Volume 19 • Issue 19 | September 22 - 28, 2006

Letters to the Editor

Lessons in tardiness

To The Editor:
I like Senator Tom Duane’s idea of having his class design a state budget (Back to School, Sept. 8 – 14, “School politics prove popular in state senator’s class”). To make the experience more realistic, he should allow them to hand in the assignment several months past the due date.
Roger Cost

Cycling waste 

To The Editor:
Re “Pedalers and politicians get pumped about Houston lanes” (news article, Sept. 8 – 14):

Why on earth did you run that huge story about bike lanes on Houston St. or any other street? Bicycle riders are less than 1/2 of one percent of the New York City work force and probably less than that of recreational travel. So why should the city spend many thousands of dollars for bike lanes in Manhattan and millions for a Hudson River bikeway (and have a special section of the city Transportation Department just for bicycle “problems”) when the city’s streets are paved so badly that pedestrians stumble when crossing major avenues and auto traffic is so bad as to make bus service in Midtown virtually useless. We expect shallow politicians to cave in to vocal minorities but we also expect “journalists” to expose such obvious nonsense instead of reporting it as serious news.
Jefferson Chase

Biker problems

To The Editor:
Re “Pedalers and politicians get pumped about Houston lanes” (news article, Sept. 8 - 14):

Your sympathy for bike riders is misplaced. Numerous times I, like many people, have almost been hit or grazed by a biker. Only when bikers begin to stop for traffic lights, stop riding on sidewalks and stop riding against the traffic in the street will reasonable people take an interest in their complaints.
Thomas McGonigle

Cardinal sin

To The Editor:
Re “‘Pretzels’ and ‘Provolone’ may lose their church” (news article, Aug. 25 - 31):

This church should be under the protection of the New York Landmarks Conservancy as a fitting monument to Lithuanian immigrants and as a jewel to the city. It should not be the sole possession of the cardinal and his financial advisors to strike it rich by selling other people’s property. 
Saulius Simoliunas 

Let us now praise

To The Editor:
Re “Pryor, L.M.D.C.’s first hire, reflects on final days” (news article, Sept. 15 – 21):

A few words in praise of former Lower Manhattan Development Corporation president Stefan Pryor. I have served on the Family Advisory Committee to the L.M.D.C. and the memorial and museum advisory committee. I have had plenty of criticisms of much of the L.M.D.C.’s policies and actions — to this day the only place you won’t find the terrorist attacks of 9/11 acknowledged is at the W.T.C. site, and while the rest of the world has no problems uttering those dreadful words, “Capt. William F. Burke, Jr., Eng. 21” or say, “Father Mychal Judge, fire chaplin,” it is still forbidden at ground zero.

However, in my experience with Mr. Pryor I have found him to be honest, responsible and compassionate. He has been committed to a rejuvenated Downtown and a genuine and lasting memorial, understanding that these are not mutually exclusive but in fact, co-dependent.   

Good luck to Mr. Pryor in his future endeavors. After negotiating in the minefields

Downtown, he might be the only one there who finds Newark politics relaxing.
 Michael Burke
Brother of Capt. William F. Burke, Jr., who was killed Sept. 11, 2001

Park Row parking

To The Editor:
In the post-9/11 world, all New Yorkers have to contend with the threat of terrorism. Many freedom-loving New Yorkers have learned to adjust to the heightened security that comes with living in our target rich city.  However, no freedom-loving person can ever grow accustomed to the absolute power that Police Commissioner Kelly has wielded in the vicinity of police headquarters in Lower Manhattan.  Since 9/11, residents and businesses of Lower Manhattan not only have to worry about the threat of attack, we have to struggle against the abuse of power wielded in the name of fighting the threat of attack.

In the days and weeks after 9/11, the N.Y.P.D. closed all of the streets surrounding police headquarters in an emergency response.  Few disputed the wisdom of such precautions.  In the months and now years after the attacks, the N.Y.P.D. has filled these still-closed streets with commuter vehicles and it is doubtful that there is anyone who does not realize the true motives for the street closures.  Yet the N.Y.P.D. continues its charade and continues to make a mockery of the real threats to safety that their land-grab poses to One Police Plaza’s residential neighbors — neighbors whom Commissioner Kelly once labeled “casualties of 9/11.”

The N.Y.P.D.’s responses to the threat have been unreal and arguably, corrupt.  It is time for Mayor Bloomberg to restore sanity to the area around police headquarters.  That sanity should include:

• Restoration of pedestrian access through Police Plaza and up Park Row.  If the subways, Federal Plaza, the Empire State Building, and even the Statue of Liberty are open to people, there is no reason that Police Plaza should not be.

• Establishment of reasonable and well-defined standoff distances instead of the “as much as we can take” distances that define the current boundaries.

• Shutting down of the outdoor gas service station that the N.Y.P.D. adamantly continues to operate while claiming that they are a “hardened target.”

• Relocating barricades (i.e. points of attack) so that they are not situated directly under the windows of civilian residents.

Finally, the mayor needs to seriously consider relocating Police Headquarters to a site such as Randalls Island where the threat of attack can be properly mitigated without putting tens of thousands of civilians at risk.
Danny Chen, Jeanie Chin, Jan Lee
Civic Center Residents Coalition

Pork’s not kosher

To The Editor:
“Pork On the Pier” (UnderCover, Aug. 25 - 31) concerning liberal Democratic Congressmember Jerry Nadler attempting to earmark $4 million dollars in federal funding to support the urban estuary project should be no surprise to anyone.  It is just another example of why Uncle Sam is drowning in over $9 trillion dollars of debt.  Many taxpayers who believe in free enterprise, balanced budgets and a reduction in the size of government at all levels have been concerned over the past five years about the spending habits of Congress.  President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress have failed to control both spending and deficits.  

In 2005, Congress funded 13,997 pork barrel projects at a total cost of $67 billion. Both liberal Democrats including Congressmember Nadler and so called conservative Republicans have given up balancing the budget.  Liberals won’t say no to social welfare programs.  Conservatives love any defense spending.  Both support corporate welfare subsidies.  They are leaving the next generation an inheritance of government debt over $9 trillion and growing.  

Pork barrel spending is also all too common on the state and city level as well.  Each year Republican New York State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and Democratic New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver give out over $1 billion dollars worth of member items (state pork) to their loyal followers who vote as directed by the leadership.

Be it federal, state or city member earmarks — Republican or Democratic, in many cases these projects just aren’t kosher.  Congressmember Nadler needs to look in the mirror before critiquing the spending habits of others.
 Larry Penner
Great Neck, New York

Letters policy
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, clarity, civility or libel reasons. Letters should be e-mailed to or can be mailed to 145 Sixth Ave., N.Y., N.Y. 10013.


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