downtownexpress.com
Volume 19 Issue 41 | Feb. 23 - March 1, 2007

Letters to the editor

The real bike crime

To The Editor:

I very much appreciated reading this week’s Talking Point by Michele Herman about bicycling in the city (Feb. 16 – 22, “If only it were a bike that was stolen”). As a fellow cyclist, I am reluctant to use my bike for errands because of the fear of my bike being stolen. In a city that claims a low crime rate, that in itself is a crime.
Brian Hoberman


Cowardly defiance

To The Editor:

Re “Keep focus on reform and the key projects” and “Why I defied the screening panel” ( Feb. 16 – 22, editorial and Talking Point by Deborah J. Glick):

The recent vote by members of the New York State Legislature to select Democratic State Assemblymember Thomas DiNapoli to replace recently indicted Democratic State Comptroller Alan Hevesi should be no surprise to anyone.  The votes by Assemblymember Glick and colleagues in favor of Tom DiNapoli reminded me of the cowardly lion from the land of Oz, otherwise known as the New York State Legislature. The state constitution affords the governor the right to call and set a date for a special election within 60 days upon any seat in the State Legislature becoming vacant.  Why not amend the state constitution to do the same when the office of state comptroller or state attorney general becomes vacant as well?  Will Assemblymember Glick or any of her Democratic colleagues be brave enough to come forward and introduce such legislation?  This would afford the voters rather than Democratic State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Republican State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and their loyal followers the ability to rig the process and select one of their own like my former State Assemblymember, Thomas DiNapoli, to preserve the status quo in Albany.  

How ironic that members of the State Legislature’s Black, Latino, and Asian caucus overlooked N.Y.C. Finance Commissioner Martha Stark who is African American, a woman and clearly more qualified.  Ms. Stark manages 2,400 employees and chairs several $100-billion-dollar-plus pension boards.  Members of this minority caucus along with all other loyal Democratic Assembly members continue marching to the beat of boss Speaker Silver’s instructions in exchange for their share of pork barrel projects, lulus for chairing committees and special favorable legislation to reward various interests of “pay for play” campaign contributors. Speaker Silver couldn’t care less if you are liberal or conservative;  gay or straight; man or woman.  Just play ball like Assemblymember Glick and you’re now just one of the boys hanging out in the smoke-filled back room Albany career politicians insiders’ clubhouse.  How ironic that yesterday’s so-called liberal Democratic reformers from Manhattan, after being elected, quickly morph into everyday Albany regulars under Speaker Silver. 

Real change can only come in Albany when voters replace the other two men in the room — Bruno and Silver and their loyal followers who along with former Gov. Pataki created the mess we are in today. Please don’t vote to reelect incumbent
members of either party affiliation who participated in this tragedy when they come up for reelection in 2008.

 Larry Penner
Great Neck, N.Y.  


McLaren’s street cred

To The Editor:

Regarding Barbara Lee-Jones’s letter (Jan. 19 - 25, “London calling”) that my book “The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB’s: A Secret History of Jewish Punk” had mistakenly identified as crime-ridden a section of London where Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren lived as a youth, I refer you to the following note I received from Mr. McLaren on Jan. 25:

Hi Steven,
So happy your book has received such reviews and thrilled that my contribution was as good as anyone else’s! Read the piece by Barbara-Lee Jones. I think what she doesn’t realize is that Islington, which was severely bombed, went into decline in the ’50s, and Highbury, part of Islington and close by Stoke Newington (where I was brought up), had a huge settlement of Sephardic Jews and was synonymous with crime — as most parts of London were during the days of the rise of the spiv and teenage gangs. Of course, by the dawn of the ’60s my family had departed for the suburbs.

Naturally, Islington and much of that part of the world got gentrified as the ’60s disappeared and times changed.

