Volume 81, Number 12 | August 18 - 24, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

Power companies are vultures

To The Editor:
Re “Close Indian Point” (editorial, Aug. 4):

I agree with your basic point that having a nuclear facility this close to New York is only headed for trouble, but I find your view narrow and disturbing.

The battle over closing Indian Point has been going on for years in Upstate New York. Local land owners are in an uproar that New York Regional Interconnect Inc. (a strange name for a Canadian power company) has the audacity to propose putting up 90-foot-tall electrical towers along the river in the Upper Delaware watershed. This waterway has a national designation as a “wild and scenic river” and state recognition as a “scenic byway.” This will destroy the pristine river that local communities have worked and sacrificed to preserve.

Could they run the power lines down the existing scar of the New York State Thruway? No, that would cost them too much money. They would rather work a deal with the desperate Norfolk Southern Railway, which owns the rights to the existing rail lines along the river. The only use for the tracks at this time is to haul New York City garbage to landfills far out of sight of the editors of this paper.

I am afraid that the editors of The Villager are as uninformed as the N.Y.R.I. power company representative at a town hall meeting in Callicoon, N.Y. This misinformed puppet, at a meeting that he organized, thought he was in Orange County that night when he was actually in Sullivan.

You are not informed when you write about closing Indian Point without a discussion about the money-grabbing vultures that prey on the natural beauty and resources of New York State. The same problems arise with hydrofracking and the natural gas industry in Upstate New York.

Why are our elected officials even considering allowing these ruthless energy companies to crassly destroy our state with the cheapest, most convenient solutions so that they can make high profits? For one reason, re-election money.
William Schwinghammer

Gay youth and the rules

To The Editor:
Re “C.B. 2, gay youth hash out issues on the waterfront” (news article, July 28):

Who’s being “targeted” by the police? Every gay and lesbian adult in the Village was a gay and lesbian youth who probably hung out in the Village. We had to play by civil and law-abiding rules.

And since when does “hashing out” mean complaining that you can’t do what you want, when you want, where you want, no matter who you disturb?

It seems we are more fixated on the drama of the situation than on the grim reality behind it, which is an element of young gays who are disruptive and rowdy. And while I’m at it, FIERCE, their organization, sounds aggressive? Yeah, that’ll win sympathy.

So, in a nutshell, if you don’t want to play by the rules of a committed and dedicated community, then find somewhere else to play. It’s that simple.
Deborah Spicciatie

An uncompromising writer

To The Editor:
Re “Pied-à-terror: The grunge and glory of the Jane West” (notebook, by Mark Kramer, Aug. 11):

Mark Kramer was an uncompromising writer with an integrity all his own. Like his cousin, the artist Lee Lozano, who during the height of the feminist era, chose not to speak to women, Mark was a refusenik. He chose to do only what made meaning to him, whether playing the guitar for days on end, selling books he found within walking distance of his apartment on his online High Line Books, or collaborating with his partner, lighting designer Leni Schwendinger on light projects; their “Vacant Lots of Love” will be part of an upcoming book on New York community spaces.

It meant a lot to Mark to be part of Westbeth, and it is sad and ironic that this community, with its festering artistic preciousness, did him in, as his outwardness and perception eclipsed self-serving entitlement. Ultimately, his biochemical demons were too persistent to overcome and the perception and uplift he gave to others he was unable to give to himself.

I, like others, will miss him terribly — his lurid, lyrical extravagance, his broad sociopolitical, historical, emotional layerings, and most of all, his ever-present generosity. Mark often lost his phone but he always had my number.
Lee Williams

Showed ‘editorial courage’

To The Editor:
Re “E.R. and hospital still needed at St. Vincent’s site” (talking point, by Alan Gerson, Aug. 4):

I commend you on your editorial courage in printing Alan Gerson’s talking point. Your editorial position has consistently favored the Rudin/North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System plan for a stand-alone emergency facility, and I salute and respect you for publishing such a strong talking point that gives a viewpoint that differs from your own. Thank you.

No sane person who reads Mr. Gerson’s column could possibly be in favor of the North Shore-L.I.J. plan for medical care at the former O’Toole site.

I would like to reprint 200,000 copies of his talking point and flood New York and Albany with his words that you published.

A full-service hospital as desired by the Coalition for a New Village Hospital is there to protect you and your staff, and your loved ones. What if a gas main exploded in front of your offices? It would propel you to the forefront of advocates for a true emergency room for the West Side.
Liz Ryan

BID process is unfair

To The Editor:
Re “BID group charges much opposition is from outside district” (news article, Aug. 11):

These numbers are not adding up. There are 280 tax lots in the proposed district. Only 124 responded and only 99 approved the proposal. That’s only a 44 percent response rate and only 35 percent approval. This certainly does not constitute a majority.

Further, if approving owners represent only 30 percent of the assessed value of the area, there is not a majority by this factor either.

It is particularly unfortunate that the New York State law that enables the formation of business improvement districts does not suitably recognize the impact of a BID in areas that are predominantly residential.

The legislation reads:

“Owners of real property within the district opposed to the plan have 30 days to file objections at the municipal clerk’s office. If either the owners of 51 percent of the assessed valuation of all benefited real property or at least 51 percent of the owners of real property within the district file objections, the district will not be established.”

This puts the onus on property owners who do not favor a BID, and who may not be otherwise organized or funded, to launch a campaign equally as intense and expensive as the city-backed business proponents to actively solicit objections and affidavits and to lobby against its formation. Further, as opposed to the allowed 18 months for BID formation granted to the proponents, the opponents get 30 days!

This legislation needs change.
Zella Jones

Too close for comfort?

To The Editor:
Re “BID group charges much opposition is from outside district” (news article, Aug. 11):

As a longtime Soho resident and activist, I found it galling to see the photo of Brian Steinwurtzel lounging in your office as one of the guys. We have always thought of The Villager as OUR paper, supportive of the people who live in the neighborhood. Instead you look like yet another corporate mouthpiece welcoming one of its own.

You help Steinwurtzel polish the image of the BID as a democratic initiative — which he has had the nerve to call a “grassroots movement” — when it is nothing but the creature of a handful of major property holders in the district, with Steinwurzel as its mouthpiece.

In case you don’t think that the Soho BID is a big corporate deal where the real estate industry expects to make a lot of money, please realize that the BID is being sold to you by none other than the managing director of Newmark Knight Frank, of one of the biggest commercial real estate companies in a city of very big real estate companies. Steinwurzel’s relationship to Soho is nil. He neither lives nor works here.

It’s time for your paper to return your attention to your neighborhood.
Ingrid Wiegand

Editor’s note: Representatives of the Soho BID Steering Committee requested a sit-down with us in our office to discuss their proposal. We agreed to meet with them. If it appeared Steinwurtzel was “lounging” in the photo in the article, that may just be the way he chooses to sit, or was sitting at that particular moment. We can’t control his posture. More to the point, we have subsequently reached out to representatives of BID opposition groups — including the Soho Alliance and the NO Soho BID — and are currently setting up a similar meeting with them.

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, 515 Canal St., Suite 1C, 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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