Volume 80, Number 52 | May 26 - June 1, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

Landesman letter lax on facts

To The Editor:
Re “Yetta’s gun is not an issue” (letter, by Dodge Landesman, May 19):

As The Villager has previously reported, Dodge Landesman was my (nonpaying) client during his brief attempt to become a city councilmember in the Second Council District.

Dodge Landesman has the potential to become a major political force in the city of New York, even if his political “instincts” need considerable maturing. Dodge is only 20. He is already a member of Community Board 6 and has completed his first year of college.

However, if I were giving Dodge letter grades, as I did when I was a college professor, I would give him an “A+” in “Loyalty to Yetta Kurland,” who is the eternal candidate for City Council in the Third District, and an “F” in fact-based understanding of the Rudin family/North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System issue.

Ms. Kurland has openly exploited and distorted the facts of this issue, first claiming she had “landlocked” the obsolete St. Vincent’s Hospital buildings — which can no longer meet the needs of modern healthcare — and then falsely claiming she could help develop a new hospital to replace the now-closed St. Vincent’s, neither of which is reality and serve only to keep Yetta Kurland’s name in the headlines in her hopes of becoming the next city councilmember in the Third Council District. Dodge charges that The Villager is only reporting negative stories about Ms. Kurland because the paper, he falsely claims, “is in the Rudins’ pocket.”

The facts in the matter are clear. The Villager and I have simultaneously and independently concluded that the plan by the Rudin family and North Shore-L.I.J. is the most viable solution for the Village community, which desperately needs the new, 24/7 emergency department that North Shore-L.I.J. will create in the O’Toole Building — which will be bigger and better than the St. Vincent’s E.R.

The condos that will be built by the Rudin family on St. Vincent’s main former campus, already approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission after considerable modifications required by L.P.C., will provide thousands of good union construction jobs in difficult economic times, plus many good union jobs to staff the building, and will house more than 1,000 potential shoppers to patronize the area’s small businesses, now hurting from the hospital’s closure.

The cost of building a new hospital is roughly $900 million, which is simply unavailable. The only purpose of Ms. Kurland’s “campaign” to create a new hospital — which is a hoax perpetuated by Ms. Kurland — is to enhance her own candidacy for City Council two years from now.

Dodge, the voters are not that stupid and Ms. Kurland will again lose her bid to become a city councilmember.

No sane person can say that I am “in the pocket” of the Rudin family. During the Rudin family’s co-op conversion of Two Fifth Ave., I sued the Rudins in several courts in order to obtain a fair deal for our residents. The Rudins sued me personally for $40 million on the same matter. The result was a negotiated settlement, in which the Rudins agreed to up the offer with economic improvements amounting to many millions of dollars. We did well and the Rudins did well, though they had hoped to do even better before my litigation helped them to significantly increase their offer.

Where the Rudin family is right, I join them on this emergency department issue.

Dodge will go on to be a political force in our city one day. However, Dodge’s letter last week to The Villager was disgraceful.
Gil Horowitz
Horowitz is executive director, Washington Square-Lower Fifth Ave. Community Association, Inc.

Self-inflicted gun injury?

To The Editor:
Re “Yetta’s got a gun; Claims she needs it for language school” (news article, May 12):

One would think that after making the bogus claim that she needed to carry a gun because she was an “officer of the court,” Kurland would not invent an equally cynical and disingenuous reason for owning guns.

I respect the candor of Ron Kuby explaining that he enjoys target practice as a sport. I have friends out in the country who hunt legal wild game to put quality protein on the family table that they could not otherwise afford. There are many legitimate reasons for people to own guns, and for those who do to also support gun control.

I do not respect the cynical hypocrisy of Kurland, who seems to be repeatedly not living up to the platitudes she attacks other elected officials with — coincidentally, only those elected officials in her district whose seats she has been eyeing for herself.

The last thing New York City needs is another cynical hypocrite in office who will destroy anything that gets in her way, starting with the truth. I suppose this latest flap Kurland has entangled herself will prove the statistic that gun owners are most likely to be injured or killed by their own firearms.
 Jon Winkleman

Rent laws retain diversity

To The Editor:
Re “It’s crunch time for protecting rent-regulation laws” (talking point, Margaret Chin, May 19):

Thank you, Ms. Chin. I am one of those female heads of household whose family is protected by the rent-stabilization laws. I dread the laws’ expiration. I live in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood in Brooklyn and have seen my neighbors harassed out of their homes, only to be replaced by young, mostly white tenants who are paying double what was paid before. It is an age-old New York story, but economic diversity is essential to a neighborhood to avoid the ghettoization of people.

Forcing poorer people into certain neighborhoods creates the “haves” versus the “have-nots” — a system that has destroyed Brooklyn’s schools because all the rich folks are in one neighborhood and the poor folks are in another. And let’s face it, it is the parents who are paying for their kids’ education, via P.T.A. fundraising.

Long live rent stabilization. Long live economic diversity. Long live the wealthy making room for the less well-off.
Cat Henry

Food for thought

To The Editor:
Re “Worries N.Y.U. project would endanger blocks’ ‘ecosystem’ ” (news article, May 12):

Ever wonder why we seldom see a butterfly in New York City? Everybody likes butterflies and pretty flowers, but you can’t have a butterfly without the caterpillar. Each caterpillar that turns into a butterfly must feed on a specific plant. In the case of the monarch butterfly, that plant is milkweed.

Nectar from various flowers, wild or cultivated, provides food for butterflies. Caterpillars rely on wild plant sources to exist. Unfortunately, habitat is lost through clearing for construction, pesticides and landscape gardening.

Monarch butterflies, these orange-and-black-winged creations, have a champion in Ellen Horan, member of the LaGuardia Corner Gardens. Keep up the fight, Ellen.
June Hildebrand Abrams

A punch to the gut

To The Editor:
Re “Senior dies after beating” (Police Blotter, May 12):

“No, no, no — not Joe!”

These words were thought and moaned by many when the news broke that Joe was dead.

A crime victim.

Joseph Felix Sebilla apparently interrupted a robbery in progress in his Greenwich Village apartment. Two mounds of slime beat him brutally as he walked in on his walker. He clung to life for 13 days. The end came in mid-May, and turned a clean, green, spring day into winter gray.

I first met Joe at the senior center. It was as if two chunks of ham only needed bread to become a show business duo. I remarked that he reminded me of the actor Rod Steiger and that we ought to do a skit of the great Steiger-Brando scene from “On the Waterfront.” We settled on a boxing skit with some tired, old boxing jokes. We performed it at The Caring Community show. As I recall, some of the jokes were:

Manager: “You got him worried! You got him worried!”

Boxer: “Yeah, he’s worried he’s gonna kill me.”

Manager: “Wait till 8, wait till 8.”

Boxer: “What time is it now?”

Manager: “He hasn’t laid a glove on you!”

Boxer: “Oh yeah, well you better watch that referee ’cause someone’s hitting me!”

Afterward, at a casual meeting, I would fake a boxing stance. This would bring forth a huge, sunny smile.

Sometimes he would talk of some off-the-wall theory of the World Trade Center and I would fake interest. It was a jolt to have not seen him for a while and then observe that he now relied on a walker. Through a friend, he helped me sell a 16-millimeter camera on eBay. He also helped me get an aged portable typewriter in good shape through a contact.

There appeared to be nothing this guy would not do for you. He was just plain Joe. We cannot afford to lose people like this. A victim to street animals that attack the aged, the loved and the weak among us. Joe would probably just shrug his shoulders and say, “Well, it was just bad luck. That’s all.”

But I would say: Catch the slime that committed the crime!
Nick Kapochena

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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