Best,
Malcolm

In other words, while Barbara Lee-Jones might be correct in identifying Islington as fashionable today, she is mistaken in thinking that it was so during the mid-20th century when Malcolm McLaren was growing up near there.
Steven Lee Beeber


Wrong turn on buses

To The Editor:

Re “School bus confusion” (news article, Feb. 2 – 8): 

In efforts to save funds, Mayor Bloomberg, Chancellor Klein, Deputy Mayor Walcott and Deputy Schools Chancellor Kathleen Grimm implemented, without notice, a reform plan that paid a consulting firm $17 million to remove yellow bus service from thousands of grade school children. Foremost, this transition is not successful but neglect by the Dept. of Education. I attended two recent hearings led by Councilmember Robert Jackson — one on D.O.E. reform did not mention the elimination of yellow buses while on the very next day, busing was removed. The following week Mr. Jackson held an additional hearing concerning the bus issue. Kathleen Grimm reported that some children simply did not qualify; they were not eligible for busing. It is an outrage that children ages 7-12 are not eligible. If regulations or legislation exists that disqualifies children under the age of 12 is active, it must be amended. This issue brings light to the poorly planned additional 37-minute extended day program implemented in winter 2006, which also disqualified thousands of children. This plan disrupted the consistency that scholarly research documents is vital for the “stages of learning” for grade school children. The extended-day program needed to supply two dismissal buses — one at 2:50 p.m. for the non-qualifying kids and one at 3:40 p.m. for the mandated kids, but not on Fridays — at an additional cost of $40 million.

Yellow school bus service must be restored, particularly when it has been reported that there is a surplus in the budget. Restore the school day; one start, one dismissal. Let’s focus on how we can support the children in the classroom.

Ann M. De Falco


Jane Doe Southbridge

To The Editor:

Back to the future… It is now 2011 and Mrs. Smith who moved in to Southbridge in 1971, is now 89 years old, and a widow. She can no longer afford the new privatized Southbridge Towers, which is catering more and more to the affluent. The long-range plan, which was based on projections years earlier, did not work exactly as predicted by the privatizers.

She is told that she can take out a reverse mortgage or move out. She is old and in no way can handle the details of finding a decent place to live, or the actual move itself. She has lived here for half her life and now is told that she may have to get what she can get for her apartment and move out.

Reverse mortgages for co-ops are not a sure thing to acquire, and not offered by banks in New York, presently.  If Southbridge had remained a Mitchell-Lama, she wouldn’t have needed a reverse mortgage in the first place. Why should she “opt out” and lose her “Southbridge rights?”

Why should any of the privatizers care about Mrs. Smith? The situation doesn’t apply to them or their elderly parents. Will Southbridge Right’s lawyers and professionals who told her what she would be able to do years ago, now help her in any way? I don’t think so.

An expert in New York City housing gave a presentation and showed mathematically that if all of four possible contingencies go exactly as said, then privatization possibly can work. If none of the four go as said, the average $600 apartment, will in five years, cost $1,800 per month. As he said, “it’s all in the math.” In addition, he used the feasibility’s figures, not his own. Is Southbridge for gamblers?

Steve Seifer


Kavanagh’s game plan

To The Editor:

Re “Super Sunday for Kavanagh as he celebrates Assembly win” (news article, Feb. 9 - 15):

In his article on Brian Kavanagh’s swearing-in as the 74th District’s assemblymember, Linclon Anderson writes: “[Sylvia] Friedman had won the seat last March in a special election — which Kavanagh strategically chose to sit out.”

Yet Brian Kavanagh did not “sit out” the special election. He sat out the pre-special-election election a month earlier: He strategially sat out the County Committee election, denegrating it and questioning its necessity. It was his strategy to ambush the Democratic candidate who was chosen by the County Committee as the Democratic candidate. This was irrespective of whether it was Friedman, Steve Kaufman or Don Tobias. Surely he was licking his chops when Friedman emerged. His strategy was proactive.

The irony, of course, is that now as state Assemblyman, Kavanagh heads the district’s County Committee, the same people his election strategy was to insult.

Billy Sternberg

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