Volume 21, Number 27 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | November 14 -20, 2008
Letters to the Editor
Mendez stood tall
To The Editor: I frequently write letters criticizing my councilmember, but she is due a letter of praise for her vote against the City Councils overturning of term limits. While I voted against term limits twice and welcome their demise, the method used by the mayor and council was dictatorial and a move against the democratic process.
Thank you, Rosie, Susan Leelike
To The Editor: Your most recent letters to the editor section is chock-full of comments concerning City Councilmember Alan Gersons recent actions on term limits and vending regulations. Strong debate and dissent are fair game, and your letters section has always served as a sort of Village Square where all opinions can be expressed. Thank you for that.
However, in his letter (Nov. 7 13), Robert Lederman asked of Gerson: How is it that with all the unprecedented crises you mentioned including 9/11 and its aftereffects you have spent your entire seven years in public office trying to destroy the constitutional rights of New York City street artists?
Even though I adamantly disagree with Mr. Gersons vending legislation and disagree with his vote on term limits, I also feel that Mr. Ledermans comments are completely unfair.
I personally witnessed Mr. Gerson work tirelessly after 9/11 to ensure the safety of his constituents, particularly the elderly and infirmed. He also worked with gusto to open the process for the redevelopment of ground zero, and to ensure that cultural components would be included. I marched with Mr. Gerson and about 100 of his constituents down Broadway to protest the Lower Manhattan Development Corporations exclusion of local citizens and groups in its process.
It is a huge mistake to deny the complexity of the issues we face and the people involved. To do so is to deny the possibility of developing enlightened resolutions. Hopefully, resolutions are the goal. Lawrence White
To The Editor: I am writing with regard to Councilmember Alan Gersons position on term limits because it seems that there is some misunderstanding of it among his constituency that needs to be clarified. As I understand it, Mr. Gerson has always favored extending term limits but that it be done by referendum, that is, submitted to the voters for an up or down vote. Mr. Gerson introduced and, with others on the council, fought for this. This is important because term limits were put in place by this method which also, and it must be emphasized, gives the council the right to revisit the issue should unforeseen circumstances arise or unintended consequences result. Obviously the extreme fiscal crisis was unforeseen and the fact that the mayor, who may arguably be uniquely qualified to deal with it, may be denied the opportunity to do so because of term limits was unintended.
Unfortunately, the timing of Mayor Bloombergs decision to run for a third term precluded the council from voting for a referendum, which could be put on the ballot in time for the people to vote on. Mr. Gerson feels, and many agree with him, that the vote to extend term limits for this one instance and only for one more term was the best thing to do in order to allow the voters to vote for continuity in the face of the extreme challenges we are facing. It doesnt give anyone another term. That remains, as it always has and always should, up to the voters. Allan A. Horland
C.B. 1 wants housing
To The Editor: Re C.B. 1 to city: See the light and limit N. Tribeca affordable housing (news article, Oct. 31 Nov. 6):
I was saddened to see your article containing the words Community Board 1 chose light and air over affordable housing .
In fact if the Downtown Express had carefully read the resolution voted unanimously at the full board on 10/28 and the two other previous resolutions from October 2007 and February 2008, they would have realized that the community voted for light and air AND affordable housing.
C.B. 1 and community groups in Tribeca have worked tirelessly for several years to push for a rezoning of North Tribeca. Currently the area is a patchwork of Board of Standards and Appeals applications, special permits and private rezoning and the area was way overdue for a comprehensive, community planned rezoning process.
Your article makes it appear that C.B. 1 is taking away affordable housing from the rezoning. In fact in early 2007 the draft plans for the rezoning by City Planning did not include affordable housing and the affordable housing element now proposed came about due to the close cooperation between the leadership of the C.B. 1 Tribeca Committee, C.B. 1 and Borough President Scott Stringers office.
The board and the community quite rightly desires the affordable housing to be situated within C.B. 1 and in particular in North Tribeca. If the residents and businesses of the area are giving up light and air then surely they should receive the benefit locally.
Furthermore I would like to remind readers that participation in this program is purely voluntary by developers who can choose to build the affordable housing in exchange for being allowed to build larger buildings. Andrew J. Neale Member of the Tribeca Community Association and former co-chairperson of C.B. 1s Tribeca Committee
To The Editor: The decision by the Landmarks Preservation Commission reported on in St. Vincents gets approval to demolish landmark site (news article, Nov. 7 - 13) was not surprising, given the political support that St. Vincents has managed to garner; but it is nonetheless a sad event for the Landmarks Law.
The close margin of the vote (6 to 4) and the eloquent testimony by those commissioners opposing the application provided the only boost to the morale of concerned citizens who turned out for the hearing. It was heartening to see that not all the commissioners had been hoodwinked by St. Vincents into believing that there are no alternatives for a new hospital besides the OToole site.
It was also encouraging or depressing to hear that some of the commissioners were worried that this vote would set a dangerous precedent, since St. Vincents had acquired the OToole site when it was already landmarked, and has continued to use it for the purpose for which the hospital acquired it.
While Mr. Tierney may not feel that he and the other five commissioners who voted in favor of the application have caused any problem because there are no other level-1 trauma centers in a historic district he is being a bit naive. The Village is full of nonprofit organizations, and it is certain some of them will use this ruling to try to capitalize on their valuable real-estate holdings.
Protect the Village Historic District would have preferred not to go to court over this ruling but now there is no choice. Too bad that a group of private citizens will have to invest more time and money doing what should have been the job of the L.P.C. Caroline Benveniste
Downtown Express welcomes letters to The Editor. They must include the writers first and last name, a phone number for confirmation purposes only, and any affiliation that relates directly to the letters 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 news@DowntownExpress.com or can be mailed to 145 Sixth Ave., N.Y., N.Y. 10013.