Volume 22, Number 10 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | July 17 - 23, 2009
Letters to the Editor
No field day
To The Editor:
Re “No cheers as Bergtraum shuts out school, Little League” (news article, July 3 - 9, 2009):
Many years ago when I was living in Smith Houses, across from Murry Bergtraum High School, and the new field was about to be opened, several community leaders met with the then principal of the school. Our purpose was an attempt to get the school to keep the field open all the time for community use. We were stonewalled. The excuse was that someone had to pay a custodian for the hours that the field was open after school hours.
It is about time that the Department (or Board) of Education allow community groups to adopt this field and keep it open. Taxpayers’ money was used to build the athletic facility and to not allow the community, sports teams, other schools, etc. to use it is ridiculous.
I no longer live in the neighborhood, but as a member of the Parks Committee of Community Board 3, and knowing how little park and recreation space we have in Board 3, it angers me greatly that Bergtraum is still allowed to be so exclusionary.
Anne K. Johnson
Art of the deal
To The Editor:
Re “Grassroots arts center is rebuilding ‘green’” (news article, July 10 – 16):
While it is great that ABC No Rio got the funding, it is a fact that Councilmember Gerson is as far from being a friend of artists as one can get. He has spent his entire 8 years in office trying to destroy artists’ First Amendment rights.
Getting some tax dollars for a real estate deal involving an arts group is a clever move as he faces a difficult reelection. In fact, it’s exactly what Gerson specializes in: helping landlords who have art tenants get tax dollars, tax write offs and tax breaks. It has zero to do with the arts and everything to do with real estate.
President of A.R.T.I.S.T.
Rebuild the Twins
To The Editor:
Re “Breaking W.T.C. stalemate” (editorial, June 19 - 25):
What Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Silver deserve credit for is drawing attention to the problem, but none of the options being discussed is a solution at all.
The time has come for the future of ground zero to be decided at a national summit. The current standoff has demonstrated that, try as they may, state and local officials are ill equipped to give us the World Trade Center our city and country deserve. It makes no sense to limit the revival of such a signature site to what New York and New Jersey can afford. There is no reason why those two states should bear the entire country’s burden — or be allowed to undermine our collective recovery.
The target on Sept. 11, 2001, wasn’t New York or Washington. Osama bin Laden gloated in October 2001: “The values of this Western civilization under the leadership of America have been destroyed. Those awesome symbolic towers that speak of liberty, human rights and humanity have been destroyed. They have gone up in smoke.”
It was the very idea of America that was attacked, which makes our paralysis at ground zero a national disgrace and our true resurgence an imperative.
Most Americans have always wanted to see the Twin Towers back where they belong. The towers were uniquely exuberant — just like the country that produced them. They were a reflection of who we are. That is why they became such celebrated icons — they actually stood for something. Their rebirth now would rebuild our confidence as nothing else could.
To The Editor:
Re “Time to remove 25 years of barricades in New York” (talking point, by Tim Gay, July 1):
I want to thank Tim Gay for his excellent open letter to Archbishop Timothy Dolan. Tim vividly evokes the days when the gay Catholic group Dignity released balloons on the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral during New York’s annual Lesbian and Gay Pride March. Sadly, as Tim notes, this joyful custom was halted during the tenure of Cardinal John J. O’Connor.
But Dignity still has a presence at the cathedral during the Pride March — Tim must have missed us. In a 1985 federal court decision that was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court, the legendary Judge Constance Baker Motley ordered the city and the police to work out a plan that gave Dignity “reasonable” access to the cathedral. Every year since then, 25 Dignity members have been allowed to stand in front of the cathedral and cheer for half an hour toward the beginning of the March.
This is not the full access we would like, and the militarized atmosphere is a disgrace, especially in contrast to the other churches that give out water to the marchers. But we are proud of our legal victory, and of our 40 years of advocacy for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the Catholic Church and in society.
Jeff Stone is secretary of Dignity/New York
To The Editor:
Mrs. Roy wrote an article (Letter by Janet Roy, July 10 – 16, “Ranks and names”) in response to my article (Letter, July 3 – 9, “They all died together”). Instead of responding to my article about issues of my concern of a united W.T.C. memorial where all of those murdered will be treated with equality, she said that I fear that my brother’s name at the W.T.C. memorial will be overshadowed by firefighters and rescue workers. Yes, that would be a concern and it would be hurtful. It is my hope that the board overseeing the naming convention of those murdered at the W.T.C. will be impartial. My reasoning is that all of the families of the 2,631 non-uniformed victims and all of the families of the 365 uniformed victims have had enough heartache, and want to have the names of their loved ones etched in a W.T.C. memorial in an impartial way.
To The Editor:
A letter (July 3 – 9 “Council race”) from a political appointee of Alan Gerson touting Gerson’s record clearly should be taken with a grain of salt. Let’s see what Citizens Union, an independent, good-government group, has to report on Gerson:
Gerson’s Attendance Record: Of 51 council members, C.U. reports that Gerson ranks 45th in attendance - 6th from the bottom. Councilmembers from Staten Island, the Bronx and Far Rockaway have better attendance records than Gerson, who can walk to work.
Committee Hearing Record: Gerson chairs the Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Committee, established to assist small businesses that were displaced by the 9/11 attacks. Gerson’s committee ranks at the absolute bottom of the list of Frequency of Council Committee Hearings held. Further, Gerson accepts a $10,000 annual bonus for chairing the committee with the worst scheduling record in the Council.
Yes Men and Pork: Citizen Union reports that Gerson ranks #2 in “yes” votes, obediently in lockstep with Council leadership. Usually members who vote yes are rewarded with extra funding for their district. Unfortunately, Gerson has failed to capitalize on his subservience: 47 of the 51 councilmembers currently receive more program funding than Gerson.
This poor showing is an indication of how Gerson is viewed by his Council peers. Although Gerson is the archetypical Yes Man, his constituents receive few benefits in exchange for his servility.
Term Limits: Although Gerson promised us he would never vote to extend term limits, he reneged and self-servingly capitulated to the mayor, defying the will of the voters.
Gerson’s cynicism was compounded when he introduced legislation to bring term limits to the voters again in another referendum, knowing full well his bill would never pass the Council.
In a sworn statement, Democratic District Leader Jean Grillo relates that during a telephone call with Gerson, he admitted that he knew his bill would fail and was never fully behind the referendum. Clearly, Gerson wanted to give voters the impression that he was acting democratically when, in fact, he is a pawn of the mayor.
This deceit, his chronic absences and his lack of leadership are the reasons why his constituents have lost faith in Gerson.
President, Downtown Independent Democrats