December 7, 2011

Returning the kind words

To the Editor:
I was touched by the kind words you wrote about your local elected officials in your Nov. 23 editorial, “Why we’re thankful.” Your recognition of our hard work on behalf of Lower Manhattan residents is greatly appreciated.

Let me take this opportunity to express how thankful and how humbled I am for the privilege of being able to represent the world’s greatest community: Lower Manhattan. We are truly a wonderfully diverse, compassionate and endlessly resilient community. I believe such a strong community deserves a strong local newspaper and that is exactly what we have in the Downtown Express. Keep up the good work!

To all of my neighbors in Lower Manhattan, I wish you a happy, healthy holiday season and New Year.
Sheldon Silver
Speaker of NYS Assembly

Stop thanking O.W.S.

To the editor:
I am so sick of these people supporting O.W.S. I don’t say they are all bad; I understand what it is like to be unemployed elementary school teacher. I also know the pain of trying to pay back a loan for my master’s in elementary education.

What I disagree with is that O.W.S. does not care about New Yorkers who do work, children trying to get to school, or otherwise disrupting the city. I live on the Lower East Side and could not get around Downtown for interviews.

How is what O.W.S. helping me, who is looking for work, or other New Yorkers just trying to get to work that day? Or small children trying to go to school and being scared by people from O.W.S.? When I speak and ask people from O.W.S., all they say is this is protest and that their message is more important than people unconvinced about the movement.

Then there are these liberals who thank them with disrupting the city by serving 1,000 of them Thanksgiving dinner, with all the trimmings. When I asked one of them about why they don’t give money to soup kitchens that are struggling to feed the growing unemployed and families, they answer that they do feed them at the park. For those who love them so much, maybe you should invite them to your area to stay.
Leslie Sicklick

My Occupy wish list

To the Editor:
First, let me say how happy I am that this movement is gathering momentum and energy, riding a wave of success in the wake of its worldwide actions on Nov. 17.

Watching Donald Trump on Fox the day after these triumphant protests, I noticed something interesting. The Donald issued a lengthy, scathing critique of outsourcing, globalization and corporate control of politics. He almost sounded like a liberal! My gut feeling is that this is a direct result of O.W.S. morphing into the political phenomenon of our time. It’s enough to make a Republican want to do the right (with a small “r”) thing!

Though it has resisted a list of specific demands up to now, I don’t believe it undermines O.W.S.’s mission of raising consciousness and being a systemic force for political, cultural and social change for it to include such a concrete wish list. I see it more as a both/and, rather than an either/or situation. Being specific about demands can also help O.W.S. form its own electoral component — and run its own slate of candidates (from the president on down) in the 2012 elections.

Here is my list, though I welcome others to create their own:

1. Repeal Citizen’s United immediately. Elections need to be funded fairly by public, not private money.
2. Raise the top tax rate back to 75 percent. Trickle-down economics simply doesn’t work, despite what the Ayn Rand cultists say.
3. Create full employment with a New Deal-like jobs program, with a focus on “green energy,” high-speed rail and medical research.
4. Curb Wall St.’s excesses by banning toxic instruments, like derivatives, C.D.O.s and “put options” — which, incredibly, allow you to bet that a company will fail!
5. Provide free universal healthcare for all, with a public option.
6. Establish a 25-hour work week.
7. Make deep education reforms, with an emphasis not just on math and science, but also on critical thinking, history, the arts and the moral imagination.

This is by no means a radical platform.

There are folks on the far left, emboldened by O.W.S., who want to eliminate capitalism completely. If the callous “let them eat cake” austerity hawks, like the Scott Walkers and Rick Perrys (and Obama who, though he puts on a slick front, is really in Wall St.’s pocket), continue to be the political face of America, expect these more radical movements to only get stronger — like they did in the 1930s.
John Bredin
Member of the Village Independent Democrats

Downtown Express welcomes letters to The Editor. They must include the writer’s first and last name, a phone number for confirmation purposes only, and any affiliation that relates directly to the letter’s subject matter. Letters should be less than 300 words. Downtown Express reserves the right to edit letters for space. Letters should be e-mailed to or can be mailed to 515 Canal St., N.Y., N.Y. 10013.

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