Volume 21, Number 30 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | DECEMBER 5 - 11, 2008
Letters to the Editor
End mayoral control
To The Editor:
Re “Give parents a voice in the schools” (editorial, Nov. 28 Dec. 4):
The Klein/Bloomberg approach to education has been physically and emotional abusive to children. The cell phone ban, in light of events like those that occurred at Columbine and Va. Tech, where a cell phone was a life saving tool for many children, is outrageous particularly here in N.Y.C. where many of our children and families are already suffering from P.T.S.D. in the aftermath of 9/11.
Taking away school bus transportation and ordering children in kindergarten as young as 4 and 5 years on the subway or a public bus is reckless endangerment of a minor. If I as a parent can’t hand my young child a MetroCard and send them on their merry way (not that I would ever dream of doing so) what gives the chancellor and mayor the right to do this? Why weren’t they hauled off to jail in the same manner in which I would be...expeditiously!
Teaching to a test (and not even being successful at that) is also abusive. There is no grammar, penmanship, civics, geography, et al. in N.Y.C. public schools and children often have to guess at portions of the test that were not covered in school. Especially if you are a child with a learning or other disability, this is heinous! Yet the scores that a child earns on the high stakes tests issued in the fourth and seventh grades have the potential to adversely alter the direction of their lives in determining what middle and high schools to which they might consider applying. The pressure that this places on these 8-9 and 11-12 year olds is dangerously stressful for them and their families. Almost as disturbing is that neither of these men, Klein or Bloomberg, are or have been educators. Nor do they surround themselves with true educators from which they welcome and value experienced, qualified input. We learned this at the many hearings, forums and town halls on these issues. The administration’s collective minds were made up and their ears were closed to the voices of the parents, educators and officials who disagreed with them.
Mayoral control should not be changed, it should be allowed to expire and not be renewed. It has already proven to have too many loopholes that allow for abuses of power and a unilateral, egomaniacal style of management. If we want to change something, why don’t we bring back community school boards which included parents and other concerned citizens and change them into a working means of educational progression if we even agree that they were failing when the people with the “control” disbanded them.
Don’t dump on Downtown
To The Editor:
Re “Chelsea’s no sap” (letter by Robert Trentlyon, Nov. 28 Dec. 4):
I am stunned that Robert Trentlyon, as a publicly appointed member of Community Board 4, persists in his active dissemination of false information regarding the Department of Sanitation proposal for Hudson Square. Mr. Trentlyon has an affirmative obligation as a member of the community board to represent the truth; when he does not, as he has so insistently within the debate over the Hudson Square garage, he should be asked to step down.
Prior to the November City Council hearing, Trentlyon circulated an e-mail that misrepresented the position of the Hudson Square community. I took the time to clarify our position, and yet, he repeated his misrepresentations at the hearing. The local residents and businesses of Community Board 2/Hudson Square do not oppose the siting of a Sanitation facility in our neighborhood, nor are we trying to pawn it off on Chelsea. In fact, this facility in a smaller version with green space was designed and approved through ULURP for Lot 675 in Chelsea before it was reconsidered in its current form for Hudson Square.
Furthermore, the current size of the garage project is objectionable precisely because of its insensitive proportions. Had Sanitation simply relocated the original design to our neighborhood, we would have embraced it. Frankly, had Sanitation proposed this irresponsibly expensive (a half billion dollars) facility for Chelsea, we would have joined our neighbors in opposing it.
Not so for Trentlyon, who is a very good example of NIMBY writ large.
These are the facts:
C.B. 4 is 41 percent larger than C.B. 2, which would suggest the need for more vehicles and larger facilities.
According to the Department of Sanitation final environmental impact statement, the combined garage facility slated for Hudson Square will house 37 vehicles for Sanitation District 1, 46 for Sanitation District 2 and 45 for Sanitation District 5, for a total of 128 D.O.S. vehicles. (Sanitation districts are co-terminus with community board districts.)
Sanitation District 6 is slated to move out of the 606 W. 30th St. facility and into the E. 73rd St. Sanitation garage, taking their 47 vehicles with them. Even if Sanitation District 5 stays in the W. 57th St. garage, this move achieves a net reduction of Department of Sanitation vehicles in Chelsea to 146 vehicles, or just 14 percent more than proposed for Hudson Square. However, by moving Sanitation District 5’s 45 vehicles to Hudson Square as the department proposes and Trentlyon so warmly endorses this total drops to 101 vehicles, or 27 less than the proposed Hudson Square facility. That means that C.B. 4, which is 41 percent larger than C.B. 2, would have 21 percent fewer vehicles than C.B. 2.
Trentlyon’s strategy is clear: Lie about the facts and shill for the Department of Sanitation, rather than represent the community. His objective is even more apparent: Push an unfair share onto Hudson Square to reduce Chelsea’s share of the problem and gain whatever goodwill he can from City Hall.
Arts center will be studied
To The Editor:
We appreciate your coverage of the most recent Council hearing on the World Trade Center site (news article, Nov. 28 Dec. 4, “Charge of no leadership on arts center”), but a significant development was overlooked. Alan Gerson pressed the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. on the need to reassure the community with more concrete steps toward the realization of the Performing Arts Center. He suggested that the next step would be to establish the PAC’s governance framework. He secured an agreement from Sayar Lonial to participate in the immediate convening of a working group to study the issue. Lonial also agreed that the L.M.D.C. would participate in meetings with the N.Y.C. Department of Transportation regarding the creation of a master bus plan for Lower Manhattan.
Director of communications for Councilmember Alan J. Gerson
Illegal vendor problems
To The Editor:
“Soho stories” (letter by Robert Lederman, Nov. 28 Dec. 4):
Mr. Lederman, the self-appointed leader of a group of the illegal vendors, wrote you last week and made a series of misleading arguments against illegal vending enforcement.
One of the almost-comical statements he made is that there wouldn’t be any illegal vendor problem if Soho didn’t have any trees. I think all New Yorkers can agree that we shouldn’t cut down all the trees to allow the most street vending possible.
He also argued that there shouldn’t be any trash cans on the street because they similarly interfere with vending. Obviously, that wouldn’t work.
Finally, Lederman stated that dangerous curb drop-offs create more of a danger to people on the street than the vendors. Although I don’t agree that this is true, I do think the sidewalks should be properly maintained. Perhaps if all of the illegal vendors actually properly paid taxes to the city on their sales, it would be able to make these repairs.