- Under Cover
- Special Editorial
- In Pictures
New Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott’s appearance at Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s School Overcrowding task force last week was a welcome one, for numerous reasons. First and foremost, he made no jokes concerning the overcrowding crisis that is facing this neighborhood. His decision to show up and the professional behavior he exhibited was appreciated.
Furthermore, he made a concerted effort to acknowledge the hard work that one community member, Eric Greenleaf, has put in concerning the issue. Mr. Walcott led everyone to believe that he was as concerned with data and projections as Mr. Greenleaf has been. Mr. Walcott seems to be a breath of fresh air when it comes to looking at statistics and noticing the fact that Lower Manhattan is experiencing a growth unlike any other neighborhood in the city.
He promised to dedicate resources to studying student count projections, which we interpreted as a promise to not stop at One Peck Slip in terms of opening new schools in the area. By Mr. Greenleaf’s numbers, that school will be fully occupied on the day it opens and there will still be a need for additional seats.
We hope the residential renaissance that Lower Manhattan has benefited from is not cut short by flawed educational planning. The decision to open One Peck Slip is a great development, but Mr. Walcott must continue to devote the necessary resources that will ensure the children of Lower Manhattan do not have to be educated in hallways.
Abuse of power
The defendant in one case is the head of the International Monetary Fund. The two defendants in another case are police officers in the Ninth Police Precinct. Of course, it’s innocent until proven guilty, but these cases share one thing in common: The possible disgraceful abuse of power by men in authority over women in the form of sex crimes.
I.M.F. chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is extremely wealthy and was considered a frontrunner to win France’s presidency. On the other hand, the two police officers on trial for the rape of an East Village woman two-and-a-half years ago, Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata, are blue collar. But one thing that “DSK,” Moreno and Mata may possibly all share is having been guilty of grossly abusing their power — specifically in sex crimes against far less powerful, or virtually powerless, female victims.
Strauss-Kahn, now under house arrest on Franklin Street in Tribeca, is accused of the sexual assault and attempted rape of a West African immigrant cleaning woman. The scenario practically evokes colonial “rape” writ small, in a Midtown hotel. The parallels are hard to deny: A powerful white Frenchman, and a struggling woman of color from a former French colony. Innocent until proven guilty… .
Officer Moreno is accused of raping a woman who was so drunk that she was fading in and out of semi-consciousness, barely aware of what was going on until she felt him having sex with her. There was no reason for these officers to return to this woman’s apartment three more times after helping her get safely inside. But the abuse of the power of the badge is a terrible thing. Again, innocent until proven guilty… .
The real power, however, rests in our justice system. The female victims in these cases either have been or will be put through the ringer by the defense attorneys. And they are courageous for taking action against their alleged sexual abusers. Some say, “might makes right,” but, hopefully, in both of these cases, right will win out, and if the defendants abhorrently abused their power, they will pay the consequences.