourself?

Mr. Hurwitt, you and your followers are what was wrong with Little Italy in the past. Today is a new day in Little Italy. Thankfully, you’re not included, as you cower behind your computer. What have you brought to Little Italy other than your hatred of Italian-Americans in general? So, before you knock John Fratta, or any Italian-American for that matter, why don’t you look in the mirror and assess what you have done.

What do you know about the Italian-American community? When you take a survey of how many Italian-Americans actually live here, then we’ll talk!
Anna Magliato

Lucy was a legend

To The Editor:
Re “Lucy Cecere, 87, senior advocate, heart of the Village” (obituary, March 24):

Lucy was a true legend — a one-of-a-kind human being. I was fortunate to have known her through the Village Nursing Home and then the Caring Community. Here in Provence, France, I am in tears.
Patricia Fieldsteel

Q. is the best

To The Editor:
Re “East Village photog survived Egypt beating, interrogations” (news article, March 24):

The bravest and nicest photojournalist I have ever known. I hope you read this letter, Q. I knew you were there, and am so glad you got out alive. Love ya, my brother. Stay safe. Peace.
John Penley

Doing important work

To The Editor:
Re “East Village photog survived Egypt beating, interrogations” (news article, March 24):

Kyujiro is an exceptionally brave and fine human being, which makes this even tougher to read. His photo book “Tompkins Square Park” is a hugely valuable East Village document.
John Trotter

Sakamaki’s the man!

To The Editor:
Re “East Village photog survived Egypt beating, interrogations” (news article, March 24):

That’s my man! Brave, independent and one hell of a photographer!
Edmund Jaja

Disorder doesn’t fuel her art

To The Editor:
There is a point that I need to straighten out in regard to Sarah Ferguson’s notebook column “Three woman artists who create without compromise” (March 17):

Sarah writes, “Yet her enthusiasm is so over the top, it seems like the disease has freed her to be more cosmically attuned… .”

The neurological disorder I have which has made me wheelchair mobile has nothing to do with my enthusiasm for life or for making art. It is true that I live my life and create my art without compromise or excuse. People who know me and people who know my art are not focused or interested in my physicality or my mode of mobility. Insensitive people who are curious and arrogant enough to approach me out of the blue and ask me why am in a wheelchair are annoying but few. If people want the inside story, they can buy my book “The Divine Mistake” (a memoir), where it is put in context. My career — my life’s work as a painter, performance artist and author — being reduced to the result of disease is disrespectful and dismissive.
Theresa Byrnes

Sarah Ferguson responds: Sorry, Theresa, that was a clumsy sentence and not what I meant to convey. I do not believe the disease is the agent of your art. But it does seem to me that your courage to come to terms with the disease and push past any physical limitations has enlightened you and allowed you to appreciate the extraordinary that exists in everyday life. In traditional cultures, the medicine men/women are often those who’ve overcome illness or madness or some other specializing feature (i.e. hermaphrodites) to take it to a higher level. When I wrote that sentence, I was thinking along those lines. I’m sorry if in my haste to edit down the story for space, I ended up saying something far more reductive, when in fact, I meant it as a tribute to your indomitable spirit.

Just ‘mad’ about Kroll’s books

To The Editor:
Re “Steven Kroll, 69, children’s and Y.A. book author” (obituary, March 17):

I was sorry to read of Steven Kroll’s passing. As former family care coordinator of the Lenox Hill Hospital pediatric unit, I had the pleasure of reading Steven’s numerous stories to young patients. He had presented the playroom staff with many of his unique books. The engaging tales never failed to elicit smiling responses.

My own particular favorite, which somehow made it into my home library, is “That Makes Me Mad!” In my psychotherapy practice, I have used the book over and over again with children, who easily spoke about feeling “mad” after we read together.
Ellen Gasnick

Believes Beal speaks truth

To The Editor:
Re “Pot activist still in the joint: ‘It was all medical marijuana’ ” (news article, March 3):

This coming Fourth of July, I will have known Dana Beal for 40 years. I worked with him on many projects throughout the 1970’s and ’80’s. In the late ’80’s, Dana and I had a major falling out and we went our separate ways. We continued to work on an occasional project, though not often and never again for long periods.

During the time that I have known him, Dana has always been a proponent of both the medical and private use of marijuana. He was an active member of Rock Against Racism, a member of ACT UP, a proponent of ibogaine (a plant-based aid in the cure of heroin addition) and a founding member of Cures Not Wars, as well as many other humanitarian projects. As a matter of fact, I hear Dana is trying to get ibogaine to prisoners he is currently in jail with.

So when I hear that Dana is sitting in jail because he was trying to get medical marijuana to people who need it, I can believe that is exactly what Dana was doing.

Free Dana now!
Jerry Wade
a.k.a. Jerry The Peddler

Explore natural cures

To The Editor:
Re “A prisoner of conscience” (letter, by Tim Doody, March 17):

Doody refers to “…the promise of ibogaine’s curative properties for people suffering from addiction… .”

It seems to me we ought to hear more about ibogaine and natural medicines to cure or alleviate addictions, pain, etc.

Just last night I heard that some 5,400 Americans died from methadone poisoning in 2006! Methadone was used to “treat” drug addicts and those in pain.

My limited understanding is that ibogaine is a natural plant.

I have not heard that 5,400 people die annually from marijuana.

And how many people die from alcohol, cigarettes, sugar and sweets, etc.?

Why is methadone (a metabolic poison) legal and marijuana illegal?
Michael Gottlieb

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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