Volume 21, Number 25 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Oct. 31 - November 6, 2008

Letters to the Editor

Gerson ‘flipped’

To The Editor:
Oct. 23, 2008 was a sad day for democracy. It was a day when our leaders in the City Council could have stood up and voted the will of the people over their own self interest. On this day we saw what looked like both our councilmembers, Gerson and Mendez, would do the right thing and bring the issue to amending term limits back to “we the people.” The day began with Alan being a co-sponsor of a bill that would do just that. However, that amendment was defeated. At that point, when Alan Gerson could have continued to do the right thing, he flipped and came up with a lame excuse for extending his own term in office. On the other hand, Rosie Mendez stood by her convictions and by the voters of New York and voted against the self-serving resolution to give the job seeking councilmembers an additional third term. Thank you, Rosie you are one class act.

Now it is up to us, the voters, to support candidates against any councilmember or elected official that decides to override the will of the voters and run for a third term. Don’t buy into the nonsense that because of the economy we need these politicians. We need elected officials that will abide by the will of the voters and not do what is in their best interest. 

On Oct. 23, 2008 at 4:30 p.m. there was a mass exodus from the Council chamber. Many councilmembers had to be admitted to the local hospitals to have their arms reset — arms that were twisted by the mayor and the speaker before this Tammany Hall vote.
John A. Fratta

Horse sense

To The Editor:
I agree with everything you say in your recent editorial against extending term limits except for a statement made at the hearing, which you reprinted (editorial, Oct. 24 – 30, “Again let the voters decide on term limits”).  It said that the city values carriage horses more than taxpayers because there were nine hearings over a short time.  You are wrong.

The city actually values the carriage horse industry more than the average taxpayer.  Why is anyone’s guess.  In 1989, a law was passed to keep the horses working in the Central Park area.  A sunset clause was slipped in at the last minute, which meant the law expired in 1993.  Because of this, in the next four years, there were many, many hearings.  The tiny carriage horse industry is politically connected — they were then and they are now.  And Christine Quinn is part of that establishment, which is why the current bill to ban horse-drawn carriages, sponsored by Tony Avella, has gone nowhere.  Like the taxpayers, the city also does not care about the much beleaguered and dispirited carriage horses.

The extent of damage the Council has done to the democratic process is yet to be seen.  But people will not forget.  The process has been devalued for years to come.  Why should we ever trust any of these “representatives” again?   And why should we bother voting?  They were all beneficiaries of term limits and knew the rules going into the game.   They violated a very deep trust and it will never again be business as usual.
Elizabeth Forel
Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages

VISTA search

To The Editor:
Having served as a VISTA volunteer (1969-70) in Chicago, I was very moved by the article “VISTA volunteer who helped kids hopes for rendezvous” (news article, Oct 17 – 23)

One can only wish Mr. Gaines success in his search for the kids he worked with 40 years ago when he was a VISTA volunteer with the Hamilton-Madison House on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.  The “kids” he worked with are now young adults and reconnecting with them will enable Mr. Gaines to see the difference he made in their lives.

This is the type of journey that movies are made from -- I look forward to learning about the outcome of Mr. Gaines’s search and the story of how his contribution as a VISTA volunteer influenced the life’s of a group of young New Yorkers back in the 1960’s.
 Arnold Korotkin
Little Falls, N.J.

Editor’s Note: This week’s UnderCover column has an update on Michael Gaines’s search for the VISTA children he helped 40 years ago, Page 2.




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