Volume 73, Number 6 | June 9 - 15, 2004

Letters to the Editor

Unsettling images of conflict

To The Editor:
In the Dec. 24, 2003, issue, The Villager featured on two full pages a story about East Village photographer Q Sakamaki (“Local photographer hits the wall in the West Bank”). The article prominently displayed seven color photos on the two pages.

This story is journalism at its worst and propaganda at its best. You write that Sakamaki sympathizes with the Palestinians. By printing a two-page spread with seven color photos, The Villager has made a statement that it sympathizes with the Palestinians.

The Villager should publish a feature story displaying color photos of suicide-bomb victims on Israeli buses and Palestinians celebrating in the streets when the World Trade Center was destroyed.

In reality, neither of these two stories should be featured by your publication — the feature story should be about Israeli and Palestinians working together on some cooperative joint effort that bridges the differences they have. This would be good journalism.

In the May 26 issue, The Villager published another two-page spread very similar to the December one (“New Israeli security barrier becomes focus of protests” and “Sheik-less in Gaza; assassination ratchets tension,” photos by Q. Sakamaki).

The Villager is a local neighborhood newspaper. Why does it publish stories like this one?

Jonathan Slosser

Living in a din of inequity

To The Editor:
In reference to Lincoln Anderson’s article, “Are off-duty police officers the solution for noisy bars?” (April 7), I am appalled and amazed by how out of touch some community board members and councilmembers are with the dynamic that is plaguing our city. For one, community boards continue to act with complicity by approving outdoor cafes for these outdoor nightclubs. They then leave it to the residents to have to raise a rallying cry just to try to refute the anti-neighborhood, stacked votes on these boards Then, you have the dynamic where on-duty police are loathe to enforce noise and nuisance abatement codes regardless of the blatancy of the violations.

Look, you can ticket a bar owner for merely displaying an ashtray, because the anti-smoke lobby has been more effective than the anti-noise lobby. You can ticket a citizen for blasting a boom box or honking a horn — without use of validating noise meters. At the same time, you can have more than the legal number of bars on one street simultaneously having an all-night block party, sound system and all, but residents will be told it takes noise meters and extensive training to actually enforce the existing codes. Rubbish!

So, you mean to tell me what is actually under serious consideration is having off-duty cops paid by the bars to contain what is deferentially treated otherwise? No wonder the nightlife association is a proponent of this insanity!

Robert Weitz
Everyone’s stewing over squirrels

To The Editor:
Re: The ongoing squirrel debate....

Wilson, Wilson, Wilson, it’s entirely possible that my squirrel-management tips work for me only because I feed the critters in the first place. Maybe they’re just so busy with the nuts I give them that they don’t have the time or inclination to destroy my plants, birdfeeder, etc. All I know is that they leave me and mine alone. Most of the time.

So maybe, while pondering squirrel recipes, you might throw out a couple of nuts to your invaders and see what happens. Chances are they’ll scurry off to bury them in someone else’s plants. But if you want them to hang around — and I’m certain you do —just crack open the nutshells. The squirrels will likely stick around to eat them, which has got to improve your chances of nabbing one of them for your next squirrel stew. See, I think of everything.

I’ve enjoyed this correspondence, by the by. What, with nothing in the world going at all well these days, it’s nice to trade barbs about something as irrelevant as our views on these creatures.

Marion Osmun

May I also recommend…rat?

To The Editor:
“Secret squirrel fact” (letter, by Harold Keller, June 2):

If it is true that Mr. Keller savors the cooked flesh of squirrels, let me assure him that there is even more bountiful game afoot. Of course, I speak of the New York City rat. Prepared in the same manner, and with a proper wine, I am sure that Mr. Keller would be more than pleased.

It seems to me that all of the chattering about squirrels really misses the point. The truth is that we are under siege by a ghastly population of rats. This infestation of rodents depends entirely upon the habits of humans. In this sense, we humans are actually a partner with the rat. If we do not act like pigs, rats will not come around.

In the end — if we are looking for a species upon which to hang blame, I reckon he walks on two legs, not four.

Bon appetite.

Lawrence White

Sees more panhandlers about

To The Editor:
As a longtime reader (and subscriber since I returned to The Village four years ago), I think you cover an excellent slice of Village activity. Your recent feature on Jane Jacobs was particularly fine.

Have you ever covered the “regulars” who solicit money around the Village? I can’t be the only person who wonders about their situations, histories, actual need. Recently there has been a clear upturn in numbers, with a sprinkling of obviously upper-middle-class youth. How are they viewed and treated by local authorities? Are the old-timers beloved? Why? What does the average public think? Of course that’s silly — no average public!

Anyway, it’s an idea for the future. I’ll be waiting.

Meredith Mayer

Village was once ghetto fabulous

To The Editor:
Re “Victory! West Village Houses to become an affordable co-op” (news article, May 26):

So, when are we going to get shelter (housing) for the working class, the Deliberately Deprived Class? Remember, the so-called “West” Village only a score of years ago or so was a working-class ghetto of (mostly) Irish-American longshoremen. They were driven out by the deliberate housing policies of the directorate of the Dictatorship of the Bourgeoisie — until now it is substantially a golden ghetto of the over-compensated, besotted with their self-bestowed privileged lives.

John Stanley

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