Volume 21, Number 15 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | August 22 - 28, 2008

Letters to the Editor

No Silver lining

To The Editor:
Re “Silver feels the heat of a race; says congestion pricing could pass” (news article, Aug. 15 – Aug. 21):

What heat? What race? What congestion pricing plan?

The content of this article belies the title. There is no heat because there is no race — just two virtually unknown challengers who have virtually no money and virtually no chance to win. Plus, by both stubbornly remaining on the ballot they will split whatever small anti-Silver vote (most voters don’t bother to vote) there is.

Silver states “the M.T.A. lost its credibility.” However, it is Silver who has no credibility. He general-ed and maneuvered the killing of congestion pricing. Now he gives vague, self-serving statements about passing a new congestion pricing plan. What was not said was that air pollution, including particulate matter (soot), is at least partly responsible for the epidemic of diseases (asthma, bronchitis, cancers, heart disease, brain disorders, learning disorders, etc.) ravaging citizens of Manhattan.

Silver and his cronies in Albany cynically prostituted basic democratic principles by not even have the decency to hold an open vote on congestion pricing.

And yes, because most voters won’t bother to vote, the special interest groups will re-elect this man who has violated basic moral values.

And regarding the letter to the editor entitled “A biker’s response” (Aug. 15 – Aug. 21):

I am both a pedestrian and a bicyclist. I can see both sides; both points of view. I try to avoid riding on sidewalks as much as humanly possible. I try to be considerate, courteous and respectful. I must say I cringe when I see what some of my fellow bicyclists do.

There are aggressive bicyclists.

There are aggressive pedestrians.

There are aggressive motorists.

Maybe we all need to slow down a bit and recognize that we all share what little space there is with each other.
Michael Gottlieb

Correcting the record

To The Editor:
Re “New C.B. 3 chairperson has focused on land use” (news article, Aug. 15 - 21):

That was a nice article you wrote profiling me. It’s mostly accurate, except that I have a few points that I feel need corrections.

My first name is spelled Dominic. Funny because people usually butcher my last name, but you got it right.

I was not a member of the 197A Rezoning Task Force — only on the Housing and Zoning Committee.

The Housing and Zoning Committee had nothing to do with the success of the rezoning plan. The task force handled the whole process and was separate from the Housing and Zoning Committee. I would not have said that Housing and Zoning was instrumental in moving the rezoning through the process. David McWater’s leadership, the committee’s work and full board were all instrumental in moving it through the process.

I was on the Community Education Council for School District 1. While our board incorporates part of District 2, C.E.C. 1 is entirely within our board and has different challenges than C.E.C. 2. People on C.E.C. 2 reading this article may be wondering who I am.

I want to clarify that the board’s S.L.A. Committee does hear all license applications within the moratorium area now, per the request of the New York State Liquor Authority. We do maintain that it must provide a significant public benefit for approval. If it doesn’t, we will deny and explain why to the S.L.A. Same goes for any falling within the 500-foot rule.

Also, if a bar were to apply for a license, not posing as a restaurant, we would give this applicant a fair hearing. The way the article is written, it sounds like we are looking out for bars specifically to reject. We are not anti-bar. There is a general consensus on the committee, though, that operators should be upfront and truthful with their method of operation. For any applications below Delancey St., these will undergo heavy scrutiny, but a bar could theoretically be approved and a restaurant disapproved for a variety of reasons. I don’t want to be interpreted as being anti-bar. I believe in balance.
Dominic Pisciotta
Chairperson, Community Board 3

Flawed zoning

To The Editor:
Re “Builder gives up a whole lot, but neighbors are still sore” (news article, Aug. 8 -14):

Your article on the rezoning of the southwest Village misses an important point about a flawed process that led to a flawed result. Speaker Christine Quinn’s office boasts about the relatively small concessions that were made by the developer regarding inclusion of commercial space and affordable housing. Why didn’t the city demand concessions on such basic issues when the developer first proposed the rezoning in the summer of 2007?

When the Greenwich Village Community Task Force and other community organizations initially proposed the inclusion of affordable housing during last January’s Community Board 2 Zoning Committee hearing, the suggestion was dismissed as laughably unrealistic.

When the task force raised questions about irregularities in the way floor area ratio had been calculated on the parking lot owned by developer Peter Moore, our concerns were dismissed as unfounded; until we spent our own time and money to research the records, hire a lawyer and force the Dept. of Buildings to acknowledge that a mistake had been made. The result is that any new building constructed on the site will be roughly half the size that the developer originally intended.

It fell to the task force and other community groups to highlight the impacts that the original zoning proposal would have had on jobs, school overcrowding, open space and so many other aspects of the neighborhood. Why were all of these issues initially ignored by the city, and why did it take months of kicking, screaming and organizing by the community to get these problems acknowledged?

This rezoning proposal was developer-driven from the beginning. A spot-zoning deal worked out between the speaker’s office and the developer three hours before the final vote was taken is no substitute for a comprehensive zoning process undertaken with full community involvement.
Zack Winestine
Co-chairperson, Greenwich Village Community Task Force




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