Volume 20, Number 37 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Feb. 8 - 14 , 2008

Letters to the editor

Flip Cirque to Coney

To The Editor:
Re “More than 1,000 pack pier to rally against Cirque plan” (news article, Feb. 1 — 7):

Cirque du Soleil is probably a great idea ... for helping to revive Coney Island as a year round entertainment destination. Maybe they could bring in the Nets Arena as well? That would ease the burdens on two beleagured New York City communities while assisting a third. Maybe they could be designed with stunning fritted glass, brises soleils or similar a la Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Allen Room overlooking Columbus Circle & Central Park? After all, there’s a world famous beach with an ocean and a great new subway terminal to take folks out there!
Bruce Rosen

Gov’t parking

To The Editor:
I am one of the skeptics in “Some skeptical as mayor moves to limit permit parking” (news article, Jan. 11 — 17). How much impact would a 20 percent reduction have in Chinatown and Lower Manhattan when almost every windshield displays a government, union or illegal placard?  I hope that this “reduction” includes the elimination of the N.Y.P.D.’s policy of rotating their commuter vehicles to different neighborhoods until the local residents squawk and then the vehicles are rotated en masse to another neighborhood until the heat is off. 

What is being done to authenticate existing placards?  How have so many illegal placards wound up as perks on the windshields of the rich, famous, powerful or connected?  How many government issued permits were found in the $400,000 Dept. of Transportation study — how many illegal ones?  Wasn’t this the stated purpose of the study?  How can we tell if there is a 20 percent reduction when we don’t know what the true numbers are?

Can the N.Y.P.D. be trusted to enforce the Bloomberg administration’s often-abused permit parking rules if the N.Y.P.D. has itself been the worst offender for the past 20 years?  

With the Civic Center readily accessible by almost every subway and most bus lines, frankly, there is no excuse for civil employees to drive their private vehicles to work Downtown.  And for those N.Y.P.D. officers with legitimate city business at courthouses for a few hours and must drive, why can’t they park at the former Municipal Parking Garage now under N.Y.P.D. jurisdiction? 

Give city employees free parking privileges and they will drive their vehicles into the city.   Cut them out and you may not need congestion pricing Downtown.

The city might consider some aspects of Ted Kheel’s bold new plan as described in Charles Komanoff’s article (Talking Point, Jan. 25 — 31, “How about free subways to go with that traffic pricing”). We ask that the plan include a call for the serious reduction, and ideally the elimination, of all government parking permits.
Jeanie Chin

To The Editor:
Before Mayor Bloomberg imposes his draconian plan to shove congestion pricing and bridge tolls down the throats of all people driving south of 86th St., he should look at his own administration and the thousands and thousands of city workers who inundate Manhattan with “official” parking plates and plaques who park with impunity throughout our neighborhoods.

These are city workers with city-owned vehicles who ignore alternate side regulations and create a sanitation hazard. Garbage gets piled up, traffic agents ignore the violations and neighborhood children are exposed to the vermin the pileup creates. It becomes hard to tell who are the real rats − the two-legged ones or the ones who spread disease.

They park where they want all day and sometimes piggy-back with other city worker friends who also have “official” plates. Where is the work being done by these workers in their city-owned (we bought) vehicles while the cars are sitting idle for 71/2-hour shifts?

This “perk” smells like the last vestige of Tammany and it is depriving law-abiding residents of their legal right to park in their own neighborhoods and abide by the street sweeping regulations.

These city workers are predatory. They circle blocks for hours and then park for days and move when their personal schedules call for them to move their city-owned (non-inspected) vehicles to their abodes in the outer boroughs. Is the city the biggest parking violator?

So, Mr. Bloomberg, get some onions and get rid of these perks for mid and lower-level “civil” service workers who arrogantly abuse the law, snub their noses at legal parkers and whistle away while they drive off to the suburbs when it behooves them to leave their desk-bound jobs.
Chris Oliver

Obama & Bush

To The Editor:
Re “Vote for Barack Obama Feb. 5” (editorial, Feb. 1 - 7):

The Democratic election has been filled with as many fireworks as one could imagine. It is not surprising that Downtown Express has endorsed Barack Obama for the New York State primary. He is captivating, very easy to listen to and the perfect human being. We have all fallen into his vision of “hope and change,” but we fail to remember the last politician who placed everything on “hope and change,” George W. Bush.

Downtown Express seems really displeased with Bush, but somehow picked a candidate who shares similar campaign traits. Bush ran on the platform that he was the instrument for change in 2000. Obama seems to think he is also the instrument for change. Bush appealed to voters with “faith” and “hope” in 2004. Again, in Obama, we have another inspirational speaker who overuses “hope,” and has a whole section devoted to “faith” on his Web site.

My mother once commented on inspiration, and she pointed out that inspiration is for those with no motivation. Are Americans really not motivated enough to look more deeply into their candidates for president?

There seems to be a trend of candidates rising to the forefront by inspiring people. I personally would want a leader who knows how to solve America’s problems, not necessarily one who speaks well, captivates audiences and inspires Americans to lead the “hope and change” campaign. But maybe it’s just me.
Douglas Thomas

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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