Volume 74, Number 36 | January 12 - 18, 2005

Letters to the editor

Calls Seward neighbors selfish

To The Editor:
Re “Seward Park inertia is getting us nowhere” (editorial, Jan. 5):

I am deeply grateful to The Villager for shining light on this subject. This is not a happy moment nor do I have happy things to say about my fellow Americans. Not content with privatizing Co-op Village; not content with destroying the goals and ideals of labor leaders like Sydney Hillman; not content with preventing 4,800 apartments in Co-op Village from being available to moderate- or low-income people — now the same individuals seek to prevent Seward Park Urban Renewal Area sites from being developed to provide affordable housing for the poorest and most vulnerable members of society. This selfish, callous, ruthless indifference is totally obscene and totally unacceptable! It’s cruel!

Michael Gottlieb

Chairperson’s view of conflict issue

To The Editor:
Re “Conflict management” (Scoopy’s Notebook, Jan. 5):

Regarding the Conflict of Interest Board’s opinions as they affect community board committee chairpersons, the only statement dealing with a specific financial interest concerns members with an interest in a licensed liquor facility in the district: they may not chair committees that consider liquor license applications. That opinion is, as I’ve said before, shortsighted. That’s why I contested it. Having been denied, I have honored it.

For all other members, C.O.I.B.’s guidance is less arbitrary. Any other member may chair any committee unless the member is likely to have business before his or her committee involving his or her private interests or employment. C.O.I.B.’s specific concern is matters involving firms in which the chairperson has an interest.

As long as a member’s private interests are unlikely to be a subject for his committee’s consideration he may be the committee’s chair. If, nevertheless, a matter should come up involving his private interests he may not chair any meeting that considers matters affecting his interest.

Finally, although I admire and encourage The Villager’s inquiring spirit and its reportage, its expression of interest in the conflict topic came after the decision had been taken that Bob Rinaolo step aside as Business Committee chairperson.

Jim Smith
Smith is chairperson, Community Board 2

Editor’s note: The Villager first spoke to Bob Rinaolo on Dec. 17 — at the Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce’s Holiday Party at 49 Grove — about C.O.I.B.’s advisory opinion on the appropriateness of his being chairperson of C.B. 2’s Business Committee. In a brief conversation at that time, Rinaolo did not then indicate he was stepping down as chairperson, but rather that he was taking a three-month leave of absence in Florida, after which he planned to run for board chairperson. When The Villager subsequently spoke to Rinaolo the following Monday it was then for the first time that he said he was officially stepping down as chairperson.

‘Shocked’ at conflict revelation

To The Editor:
Re “Conflict Management” (Scoopy’s Notebook, Jan. 5):

I am shocked, shocked that there could be conflicts of interest in our community boards.

I have spoken with C. Virginia Fields’ office in the past about appointing members of the notoriously anti-resident New York Nightlife Association and bar owners to positions on community boards — in communities where relations are most contentious. I was left with the impression that it was totally appropriate. Shocking.

Robert Weitz

L.E.S. ‘revitalization’ is killing us

To The Editor:
Thanks for the article “Border war pits garden vs. developer,” by Hemmy So (news article, Dec. 29). I appreciate having the situation out in print.

I would take issue with one assumption in the article. That is the notion about “the continuing effort to revitalize the Lower East Side.” At this point, in the area around the Bowery, we aren’t talking about “revitalization.” We are talking about overbuilding luxury housing for wealthy folks. Although the AvalonBay development promises the community a small percentage of housing for “moderate/low income” (not yet realized) and a community center space, what we are getting is the steady destruction of a long-established, diverse, working/poor/middle-class nieghborhood. Whether by actual eviction, landlord pressure to move low-income tenants out, lack of affordable housing, bribery, loss of affordable grocery stores and small businesses, etc., all the neighborhoods here are threatened by rampant overdevelopment, including Chinatown.

Let’s not pretend this developer’s main interest is in the welfare of this community. They recieved breaks from the city in exchange for a few “bones” tossed to the community; they are looking to make a hefty profit from the market-rate units of the AvalonBay project.

One last note: One of the many ironies of this community is that a man, Bob Humber, the man who spearheaded the campaign to clear drug dealers from Sara Roosevelt Park and make it safe for children and families, had to move to Queens last year. Couldn’t find an apartment he could afford. He now commutes to take care of M’Finda Kalunga Garden.

We who’ve lived in this neighborhood for 30 years plus weren’t feeling in need of this version of urban revitalization. We thought we had already built a pretty good community.

K Webster

Shows need for PATH entrance

To The Editor:
Re “History buff discovers a lost PATH exit” (news article, Jan. 5):

The Internet research by LindaAnn Loschiavo actually buttresses the argument for the Port Authority reconstructing a second entrance to the Ninth St. PATH station. It shows the second exit originally existed, and no foundations were destroyed in the construction of the station. Construction of a new entrance may involve little more than reopening the old one, since there appears to be no new construction above it. The old second entrance — behind the newsstand at Sixth Ave. below Greenwich Ave. — is less than a block from the Waverly Pl. entrance to the W. Fourth St. station, so they possibly could connect. All subway stations have at least four exits. A PATH station should have at least two. More about the building of the PATH and its builder’s concern for the safety and convenience of its passengers and workers can be found under “The Public Be Pleased: William Gibbs McAdoo and the Hudson Tubes” at nycsubway.org/nyc/path/hmhistory/index.html.

Charles Walker

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